In an interview this week with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Eagle Scout Mike Rowe (who may have done a few notable things since) expressed concern over the recent changes in the Scouts, arguing that he hopes the organization would be “an antidote for the safe space environment that’s out there.”
Rowe made the remark when asked by Carlson about how “the scouts are no longer the Boy Scouts, but simply the Scouts” and how he felt about it.
“Well it’s funny you should ask, Tucker, because no less than 10,000 people have asked me that very question over the last month on my Facebook page,” Rowe said. “Distinguished Eagle Scout, if you’re keeping score. Five or six years ago, I was awarded that, and it was very touching.”
“Look, I’m watching what’s happening very carefully,” he said. “I’ve sent 50 to 55,000 thousand letters out over the last 10 years to other Eagle Scouts, and I think the country needs the Scouts, I think the country needs the Future Farmers of America, and Skills USA, and 4H, desperately, now more than ever.
“So, it does concern me to see all the confusion swirling around the organization. But like so many wounds, I’m afraid many of these are self-inflicted, and I also think some of the confusion that’s going on is legitimate.
“I read their official statement — while girls are being welcomed in, I didn’t read anything about integrated camping trips, or troop meetings. I think it really is a play to compete more directly with the Girl Scouts. And I understand why the Girl Scouts are upset, but since when is competition a bad thing?
“So I think character development and leadership development have never been more important than they are today, so my hope is that the Boy Scouts assume the opportunity that’s presenting itself and become an antidote for the safe space environment that’s out there and push back a little bit. I mean, not to sound like the angry guy on your neighbor’s porch yelling at the kids on the lawn, but when I was in the Scouts in ’74 and ’75, it wasn’t a safe space there in the basement of our church. You’d go home with a bloody nose sometimes, or a black eye. We had a boxing ring.
“You know, it was a vibrant place where you really could test yourself and fail in a way, that on the one hand, made you safe enough to attempt, but on the other hand didn’t try to check every box and please every single person,” Rowe added. “It’s a tough time. I’m sympathetic for the leaders, but I’m afraid you’ve got to draw the line somewhere and be very, very clear about what you stand for as well as against.”
When asked whether he thought something was ending, Rowe was ambivalent.
“I don’t know. Again, you either evolve, or you die. But at the same time, I think people are confused, because the Scouts simply haven’t come out and said categorically what they’re for, right?” Rowe said.
“So I just think this conversation touches every single hot point right now going on in popular culture, from tolerance to acceptance, which by the way, I’m not sure what the difference between those two things is anymore, but there used to be a big difference.”
Rowe added that “my hope for these youth-based organizations that help preach character is that they look for people who want to be challenged, and not curry favor so much with those who want a nice, reassuring pat on the head.”
After Carlson noted “that’s how the Episcopal Church died,” Rowe merely responded with, “Yeah, wow!”
Alas, one fears that the Scouts are moving in that safe space direction (the very idea of a boxing ring for Scouts sounds almost insane in this day and age, which should give you a good idea of where we’ve gone as a society). However, they won’t go there — and nor will society — without a bit of pushback. And, as you can tell, Rowe is going to be one of those pushing back.
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