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The Boy Scouts – Oh Boy Oh Boy

The Boy Scouts – Oh Boy Oh Boy

This week in the United States, The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy amid “hundreds, if not thousands, of abuse lawsuits” involving sexual abuse. According to USA Today:

the 100-year-old organization had kept track of suspected and known abusers and failed to consistently report them to police or inform parents or the public of the extent of the problem.

The organization was sitting on “20,000 confidential documents, which became known as the “perversion files.” Those records named more than 1,000 banned volunteers…”

Now what kind of people do you think were in management of the Boy Scouts for all these years? For a century, the Boy Scouts wouldn’t allow homosexual children or leaders into their ranks, and taught that any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is not allowed.

But protecting child rapists was okay.

“On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” – Scout Oath

The Crying Indian

The Crying Indian

I’m not an American, so I never saw the Keep American Beautiful ads in the 1970s. But according to this article in the Chicago Tribune, they launched in 1971, asked Americans to clean up the environment, and featured a crying Native American man.

Except – he wasn’t a Native American. He was Italian-American.

The other fact people didn’t know about at the time was that:

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by the American Can Co. and the Owens-Illinois Glass Co., who were later joined by the likes of Coca-Cola and the Dixie Cup Co.

The entire campaign was a secret tactic by big corporations to focus the responsibility on cleaning up the environment away from them – and on to the consumer.

Keep America Beautiful practiced a sly form of propaganda. Since the corporations behind the campaign never publicized their involvement, audiences assumed that the group was a disinterested party.

It appears that, at that time in America, consumer goods manufacturers had been promoting “throw-away” containers and these were adding to the litter problem. Several environmental groups were trying to get legislation passed to force manufacturers to instead make their containers reusable – the so-called “bottle bills”. But that would eat into profits. So the “Crying Indian” campaign was hatched in secret to convince the public that litter was their problem, not something the manufacturers should have to worry about.

And the manufacturers pulled out one of their favourite lines:

The Keep America Beautiful leadership lined up against the bottle bills, going so far, in one case, as to label supporters of such legislation as “communists.”

What does this have to do with psychopaths?

It comes down to ethics and values. Many people, if they were running a billion-dollar consumer goods organisation, would feel a sense of civic responsbility to do the right thing. Psychopaths, on the other hand, will go out of their way to manipulate the situation in order to maintain their wealth and power.

America – The First Psychopath Nation?

America – The First Psychopath Nation?

“America is perhaps the first psychopath nation: It does not act as if it has considered that other countries have interior lives.” 

While I agree with his general sentiment, and his case for America acting lawlessly, I’m not so sure America is very original or stands alone in that regard. Britain at its colonial peak didn’t seem to acknowledge the interior lives of the indigenous people of India, Australia, etc. The French didn’t show much concern for the people of Indochina or Algeria. The current government of Scott Morrison in Australia doesn’t seem to care much about asylum seekers or the environment or anyone except their stakeholders (Conservatives, Christians and Big Coal).

Psychopaths in power will always run roughshod over the lives of others in their quest for power, and it’s always easier to stomp on “the other”. They don’t get to vote, and they don’t get much sympathy from your own people, especially if you successfully present them as a danger (imminent or distant) or as just plain wrong-headed (as in Communists or any nation with a different religion to your own).

The United States is just continuing the great old tradition established by its predecessor colonial powers. Demonize and occupy – if not with boots on the ground, then with gunboat diplomacy. America figured out after WWII that it didn’t need to invade – it could buy its way into occupation, by funding pro-American parties and their campaigns (which is largely what the Marshall Plan was about, plus the wars in South Vietnam, South Korea, etc) or, if that failed, funding disenchanted generals to overthrow the existing regime (eg Iran, Bolivia, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, Indonesia, Chile, etc) or, if that wasn’t an option, just outright funding terrorists (eg Afghanistan, Syria, etc).

If none of the above work, America is also fond of economic warfare, or “sanctions”, as they prefer to call it, which translates as destroying the economy of the country in order to bring pressure on the existing regime. A few years of that and you can point at the poor economic circumstances of the target country and blame their ineffective and corrupt government – and most Americans will believe you.

To my mind, the common thread is psychopaths in power. By nature, they don’t care about others, foreigners or locals, but it’s easier to beat up on people who live a long way from you.

We need to remove the psychopaths from power, or, at the very least, limit their ability to exercise their worst impulses. Only then can we fix the psychopathic cultures our countries have developed.