July 29th, 2014


Where are the snows of yesteryear?

Philmont is now promoting STEM Treks. BSA already has a STEM initiative which impacts Venturing and has also led to the creation of new Merit Badges for Boy Scouts. STEM is the latest buzzword in secondary and higher education circles. STEM (which stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, Math") is in.

Allow me to voice a contrary notion. While I'm all for pushing STEM subjects and helping kids advance in these fields, the rot in our society has come through the Humanities, not the STEM fields. Teaching in English, Foreign Languages, Classics, History, Philosophy, Geography, Civics, Psychology and Sociology, is deplorable. Courses have been watered down or eliminated. Ideology has replaced actual knowledge of subject matter. The Humanities were the first provinces conquered in the Culture Wars, and they are now bases of support for all manner of nonsense. Meanwhile, the STEM fields are relatively healthy.

If schools and Scouts and 4-H and what-all want to revive the education of our youth, creating programs in the Humanities that are truly about the Humanities and not the ideological crap that is purveyed in their name, is the place to start. How about a Grammar Merit Badge? How about a History Trek? How about doing entire camps in targeted foreign languages? And so on.

My haphazardly-acquired Bachelor's degree in English seemed pretty skimpy when I completed it in 1974. But it would be very hard for anyone to earn a degree as good as I got these days.