Speaking to a national meeting of the Boy Scouts in his role as the organization's president, former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in reference to gays among the ranks of the group's membership and administration proclaimed that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
He insisted that such an adaptation of policy was necessary or the assembled would be required to face “the end of us as a national movement.”
What he is saying is that there are no enduring values or standards.
According to such logic, dependent upon the context the Boy Scouts are no more morally superior to the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany, the Red Pioneers of the Soviet Union, or an ad hoc ISIS training camp in the Syrian desert.
The Scout Oath reads, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and country, and to obey Scout law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The Scout Law is summarized as “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
But what happens when these virtues hinder a Darwinian understanding of survival of the fittest?
Should this classic moral code be abandoned should an ethic based on tooth and claw prove more utilitarian and efficacious?
That is, after all, what Robert Gates is advocating.
No wonder the war against terror, in part, floundered under his tenure as the Secretary of Defense.
By Frederick Meekins