I used both BASIC and HyperCard - they were dramatically different approaches. If you want a modern BASIC, try Perl or Python or Ruby or - you get the picture. There are dozens of suitable replacements; simple direct languages that can write a short command-line program easily.
And you show the result to the average user out there and they won't even think it's a program. If you want a GUI - like everything out there today - you'll have to work on a major lift, some complex API that takes months to master, and days even for an experienced programmer to learn.
HyperCard could get you a simple GUI-based program in minutes, that even a beginner could do. You could actually get quite a ways without writing a single line of 'code' - though you still needed to think about the structure of how you moved through the application. It could even be argued that you can teach that structural thought easier to certain types of learners, as you get a more dramatic and visual result.
But the largest thing for a beginner that HyperCard could offer was a feeling of accomplishment: In a few minutes you had what 'felt' like a real application, with a GUI and everything. It doesn't look like a cliff to get to the point of writing a program that they can show off to their friends - even if it's a simple program.
There are roles for both, but to get someone interested in programming, I think HyperCard is probably better. Once you have that pull out the major arcania of complex API's and huge libraries.