Circumcision and Intactivism

כ״ו בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 8 June 2010) · 46 comments

chopping a carot with a knife to simulate circumcisionFerdinand wrote what he thinks about “‘intactivism,’ opposition to circumcising boys when they’re too young to decide for themselves.”

I was circumcised when I was eight days old and I’m glad it was done, not for religious reasons but because in my experience more girls appreciate when it’s been done. It caused me no trauma, according to my parents. They like to joke that the mohel’s nickname was “Shaky,” but from what I can tell, he did a perfectly fine job. If I weren’t circumcised already, I would very strongly consider having it done for its appeal to girls, and I’d almost certainly have it done because of how important it is to the Jewish people.

Ferdinand and I are about the same age and I think it was done as a matter of course for the vast majority of boys in our generation, which I’d consider “baby boom echo” (my parents were born in 1951 and 1952). But I also think that boys a few years older and a few years younger were much less likely to be circumcised.

I don’t really get worked up for or against banning circumcision except to the extent that it is a bellwether for where “men’s rights” is heading. I’m uncomfortable with “rights” as the concept around which to build any movement, especially one that seeks essentially to be reactionary, turning back the clock on some or all of feminism’s advances. “Intactivism” is the application of rights theory to its (unfortunately) logical extreme.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ferdinand Bardamu כ״ו בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 8 June 2010) at 10:56:10 pm

I’m uncomfortable with “rights” as the concept around which to build any movement, especially one that seeks essentially to be reactionary, turning back the clock on some or all of feminism’s advances.

The men’s rights movement isn’t actually reactionary. The genesis of modern men’s rights, the “masculism” of Warren Farrell and Glenn Sacks, was politically liberal and sought to achieve the gender equality that feminism had failed to implement. Farrell spent his early career trying to get feminists to ally with him and eventually gave up when they wouldn’t dance to his tune. Even today, more libertarian and conservative MRAs like Angry Harry and Paul Elam are essentially in favor of egalitarianism.

I remarked to one of my readers a while back that there’s a brewing conflict in the manosphere between egalitarian MRAs and more reactionary anti-feminists. Paleomasculinity, as Jack Donovan terms it, is intrinsically opposed to the “true gender liberation” that Harry and Elam support. If I had to make a guess, I’d say that most of the Roissysphere non-MRA folk would lean towards the paleomasculine camp. I support MRAs insofar as they seek to redress legitimate grievances men have with the system, but egalitarianism is a non-starter and the MRAs won’t be able to implement it any more effectively than the feminists.

2 Genius כ״ז בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 9 June 2010) at 12:58:48 am

Very fascinating. I do think some movements that consider themselves one thing may actually be another. I consider American libertarians / classical liberals to be fundamentally conservative, even though most of them consider themselves to be neither of the right nor of the left, and they’d get offended if you called them conservatives. I also consider American progressives to be communists, even though most of them would consider that ridiculous. I don’t mean “communist” as an insult or as a equivalent to “Marxist”; I just mean it in exactly the same way that it was always used until the 20th century, as roughly equivalent to “democrat” (I do mean that as an insult) or in the context of the Paris Commune. And I consider American paleoconservatives to be reactionaries.

I’m of course a reactionary myself, but I spent many years as a libertarian before seeing the error of my ways. I realize now that all my ranting about liberties and rights was utterly at conflict with my incessant posturing about democracy. I of course had to redefine democracy to mean liberty, with which I later came to understand it’s mutually exclusive.

Feminists are progressive; whoever opposes progressives is conservative or reactionary. You can’t beat a form of progressivism by pretending to be more progressive. Maybe the men’s rights crowd will go on like this for a while, pulled simultaneously in the directions of radicalism (anti-circumcision) and reaction (supporting traditional family law). But maybe they’ll eventually see that the radical stuff is nonsense.

3 Hugh7 כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 10 June 2010) at 2:57:48 am

“If I weren’t circumcised already, I would very strongly consider having it done…”.
Actually, if you weren’t circumcised already, you would most probably enjoy your foreskin itself so much that you wouldn’t consider it for a moment.

“in my experience more girls appreciate when it’s been done.” If you were not circumcised (like most men in the world), you’d find that most women in the world are just fine with it that way. (The main study claiming to show that women prefer circumcised men was done by researchers who made their own preference very clear, on 145 Iowa women, only 24 of whom had experience with both kinds.) Someone said a foreskin is a good airhead repellent.

I don’t understand what your problem is with human rights. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the right to own property are all in line with “not having part of your genitals cut off”, and my religious freedom ends where your body begins. Do you dispute that females have a right not to have a knife taken to their genitals for any reason but pressing medical need (or their informed consent to cosmetic surgery)? The AAP recently flirted with allowing a “ritual nick” on girls to protect them from worse, all hell broke loose, and they withdraw, having admitted that the ritual nick was less extensive than male circumcision. This is not to compare what’s done to girls in tribal Africa with what’s done to boys in hospital surgeries. Compare this Malaysian mother’s blog [ http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html ] with this American mother’s [ http://cindiebass.blogspot.com/2010/05/circumcision.html ]. If anything the little girl seems to have got off more lightly than the little boy. And 90 boys died from tribal circumcision in Eastern Cape province, South Africa, alone last year.

Saying people have a right not to have healthy, non-renewable, functioning body parts cut off them is not “extreme”. What’s extreme is that in this day and age, this anomaly persists.

4 Genius כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 10 June 2010) at 3:48:38 am

Actually, if you weren’t circumcised already, you would most probably enjoy your foreskin itself so much that you wouldn’t consider it for a moment.

If I weren’t circumcised, I can assure you I would be considering it for a lot more than a moment. Circumcision isn’t just some thing that the Jews do, like lighting candles on Friday night or sharing stock tips. It’s integral to being a Jewish man, and it’s not for nothing that we hear stories of bnei anusim returning formally to Judaism after generations underground who circumcised themselves in isolation. So like I said, I’d almost certainly have it done if it weren’t done already for that reason.

But supposing that weren’t an issue, I do certainly allow for the possibility that I wouldn’t do it. I guess it would come down to balancing the additional physical pleasure from keeping it, as well as the potential for pain and complications from having the operation, against all the reasons supporting it. And there are a lot of reasons to support it, frankly.

If you were not circumcised (like most men in the world), you’d find that most women in the world are just fine with it that way.

Well I’m not really interested in most women in the world, which includes a huge majority that do not appeal to me sexually in any way because they’re way too old, way too young, missing teeth, missing limbs, infected with diseases like AIDS, savages, cannibals, pygmies, unwashed, uninteresting and ugly, and whose opinions about my penis are not of interest. Excluding the girls I’ve slept with here in Israel, where circumcision is universal, the girls in America who saw it remarked favorably that they liked it this way. Maybe they were just being flattering, but it was a lot of repeat customers, and that’s the data I’ve got. It’s of course totally unscientific and again, I do leave open the possibility that maybe even a majority of qualifying females would prefer it uncut, but like I said, “in my experience more girls appreciate when it’s been done.”

Someone said a foreskin is a good airhead repellent.

That’s cool, I like airheads, as long as they don’t want to have a conversation.

And 90 boys died from tribal circumcision in Eastern Cape province, South Africa, alone last year.

Dude, my parents are upper middle class Jewish yuppies from a big city in the United States. When I was born they drove a Volvo and listened to NPR every day. Do you have any idea how intensely they are filled with worry for my safety? I guarantee you, they triple-checked every one of Shaky the Mohel’s instruments for sanitation and sharpness, and they probably interviewed all of his other clients, and I’m sure all four of my grandparents and several of my living great-grandparents were all conducting their own independent checks (and offering commentary about all the “brisses” they’d been to in the past 50 years). My brit milah was about as far as you can get from a tribal circumcision in Eastern Cape province, South Africa, while still snipping the same organ.

Saying people have a right not to have healthy, non-renewable, functioning body parts cut off them is not “extreme”. What’s extreme is that in this day and age, this anomaly persists.

I don’t object to your position on the grounds that it’s extreme. What I meant by the application of rights theory to its logical extreme was only that you are being logically consistent with your core beliefs, which is that people have certain rights.

I don’t understand what your problem is with human rights.

My problem with them is that I don’t believe them to exist. Can you give me a good reason to believe in rights? How do you know you have rights? How do you know I have rights? How do you know that rights are inalienable? How do you know which rights you have? How do you know everyone has the same rights?

Part of that above line of questioning is facetious. Most people who base their ideas on rights acknowledge silently to themselves that “rights” are really just a useful illusion that help us organize society civilly. But if we just suppose “rights” as a handy theory of law, justice and civil society, why take that wink-wink theory and extend it to its logical extreme, as you’ve done above? You see, at the end of the day, you’re not helping to save anybody’s penis. You’re just making more people realize that if “rights” are going to end in such silliness, it’s better just to discard them altogether.

Finally, I’m a little bewildered by your use of the term “anomaly” to describe a practice that’s recorded in the most ancient texts and that’s been practiced consistently by a civilized people for many thousands of years longer than most other people had things like written language. The fact that the majority doesn’t do circumcision is of no concern to me. After all, when the Jews started circumcising their sons, simply refusing to sacrifice your firstborn to Moloch was considered anomalous.

5 Mark Doane כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 10 June 2010) at 8:39:21 am

I of course had to redefine democracy to mean liberty, with which I later came to understand it’s mutually exclusive.

Not necessarily. A people that is naturally disposed towards liberty will elect a government that is leaves them in peace. A good example of this would be my own home state of AZ versus say…New York State. Those peoples that vote to enslave themselves deserve to get exactly what they have voted for. The people of Michigan have voted repeatedly for poverty over the course of decades and they have gotten it. No specific policy or law in Michigan can be blamed as the sole cause of the Fall of Michigan, but taken together the laws of that state have impoverished the people that voted for them. The laws, and voting behavior, of the people of that state spring directly from a culture different from the one here in AZ and the refugees from that state show up here looking for work. Hopefully the relocatees will assimilate to the culture here.

A couple of weeks ago I visited your blog and I read all six of your posts, including the one where you stated that you preferred absolute monarchy. I don’t want to live under an absolute monarchy, although if you do in Israel that is your business. In advocating an AM you are advocating that the people of a given territory be ruled against their will and be given a government that they as a people do not deserve. I don’t people protected from their stupidity, and I want them to be able to get the government that they desire as long as they do not harm me. Finally, even countries with kings will still get the government they desire, as the behavior of the king is often limited by public opinion. To confirm my point, look at Egypt where Pharoah Mubarak has been forced to open border crossings with Palestine by public anger over Israel stopping the recent flotilla of ships bound for Gaza.

Incidentally, I consider Michigan to be a culturally Catholic state, while AZ is Mormon and Protestant. I think that Catholicism is the root cause of the decline of that state.

6 Genius כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 10 June 2010) at 1:31:42 pm

A people that is naturally disposed towards liberty will elect a government that is leaves them in peace.

I know that some people are disposed to liberty because I am one of them, but there is no whole population in the world that shares that sentiment. Nor do I think there ever has been. Voting for good governments has happened in some rare cases when the franchise is restricted, like during the French Restoration, when only 100,000 men were allowed to vote and they chose to be ruled by an ultra-monarchist parliament that was even more reactionary than the king, Louis XVIII. Louis himself couldn’t even believe it! But unfortunately it’s impossible to limit the franchise for very long and that cuts to the core of why I think that even the best republic is as bad as the worst: it can’t last. The forced equivalence between people that’s implemented in democratization is never limited to politics. You very soon start seeing it seep into every area of life: men and women treated as not just equivalent, but as actually equal, with society feminizing men by redefining virtue and turning them into big sissies while masculizing women to the point where many of them piss standing up; demands for a more equal “distribution of wages” to prevent the one guy on whom a company depends from earning how much more he’s worth than one of the infinitely replaceable factory line workers; the constant chipping away at little social niceties like wearing hats outside the house, wearing suits to work, addressing each other as Mr, Mrs or Miss (and sometimes even using Master for unmarried boys!); popular music, art and literature that can be and in fact probably is created by a thousand monkeys trained to use the same chords, brush strokes and phrases scientifically determined to appeal to humans’ aesthetic sense; a foreign policy, including constant war, whose end goal is to make every population essentially the same as we are, consuming the same Coca-Colas and McDonald’s, electing the same parliaments and following the same laws, speaking the same language, watching the same movies and thinking the same dull, brutish, boorish thoughts all day long; and on and on and on. Absolute monarchy is the only form of government equipped not only to oppose democracy’s evil and excesses today and tomorrow but also for many generations ahead.

A good example of this would be my own home state of AZ versus say…New York State. Those peoples that vote to enslave themselves deserve to get exactly what they have voted for. The people of Michigan have voted repeatedly for poverty over the course of decades and they have gotten it. No specific policy or law in Michigan can be blamed as the sole cause of the Fall of Michigan, but taken together the laws of that state have impoverished the people that voted for them. The laws, and voting behavior, of the people of that state spring directly from a culture different from the one here in AZ and the refugees from that state show up here looking for work. Hopefully the relocatees will assimilate to the culture here.

I agree that Michigan is one of the most mismanaged states, but its problems are not entirely due to its voters’ bad choices: some were caused by the bad choices of all the American voters. Anyway, comparing Arizona and New York state is like comparing a reddish-green apple with a greenish-red apple. Their governments are remarkably similar and agree on so very many issues. The vast, vast majority of their laws are exactly the same, because they are governed by the same federal laws and because they have many of the same state laws. But anyway, of course some democracies are perennially not as bad as others and of course some can prevent themselves from getting worse at the pace of others. That has to do partially with the character of the population but largely with the extent to which they’ve been democratized and how long they’ve been under the democratic yoke.

A couple of weeks ago I visited your blog and I read all six of your posts, including the one where you stated that you preferred absolute monarchy. I don’t want to live under an absolute monarchy, although if you do in Israel that is your business.

Unfortunately it’s not so simple. The United States is hegemonic now and there are very few truly independent states remaining (and all of them suck): Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Russia, Iran… maybe I missed some. I do believe that the United States in its current incarnation will never accept an Israel that isn’t democratic. So it matters to me what kind of government is in Washington – though my strong preference is for the dissolution of the United States into at least 50 independent states.

In advocating an AM you are advocating that the people of a given territory be ruled against their will and be given a government that they as a people do not deserve.

So in other words, monarchy is wrong because it’s not democracy? You see, you were born in a democracy and educated by democrats to believe that democracy is not only great and enlightened and the highest form of government, but that it’s the standard by which to judge every other government (and eventually every other thing). It’s not.

I don’t people protected from their stupidity, and I want them to be able to get the government that they desire as long as they do not harm me.

That’s all well and good, but progressives who are using democracy as a tool to promote their agenda will never just stop and their own borders. They do not believe that there are any real differences between one person and the next or between one group of people and the next, so why should they tolerate a situation in which New York City and Brooklyn have different laws and customs and cherish those differences? Or Massachusetts and Mississippi? Or the United States and Mexico? You see this progression a lot with something like minimum wage laws. I’m sure it starts in one small locality and doesn’t work there, though it becomes known to the general public as a state law. But businesses are very sensitive to things like this and they start to leave, so suddenly progressives seize on the interstate commerce clause to make minimum wage a federal law, even though it is prima facie ridiculous because the businesses being regulated do their business in individual states. Then in very little time, businesses leave again, but by now it’s happening on such a large scale that it’s called globalization, and the progressive impulse is to kick and scream about the Chinese factory workers earning $2 a day to make Nikes. They want their progressive legislation to be extended to everybody in the world. Another good example is prohibition: there were dry towns and dry cities, and then there were dry states, and then progressives somehow managed to get prohibition imposed over the entire United States. Or drug prohibition: for some reason, it’s illegal for me to buy hashish in Tel Aviv for absolutely no reason except that the Americans have made it illegal in their own country, and therefore it has to be kept illegal in other countries too.

Finally, even countries with kings will still get the government they desire, as the behavior of the king is often limited by public opinion.

A king is limited by many things, such as his own family members who are in line to the throne. If his policies are ruining the country, he’s likely to be deposed or incapacitated to prevent a further deterioration. Only on very rare occasions, however, will an absolute monarch pay attention to what some average person thinks.

To confirm my point, look at Egypt where Pharoah Mubarak has been forced to open border crossings with Palestine by public anger over Israel stopping the recent flotilla of ships bound for Gaza.

Egypt is a democracy, not a monarchy. In a monarchy, the country’s government belongs to a family and they pass it along through the generations. The next in line to the throne is (almost) never in doubt, as succession is from father to son throughout the ages. Democracies are open to any old person to reach power. Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all nobodies who advanced through the military to reach a position of influence, before seizing power. The next ruler of Egypt is likely to be the same kind of person who ascends the same way and obtains power in the same way (notwithstanding what we’ve heard about Mubarak’s son). Moreover, Mubarak formally has a political party that itself dominate’s Egypt through elections and a parliament. I’d be the first to say that the elections are rigged, but since that’s the case it begs the question – why bother? It’s because Egypt is a democracy and any ruler of Egypt must have democratic legitimacy. If Mubarak were an absolute monarch he wouldn’t care what anybody thought and there would be no elections or sham parliament.

Incidentally, I consider Michigan to be a culturally Catholic state, while AZ is Mormon and Protestant. I think that Catholicism is the root cause of the decline of that state.

Aren’t there a lot of Catholics in Arizona, but with brown skin and Mexican accents? Also, Austria-Hungary was a Catholic state but it’s often held up as one of the examples of a wonderful monarchy where people enjoyed many liberties that are unheard of today. Kuehnelt-Leddihn writes a lot about how Catholicism actually helps societies get good governments in contrast to the rationalism and excesses of Protestantism, which he tends to blame for democracy.

7 Mark Doane כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 10 June 2010) at 11:11:01 pm

Looking at my writing now I am embarrassed by the errors in spelling and grammar.

I’ll admit that I am arguing in defense of parts of the current system partly because I was raised in it. I’ll also admit that democracies end up spreading equality, which to some extent I don’t mind. One of the great evils of history has been inequality before the law, and having a society where all men are theoretically equal before the law is one of the great blessings of our time. Currently I only have a few major objections to the current order, including the transfer state and an unfenced land border with a third world country.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn can credit Catholicism for creating stable societies and but he can’t explain why these Catholic societies ended being the also-rans of history. Every major Catholic region in the world today is dysfunctional, including Latin America, Southern Europe, the Rust Belt, New England and California. KL could potentially claim that the Protestants robbed them of their substance, but this begs the question of why the Catholic countries were weak enough to be defeated and robbed.

Or drug prohibition: for some reason, it’s illegal for me to buy hashish in Tel Aviv for absolutely no reason except that the Americans have made it illegal in their own country, and therefore it has to be kept illegal in other countries too.

You can buy hash and weed in Amsterdam. If the Dutch can either legalize drugs or at least turn a blind eye on a society wide basis then so can you.

The Egyptian state is constantly threatened by domestic Islamic organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which compete with the state for loyalty. The reason the Egyptian state is threatened by these organizations is that a large minority of the people support the goals of these terrorist groups. Any ruler of Egypt that openly goes against these groups runs the risk of being overthrown. The next army officer that decides to take on the legitimate government in Egypt will probably first line up support from these radical groups. Eventually, public support in Egypt for radical Islam will translate into seeing the current moderate monarch being replaced by a religious fanatic – all because the public voted for it.

8 Genius כ״ט בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Friday 11 June 2010) at 10:01:31 am

I’ll admit that I am arguing in defense of parts of the current system partly because I was raised in it. I’ll also admit that democracies end up spreading equality, which to some extent I don’t mind.

Equality is what I fear most in life. Everything in the world that’s special and wonderful is so because it’s different from something else; it’s the differences between things that I cherish, like the differences between men and women that are what make me like women, the differences between cuisines, languages, musical styles.

One of the great evils of history has been inequality before the law, and having a society where all men are theoretically equal before the law is one of the great blessings of our time.

Who said that is evil, and why is it so?

Currently I only have a few major objections to the current order, including the transfer state and an unfenced land border with a third world country.

Unfortunately you can’t choose the parts of democracy that you like and leave the rest for everyone else. Breaking down borders and the transfer state are democratic essentials.

You can buy hash and weed in Amsterdam. If the Dutch can either legalize drugs or at least turn a blind eye on a society wide basis then so can you.

So Amsterdam is the exception that proves the rule, which is that harmless natural soft drugs are banned essentially everywhere. My claim was not that the United States uses force to prevent everyone else from enjoying life, just that progressives seek, and eventually achieve, the uniformity of rules as they do the uniformity of people and tastes.

9 Mark Doane כ״ט בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Friday 11 June 2010) at 6:55:34 pm

The forced standardization of the world is partially a good thing since it prevents a lot of backward countries from engaging in practices that would be harmful to themselves and others. Israel is not a backward country, so such standardization benefits you far less than it does other countries. Considering that Israel often seeks to mimic Europe, maybe in the future the Knesset will seek to allow pot. I know opinion on the matter here in AZ is leaning towards either reducing possession to a misdemeanor offense or towards outright legalization.

Who said that is evil, and why is it so?

I said it’s evil. I want one standard in criminal law, so that if I am charged with a crime I will be held accountable to the same standard that everyone else is. I don’t want to have an extremely low standard of proof required when I am charged and an extremely high standard of proof for someone who is well-connected.

I know that in practice equality before the law is not achieved in all cases, but I feel that it is an ideal that we should strive for. Those who are wealthy or Black are held to a lower standard in murder cases than poor or White defendants. As another example of inequality in practice, I think the Bush administration wanted to charge Islamic fighters captured in the US in military tribunals, not in the civilian federal courts. The cause of that second difference in treatment is that the Federal courts are full of liberals.

Finally, the transfer state will come to an end. Either the Federal government will go bankrupt or the Congress will end the programs to save the Federal government from oblivion. Here in AZ our state deficit is almost equal to the amount the state spends on welfare. Eventually all governments here will have to decide between welfare or solvency. Of course, choosing welfare only delays the riots and makes bankruptcy certain.

10 Laura ל׳ בסיון ה׳תש״ע (Saturday 12 June 2010) at 9:18:36 pm

“If I weren’t circumcised already, I would very strongly consider having it done for its appeal to girls”

I find it funny that any man who considers male rights important would give “girls” such power. My husband is in his 40s, intact and raised in the US where most men are circumcised. He was never once rejected by a lover for being intact and he says he’d fight tooth and nail to keep his foreskin.

If being intact was the terrible thing you imagine, wouldn’t the 80% of intact men in the world be clamoring to get circumcised? When this began in the US, it was done because it was common knowledge that the foreskin was the most pleasurable place on the penis. Removing it was the best way Victorian doctors knew to make masturbation less pleasurable. Having never had the experience of a foreskin, how can you know that you’d be so eager to give it up for “girls”? That’s kinda sad.

~Laura

11 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 12:27:34 am

The forced standardization of the world is partially a good thing since it prevents a lot of backward countries from engaging in practices that would be harmful to themselves and others.

Really? I haven’t noticed that.

Israel is not a backward country, so such standardization benefits you far less than it does other countries. Considering that Israel often seeks to mimic Europe, maybe in the future the Knesset will seek to allow pot. I know opinion on the matter here in AZ is leaning towards either reducing possession to a misdemeanor offense or towards outright legalization.

I really can’t see the DEA and other federal agencies letting the California situation advance to other states. It’s more likely to be rolled back there, one way or another. And all of Israel’s laws go to Washington for approval; there’s no way the Knesset would just legalize cannabis; it would be taken as a huge insult to the Americans.

I said it’s evil. I want one standard in criminal law, so that if I am charged with a crime I will be held accountable to the same standard that everyone else is. I don’t want to have an extremely low standard of proof required when I am charged and an extremely high standard of proof for someone who is well-connected.

Ok, but this is just pragmatism. You’re not saying an unbalanced application of justice is evil per se, just that you’re willing to see justice applied fairly to everyone else in case they ever come to apply it to you. I feel the same way. I also think that a true monarch would also feel the same way and would see that excessive favoritism would soon backfire and would hurt his kingdom as his subjects would leave to find a more stable environment. Or if he didn’t see it – his subjects would leave to find a more stable environment, no doubt invited with open arms by a different monarch who’d be happy to welcome the most productive people from another country.

Finally, the transfer state will come to an end. Either the Federal government will go bankrupt or the Congress will end the programs to save the Federal government from oblivion. Here in AZ our state deficit is almost equal to the amount the state spends on welfare. Eventually all governments here will have to decide between welfare or solvency. Of course, choosing welfare only delays the riots and makes bankruptcy certain.

What if it takes 100 years? About if it takes 500 years? What if it takes 1000 years?

12 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 12:53:20 am

I find it funny that any man who considers male rights important would give “girls” such power.

I don’t think I ever indicated that I consider male rights to be important. In fact, I wrote above that I don’t really believe in rights.

My husband is in his 40s, intact and raised in the US where most men are circumcised. He was never once rejected by a lover for being intact

That’s awesome for him. I’ve also never been rejected by a girl for being circumcised (I’m not sure why you keep putting “girls” in quotation marks – is this meant to imply that I’m a homosexual?). I don’t think the issue is that a girl would actually see a guy’s circumcised or uncircumcised penis and say, “Oh, now that I see that you have / don’t have a foreskin, I’m not going to have sex with you.” I think it’s more that she might be less likely to admire it in the way that girls like to do, provide oral sex all the time, etc. But I can’t really make generalizations.

and he says he’d fight tooth and nail to keep his foreskin.

Well let me say for your husband’s sake that I hope he never has to fight tooth and nail to keep his foreskin. As I wrote above: “I don’t really get worked up for or against banning circumcision…” So allow me to extend my warmest congratulations to your husband and to you that you both enjoy his foreskin and that you should continue enjoying it until you’re both 120 years old.

If being intact was the terrible thing you imagine,

I never said it would be terrible not to be circumcised. In fact, it’s probably great not to be circumcised. Of course, the evidence is mounting that circumcision helps prevent some diseases, and if I were ever going to be sexually hyperactive (let’s say, more than 50 different sexual partners a year for at least a few years) or even heading in that direction and I weren’t circumcised already, I’d definitely do it. And of course, there’s the whole Jew thing (I am one).

wouldn’t the 80% of intact men in the world be clamoring to get circumcised?

I don’t think it should matter to anyone what the majority of men do. As I wrote above, I don’t care what the majority of females in the world think about my penis because they’re not sexually desirable to me, so why should I care about other guys’ penises?

When this began in the US, it was done because it was common knowledge that the foreskin was the most pleasurable place on the penis. Removing it was the best way Victorian doctors knew to make masturbation less pleasurable.

Oh, that’s nice. When it began among Jews, it was because a Mesopotamian dude who communicated with a lone deity got the order to chop off his own and his son’s. No explanation was given that it would prevent STDs or that it would discourage masturbation, or that it would look nicer to girls or that it would not look nicer to girls. You can question this, and there are answers to your questions, but the answers are not satisfying. It’s just the covenant.

Having never had the experience of a foreskin, how can you know that you’d be so eager to give it up for “girls”? That’s kinda sad.

Here’s what I wrote about; tell me if this sounds “so eager” – “I do certainly allow for the possibility that I wouldn’t do it. I guess it would come down to balancing the additional physical pleasure from keeping it, as well as the potential for pain and complications from having the operation, against all the reasons supporting it. And there are a lot of reasons to support it, frankly.”

And I’m not sure if your implication is that it would be sad for me to adapt myself to what girls find attractive. I don’t think it would be sad. I do a lot of things in my life to appeal to girls. Are you saying it would be better for me to let myself get fat and disgusting and never enjoy the company of girls again?

13 Will S. א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 1:36:49 am

“I don’t really get worked up for or against banning circumcision except to the extent that it is a bellwether for where “men’s rights” is heading.”

I agree with you that it is a bellwether for where the men’s ‘movement’ is going (down the toilet if this shit keeps up), but since as you point out, “It’s integral to being a Jewish man”, then I’m not sure why you aren’t personally offended by these anti-circumcision kooks, who are comparing it to female genital mutilation in Islam. Man, I’d be personally offended, and I’d call them to task for arguing for banning my religious community’s practice, and play the “anti-Semitism!” card against them every chance I got. But hey, that’s just me.

14 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 2:39:07 am

Kuehnelt-Leddihn can credit Catholicism for creating stable societies and but he can’t explain why these Catholic societies ended being the also-rans of history. Every major Catholic region in the world today is dysfunctional, including Latin America, Southern Europe, the Rust Belt, New England and California. KL could potentially claim that the Protestants robbed them of their substance, but this begs the question of why the Catholic countries were weak enough to be defeated and robbed.

But all those countries are democracies. Kuehnelt-Leddihn was saying that Protestantism was the genesis for the unchecked rationalism that soon got out of hand and led to notions of extreme equality and radical democracy (I’ll perhaps reread that essay soon and comment on it further), and that a Catholic country has a built-in defense against democracy as an idea – not that, once it becomes a democracy, it will somehow be able to avoid eventually turning into a crap place to love.

Also, isn’t Liechtenstein predominantly Catholic? They’ve done a pretty nice job from what I’ve been hearing.

15 Mark Doane א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 4:25:21 am

Liechtenstein is a dot on a map, and is minor compared to all of the countries and regions I mentioned.

You are correct that all of the countries I mentioned are democracies, but nonetheless their religion should provide some protection regardless of their form of government. Catholics don’t just have a faith, they have an organization that is dedicated to giving them spiritual guidance regardless of the form of government they live under. Some of the most leftist politicians have received the blessing of the RCC and have received communion. Ted Kennedy received communion on a regular basis up until the end of his life despite his support for abortion.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041817.html

If you find the essay by KL about Catholicism and Democracy then see if you can find a copy of it on the internet for me to read too.

16 Mark Lyndon א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 4:36:46 am

> I don’t really get worked up for or against banning
> circumcision except to the extent that it is a bellwether
> for where “men’s rights” is heading.

Many intactivists are women, and all intactivists are against female circumcision just as much as they are against male circumcision.

It’s illegal in the USA to cut off a girl’s prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl’s genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Why don’t boys get the same protection? Everyone should be able to decide for themselves how much of their genitals they want to keep.

If my son wants to be circumcised when he’s 18 (16 if he knows what he’s going), I’ll gladly pay for it, and help him find the best surgeon. Until then, no-one is cutting parts of his genitals off. His body, his decision.

17 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 11:22:49 am

I agree with you that it is a bellwether for where the men’s ‘movement’ is going (down the toilet if this shit keeps up),

Can we dwell on that point for a moment? If you were a feminist and wanted to see the men’s rights movement discredit itself thoroughly, could you pick a better cause for it to champion than the foreskins of all those circumcised boys, including Jews and Muslims, two minority groups that are fashionable and hypersensitive to criticism? “Save the foreskins” to them must sound as ridiculous as “save the spotted owl” sounded to anyone in the 1990s who wasn’t an environmentalist.

but since as you point out, “It’s integral to being a Jewish man”, then I’m not sure why you aren’t personally offended by these anti-circumcision kooks, who are comparing it to female genital mutilation in Islam. Man, I’d be personally offended, and I’d call them to task for arguing for banning my religious community’s practice, and play the “anti-Semitism!” card against them every chance I got. But hey, that’s just me.

We know that circumcision is circumcision and what some bushmen or pygmies do to their daughters is some totally different story, but the comparisons between circumcision and female circumcision / female genital mutilation are sound in the closed logic of the anti-circumcision crowd. Their claim is that all violations of rights are essentially equivalent, and that a violation against one human being’s genitals is not substantially different from a violation against another human being’s genitals. This makes them seem insane to people who can make the distinction, but part of being a radical is not making distinctions.

I do think I detect some anti-Jewish and/or anti-Muslim sentiment at play here, but it’s hard to tell without discussing the issue more comprehensively. Circumcision just seems like such a random and irrelevant practice to denounce so vehemently in a world where there is real suffering and real abuse that men and women both have to endure. At any rate, there’s no need to play any card, especially the anti-Semitism card. If someone has a problem with Jews but maintains his rational faculties, I don’t mind engaging; if he is totally irrational, I don’t mind disengaging from discourse. I also draw a distinction between anti-Semitism and simple traditional opposition to Judaism and Jewish practices (and between both of those and anti-Zionism). Disliking the Jews for what we do is not the same as disliking us for what we are.

Also, I’m not personally offended because I don’t think it’s meant as a personal offense. Plenty of people dislike Jews in general or want to see the Jews collectively harmed while still liking individual Jews and having Jewish friends (see Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew). Also, this is yet another reason why we have our own country…

18 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 12:08:03 pm

If you find the essay by KL about Catholicism and Democracy then see if you can find a copy of it on the internet for me to read too.

It’s in Liberty or Equality. I’m going to return to it after Edward Luttwak’s Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook.

19 Genius א׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Sunday 13 June 2010) at 12:13:52 pm

It’s illegal in the USA to cut off a girl’s prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl’s genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Why don’t boys get the same protection?

This argument isn’t convincing to me. I wrote above that I’m not too keen on rights, so the equal application of rights, it should follow, is not of interest.

Everyone should be able to decide for themselves how much of their genitals they want to keep.

Why, because he has a right to his own genitalia? See above, on rights.

If my son wants to be circumcised when he’s 18 (16 if he knows what he’s going), I’ll gladly pay for it, and help him find the best surgeon. Until then, no-one is cutting parts of his genitals off. His body, his decision.

Awesome. I hope you’ll keep the whole world posted on the status of your son’s penis.

20 Laura ב׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Monday 14 June 2010) at 10:13:18 pm

“I don’t think I ever indicated that I consider male rights to be important. In fact, I wrote above that I don’t really believe in rights.”
I followed your link to your journal from your comment about circumcision. The quote “though doth protest too much.” comes to mind… it’s amazing how much time and energy a person will put into a topic they claim to have zero interest in. I ignored your claim and instead paid attention to your actions.

(I’m not sure why you keep putting “girls” in quotation marks – is this meant to imply that I’m a homosexual?).
Uhhh no. I put it in quotes because I’m quoting you. I call them women– most adults do.

I don’t think the issue is that a girl <-(see?) would actually see a guy’s circumcised or uncircumcised penis and say, “Oh, now that I see that you have / don’t have a foreskin, I’m not going to have sex with you.” I think it’s more that she might be less likely to admire it in the way that girls like to do, provide oral sex all the time, etc. But I can’t really make generalizations.

No, you can't. Seriously… women genitals are ALWAYS wet… always have a scent… ALWAYS have a taste. They have little folds and bits of skin 'extra skin'. And trust me when I tell you, no woman ever looked at a penis and thought, "What a thing of beauty that is!" Intact or circ'd, that's just the way it is.

"The evidence is mounting that circumcision helps prevent some diseases"
Only if you know nothing about what scientific data and well-run studies really are. Did you know that the ones everyone is quoting from Africa right now were so poorly done that NO medical journal would publish the results?!

"if I were ever going to be sexually hyperactive (let’s say, more than 50 different sexual partners a year for at least a few years) or even heading in that direction and I weren’t circumcised already, I’d definitely do it."
Which is a little sad seeing as you'd be at higher risk for other diseases and your risk for the ones you intended to prevent wouldn't go down even a whole single percent.

And of course, there’s the whole Jew thing (I am one).
Yeah, there is that. There are also lots of Jews choosing not to circ now because Jewish doctrine says a Jew should never hurt or harm another being. Doctrine is considered more important.

"—I care about other guys’ penises?"
You shouldn't. But unless you believe you're the only guy in the world that cares what women think of his penis, it says something that the rest of the men in the world who ALSO care what women think must have lovers who love their foreskins.

"Oh, that’s nice. When it began among Jews, it was because a Mesopotamian dude who communicated with a lone deity got the order to chop off his own and his son’s."
I know… You just gotta love a guy so willing to sacrifice something that wasn't his. Really, what kind of sacrifice was that to Abraham? Wasn't it actually Isaac's sacrifice? Does a sacrifice have any meaning whatsoever for the individual when the individual has no say in it?

You seem to be rewriting your post because I can't actually find the quote you claim to have made in it. Either way though, the only person who believes this– "And there are a lot of reasons to support it, frankly.” is the one who is ignorant of the actual studies and has let someone else decipher them for him.

"Are you saying it would be better for me to let myself get fat and disgusting and never enjoy the company of girls again?
"It's rather telling that you'd choose something as repugnant as "fat and disusting" to compare circumcision to. A whole, healthy man has a healthy foreskin, is lean and not disgusting. Your imagery speaks volumes. But to address the "changing yourself for women" argument, I'd say the very same thing to a woman who wanted to cut off a healthy, pleasure giving part of HER body for men. Don't do it! What YOU think of YOU should come first- and a man who wants a whole woman is preferable as a partner.

You should try that.

21 Laura ב׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Monday 14 June 2010) at 10:17:21 pm

BTW… if you could see the entire image you took your icon from, you’d note that he was intact too. ;-)

22 Genius ג׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 15 June 2010) at 11:30:52 am

“I don’t think I ever indicated that I consider male rights to be important. In fact, I wrote above that I don’t really believe in rights.”
I followed your link to your journal from your comment about circumcision. The quote “though doth protest too much.” comes to mind… it’s amazing how much time and energy a person will put into a topic they claim to have zero interest in. I ignored your claim and instead paid attention to your actions.

The issue of rights is a very complex and troubling one. The whole world is now organized according to the principle of rights, so I come up against it everywhere I turn.

(I’m not sure why you keep putting “girls” in quotation marks – is this meant to imply that I’m a homosexual?).
Uhhh no. I put it in quotes because I’m quoting you. I call them women– most adults do.

Ah. Well, if a girl gets married, reaches the age of 35 or completes her Phd (or the equivalent in her field), I’ll call her a woman. Until then, she’s a girl just like I’m a boy.

I don’t think the issue is that a girl < -(see?) would actually see a guy’s circumcised or uncircumcised penis and say, “Oh, now that I see that you have / don’t have a foreskin, I’m not going to have sex with you.” I think it’s more that she might be less likely to admire it in the way that girls like to do, provide oral sex all the time, etc. But I can’t really make generalizations.
No, you can't. Seriously… women genitals are ALWAYS wet… always have a scent… ALWAYS have a taste. They have little folds and bits of skin 'extra skin'. And trust me when I tell you, no woman ever looked at a penis and thought, "What a thing of beauty that is!" Intact or circ'd, that's just the way it is.

Even discounting all the girls who said that to me as flattery, I can think of at least one who so enjoyed my penis that she could not stop looking at it, touching it and telling me how much she liked its appearance. And she told me she’d had sex with around 40 guys, so I take it as sincere.

“The evidence is mounting that circumcision helps prevent some diseases”
Only if you know nothing about what scientific data and well-run studies really are. Did you know that the ones everyone is quoting from Africa right now were so poorly done that NO medical journal would publish the results?!

Sorry, you’re fighting a losing battle here. The evidence mounts and continues to mount. Every additional study shows either that circumcision significantly prevents diseases, that it marginally prevents diseases or that it has no effect. I’m not aware of any studies that show circumcision to cause diseases.

And of course, there’s the whole Jew thing (I am one).
Yeah, there is that. There are also lots of Jews choosing not to circ now because Jewish doctrine says a Jew should never hurt or harm another being. Doctrine is considered more important.

You might be confusing Jews with Buddhists or with some other religion that tells people not to harm another being, but Judaism is full of commandments involving force or violence, such as capital punishment for a wide variety of sins, an entire daily and annual schedule of animal sacrifices to be performed in the Temple and the commandment to annihilate every member of the Amalek tribe, along with the general prescription for war to conquer the land of Israel. Circumcision is a positive commandment in the Torah (see Genesis 17) that’s unambiguous and I can’t see any way it can be misinterpreted as optional. I’ve myself never heard of an uncircumcised Jew (or a Jew whose sons are uncircumcised) who has any interest whatsoever in being considered a Jew or counted as a member of the Jewish community. A Jew who’s never been circumcised would be something, I think, like a Catholic who’s never been baptized.

“Oh, that’s nice. When it began among Jews, it was because a Mesopotamian dude who communicated with a lone deity got the order to chop off his own and his son’s.”
I know… You just gotta love a guy so willing to sacrifice something that wasn’t his. Really, what kind of sacrifice was that to Abraham? Wasn’t it actually Isaac’s sacrifice? Does a sacrifice have any meaning whatsoever for the individual when the individual has no say in it?

You might be conflating two chapters. Isaac isn’t born at that point. A few chapters later he’s bound for sacrifice.

You seem to be rewriting your post because I can’t actually find the quote you claim to have made in it. Either way though, the only person who believes this– “And there are a lot of reasons to support it, frankly.” is the one who is ignorant of the actual studies and has let someone else decipher them for him.

I didn’t rewrite anything, but check the comments.

“Are you saying it would be better for me to let myself get fat and disgusting and never enjoy the company of girls again?
“It’s rather telling that you’d choose something as repugnant as “fat and disusting” to compare circumcision to. A whole, healthy man has a healthy foreskin, is lean and not disgusting. Your imagery speaks volumes.

I’m not really sure if this has a point. The point of taking care of my body, such that I actually do it, is only that girls should not be repulsed by me. It’s an example of something I do because I care what girls think. You seemed to be implying that I shouldn’t do something primarily because girls like it (as I find them to like my penis as it is, circumcised).

But to address the “changing yourself for women” argument, I’d say the very same thing to a woman who wanted to cut off a healthy, pleasure giving part of HER body for men. Don’t do it! What YOU think of YOU should come first- and a man who wants a whole woman is preferable as a partner.

Would you tell a girl who’s fat and disgusting to straighten out her appearance if she wants boys to pay attention to her?

BTW… if you could see the entire image you took your icon from, you’d note that he was intact too. ;-)

Yes, and it’s proof that uncircumcised men were considered normal in Renaissance Italy.

But if YOU could meet the historical figure upon whom that statue was based and see his genitalia, you’d note that he was circumcised and that it didn’t limit his pleasure with women.

23 Laura ג׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 15 June 2010) at 4:24:07 pm

*just* testing the **formatting**

24 Laura ג׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 15 June 2010) at 4:28:11 pm

“Sorry, you’re fighting a losing battle here. The evidence mounts and continues to mount. Every additional study shows either that circumcision significantly prevents diseases, that it marginally prevents diseases or that it has no effect. I’m not aware of any studies that show circumcision to cause diseases.”
I didn’t say circumcision causes diseases- I said it puts people at a higher risk for some. But now that you mention it, circumcision DOES cause scarring, fistulas, meatal stenosis, MRSA, UTIs, necrotizing fasciaitis and even death. But besides that, circumcision also increases a woman’s risk of contracting HIV from her partner.

In 2006, researchers released the results of three large studies that measured the effect of male circumcision on HIV transmission from female to male.
“The six-month-mark data show that of the women whose HIV-positive partners had been circumcised, 16 percent had contracted HIV. Of the women whose partners had remained uncircumcised, seven percent had acquired the disease. ”

I could go on of course, but since you’re a Jew and that is your primary consideration, medical evidence really doesn’t matter. It’s rather easy to just look at the other nations that leave their babies intact and compare their STI rates to ours…. and the funny thing is, their rates are LOWER than ours in the US where we routinely circumcise. If circumcision has such a protective effect, the inverse should be true.

“You might be confusing Jews with Buddhists or with some other religion that tells people not to harm another being”
I’m not confused.
According to Jewish law, the human body must not be cut or marked (Lev. 19:28)
“Judaism values ethics above both doctrine and reason. The growing awareness of pain and harm connected with circumcision leads to questions about ethical considerations. How do we begin to justify the practice of circumcision on ethical grounds? “The Torah prohibits the torture or causing of pain to any living creature.” The Torah prohibits Jews from causing tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, any unnecessary pain to living creatures, even psychological pain.”

“Circumcision is a positive commandment in the Torah (see Genesis 17) that’s unambiguous and I can’t see any way it can be misinterpreted as optional.”
Modern Jewish scholars have found that circumcision is not even mentioned in the earliest, “J”, version of Genesis nor the next three rewrites by other authors. Most importantly, the story of Abraham is there in its entirety, except the part about the Covenant being “sealed” with circumcision. So do not be afraid of divine punishment. God did not mandate circumcision.

“I’ve myself never heard of an uncircumcised Jew (or a Jew whose sons are uncircumcised) who has any interest whatsoever in being considered a Jew or counted as a member of the Jewish community.”
These folks do…
http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/spectator.htm
http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

“The point of taking care of my body, such that I actually do it, is only that girls should not be repulsed by me. It’s an example of something I do because I care what girls think. You seemed to be implying that I shouldn’t do something primarily because girls like it (as I find them to like my penis as it is, circumcised).”
Everyone wants to be attractive… but then the reason some of us are attractive is because we are healthy. The reason it’s appealing is because having a healthy partner is appealing. Do I want to look good to others? Absolutely. Do I take care of my body and health primarily for that reason? No. I choose to be healthy and fit so I have better energy, ability and longer life. For the religious, there is also the argument that you are caring for God’s vessel and that you are compelled to care for it well. Why do the religious always pick and choose the covenants they will follow? Why is one exceedingly valuable as covenant and another ok to ignore?

“Would you tell a girl who’s fat and disgusting to straighten out her appearance if she wants boys to pay attention to her?”
No. I’d suggest she change her lifestyle so she can be healthy. Out of good health comes beauty, confidence and vitality.

“he was circumcised and that it didn’t limit his pleasure with women.”
*HUGE belly laugh* This is SUCH a silly claim to me. We know without the tiniest doubt that circumcision removes the most sensitive part of the penis. We know it destroys more than 50% of the erogenous nerve endings. We know that the exposure of the glans to air and friction further toughens it and reduces glans sensitivity. These are things we KNOW. I laugh because your claim which is ridiculous on principle to begin with because you didn’t know David, is also blatantly denialist.

A myopic person has their sight limited. A paraplegic has their mobility limited. A person with Down’s Syndrome has their intelligence limited. Regardless of what you wish were true, there is literally no way that removing half a man’s penile nerve endings didn’t limit “his pleasure with women”.

25 Genius ג׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 15 June 2010) at 5:29:19 pm

“The six-month-mark data show that of the women whose HIV-positive partners had been circumcised, 16 percent had contracted HIV. Of the women whose partners had remained uncircumcised, seven percent had acquired the disease. ”

Sorry, I cut you off after one summary. Feel free to post them all somewhere else and link to them from here.

I could go on of course, but since you’re a Jew and that is your primary consideration, medical evidence really doesn’t matter. It’s rather easy to just look at the other nations that leave their babies intact and compare their STI rates to ours…. and the funny thing is, their rates are LOWER than ours in the US where we routinely circumcise. If circumcision has such a protective effect, the inverse should be true.

Am I really meant to engage this? If that’s the quality of thought that goes into all the studies you cited, I can see why people who have the interest to critique them find them so easily debunked.

According to Jewish law, the human body must not be cut or marked (Lev. 19:28)

Go back and read carefully. Fortunately, I have an English translation handy that’s done from the traditional text: “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves…” (emphasis added). “For the dead” means “when in mourning.” So it’s saying that we’re not allowed to damage our own bodies out of grief for our dead relatives, which was a practice of the pagan tribes in the area.

“Judaism values ethics above both doctrine and reason.

You’re trying to lecture the wrong person with the wrong falsehoods. Judaism had virtually no use for “ethics” until it became de rigueur in western Europe during the Enlightenment. After Christians began focusing on ethics, some Jews conveniently discovered that, sure enough, their religion was not only interested in ethics as well, and not only was it extremely important for Jews to be ethical, but in fact there was no single thing more important for a Jew than just to be a good, ethical person. The new interest these people expressed in ethics led them first to create a new interpretation of Judaism that rejected more or less everything Jews had believed since Mount Sinai. Then it led them to drop all the Jew stuff and just get on with their essentially ethical religion. And finally it led them to such distaste for Judaism that they actually campaign against it.

The growing awareness of pain and harm connected with circumcision leads to questions about ethical considerations. How do we begin to justify the practice of circumcision on ethical grounds?

How do they justify animal sacrifices, exterminating an entire tribe (including women, children and even animals), capital punishment and war for conquest on ethical grounds? I’m guessing they don’t.

“The Torah prohibits the torture or causing of pain to any living creature.” The Torah prohibits Jews from causing tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, any unnecessary pain to living creatures, even psychological pain.”

Sorry, the Torah is not the Sermon on the Mount and it’s not… whatever the Buddhists study. It’s not for vegetarians, pacifists, communists or “intactivists.” Torturing animals is something that’s clearly forbidden. Sacrificing animals, however, is not only permitted, but even mandatory (the Pesach sacrifice).

Modern Jewish scholars have found that circumcision is not even mentioned in the earliest, “J”, version of Genesis nor the next three rewrites by other authors. Most importantly, the story of Abraham is there in its entirety, except the part about the Covenant being “sealed” with circumcision. So do not be afraid of divine punishment. God did not mandate circumcision.

Very cute. If you don’t believe that the Torah is true and the word of God, then you don’t have to believe it – just like I don’t. But the question is what it says and whether it makes circumcision mandatory, optional or forbidden.

“I’ve myself never heard of an uncircumcised Jew (or a Jew whose sons are uncircumcised) who has any interest whatsoever in being considered a Jew or counted as a member of the Jewish community.”
These folks do…
http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/spectator.htm
http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

Well, I thought I’d seen everything, but I guess I hadn’t. I should have imagined that if some Baptists could create Jews for J*sus, and the Iranian Mullahs’ regime that denies the Holocaust would fund Neturei Karta, there would be some Jew, somewhere, debased and deracinated enough to join the “Intactivists.” Well done.

“he was circumcised and that it didn’t limit his pleasure with women.”
*HUGE belly laugh* This is SUCH a silly claim to me. We know without the tiniest doubt that circumcision removes the most sensitive part of the penis. We know it destroys more than 50% of the erogenous nerve endings. We know that the exposure of the glans to air and friction further toughens it and reduces glans sensitivity. These are things we KNOW. I laugh because your claim which is ridiculous on principle to begin with because you didn’t know David, is also blatantly denialist. A myopic person has their sight limited. A paraplegic has their mobility limited. A person with Down’s Syndrome has their intelligence limited. Regardless of what you wish were true, there is literally no way that removing half a man’s penile nerve endings didn’t limit “his pleasure with women”.

I meant, and should have written, that being circumcised didn’t limit the women, not that it didn’t limit him. Perhaps it did limit him, though with all those wives he had, including the pretty young one when he was already an old man, and all the sons he had with them, he doesn’t seem to have been limited.

26 Will S. ד׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 16 June 2010) at 9:04:13 am

Fair enough, Genius; good answers!

I totally agree; feminists couldn’t have asked for a better issue over which to split the manosphere, than the issue of circumcision; the next biggest one would be abortion, of course, something else we oughtn’t let divide us…

27 Mark Doane ד׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 16 June 2010) at 9:17:55 am

The photo you attached to this post certainly gives the wrong impression.

28 Genius ד׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 16 June 2010) at 12:23:34 pm

I totally agree; feminists couldn’t have asked for a better issue over which to split the manosphere, than the issue of circumcision; the next biggest one would be abortion, of course, something else we oughtn’t let divide us…

The problem is that both sides of the abortion debate reflect logically consistent arguments drawing from different premises, neither of which can be proven. And at least one side wants abortion to be a wedge issue.

The photo you attached to this post certainly gives the wrong impression.

I just thought it was funny.

29 Laura ה׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 17 June 2010) at 2:11:57 am

Polygamy has long since been outlawed– but then, David was the modern-day equivalent of a rock star- and I suspect that it wouldn’t matter if rock superstar Mick Jagger could even get it up– if there was a way to implant his sperm, there would STILL be young women (or girls if you will) standing in line to mother his child. That speaks volumes about how people (especially young people) are impressed by celebrity- but not much about a man’s virility or ability to please a lover.

“Sorry, I cut you off after one summary. Feel free to post them all somewhere else and link to them from here.”
Out of respect for your journal I didn’t post links, only titles and conclusions. Most people don’t want what they consider biased resources being linked from their journals. You, on the other hand have made the queer choice of insisting on links? Frankly, I don’t care whether others can see the studies or not- the information was intended for you though I had no expectation of you having the presence of mind nor inclination to read anything before labeling it bunk or denying it. “Well done” as you say. =)

“Well, I thought I’d seen everything—”
Perhaps that’s part of your problem…

“there would be some Jew, somewhere, debased and deracinated enough to join the “Intactivists.” Well done.”

Not just one Jew… but THOUSANDS of them… and I know- can you imagine? I mean, it used to be that Jewish law allowed the stoning of a man for breaking the shabbat, until those debased and deracinated Jews put an end to that… and then what comes next but the end of the most economical selling of a man’s daughter into slavery- can you believe that that’s no longer legal under Jewish law? Not only that, Abraham’s form of circumcision wasn’t good enough… they had to “improve” on God’s wisdom by forcibly tearing the foreskin from the glans and removing ALL of it instead of just the anterior edge… after all, we can’t have Jews walking around pretending to be Gentiles now can we? What are they going to think of next? Ending the sacrificial modified genital cutting of non-consenting infants would simply be the last straw! The horror!

Like everything else, religion either grows and evolves, or it dies out. The reason there is still a Jewish religion today is because Judaism evolved to reflect the needs of its people. The rules and laws today are a product of modern culture just as the laws at the time of Abraham were a product of THAT culture. Scoff all you like- you certainly enjoy the fruits of a modern culture even while you revel in your religious hypocrisy.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to say, “I dig being cut” instead of trying to justify it with Jewish “law”?

This woman is off to put her energy into engaging some open minds– I leave you in your blissful ignorance to play with your girls.

~Laura

30 Genius ה׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Thursday 17 June 2010) at 2:47:51 pm

“Sorry, I cut you off after one summary. Feel free to post them all somewhere else and link to them from here.”
Out of respect for your journal I didn’t post links, only titles and conclusions. Most people don’t want what they consider biased resources being linked from their journals. You, on the other hand have made the queer choice of insisting on links? Frankly, I don’t care whether others can see the studies or not- the information was intended for you though I had no expectation of you having the presence of mind nor inclination to read anything before labeling it bunk or denying it. “Well done” as you say. =)

I can make sure that links to another site are nofollowed, thus not getting my endorsement, but I can’t do the same with textual content that I host.

“there would be some Jew, somewhere, debased and deracinated enough to join the “Intactivists.” Well done.”
Not just one Jew… but THOUSANDS of them… and I know- can you imagine?

Thousands of Jews struggling against circumcision? Get real – there aren’t thousands of people in total who dislike circumcision enough to try to get other people not to do it.

I mean, it used to be that Jewish law allowed the stoning of a man for breaking the shabbat,

The punishment hasn’t changed, only the ability and willingness of the community to enforce the law. I, for one, would not like to live in a place in which these laws would be enforced, though I have no problem observing the rules of Shabbat down to the smallest detail when I’m with friends who do it.

until those debased and deracinated Jews put an end to that…

It was the Romans who put an end to it by ending Jewish sovereignty. I know the Sanhedrin was loathe to put someone to death, but it could be done.

and then what comes next but the end of the most economical selling of a man’s daughter into slavery- can you believe that that’s no longer legal under Jewish law?

I’ve never looked into this issue, but I can ask some scholars whose work I respect and find out under what conditions, if any, a child can be sold into slavery according to Jewish law.

Like everything else, religion either grows and evolves, or it dies out.

Sure, without a doubt, Judaism has evolved and gone in many directions. I happen to find the rabbinic direction not to be so appealing and I often disagree with rabbis on very core issues of doctrine and practice. But the main thing that separates the entire evolution of Judaism, including the rabbis and me, from the time of the conquest of the land of Israel until 200 years ago in western Europe is that Jews always believed that the Torah is essentially true – and if they themselves didn’t believe it, they at least acknowledged that that is what Jews believe.

In a more precise way, you could divide the Jewish people into groups who explain Mount Sinai differently:

  1. those who say that the Torah came from Sinai
  2. those who say that some event happened at Sinai but they’re not sure what
  3. those who say that Sinai was thought up hundreds of years later by some talented writers
  4. those who would try to say that “Sinai” is something conceptual inside not only every Jew but every human being

Ask yourself, which of these answers to the question, What happened at Sinai? is most Jewish and most fitting to represent Judaism? Is it the position that Jews always had for thousands of years and the only position that Jews have exclusively and uniformly held? Or is it the Buddhist-Unitarian-Universalist-Secular-Humanist-Ethical-Culturist tripe that will say anything and everything un-Jewish and call it Judaism?

Plenty evolves over time, but some things can never change. Imagine, for example, an evolution in Christianity toward the conclusion that the messiah has not yet arrived on earth, or even toward a complete reworking of the messiah concept. Imagine that Buddhists could evolve to the point where they no longer believe that the Buddha achieved spiritual enlightenment, or that spiritual enlightenment is not as important as material acquisition. What we’d be discussing would no longer be Christianity and Buddhism, but two completely different things. And what you’re trying to do to Judaism is precisely that.

The reason there is still a Jewish religion today is because Judaism evolved to reflect the needs of its people.

This sounds like Catholic Israel, the very modern concept that Judaism is in effect a religion of majoritarian general consent: whatever works for the people as a whole is Judaism, and whatever doesn’t is not. It’s a core belief of the Conservative movement, in which I was raised. It’s also ridiculous.

The rules and laws today are a product of modern culture just as the laws at the time of Abraham were a product of THAT culture.

None of the laws of Judaism have changed since Sinai. Two things that have changed are whether people are willing to follow them, and whether they’re willing to acknowledge them. I acknowledge them but do not follow them.

Scoff all you like- you certainly enjoy the fruits of a modern culture even while you revel in your religious hypocrisy.

I don’t know how it could be considered hypocritical for me to point out all the rules that I’m not following…

I don’t choose to do x, y and z. That I do choose to do a, b and c, while openly saying that everything from a to z is mandatory, only makes me guilty of not doing x, y and z.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to say, “I dig being cut” instead of trying to justify it with Jewish “law”?

That’s what I did say: “I’m glad it was done, not for religious reasons but because in my experience more girls appreciate when it’s been done… If I weren’t circumcised already, I would very strongly consider having it done for its appeal to girls, and I’d almost certainly have it done because of how important it is to the Jewish people.”

This woman is off to put her energy into engaging some open minds– I leave you in your blissful ignorance to play with your girls.

Thanks, and I’ll be sure to ask girls in the future what they think about circumcision so I can get an accurate count of how many more like it.

31 Will S. י׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 22 June 2010) at 12:28:29 am

“Plenty evolves over time, but some things can never change. Imagine, for example, an evolution in Christianity toward the conclusion that the messiah has not yet arrived on earth, or even toward a complete reworking of the messiah concept. Imagine that Buddhists could evolve to the point where they no longer believe that the Buddha achieved spiritual enlightenment, or that spiritual enlightenment is not as important as material acquisition. What we’d be discussing would no longer be Christianity and Buddhism, but two completely different things. And what you’re trying to do to Judaism is precisely that.”

Spot on, Genius! But these bigots would force others to remake their religions, to suit their own hobbyhorses. The “ban-spanking” crowd are the same; it doesn’t matter to them that spanking has been considered an acceptable means for parents to use to discipline their kids since forever (see at least five references in the book of Proverbs, for example); no, they know better than the practitioners of a faith how the faith should be practiced.

(Now, I’ll readily admit, I’m glad FGM is outlawed in most Western countries, and think it ought to remain so; not the least of reasons being there is no comparison between the barbarism of FGM and the civility of infant circumcision. But, more to the point, the reason circumcision has always been allowed is because the Ashkenazim and some Christians have always practiced it, in the West; whereas until recently, there weren’t large numbers of Muslims demanding the right to practice FGM. As a conservative, I favour maintaining the status quo, rather than suddenly banning something which hitherto now has been permitted, esp. since it’s nothing like, say, slavery.)

32 Genius י׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 22 June 2010) at 2:19:43 pm

The “ban-spanking” crowd are the same; it doesn’t matter to them that spanking has been considered an acceptable means for parents to use to discipline their kids since forever (see at least five references in the book of Proverbs, for example); no, they know better than the practitioners of a faith how the faith should be practiced.

It’s funny you should mention that, because the person who runs one of the “Jewish” anti-circumcision sites that Laura cited above also has an anti-spanking site. I’d like to meet his kids and see how awful they turned out…

(Now, I’ll readily admit, I’m glad FGM is outlawed in most Western countries, and think it ought to remain so; not the least of reasons being there is no comparison between the barbarism of FGM and the civility of infant circumcision.

Couldn’t both procedures be conducted either civilly or barbarously?

But, more to the point, the reason circumcision has always been allowed is because the Ashkenazim and some Christians have always practiced it, in the West; whereas until recently, there weren’t large numbers of Muslims demanding the right to practice FGM.

Well, no. Until the 20th century it was allowed because children really did belong to their parents. Maybe a parent couldn’t beat a child to death or sell him into slavery, but up to those limits, parents could basically do anything they wanted to their children. In the 20th century when people started thinking about the nature of rights and whether children have rights, and what those rights may be, I think circumcision would have been banned except that it was grandfathered into legal acceptance out of a realistic understanding that a ban would be impossible to enforce, and out of the American respect for “religions” that goes beyond respect for any other ideology or organizing principle.

As a conservative, I favour maintaining the status quo, rather than suddenly banning something which hitherto now has been permitted, esp. since it’s nothing like, say, slavery.)

So if circumcision were banned, would you favor maintaining the new status quo, or of reverting to the old one?

33 Will S. י׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Tuesday 22 June 2010) at 7:23:53 pm

“Couldn’t both procedures be conducted either civilly or barbarously?”

True, they could, and the horror of FGM is that it is a real atrocity, not whether it’s performed under anaesthesia in a hospital, or in a tent in the jungle with whatever tools, without anaesthesia.

“Well, no. Until the 20th century it was allowed because children really did belong to their parents. Maybe a parent couldn’t beat a child to death or sell him into slavery, but up to those limits, parents could basically do anything they wanted to their children. In the 20th century when people started thinking about the nature of rights and whether children have rights, and what those rights may be, I think circumcision would have been banned except that it was grandfathered into legal acceptance out of a realistic understanding that a ban would be impossible to enforce, and out of the American respect for “religions” that goes beyond respect for any other ideology or organizing principle.”

Fair enough, but that’s my point; it got grandfathered because it was something that had always been done by some people in the midst, and it wasn’t seen as anything particularly bad, so might as well leave enough alone.

“So if circumcision were banned, would you favor maintaining the new status quo, or of reverting to the old one?”

No, I would be reactionary, so to speak, in such cases; I believe that conservatism is a disposition, but not one that is merely synonymous with favouring the status quo in all circumstances, but when something ain’t broke, not fixing it. However, if it is broke, one had better fix it, if possible. Of course, sometimes that isn’t, and one must move on.

34 Sarah י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 6:27:42 pm

I think it’s odd how your argument seems to vacillate between religious observance and the desire to enjoy lots of uncommitted sex outside of marriage. I don’t think that’s what God had in mind… AT ALL… your circumcision is supposed to remind you that you are a Jew and that you are supposed to live up to the highest moral standard outlined in the laws whenever you think of using your penis.

35 namae nanka י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 6:50:17 pm

“True, they could, and the horror of FGM is that it is a real atrocity, not whether it’s performed under anaesthesia in a hospital, or in a tent in the jungle with whatever tools, without anaesthesia.”

http://www.angilbertpress.com/2010/05/circumcision-with-apologies-to-namae-nanka/
http://historyofcircumcision.net/images/stories/resources/rd-rose07.pdf

“I would very strongly consider having it done for its appeal to girls,”

lol if a girl made such a statement for mutilating her genitals the patriarchy will blamed, shrieking feminists shouting “see, she did it for teh menz, omg how they oppress us.”

Anyway, if you ever masturbated with a foreskin you’d have had a good reason to rebel against your religion.

36 Genius י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 6:50:17 pm

I think it’s odd how your argument seems to vacillate between religious observance and the desire to enjoy lots of uncommitted sex outside of marriage. I don’t think that’s what God had in mind… AT ALL… your circumcision is supposed to remind you that you are a Jew and that you are supposed to live up to the highest moral standard outlined in the laws whenever you think of using your penis.

Hi Sarah, thanks for commenting. My argument, if it even is one, is exactly as I stated in the post: I am happy that I was circumcised because girls like it that way, and it’s so important to the Jewish people that I would have it done anyway if it hadn’t already been done for me. It’s nice when two separate concerns – like my pleasure and Jewish law – dovetail, but in no way do I conflate the two.

My desire is to enjoy lots of sex, a desire I share with all men and most women. If marriage, as I understand the term, still existed in this century, I would be in one already. But since it has been eroded to the point that it barely even resembles the former institution that shares its name – yes, all the sex I enjoy is outside marriage.

There is no blanket prohibition in Judaism against extra-marital sex. Rabbis would have you believe otherwise, but at no point in the Torah does it say anything to the effect that a man is only to have sex with his wives (a married women, however, is forbidden by the Torah from having sex with men other than her husband).

I don’t think that my overall religious observance should be an issue here, especially since I’ve stated that I don’t consider myself religious, but if you think I haven’t lived up to a high moral standard, I wouldn’t mind hearing why.

37 namae nanka י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 6:51:42 pm

“My desire is to enjoy lots of sex, a desire I share with all men”

Tesla will throw a fit…this is too funny.

38 Genius י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 6:57:45 pm

“I would very strongly consider having it done for its appeal to girls,”

lol if a girl made such a statement for mutilating her genitals the patriarchy will blamed, shrieking feminists shouting “see, she did it for teh menz, omg how they oppress us.”

I don’t really care to play the what’s-forbidden-for-girls-must-be-forbidden-for-boys-and-vice-versa game. Besides girls already modify themselves in many ways for men, including surgeries to alter their genitals.

Anyway, if you ever masturbated with a foreskin you’d have had a good reason to rebel against your religion.

I grew up eating pork and shellfish, doing all the forbidden labors on Shabbat, and generally without any concept of what’s forbidden by Jewish law. So for me, it would be a rebellion to become religious.

39 IHTG י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 10:17:24 pm

“So for me, it would be a rebellion to become religious.”

Genius,
Have you ever read GK Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday”?

40 Genius י״א בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (Wednesday 23 June 2010) at 10:55:03 pm

No, but it sounds awesome.

41 jakew כ״ב במרחשון ה׳תשע״א (Saturday 30 October 2010) at 6:36:23 am

There are some of us who do get erotic and sexual gratification out of not only the finished product, but also the procedure itself.

As a Circumsexual (please, don’t call us “circumfetishists”), I understand the sexual pleasure obtained through watching circumcisions, performing them, and having one done on yourself. I was 5 years old when I discovered this desire.

I now edit Wikipedia FULL TIME to reflect my sexual preference, and have been doing so for the last 5 years. See my Wikipedia edits here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Jakew

42 Will S. כ״ד במרחשון ה׳תשע״א (Monday 1 November 2010) at 4:59:10 am

“As a Circumsexual (please, don’t call us “circumfetishists”)”

Don’t worry; I’ll just call you a messed-up freak, and otherwise ignore you.

Cheers!

(Oddly, this might be one thing which most pro-circumcision people / neutrals / anti-circumcision people might agree on.)

43 Genius כ״א בכסלו ה׳תשע״א (Sunday 28 November 2010) at 6:26:34 pm

Yeah, that is probably the weirdest comment I’ve ever gotten.

44 Genius כ׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״א (Wednesday 22 June 2011) at 5:54:29 pm

From Reddit: I’m a male who was uncircumcised and had sex, then I was circumcised and had sex again.

“I didn’t appreciate the extra sensitivity the extra skin provided, my penis is already sensitive enough… I don’t regret it a bit; although, I wish it was done as a child because it isn’t nearly as easy to forget at an older age… I’m glad I had it done, I enjoy it better now… Masturbation was prob. better, or at least easier before the surgery… I like sex better after but I’m willing to say that’s all confidence based because I usually wrap it up anyway and I didn’t experience a huge difference in feeling during sex…”

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: