Re: Selective disobedience
James H. Moss (JHMoss@LAWYERNET.COM)
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 17:34:11 -0600
I am going to reply to a couple of comments in one reply.
I have a hard time, and maybe this is the basis for my comments,
distinguishing proper wearing of the uniform with breaking laws. The
absolute maximum penalty that a Scout can receive for not having a patch on
his uniform properly is he won't win points in a uniform contest. Period.
Granted, as a "child of the sixties" I am a little anti-establishment,
however, I have a lot of suits in my closet. Most days I still work in
jeans. Judges, get suits and ties. Some out of respect, some out of
My understanding of BP's uniforming ideas was so the class distinctions
between boys in England would not be visible. That is a great idea,
however, National has all but walked on that with various patches, BSA Best
and Black Bull equipment as well as the price of a uniform. It is easy to
recognize who has money and who does not in any troop. Those with have
uniforms that are bright and clean. Those who do not have no uniforms or
have one with the outline of an old patch on it.
The military does have more reasons for uniforming and the proper wearing of
the uniform. Some of those reasons may bleed into Scouting. However
Scouting is not the military and the impact of uniforming in the military is
1/100 as important in Scouting.
Don't get me wrong, I agree and enjoy my uniform. (Although, after all
these years I am starting to look like a third world dictator with
everything hanging/sewn/attached). But I would also laugh in the face of
someone who in a sense of duty told me something was wrong with my uniform.
Helping me out, fine, I love free advice. Tell me I am improperly dressed
implying I was substandard and I would be tempted to deck you.
Here again, I maybe wrong, I don't understand how proper uniforming leads to
great citizenship, character building etc. How someone got around the
uniform rules may be an issue....
And we do have "wrong laws." Maybe not as many are visible today, but that
does not excuse the fact they were wrong at some point. Jim Crow laws,
voting laws have all been determined to be wrong. As Scouts, we should work
to overturn some of those laws.
I guess I don't want to confuse the importance of wearing a uniform
"correctly" with developing good morals and the ability to decide what is
and is not a good moral. I do not want to attach any moral or ethical
importance to get uniforming. I don't want to confuse rules, which have a
purpose for a group, with laws that serve society. I never want anyone to
believe that blind obedience is a substitute for thinking.
A wise lady, a member of the house of representatives once told me "What is
the greatest risk? An eighteen year old going off to conquer a dangerous
mountain, or a pregnant eighteen year old with no health care?" I cannot
answer this question.
Yours in Scouting
12340 W. Alameda Pkwy., Lakewood, CO 80228-2841
Eagle Class of 69, Vigil, Denver Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City