Quote: "Please remember that if all fathers spoke out against this [circumcision] it would be a much harder thing to promote. Fathers routinely circumcise their children as much as mothers. … I think instead of focusing on how to blame feminism for this one …."
Please note that I never use the term “blame.” I am not the least bit interested in blame, which concept I regard as both meaningless and counterproductive. Blame is extra, an emotional load dumped on the situation that is totally unnecessary for understanding, and in fact will impede understanding, because as soon as “blame” appears, everyone will be so busy trying to avoid it that there will be no time or energy left for simple understanding. “Blame” is a useless hot potato, which solves nothing and makes a problem a lot worse than it would be without it.
I am interested in facts, in cause and effect. I am interested in preventing suffering, thus in determining who has the power to do so in any given case. Whoever has the power to prevent suffering in a particular situation, but does not do so, is responsible for the suffering in that situation. That’s just a fact. “Blame” is unnecessary.
If you step on a rake, you are likely to get clobbered in the face by the handle. There’s no “blame,” it’s not anybody’s “fault”; it’s just simple cause and effect. There’s no need to add anything more to the picture. If you curse yourself, or curse the rake, you’re wasting energy that could be better used paying attention so you won’t step on the next rake.
If you want to prevent suffering, it is necessary to understand whose power is primary in a given situation, because if you put your effort into persuading those who do not have the real power to change it, you are wasting your time.
I find it amusing how, after decades of listening to women complain about not being taken seriously, when I do take them seriously, in an arena where it is clear to me that their power incontrovertibly rules, suddenly it’s all about how powerless they are, how everything is someone else’s–i.e. men’s–fault. Sorry, I don’t buy it.
After all, if women have the “right to choose” to terminate their child’s life, do they not also have the right to “choose” to cut off part of his body? Can’t have it both ways. I say they do have the power to do both, but that’s not the same thing as a “right.”
But this sort of thing, endlessly repeated, is why in the end I find I simply cannot take feminism seriously. They say they want to be regarded, and treated, just like men, but when it comes down to any real situation where the consequences might be even slightly less than fun, suddenly they’re using all their ancient power to avoid just that. They bat their pretty little eyelashes and whimper, “Poor little me! I have no power here! It’s all those male doctors!”
Similarly, after agitating so hard to have the choice of joining the military, during the Gulf War most of the females somehow suddenly, mysteriously became pregnant and had to be sent home. Oh, gee gosh, I wonder how that happened?
I’m in favour of living in Reality, because only if we’re dealing with the real world–not some fantasy in our minds–do we have a chance of preventing what suffering is preventable. Women do not belong in the military, for the simple reason that the military’s job is to protect women. Any baboon troop that put its young females in the defensive ring on the perimeter would soon be an extinct baboon troop. It’s ridiculous. Only in a decadent empire, where there’s no real risk of losing a war (or so people believe, just as they did in Rome toward the end) would such an idea be considered.
Nevertheless, all the men fall for it. As we must. I don’t mean just the men in this forum; in a decade of occasionally speaking out on the issue of circumcision, I’ve received far more resistance and ridicule from men than from women. Though this is painful, I understand why. The Prime Directive for males of all species is: Please the Female. Which is why I do not hold men, including fathers, ultimately responsible for the Infant Male Circumcision Program. It’s not our “choice.”
Quote: "The medical industry was male run for many, many years and circumcisions were done then too."
Of course, the medical industry is still mostly “male run.” But at whose behest? Doctors are hired hands, service providers. If they do not provide the service their customers want, they will be out of business. The circumcision program began with “modern medicine” providing something that 19th-century, Victorian women wanted: “scientific” proof of their suspicion that there is something fundamentally “wrong” with men, and something modern, scientific and efficient to do about it. The Infant Male Circumcision Program came out of the same “hygienic” thinking that also birthed Eugenics and, eventually, the Nazi programs to “improve” the species “scientifically.”
(Of course, it is interesting to note that as more and more women become doctors, the circumcision rate is not affected–though, unlike the male doctors, they have not been subjected to it themselves. So what’s their excuse? I’m sure they will have one.)
This is why doctors offer women the “choice” of circumcising their sons. And it is a choice. Any woman can “just say no,” and her son will remain intact. I know several women who did just that. This is fact. Where power lies, there also resides responsibility. Like the sign on President Truman’s desk: “The buck stops here.”
Quote: "Most women do NOT know they really have a choice on this, and women are not the only one making this decision. Most parents are told, as often as not by male doctors, that circumcision is necessary."
And why do women “not know” they have a choice? Because they haven’t taken the trouble to research the issue. And because apparently the idea of cutting off part of their sons’ sexual organs seems to them entirely normal. Why? I’d bet if the doctors told them it was necessary to circumcise their daughters, they might give the question just an teensy little bit of thought before signing on the dotted line. And, increasingly, women are making this decision on their own, in this age of “single-parent” families. Fathers are, after all, redundant.
Note how the hospital responded in the Flatt vs. Kantak case: “The mother chose the procedure.” They’re right. She’s challenging the issue on the only grounds she has: that they misinformed her. Which, if it works, might blow the whole issue open. But the question still remains: why did she not question further at the time, since it was her choice, and her responsibility? If she had had a daughter, and the same choice had been offered, are we to believe she just would have gone along with it, without question? If not, why not?
Quote: "This was going on LONG before feminism was even thought of. Not every injustice is directly caused by feminism."
Well, actually, I use the term “feminism” to refer not only to the modern “movement” dating from 1848, but to the age-old operation of female power of which what we now see is only a recent, ridiculous–though very effective–manifestation. And of course, very few “injustices” are directly caused by feminism, or female power; usually women use men as tools to rearrange the world as they want it. But that’s what they do, have always done, and always will do, so long as there are men in addition to women.
What is the quickest, most efficient way to provoke a man into murderous anger? Cast aspersions on his mother: e.g. “Your mother wears old Army shoes!” Everyone knows this. Any circumcised American male who questions the infant circumcision program is going up against the greatest, most powerful, absolute authority he has known, or will know, in his entire life: MOM. This is not easy. What is the invariable refrain of every father who wants his son to be circumcised? “So he’ll look like his father.” IOW, so his father will not have to confront this sometimes shattering question in his own life. Easier just to pass it on to the next generation unexamined.
Do you really want your sons to question your maternal authority? Think about it. What would that do to your life, your family? Does Mother know best, or not? Which is it? If Mother does not know best, why is it that mothers get custody in the overwhelming majority of divorces? BTW, I understand that in the 19th century and earlier–before the Infant Male Circumcision Program, “female suffrage,” Prohibition, Hillary, etc. etc.–it was fathers who were assigned custody, because they were seen as the responsible parent. Interesting.
There can be no comparison between the views of women and the views of circumcised men on the subject of circumcision. Expecting men to “lead” in this instance is ridiculous–especially after decades of insisting that men should follow women’s “lead,” without question, in all situations.
Female power is subtle. Most of the time, women are not consciously aware of their power and how they are using it. Which is the real tragedy, for it is women’s unconscious use of their power which causes most of our suffering–the avoidable part, anyway. Nevertheless, the Law is “Ignorance is no excuse.” Because ultimately the Universe’s books will balance. In human societies, men pay for women’s ignorance. Which is the entire reason for the “patriarchy”: because somebody must be responsible, and women won’t do it, men must do it, so men have (had) the authority that comes with that responsibility. Where the buck stops, there also is the decision-making power, apparently at least. But in fact, men are always playing catch-up, cleaning up after the effects of women’s unconscious use of their power.
Men would not exist if women did not create them. Keep this in mind; you will never understand the relationship of the sexes without this fact as foundation. Females can exist without males–as has been proven by the many species which used to be sexual but no longer are, because the females simply stopped producing males–but males cannot exist without females. The power to create is also the power to not create. No analysis of the comparative power of the genders has any validity unless it starts from this point.
The “myth of male power” is truly a myth in both senses: (a) it is not true, and (b) everyone believes it.
So, why do females create males? Nature is ruthlessly economical; She does nothing without some reason, some utility. Perhaps sex first happened, ca. 1.5 billion years ago, by an accident resulting from a random cosmic ray striking a nucleus; but it would not have continued, prospered and prevailed if it did not work. Sex works for two reasons: (1) it provides for swift evolution to meet changing circumstances and challenges. And (2) Expendable males (remember, she can always make more if she needs them) can be assigned to various chores which females prefer to avoid. Even now, in the Golden Age of Feminism and Gender Equality, we can see this in operation, as women use their newly-won “equality” to invade work areas such as corporate boards that have previously been exclusively male, but somehow mysteriously neglect to insist on becoming garbage”women,” or being subject to military conscription, etc. etc.
And while campaigns to bring these discrepancies to public attention may be useful, ultimately I believe they will fail. Because women do have the power, and will always have the power, to avoid what they do not wish to confront. Including their buck-stops-here responsibility for what happens to their children.
Of course it’s all about choice for women. It always has been, and it always will be. Until men grow wombs and begin gestating and giving birth–i.e. until men become women–there will always be this fundamental inequality between the sexes. And of course, there’s no need for men to become women; if that’s where we’re headed, the simple way is for women to stop producing men. As many species have done–though none, so far as I know, among the warm-blooded birds and mammals.
That’s why I don’t fight against feminism. That would be pointless. What I do is put forward the truth. The truth is, women can have it any way they want, because they hold the power. No man has any power but what has been lent to him by women. However, there is one check on women’s power: Natural Law. Even women cannot decide to have water flow uphill, or time flow backward. And even women cannot repeal the law of karma. Whatever you do to another you yourself will eventually experience, in this lifetime or another.
Quote: "Years ago, I went to a circumcision of a child born to two friends of mine. (It was horrible and a real eye opener.) The procedure was performed by a male rabbi, as part of a religious ceremony, and attended by myself, my wife, both parents, an aunt, and an uncle — four men and three women, and the male rabbi performed the mutilation."
Of course it was performed by a rabbi. It’s his job, is it not? But who is he working for? Actually, it was probably a mohel, though maybe a rabbi can be both. Traditional mohels even keep one of their thumbnails (I believe it is) long and sharpened specially for this ritual. Then they suck the blood off the baby’s chopped penis with their mouth. Charming picture, no? Ooh, look out–don’t want to be anti-Semitic!
Think about this: This is where this whole business comes from. This is not some accident; it has deep roots in the atavistic past of Middle Eastern desert tribes, long before Judaism existed. It’s a remnant of the Golden Age (so the feminists tell us) of Goddess worship, when men and boys were sacrificed to keep Her happy. As, in fact, we still are. Not much ever changes, really.
Rabbi Hillel, when asked to expound the Law while standing on one foot, said, “Do not do to another what you would not have done to yourself. That is the whole of the Law; the rest is merely commentary.” It is unfortunate that his own people have paid no more attention to this truth than has anyone else. But that’s the way of the world.
Quote: "I imagine in countries where FGM is still practiced, the mothers support the procedure as much as the fathers. It is cultural."
Indeed they do. In fact, in at least one instance I saw in the newspaper in the mid-1990s, an African immigrant father in New Jersey or somewhere was desperately resisting his wife’s insistence that their daughter be circumcised. That was a hoot for the feminists. The real question is, what is “cultural”? Is “culture” something that comes down from the sky and envelopes us all against our will? I don’t think so. I think “culture” is simply a term to describe how we, human beings, organize how we live together. And again, the primary power in that organization is the power of women. “Culture” is women’s creation first, modified, with women’s permission, by men.
As I’ve written before, I find it interesting that whenever the subject is something men do to women–e.g. rape–it’s always clear that men are responsible; but when it’s something that mothers do to their children, suddenly it becomes “cultural,” or “society does it,” or “a tradition.” Women are coated with Teflon. For men, the principle has always been that “ignorance is no excuse”; but for women, ignorance is always an excuse.
Funny; in another thread where I expressed some feeling of compassion for the suffering of an insane woman who killed her husband, I was excoriated for wanting to “exculpate” her. Which I did not; I’m just sorry for anyone’s suffering. Here, on the other hand, I am criticised for holding women–millions of ordinary, supposedly wide-awake, sane, sensible women–responsible for what they have voluntarily done to their sons. While, it seems, several men who criticized my ”chivalry” elsewhere are quick to jump in here and pick up the burden for the little woman. I haven’t even said I wanted them “to fry”–or to be circumcised. I don’t want anyone to be circumcised, or hurt in any way. I just want the truth on the table, so we can have a meaningful discussion.
Quote: ”Are there ready made info packets to download for distribution?”
I don’t know about downloads ... [but] NOCIRC in particular provides pamphlets, etc., all very “non-confrontational.” Sure, that’s fine; whatever it takes to stop it. It may very well stop without the real truth ever being publicly acknowledged. Of course that would be better than nothing; but I’m still going to speak the truth when the subject comes up. Because if the root cause is never addressed, then like a cancer that’s been “cured” by surgical removal of some body part, it’ll only reappear elsewhere.
I too am happy to see a woman thinking about this and other issues. But this is primarily a men’s forum, and that’s whom I’m primarily addressing here. If a woman, who is supposedly my “equal,” wants to join our discussion, I’m all for it; but I’d suggest she be prepared to face some hard truth–as men do, when they’re not adjusting their words so as not to offend women’s delicate sensibilities.
Again, I’d suggest reading some Camille Paglia, some women can and do think fearlessly, and talk sense (more or less). I welcome any woman who is willing to undertake this discipline.
Thanks to anyone who has taken the trouble to read this long, hastily-written essay. I have to get back to work now.
Previous Philalethes Index Next
Philalethes #21 - Circumcision
Philalethes #9 – Immaculate Conception
Philalethes #7 – All Female Populations in the Animal Kingdom
Zenpriest #3 – Repressing Sexuality