Past Present Podcast: Boy Scouts, Eugenics, and Eloping

Boy Scouts

In this week’s episode of Past Present, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate Trump’s divisive speech before the Boy Scouts, the return of eugenics in criminal justice, and the rising wave of elopements.

Boy Scouts

Donald Trump’s recent speech at the Boy Scouts Jamboree has earned criticism for its political tone and inappropriate remarks. Niki pointed out that other presidents have given political speeches to the Boy Scouts, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George W. Bush, but Trump’s was unique for its partisanship. Natalia shared Amy Davidson’s New Yorker piece that argued Trump had distorted the one Boy Scout value he included in his speech: loyalty.


A Tennessee county is offering reduced sentences to inmates who get long-term contraceptives. Natalia noted this news was far different than the “brosectomy” parties the Wall Street Journal reported some men are having. Neil commented on how Adolf Hitler had admired the forced sterilization laws of many U.S. states. Natalia mentioned a Salon article on North Carolina’s notorious history of forced sterilization.


A recent story in the New York Times profiled couples who have chosen lavish elopements rather than traditional wedding ceremonies. We discussed the history of elopement and America’s “marriage industrial complex.”

What’s Making History

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