The California legislature routinely issues resolutions celebrating important anniversaries. These are usually passed in good spirit, without controversy. But for politically correct liberals, even non-controversial measures can be maligned. Witness last week in Sacramento.
A resolution celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America was introduced in the California Assembly. It simply acknowledged that "Scouting makes a direct and positive impact on our communities by teaching the principles of the American social, economic, and governmental systems." The resolution mentioned some famous Americans who were Boy Scouts — John F. Kennedy, Hank Aaron, and Bill Bradley, among them — and concluded by congratulating the Scouts "for training our young people for citizenship, service, and leadership."
But liberal Democrats killed it, with 17 voting against the resolution and another 26 abstaining. Eleven courageous Democrats supported it.
Has the party of Jefferson, which once stood for freedom, family, and self-government, sunk so low that it now displays open hostility to the Boy Scouts? Sadly, it appears so. After all, this is just the latest snub against the Boy Scouts. At the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles last summer, delegates booed a group of young Scouts as they led the Pledge of Allegiance. And earlier this year a group of Democrats in Congress led a failed effort to repeal the Boy Scouts' federal charter.
The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in America, with a noble heritage. Born out of opposition to the tyrannical Alien and Sedition Acts, and led by Thomas Jefferson, the Democratic Party was founded on the idea that freedom requires limited government. Rather than trust those in government with unlimited powers, Jefferson argued forcefully that "in questions of powerâ€¦let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
Jeffersonian Democrats also understood that the limited kind of government necessary for freedom requires more virtue and decency from its citizens than any other. As Jefferson remarked, citizens must obey the "moral law." Irresponsibility, licentiousness, and viciousness do not comport with good citizenship. If Americans violate the rights of their neighbors, or fail to care for themselves and their families, a large welfare and police state will be required to lord over citizens. When this happens, freedom dies.
Jeffersonian Democrats undoubtedly would have supported the Boy Scouts' efforts to teach young boys the moral habits necessary for freedom and self-government. But like the women who smoke Virginia Slims, Jefferson's party has come a long way.
Today it is often a vehicle for modern liberalism. Rejecting limited government and the moral conditions it requires, today's liberals think that citizens are weak and vulnerable when left to themselves, and need government regulation and assistance from cradle to grave. They desire a government unbounded in scope and power — conveniently sanctioned by the liberal idea of a "living constitution" — because the needs of citizens, and the demands "social justice," are always changing.
And it's no accident that those who advocate a large nanny-state government also celebrate and encourage single parenthood (through no-fault divorce and welfare), promiscuity, and homosexuality in the name of "doing your own thing." Self-serving liberals understand all too well that the breakdown of the family is directly related to the build-up of government. As more citizens lead vulnerable or destructive "lifestyles," more come to depend on government for financial aid and cures for sexually transmitted diseases.
In this light, it's easy to see why liberals look at the Boy Scouts with such contempt. For nearly a century, the Scouts have taught youngsters to be reverent and decent, requiring members to pledge "to do my duty to God and my country" and to "keep myself ... morally straight." It's hard to square the moral injunctions of the Scouts with the irresponsibility promoted by modern liberalism.
This is the liberal core of the modern Democratic Party. It is not pretty, and it's likely to be well hidden, as the news media are among liberals' closest allies. But for those with eyes to see, the attacks on the Boy Scouts is telling about what it means to be a Democrat today: It means you must, in the name of a perverted ideology, reject what is good and decent in America, and embrace its opposite. It means you are pitted against the Boy Scouts. It means the small minority of 11 Democrats who stood by the Scouts in the California Assembly must weep that theirs is no longer the party of Jefferson.