This is a visiting author’s thoughtful response to the post “Unhinged” from September 19, 2014. He prefers to remain mysterious, anonymous. I hope he will return often to share his thoughts.
Richard Schwartzman is the father of Rebecca Wald, an American Jewish mother who is outspoken against brit milah. She founded the blog and Facebook group, Beyond The Bris, which is my favourite place for Jewish intactivism. Schwartzman is highly critical of circumcision because of his sense of humanity, and because he is a secular Jew. But he also reveals that he is a disciple of Wilhelm Reich. Reich was a secular Hungarian Jew who was a disciple of Freud. His thinking was a curious mix of common sense and mystical blather. He was quite critical of Jewish circumcision. I do not know if he ever knew that American gentile men are often circumcised. Reich died in Federal prison in 1957, after having been convicted of practicing medicine using methods not approved by the FDA.
A remarkable fact about the rise of male circumcision in USA hospitals 1880-1960, is how little it was talked about. I cannot think of a single American novel or memoir that lingered over this change in the American penis. I saw this change vividly 40 years ago, when I worked in a Pennsylvania steel mill. We had 20 minutes of paid time after every shift, to shower and change into clean clothes. In the showers, I saw that every coworker born before WWII was intact, and that I was one of two intact baby boomers. There was a big change around WWII, and I suspect that the change was driven by military doctors, who were convinced that circumcised men were less likely to catch “VD” while visiting prostitutes during weekend leave.
I have seen Roger Dommergue’s videos, and am not impressed by his conspiracy theories. I do agree that male circumcision makes masturbation, foreplay and sex less satisfying on average, for both genders. I also suspect that the circumcised penis ages more rapidly. Circumcision may explain the Jewish fascination with psycho-sexual problems, and may have had something to do with why Freud and Reich write as they do. It would be interesting to interview hundreds of European Jewish men, half circumcised, half not, to see what psychological trends would emerge. Europe has many intact secular Jews. In particular, my French mother has told me that many French Jewish men are intact, especially those born after WWII.
I am well aware of what happened to Paul Tinari why he tried to publish his findings based on a baby boy who was circumcised in an MRI scanner. I think that Queens University was very angry that he did not ask for prior permission. All experiments with human subjects have to be vetted by a University human ethics committee, to prevent a recurrence of experiments like the notorious work of Stanley Milgrom in the 1960s. I doubt that the “circumcision as a form of mind control” agenda ever went anywhere.
Brian Earp, an American PhD student, and Robert Darby, and Australian freelance intellectual, are about as good as intactivism gets. And the human foreskin’s worst enemy on earth is Brian Morris of Australia. A horrible fact is that the American advocates of circumcision (a large cluster of them are employed at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University) coauthor with him. Curiously, the 2012 Report by an AAP Task Force, did not mention Morris’s name once, and I suspect that the reason was that they know adverse information about Morris that is not public. Morris mysteriously retired at the end of 2012, at 63 years of age.
The 38 European doctors who attacked the AAP’s 2012 position, argued positions that doctors are not qualified to argue (e.g., “cultural bias”), and overlooked a host of valid arguments, starting with the fact that Europe does not circumcise, and is not STD hell or urology hell.
Stefan Molyneux‘s heart is in the right place, but he does not truly understand the deep seated sexual ignorance and sexual insecurities that ground the obsession of tens of millions of American parents with making the penis bald. Millions of American adults have never seen an intact penis in the flesh. They do not understand retraction (which porn seldom shows). They are firmly convinced that the foreskin is an unsanitary hell, that washing cannot cure. They assume that intimacy with an intact man is impossibly disgusting. This is why it is very valuable for American women to reveal in social media that they have been intimate with both, and that they have no difficulty with the intact penis. Women now do this in Facebook, under their real names. But Facebook also reveals an appalling amount of anti-foreskin bigotry.
Michel Hervé Bertaux-Navoiseau is a French Freudian eccentric and lone wolf, and a man very angry about his own Jewish circumcision. French intellectuals have difficulty grasping the psychological processes underpinning RIC in Canada and the USA. Those processes can be distilled into a phrase: fear of raising a nonconforming child.
I think that a major reason why the AAP cannot back away from routine infant circumcision (RIC), is a fear of antagonising the American Jewish elite. Jews are only 2% of American, but they are 10-20% of the thinking elite. This thinking elite accepts that many Americans, even Jewish ones, may prefer not to circumcise their sons. And this elite accepts letting such parents get their wish. But in all other respects, it does not brook any critique of American RIC. This is why all efforts to make RIC illegal are a waste of effort. Much better is convincing medical school professors that RIC is bad, so that RIC fads out of the clinical instruction of future doctors. We also need to reach out to young women who have not yet given birth. Once the typical American women under 30 agrees that the bald penis is old fashioned and sexually retrograde, RIC is dead. Not because it is illegal, but because it is something much worse: uncool and anti-sexual.
My wife told me yesterday that she thinks that RIC produces sexually frustrated young men. We did not have time to explore the details of her thinking. But I wonder if circumcision often makes male masturbation less satisfying. I have also noted that the number of women sex radicals, such as Betty Dodson, who have revealed in blogs and on YouTube, that they prefer intact. I can also attest to the fact that several times when I was in college, I heard sarcastic outbursts from women students to the effect that sex was overrated. I wonder if the fact that all of their partners were circumcised, was not a major reason. The circumcision rate among white baby boomers born in USA hospitals, was maybe 98%. During my entire boyhood, I saw only 5-6 intact boys in summer camp and in locker rooms.