- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2000

'The main source'

"Success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed… .
"The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of leaders is very much higher."
Theodore Roosevelt, in a 1910 speech quoted by Ralph Reed in "America's Real Gold Standard," in the Fall 1999 issue of Rising Tide

Of Scouts and gays

"The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided that the Boy Scouts are a public accommodation, and therefore must let men serve as scoutmasters regardless of their sexual orientation… . The Scouts are appealing the decision… .
"Homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are attracted to youth and beauty. It is not irrational to worry that putting homosexual men together with boys will lead to temptation and that sometimes the temptation will not be resisted. Most people would be just as worried if heterosexual men were put in a similar position with teen-age girls… .
"A Scout can share a tent with no adult male other than his father, and showers must be segregated by age. Scoutmasters are never supposed to be alone with boys, and if a boy wants to talk privately, the scoutmaster and the boy must be within sight of other adults. But on a camping trip, adults are frequently alone with boys. A homosexual scoutmaster would inevitably find himself alone with boys at times, with all the dangers of false accusations such a situation brings… .
"Scouting requires a lot of physical intimacy. Ticks, one of the inevitable hazards of camping, love to go for the pubic area. My son once got a tick in a delicate spot, but fortunately I had come on that trip. Suppose a scoutmaster he knew was homosexual was the only one available to remove that tick?"
Leon J. Podles, writing on "The Court & the Scouts" in the November/December issue of Touchstone

Of human nature

"Our ignorance about the truth of human nature has not been for want of trying. Philosophers took up the question as one of the very first that human beings systematically asked about themselves. But philosophers produced answers as various as Aristotle's and Rousseau's. Since the late 1900s, behavioral and social scientists too have tried to understand human nature. But while they have illuminated many useful bits and pieces, they have failed as system-builders.

"What is left of Freud, out of the beliefs that were so intellectually pervasive in mid-century? Psychotherapy remains, in profuse variety, but only remnants of Freudianism. What is left of B.F. Skinner? Behaviorism is still a productive branch of psychology, but the Skinnerian vision of human nature that once seemed so compelling is dead. As for Marx, does anything at all survive? For more than a century, Marxism was throughout continental Europe the leading intellectual framework for thinking about how political institutions can realize the nature of man. That edifice has collapsed utterly… .

"The great conflicts of the last two centuries have in large part been the story of differing views of human nature translated into political codes. Communism's use of Marxism was the paradigmatic example, explicitly and aggressively asserting that human nature is soft plastic that can be molded into any configuration by society's political and economic institutions."

Charles Murray, writing on "Deeper Into the Brain," in the Jan. 24 issue of National Review

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