Friday, August 13, 2010

Philalethes #21 - Circumcision

Quote: "While an interesting correlation is made between circumcision rates in the USA and other industrial countries and the rate of male violence this seems inherently flawed. There is no empirical evidence for this sort of claim."

Well, no, I don’t guess there is. Nor can there ever be. “Empirical evidence” is a myth, really, in relation to non-quantifiable factors like human feelings and behaviours. Nevertheless, since I became aware a decade ago of what circumcision did to me, (1) I have been in a state of severe shock and post-traumatic stress, and (2) I’ve noticed a consistent psychological pattern which I consider significant: infant-circumcised men are subconsciously* terrified of women, while intact men are not. I can’t “prove” this, no. But I think it’s interesting to note that it was precisely when the first universally-circumcised generation (mine, born during WWII) came of age, that feminism took over the culture. There are few men in America today who know how, or why, or when, to gently but firmly say “No” to a woman. We just can’t do it. And the consequences have been and will be disastrous for women as well as for men. Because–feminist dogma notwithstanding–even women are not perfect, and we all need someone in our lives to tell us “No” now and then. When our most infantile impulses are given free reign, we suffer.

(*Note: “Subconsciously” means we aren’t aware of it, but it profoundly affects our behaviour. We can become aware of such subconscious influences, however, and try to compensate; as I have been doing since I became aware of this.)

What I was pointing out was that the radio segment made a big point of comparing the rates of “male violence” (a term I don’t generally use, since it’s a code-word for misandry) in America with those in other countries, but somehow neglected to note what, as I said, I consider the decisive difference between those countries (Britain, France) and ours in the rearing of male children. And I have observed an identical neglect in every other commentator on the question of “what’s wrong with [American] boys?” who has received any media coverage.

And no, I don’t think it’s exactly a “conspiracy.” It’s a lot deeper, a lot bigger than that. It’s a symptom of a deeply rooted, pervasive cultural psychosis. “Denial is not a river in Egypt.”

Quote: "What is [interesting] in this comparison is … the way male circumcision is treated in comparison with female circumcision."

Precisely. When in the mid-1990s immigrants from East Africa and neighbouring regions began bringing their daughters to American hospitals for this traditional procedure, American feminists rose up and had female circumcision outlawed, in probably the swiftest Congressional action since December 8, 1941. Nevertheless, these same feminists continue to actively support the American “tradition” of infant male circumcision. A doctor in Cairo will give exactly the same reasons of “health” and “hygiene” for female circumcision that you’ll hear in this country for male circumcision. So why is it bad to do this to girls, if it’s good to do it to boys? This, I gather, is what feminism calls “equal treatment.”

On the other hand, I’ve never yet come across a man involved in the effort to stop male circumcision in America who is not also appalled and horrified by the genital mutilation practiced on girls elsewhere in the world, who does not want to see both practices stopped. I can only guess that this apparent discrepancy must be related to the male inability (which I’ve been hearing about all my life, ad nauseam) to experience the finer, more superior form of compassion naturally demonstrated by females.

Quote: "Men are expected to take abuse with a stoic resolve."

A remark from a feminist quoted in Say No to Circumcision summed it up pretty well, I thought: “Well, if he can’t take that, what can he take?” (I remember reading this in the book, but haven’t been able to find it again; if someone can tell me the page it’s on, I’d appreciate it.)

However, I don’t think this is entirely “wrong,” or that the “solution” is for men to become more like women in this regard (or any other). From the beginning of time it has been men’s task to protect and defend women and children. It’s the natural order, also seen in many other species. To this end, males must learn to, in ‘Enry ‘Iggins immortal words, “take a position and staunchly never budge.” Which means being able to endure suffering without complaint, to die if necessary. As millions of men have, in various ways, to give us the world we have now. What’s changed is that we used to get, as Otis Redding said, “a little respect” for our sacrifices.

In a difficult and dangerous world, the freedom to “be in touch with ones feelings” is a luxury, which men have forgone so that women may enjoy it. There’s just no time or energy to waste on “having a good cry” when home and family must be defended, right now, against a savage attack.

This is where I–regretfully–must disagree with Warren Farrell, much though I respect his work. Farrell thinks the solution is for the sexes to become more alike–which only shows he has not yet completely recovered from his former lapdog role. The solution is for men to be men again, and for the two sexes to respect each other. Which begins with mothers respecting their sons. The relationship between the sexes is not circular; it’s a spiral, which begins with Mother, as do all things.

In the larger context, it seems like this sort of thing happens in every decaying empire. Life becomes comfortable, people forget about hard the world is outside their limited, temporary prosperity, and women start to think that the security they have is just naturally theirs, that they don’t “need” men anymore. “Fathers are redundant.” Since the necessities of life have resulted in women having an exclusive copyright on all the “virtues” (it’s ironic that this word itself comes from the Latin word for “man”: vir)–gentleness, compassion, caring, etc.–for the protection of which men have made themselves hard and “unfeeling”–women begin cultivating contempt for the men they see around them–the men they themselves have made.

And eventually, of course, the empire rots from within and is invaded and conquered by another culture whose women have kept their men strong. There may be no help for it, really.

Quote: "The person who submitted this apparently has some issues with women…and I think the credibility of this web site has just gone down a notch."

Yes indeed, I do have some issues with women–American women especially. There will always be “issues” between the sexes, as between any pair of complementary opposites. I see the relation between the sexes as like that between sparring partners: we help each other by being difficult for each other, giving each other opportunities to learn and grow. But that can only work if there is some parity between us, if we are “worthy opponents.” Since in fact there is no such thing as “equality” between the sexes–the creature (the male) cannot be “equal” to his Creator (the female)–then the entire relationship rests on how mothers bring up their sons: whether to be strong, independent, adult men who are secure in themselves and can hold their own with the women they will encounter later in life, or to be weak, dependent Mama’s boys whose assigned role is to gratify women’s infantile greed for power.

In the last century, American women seem to have decided on the latter. To that end they have embraced the Tonya Harding strategy: since the point, as they see it, of the relationship is to win–by whatever means necessary–it makes sense to cripple the “enemy” before the contest even begins. So Tonya hired a couple of hit men to kneecap her rival in women’s skating competition–and American mothers hire doctors to torture and cripple (physically, yes, but even more important, psychologically) their newborn, defenceless sons. It’s sick, that’s what it is. And it was done to me, and damned right I have “issues” about it.

I am what’s fashionable these days to call a “survivor” of severe childhood abuse–all, the overt part anyway, from my father. Trained to seek refuge with my mother, I was brought up to believe all the feminist dogma about how men are “bad” and women are “good” (a gross oversimplification, but that’s what it comes down to). Only at age 50 did I begin to understand what my mother had done to me–unconsciously and thus in “innocence,” but nevertheless the consequences for me are very real–and that the beginning of it, my circumcision at birth, unlike everything my father did, is permanent and irreparable.

So yes, I have “issues.” And no, I’m not mad at my mother about it–she didn’t know what she was doing. But I have no patience with lies, or those who prefer lies to the truth, or offer lies in response to truth. Like the Man said, the truth–and only the truth–will set us free.

“Let us speak the truth.” – George W. Bush, Berlin, Germany, 23 May 2002 (Scuse me, I couldn’t resist. He really said it; I heard him on the radio.)

And I will say this: if you are a circumcised American man and you don’t have “issues,” you’re in serious denial. Ironically, I get more ridicule from men on this than from women. But I understand why.

Quote: "I don’t think it’s the definitive aspect of American culture, or that it profoundly affects most men’s psychology."

Well, of course you don’t. But refusing to see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. The fact is this: only two cultures on the planet practice infant male circumcision: the Jews (whose psychology in this regard–and its wider implications–deserves a whole essay in itself) and the White Anglo Protestant Americans–who got the idea from the Jews. (And formerly the other English-speaking countries, though Britain itself has almost entirely abandoned the idea since 1950.) It’s also become popular in South Korea, due to overwhelming American cultural influence. Given this fact, and what a horrendous thing it is to do to a newborn baby (those who aren’t permanently scarred bleed to death), I think it’s a pretty “definitive aspect” of a culture. Why do they do this? Women in other countries–continental Europe, for example–find the idea ridiculous/horrifying. But American women not only consider it perfectly “normal” but actually become hysterical (look that word up in the dictionary) when it is questioned. This is not like a difference in how various cultures clip their nails or comb their hair. And how do you know it doesn’t “profoundly affect” men’s psychology? Have you even thought about it?

Again, the plain facts are these: (1) There’s no end of wringing of hands (and lucrative book contracts) these days over the question of “what’s wrong with American men?” and (2) The fact that only American men, relative to all other major nations on the planet, are subjected to this treatment is never mentioned in any of this voluminous “what’s wrong” literature. If this doesn’t look funny to you, you definitely need to see an optometrist. Or some kind of healer.

“Inside every boy there is a nice, loving, little girl waiting to come out if only we have the eyes to see it.”

Excellent! What frustrates me most is men like this, who’ve bought the feminist line and are doing their best to “justify” men within a system where ultimately it cannot be done. Either men are men, or they are poor imitations of women. There is no middle ground on this. Because, while women can, to some extent, do anything men can do, men cannot do what women do. Nothing will change this truth. The real question is, do women want men, or not. Because, while women can live without men, men cannot exist without women. If women do not want men, the best solution would be to get rid of them entirely, and turn to cloning, as some other species have done (See why males exist). That is a legitimate solution, because it is women’s decision. But if they do want men, they are only harming themselves by crippling the men they make. It’s insane.

The real insanity is feminism itself, whose bedrock foundation is the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” fallacy. The truth is, women are from Earth, and men are from women. We are two parts of the same being. As Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” But this is even closer to home: Feminism is one hand cutting off the other and calling it “equality,” or “justice” or “progress” or any of a million other senseless buzzwords. It’s truly insane.

Well, enough for the moment. My thanks to anyone who’s taken the trouble to read this, and to all who made this a fruitful discussion.
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Q: Why do you think male circumcision exists?
A: To reduce male libido, or as Rambam (the most famous Jewish Rabbi) wrote:
"Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible.
It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member?
In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally.
The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished.
The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable.
For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision."