When the Sunshine State(s) Said 'Cut'

Column by Kevin M. Patten.

Exclusive to STR

“There’s no reason it should not go through,” Mr. Jeffrey Gillen had said. Gillen is a judge in the 15th Division of the state of Florida. That man-in-a-magic-robe was about to swing down his papier-mâché gavel and devastate some important considerations for both autonomy and human rights. In May, he ruled in favor of a “contract” that would amputate the foreskin of young Chase Ryan Nebus-Hironimus. The child, born on Halloween 2010, is the result of a seven month long relationship between Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus; the former bravely fighting against a mutual, court-approved decision made with the insistent “father,” who said he would personally handle getting it done. That notion was forgotten for more than two years, until one day when Nebus noticed Chase urinating on his leg, soon leading to a doctor (no doubt mistakenly again) diagnosing phimosis, and thus giving a “need” to be cut. As a sympathetic note: I can almost relate.

Hironimus, by then completely regretful of her initial agreement, protested. Nebus went to the courts. Gillen sanctioned the barbarism. A higher West Palm Beach court granted an emergency halt to the motion. This was so she could gain support that was at once financial and emotional, hopefully in an effort to spare her son’s anatomy. She raised $5,000 on GoFundMe and made plenty of friends from the Intactivist movement. Tragically, six months later, all final appeals have been denied, and the State, represented by Mr. Gillen, has put the final foot down: the four year old, eventual-man, is to undergo compulsory mutilation, for absolutely no reason at all. Hence, the judge’s appropriate prefix, “Mister” – not any authority whose legitimacy should be recognized.

Walter Block, an anti-cutter, is always reminding us libertarians that there’s a lot of gray whenever we talk about the age of consent. The question of maturity and the ability to decide for oneself is contained within a foggy continuum. We’re never quite sure when an individual can give approval for what. Notice though that sex is usually the example discussed. Nobody argues that an 18 year old isn’t allowed to resist sexual pressure. And except for the most perverse, nobody says that children shouldn’t resist when a predator is about to molest them. Chase Hironimus – and let us give him the proper last name – tragically provides an impeccable illustration of how young one can be and still make simple decisions for themselves, which was the reason stated by his mother. “Putting aside what they agreed to, if you’re going to enforce this contract, you have to look in what is the best interest of the child,” Hironimus’ attorney, Taryn Sinatra, had told the Broward Palm Beach New Times. “The best interest of the child should always trump” – any farcical agreement. At age four, there’s no doubt young Chase is unhappy about the impending assault on his person. This has been confirmed to me by activists involved with the case, demonstrating how the contract has been made void due to his developed capacity to verbally render it so. It is not possible in any libertarian order to make a lawful negotiation negating someone else’s anatomical rights; not without their unthreatened, explicit, and informed consent.

Informed? Indeed. Adding insult to injury, the man-in-the-magic-robe also stipulated that Hironimus “shall not in any way lead [Chase] to believe that she is or was opposed to his being circumcised, whether or not she accompanies [him] to the procedure” – making free speech also experience a flush down Mr. Gillen’s toilet. But therein lies a brilliant depiction of the absurdity of the State: How, in God’s name, does that guy think he’ll prevent such a conversation from ever taking place between a boy and his mother? Maybe a round-the-clock monitoring by a member of CPS? As would be concluded, it can’t be done.

Alas, the horror of the foreskin and the “need” for infantile circumcision became a template for the American medical establishment starting in 1870, when Lewis Sayre, “America’s leading orthopedic surgeon,” began treating paraplegic children with a permanent, ancient excision. True story. Medical journals at the time repeated the claim that “diseases” – such as “nervousness” and “restless sleep” and “bad digestion” – could be cured with a “minor” operation that involved cutting off a part of the penis, that overwhelmingly sensitive bit that created within the lad so much internal hostility. The man famous for his many contraptions was not treated as a quack: when the Civil War broke out, the mayor of New York City named him as resident physician, all of this concisely documented in David Gollaher’s history of the world’s most controversial surgery.

In 1949, soon after World War Two, when circumcision had become fully ensconced within the land of Jefferson, but was being debated on as an insurable item in Britain’s new healthcare program, Douglas Gairdner, a respected English pediatrician, offered criticism in the British Medical Journal. Conducting research that was based on actual, randomized samplings of children (because, after all, we’re not talking about quantum physics), Gairdner reported that the retraction of the foreskin had wildly differed based on the variability (race even played a factor), and that it simply depended on the young man in question. Britain’s government decided not to insure, allowing private payment instead. This data contradicted American medical literature, which insisted that any degree of non-retractable foreskin automatically meant phimosis, or the tightening of the foreskin around the glans. Normal, if it hadn’t been made clear. “If it can pee, let it be,” as it goes in the circles.

But my own situation is not the same as Ms. Hironimus and her poor son’s. I make no comparison to the details, and only then to the question of how we got here as an “enlightened” society. Chase is four years of age. My son is now five months. I’ve previously designated circumcision in America as the “Cutlery Culture,” admonishing everyone within the vicinity about this barbaric practice. About the history. The misandristic bigotry that keeps it going. How the rest of the civilized world refrains from cutting their infants. And that companies use amputated foreskins in commercial products. About the risks of psychological trauma and sexual dysfunction. How nearly every single medical institution in the world condemns it as it is: genital mutilation. I was certain I was on the same page with my son’s mother.

I was wrong. I admit in one embarrassing sentence: I never changed his diaper in the half dozen times they together had visited my mother’s house. I had never seen his genitals. Until one day when I did. “Did you circumcise him?” I asked plainly in a Facebook message. She admitted that she had, and this, as she said, to “keep the peace” between her and her Catholic mother. It was the first lie of many more to discover. For, in that time, she had been letting her ex-boyfriend believe that he was the true father. Of Jewish descent, he had admitted to me some weeks back, during an unexpected phone call, and in an unexpected location, that he wanted “his” son to be cut, but not my own. As an unconfirmed note, it has been said that the Golden State is the only state in which only one parent is needed for consent. Actually, she had two, now with a name change in process.

No other interpretation of these actions should be given other than as an indirect attack against me, seeing as the “mother” knew how utterly and absolutely opposed to this I was, and how much I wanted to give him that choice that I was not given. I wasn’t there for her pregnancy, or his birth. I didn’t much get along with her. At all. It was only afterwards that we started becoming cordial. I had thought we would finally be able to take our son out together, and become a fragmented family unit that could at least shop for clothes and go out to dinner as one; all of it now seen as the prolonged lie that it was. Everything has been thrown under the proverbial bus. Maybe other actions in the country could be witnessed as such. After all, who would cut the genitals of their protesting four-year-old son based on the grounds of “it’s just normal,” as the scumbag father is quoted as saying? Is this the Middle East? Are Mr. Gillen and Mr. Nebus genuine, sociopathic sadists? Or pathetically and unhappily cut men who must carry on a culture of non-consent, just so as to keep things “normal”?

Optimistically though, at least I do have a family court judge who respects fatherhood. And I can have that longed-for relationship with my boy, albeit alone and separately away from my ex. Such people should be enemies for life. Not always should hate be summoned and appropriated. However, betrayal to this degree should disallow the idea of trust until such time when the parties can no longer communicate. It’s going to be a long while. For now, one should only act civilly only as to forego the jeopardizing of their relationships with their children. As Heather Hironimus will no doubt tell her son, as if he doesn’t already know, the day will come when I will tell Porter everything about the disgusting, barbaric rape culture that is genital mutilation in America.

DEATH TO THE BUTCHERY CULTURE!

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Kevin M. Patten's picture
Columns on STR: 16
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Comments

ReverendDraco's picture

"About the risks of psychological trauma and sexual dysfunction."
Minuscule to none at all, unless you're a professional victim - then, like every other fake outrage, it's insane and incredible.

The practice came about in parts of the world where there are great deserts and little water - sand under the foreskin isn't what could be called pleasant, and people who waste too much of their precious drinking water on washing sand out of their dick don't live long. Of course, people who leave the sand until it wears a hole in the skin and the person bleeds out. . . they don't live long, either.

I'm not saying that it's for everyone in every instance - not at all. . . but to make it so much more a big deal than it is - that's exactly as retarded as "the disgusting, barbaric rape culture" you made up out of your pederast's twisted imagination.

I would tell you to get a fucking education. . . but it would be a waste of time - you'll never seek one because you don't want an education - it's easier to bitch about nonsense if you're a know-nothing.

What a self-righteous prick. No wonder your babymama doesn't like you.

NomNoms's picture

He's an alcoholic who suffers openly with his addiction everywhere else but here it seems.

Kevin M. Patten's picture

Made a profile just to comment on MY column? I'm flattered. 
Some people can't wake up in the morning all goddamned jovial, ya know what I mean....
"I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." - Winston Churchill 
Ah, but dont get your jimmies all rustled on my behalf, okay dear? Circumcision is genital mutilation and everyone has to deal with that revelation. Some have a harder time than others. 
So unless you know me personally, the next time you comment on my drinking habits, you'll have to buy me a pint, fair? 
Cheers. 
;)

NomNoms's picture

You're Not Winston Churchill nor are you Ernest Hemingway....you say that your son is the victim in all of this but you mention his name only once. The rest is a bunch of "I, me, my" as if you're the victim and making your son the "martyr". How often do you do that?

NomNoms's picture

You're Not Winston Churchill nor are you Ernest Hemingway....you say that your son is the victim in all of this but you mention his name only once. The rest is a bunch of "I, me, my" as if you're the victim and making your son the "martyr". How often do you do that?

Kevin M. Patten's picture

"Pederast" Try to find another intactivist who hasnt heard the line: "but I need my baby's penis to look good." - Or, "so that girls like him in the future." If you can think of something more perverted than that, let me know. Otherwise, the charge of pederasty is absolutely the other way around. And once you've heard it a hundred fucking times, its gets under your skin and it doesnt leave. 
To hell with my own story then, you said NOTHING about Chase. Are you defending the State and a psychpathic father that are both trying to amputate a part of a little boy's genitals, even though he's repeatedly said no???
But I'm at a disadvantage though: there's no way this procedure is correct in this day and age. And therefore all the primitive thinking people of the world can point at me and accuse me of being on some highhorse, without ever addressing the content, which at least there was much more of in this essay than in the last one I wrote. Guess eighty percent of the world should start circumcising their infants to prevent them from ending up in a wheelchair. Makes sense. If you're a lunatic. Sorry to hurt your feelings, Mr. Draco. You'll just have to deal with it.
And I wont make apologies for fighting against what I believe to be so very, very immoral and outdated. 
"Get an education" Fuck you. Get a conscience.  

emartin's picture

As someone who is still intact I have to say that if someone were to try to take my foreskin, I would try to kill them.

Paul's picture

If circumcision dies out (and I believe it will eventually), it won't be because of such hyperventilation as displayed here, but in spite of it. Do try not to let his lack of foreskin ruin your relationship with your boy, and by all means do not school him in victimhood, one of the worst things that can happen to a child (far worse than any missing foreskin).

Samarami's picture

Let me start out with an admission: I don't understand sex. I mean, here I am, father of 7, grandpa of 25, great-grandpa of more than I'd like to admit (they make me look old :-[).

As an anarchist I'm not certain I can explain dogmatically why it might be considered "aggression" if I were to attempt to seduce your wife, your girl friend, or your daughter. Are there "rules" governing that? And, worse-come-to-worse, if she should acquiesce to my advances, and you were to "catch" us -- would you have just cause (under the non aggression principle "NAP") to shoot me (and/or her) and/or whip our asses?

You can rest easy. I'm 80, no longer of a mindset to encroach on anybody else's space in that manner. Even in the event your wife should try to seduce ME (not likely after she took one look) -- I'd have to turn 'er down.

Not because of waning libido or lack of interest. It's because, although I might be crazy, I ain't stupid.

And it does make for reasonable discussion. Does the husband “own” his wife and/or his children? Does the wife "own" her husband? Should "fidelity" be a condition of marriage for libertarians and anarchists who eschew state-licensed and regulated "marriage"? I'm aware of more than one prominent libertarian who has engaged in and apparently espoused polyamorous "marriages".

This particular essay has the aroma of acute personal emotion on the part of the author.

Circumcision -- like abortion, homosexual "marriage", unwanted newborns, enforced contraception, etc. -- is a peripheral sex issue. And those issues baffle "libertarians" and "anarchists" (I use quotes to illustrate my opinion that many if not most of us are postulants -- hoping to become the real McCoy by our essays and our comments on anarchist forums).

From the standpoint of anarchy, I'm convinced the family is the only legitimate governing unit. I can see it no other way. The human newborn, unlike animals, comes into life without "instinct" -- totally dependent upon adult caregivers for her survival. I find it amusing that "science" (whatever that's supposed to mean) and mainstream media feel duty-bound to include "humans" in their description of mammals to small children. But that's a different topic for a different thread -- on a totally different forum.

I wish that all newborns could come into life with loving Moms and Dads, committed to the child's survival, upbringing and welfare throughout their lives. Parents (of both sexes) who will -- with love and care -- restrain and preclude the baby from rolling off the bath table or bed or stairway; prevent access to harmful objects that can (and will) be placed in mouths, ears, noses -- and other embarrassing yet risky areas. Parents who will -- with love -- provide nourishment and sanitary environment; who will -- with love -- teach them right from wrong, good from bad. Until the parents become elderly and the child finds herself caring for Mom and/or Dad -- the rolls reversed.

And circumcision. Yea, or nay.

Four of my seven kids are boys. All were circumcised. On the eighth day. Not necessarily because that was "...our religious rule..." (or the "rule" of some rabbi) -- but because it makes sense for health reasons. If you're going to circumcise, that is.

I'm not your judge. You are your judge. And your child's guardian. You do what you see proper and healthy for your son. Don't let me -- or Kevin -- dissuade you from doing what you see to be in your sons' best interest(s). Also know that once the foreskin is off it can't be replaced. Forget the scams saying differently. Let that also be your guide.

There are valid arguments on both sides of this circumcision controversy -- and I'm not referring to the "religious" arguments. You can find as many physicians who soundly believe in circumcision -- that it inhibits many infections and prevents disease -- as you can physicians who are avidly opposed for a number of sound reasons. Read this.

Remember: just because you're a physician does not make you an expert on whether the circumcised (or the intact) are going to have better sex lives or better emotional health or better hygiene practices.

Some day I might ask my boys (one nearing 60) if they wish I had left them intact -- if they're lives might have been enhanced had they not "...suffered the brutality and violence..." of circumcision. I'd really like to know. And, although we're an open family (they think I'm pretty screwy) we've never discussed penises -- adult penises, that is. Not due to modesty issues -- the topic just hasn't come up, and I'll need to bring it up if there's to be a discussion.

I think each of my sons may have counseled with me regarding the decisions pertaining to their sons' circumcisions (15 of the 25 grandchildren are boys, all but one of them sons of my sons). In each case I'm certain I urged the procedure to be on the eighth day -- primarily due to clotting issues.

Libertarians who inwardly want to impose their opinions and their wills on others find all facets of sexuality to be no-man's (or woman's) land. Yay or nay -- I won't say. Sam

Darkcrusade's picture

I wonder how the Hebrews knew that vitamin K was at it's peak on the eighth day after birth? Rhetorical Question as it was a covenant with God.

God's promise with Abram (2018AM) is a witness to the wisdom that could not have been of an earthly source at that time.

Circumcision would tend toward a type of health law. Penile cancer among Jews is so rare as to be almost non-existent.

I happened to be saved from that type of infant assault upon my family JEWels.

Which is good for me because back at that time the witch-doctors believed infants could undergo surgery with no anesthetic.

These days, they can't wait to inject the new-born with a 'vitamin k' shot and mangle there junk with a scalpel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI_QXvN33Ow

Kevin M. Patten's picture

“From the standpoint of anarchy, I'm convinced the family is the only legitimate governing unit.”
I’m far from convinced that the family is the best place for one to be. As Ayn Rand said, childhood is actually the very worst time to be alive, because one is a totally dependent serf who has to obey orders under the threat of “legitimate” violence. So great: I get a scar on my penis, I get hit if I don’t enjoy the story about the angry, vengeful god who slaughters everyone he just created. Yeah, childhood is terrible. “I wish that all newborns could come into life with loving Moms and Dads, committed to the child's survival, upbringing and welfare throughout their lives.” Me too. Too bad it’s such a rarity. More often than not, parents want to continue their culture/religion/worldview. And children can’t say fuck off.
Circumcision. Despite what you think about “valid” reasoning, ZERO medical institutions in the world recommend infant circumcision, which is why some 80 percent of planet’s male population are intact. Why here? The AAP has had a decades-long policy of ambivalence, going and back and forth, basically telling parents to do what they want. Did you read Block’s essay? “The truth about the debate about circumcision is that there really isn’t one.” Exactly. And reading parents talk about how they need their infant’s penis to look a certain way is disgusting and perverted and I’m goddamn tired of seeing it; all such bogus medical and cultural “justifications” – widespread as they are – must be challenged. If people have their feelings hurt in the process, oh well.
“This particular essay has the aroma of acute personal emotion on the part of the author.” What hinted at that? Yes. It’s a very sensitive issue for me. I FUCKING HATE being cut, even despite having a wonderful sex life. I might have been able to find my resolve and come to terms with it if I was able to protect my one (and probably only) son. But then I couldn’t. And it’ll sit on my angry, hate-filled conscience until the day I die. I also agree with Paul when he says don’t make him a professional victim. I understand that. Nevertheless, cynicism is a wonderful thing, and he should be skeptical of everything and everybody – including his family, and including me. After all, he’d have every right to spit in my face when he gets older.
I’m a libertarian against aggression. Circumcision is aggression. Hitting them is aggression. Telling them about magical realms that you go to after you die is also bizarre and aggressive in my view. This is outdated thinking, and I’m pretty you understand that Sam.
Agreed: the state can’t make people better or smarter individuals. And so I actually depart ways with my Intactivist friends who want police units inside every hospital. It’s not needed, as the issue is a forehead-slapper. It’s so simple it’s stupid. But then culture and conformity are damning vices. But American parents must yield to the facts.
The first half of your response baffled me, but I’m very much for polygamy and open relationships. Being committed to a single spouse is not our best quality, us humans. But I do not waste much energy condemning the voluntary contract of marriage. Plenty of people have been together for their whole lives, and that’s truly wonderful.  I just don’t believe it’s for everyone.
Cheers. 

Samarami's picture

Kevin:

    "...I’m far from convinced that the family is the best place for one to be..."

I didn't say that the family is the "best place for one to be". I said that the family is the only legitimate governing unit. All other claims at "jurisdiction" are interlopers -- enforcing their claims at the point of a gun. Ayn Rand may have been correct in what you quote her as saying about childhood -- that childhood is (or can be) a bummer, etc etc. But for better or for worse you and I came upon the scene totally dependent upon adult caregivers -- usually at least one parent. Period. We would have died in short order without them.

For the most part parents love their kids -- or the Mom does fer sure. She's invested 9 months "bonding" with the little shaver tucked down inside her, then pooped it out with agony and pain we men can't fully comprehend. Some don't want or love the child, and stuff their newborn down manholes or do other terrible atrocities to them.

But 9 out of 10 times the Mom (and, hopefully, the Dad also) will love the child, and will administrate the child's safety and well-being with affection and love and care. Some circumcise. Others don't. Some are adamantly in favor of circumcision. Others resolutely opposed. Most come to their conclusions over the issue with love and concern for the children's welfare. Some merely have a burning torch.

To understand anarchy one must understand that the only "jurisdiction" is the loaded firearm. Or thug with a club. Or perhaps a woman scorned. Or a dad "spanking" his child. That's it. End of story. You can memorize the likes of Black's Law Dictionary to your heart's content, but you won't change the fact that "jurisdiction" does not exist unless there is firepower of one sort or another to cause it to exist. "Libertarians" fight and bicker and argue over the tired old adage "might makes right" -- but either one learns to navigate around "might" or she places herself under "might's" jurisdiction.

That's anarchy.

It's also what becoming sovereign is all about. I am a sovereign state.

Now, if you think you can register with the white man (thanks, Russel Means) and "vote" in one of his "elections" to make everything all better, be my guest. I wish you wouldn't, because that means you're willing to impose your will upon me without my consent.

You're free to beat the drum for intactivism. Others will oppose your stance. With all our communication over this issue I don't have a dog in that fight. My seven children are past child-bearing, and now it's up to my grandchildren to produce boys for whom the decision must be made. I rather hope they don't consult Grandpa when that time comes. But if they do, I know how I'll respond.

And I ain't a tellin'. Sam

Glock27's picture

Delightful piece Sam, simply delightful.

Kevin M. Patten's picture

And a quick note so that I can get off my highhorse: I am not suggesting that I'm some kind of perfect parent. Obviously not. And far, far from it. I realize that there are many great parents out there who love and support their kids. But my hesitation is in believing that they might love their cultural and religious identities even more so, which is tragic. I mean, his grandmother might be loving and sweet or whatever, but she's the same woman who held him in her arms while his penis was being cut (according to one versin of the story). The same woman who forces Catholicism on her kids. Who hits them if they resist. When my son is older (he's only 7 months now) I will be absolutely devasted to find out that she is imposing (actual imposition) these stupid, harmful beliefs on him.  I'm scared to death of it. I used to cry myself to sleep at 7 years old thinking about some place called "hell." I dont want that for him. And so he's going to hear something much different from me. 
....what a terrible thing to be telling to children, as Mr. Hitchens said. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRqqFpgvktk
But then, im not innocent here. Nobody forced me to sleep with her. And my conscience eats at me for it. Every. Single. Day. 

Glock27's picture

Christianity gets such a bad name and most people get hooked into the wrong ideas regarding Christianity. The bible is a political text mostly, then a cultural text, and loaded with allusions, and stories in an attempt to get the idea across. The hard part is for modern humans to understand is the context. It all appears to be simple, but until the period, and cultural elements, language, ideologies, threats and etc. are understood then the whole truth is missed. To get at it other texts have to be read, history, archaeology, language and etc. Reading the bible alone will bring one to some very strange ideas and concepts.
I raised one cognizant child, made him attend church, but in the end told him he had to figure it out for himself. I am still trying to figure it out (which he hasn't to date, like me.) It is far easier to not pursue the ideology than it is to invest time into understanding it; which takes more than the bible itself. I regret that there are so many versions of Christianity. This only compounds the problem of understanding it. By the way Hell is merely a political word used in the early centuries to gain control over the people, just like the other Gods, Zeus and etc. To me Hell is merely a separation of the human soul from the divine creator. I buy into evolution only to the point that I think it is a tool the divine creator used to bring this mess together.
The Divine Creator puzzles me. Humans were grown on a violent planet, filled with violent critters from large to microscopic and man, the most violent of all because man kills, controls and manipulates simply for the pleasure of it, not to produce food, shelter, warmth and etc.
Well. That's my piece to the story. Not a strong argument, but I just cannot accept that all of what is here and now came by accidental events.

Kevin M. Patten's picture

And a quick note so that I can get off my highhorse: I am not suggesting that I'm some kind of perfect parent. Obviously not. And far, far from it. I realize that there are many great parents out there who love and support their kids. But my hesitation is in believing that they might love their cultural and religious identities even more so, which is tragic. I mean, his grandmother might be loving and sweet or whatever, but she's the same woman who held him in her arms while his penis was being cut (according to one versin of the story). The same woman who forces Catholicism on her kids. Who hits them if they resist. When my son is older (he's only 7 months now) I will be absolutely devasted to find out that she is imposing (actual imposition) these stupid, harmful beliefs on him.  I'm scared to death of it. I used to cry myself to sleep at 7 years old thinking about some place called "hell." I dont want that for him. And so he's going to hear something much different from me. 
....what a terrible thing to be telling to children, as Mr. Hitchens said. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRqqFpgvktk
But then, im not innocent here. Nobody forced me to sleep with her. And my conscience eats at me for it. Every. Single. Day. 

Kevin M. Patten's picture

Clicked twice. Oops. 

Samarami's picture

Hitting children and telling them about "magic realms", etc etc etc -- I would agree is aggression and "outdated thinking". Once in a while I'll catch myself using the old term, "spanking new" -- a relic of the days when the GP would hold the newborn up by the feet and spank him to "...initiate the respiration process..." Well, they felt the baby needed to have a good cry so s/he would breath properly.

There did come the time when those caregivers involved in child-bearing and live birth came to understand the fetus has feelings, as does the very small child. Trauma suffered in those formative months and years will have a bearing on the personalities and the behaviors of children as they become adults -- and for the rest of their lives. Many of us have internal fears and rages and hang-ups stemming from indiscretions -- aggression -- inflicted upon us when we were tiny babies. Circumcision could fit into that category. But so could vaccinations, blood draws, etc etc. So also could emotional episodes such as Mom and Dad fighting and splitting up, bringing in "step" parents.

I'll also agree with you (and Hitchens) about the religious "warnings" -- accept so-and-so (or thus-and-such) or you will be doomed to burn in a hell-fire with no end, etc etc etc. "He's" making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice...

I've become what I call a "skeptic's skeptic" -- skeptical of virtually all "conventional wisdom". That includes all "religion"; but also includes subjects sacred to many "libertarians". If a thing is labeled, for instance, "science" (whatever that's supposed to mean), I want to know where the funding came from before I buy it whole-hog. Strange how the "scientific community" (wherever the city lines are drawn) will become "excited" and "issue proclamations" as funding time looms.

I simply refuse, for example, to accept the dominant social theme that's been growing the past three or so decades (along with "civil rights", which often turn out to actually amount to "civil wrongs") having to do with homosexuality. I see that whole she-bang as a divide-and-conquer tactic.

So -- does that translate into me being "homophobic"? NO! "Phobia" defines fear. I have no "fear" of the phenomenon. Multiple sex partners of any "ism" is high risk for disease, so if a homosexual is engaging in that lifestyle I'd just as soon steer clear; but that goes for other "risky folks". And, since I don't inquire about your or anybody else's lifestyle, I have to live with a certain level of risk or live like a hermit myself.

But that gets me 'way off topic. Back to circumcision -- you and I may not be as far apart as you may think. I'm not adamant as you about recommending against it, but I'm certainly not its champion or its cheerleader. The parent must make that choice. With love. Or we hope it's with love. I wish it were with love in all cases. But if wishes were fast trains to Texas I'd be fer from this cold north country right now (that's a line in an old cowboy song, I think).

Back to my skepticism, I just don't know. What I do know is that you and I were born into this world totally dependent upon adult caregivers. For better or for worse, that's how we came into being. And that's how we were sustained until we became adolescents and eventually adults. And, just as we provided the care for our children the first dozen or two years of their lives, they might find themselves providing care for us the last dozen or two years of ours. That's the family. For better -- or for worse. Take your pick. Make your choice.

I see myself as rather of a protégé of Walter Block (or as much so as a true skeptic can be of anybody). Defending the Undefendable (<==PDF) has been my "bible". But Walter can be a mini-statist when it serves his interest. He stated once that one could not be a "real libertarian" without registering and voting for Ron Paul for Grand Wizard of the Klan. I didn't. And won't.

So much for circumcision. Sam

Samarami's picture

Kevin, your essay elicited considerable comment much needed at this forum, so I'm glad you had the temerity to bring the circumcision issue to the fore. Too bad the last couple comments degenerated into personalities -- but that's not unusual for these kinds of subjects on any forum. I'd be wary of posting a topic such as this over at "facebook". Facebook, to me, appears to be a gigantic exercise in ignorant "one-liners" -- insults by people too dull to form two sentences in a row that make any sense.

Another indicator of a good essay is that it inspired me to do additional research on the topic. I'm Israelite by genealogy (not to be confused with "Israeli" -- a separate topic for a different forum); so have had the indelible presumption that circumcision for the boys is the only grounded parenting.

    "...We have the truth. And that is that..."

Well, as I've so often said, few of us were born with anarchist spoons in our mouths. We each had to come to anarchy by much expulsion of faulty indoctrination. And old doctrines often die hard. Ask me about it.

So I happened upon this site -- which is openly intactivist, but which also presents data in a non-combative manner that clears up questions that linger:

    "... The penis and clitoris are analogous and homologous organs: they perform similar functions, share a common design, and biologically develop from the same tissues in utero ("in the womb" -- Sam). The glans (head) of the penis or clitoris is an internal organ. It is meant to remain covered for the majority of its livelihood, in similar nature to the way that the eyeballs are covered for a good portion of our lives (when we blink or sleep), and the way the ends of our fingers and toes are protected by our nails.

    "If we surgically amputate the eyelids or fingernails, we will face the repercussions of making an organ that was designed to be internal, external. In order to survive this damage, the organ must adapt. To do so, a variety of features will change (both immediately, and progressively over the years): pH will be altered, temperature will no longer remain stable in that organ, moisture and lubrication levels will not be maintained, leading to dryness and potential chapping, antibodies and healthy microflora that previously served to protect will cease to exist, and callusing (the build-up of multiple hardened layers of skin) will take place. Our body may attempt to heal itself by forming skin bridges or re-adhesions over the amputation site. Our eyeballs and fingertips would become thick, dry, discolored, and no longer function in the manner they were designed to.

    "So it is the same with the glans of the penis or clitoris. If we remove the very organ, the prepuce, which serves to cover, protect and regulate the health, pH, temperature, lubrication, antibodies, movement and functioning of the genitals, we've altered form so dramatically that the purposes it was created to fulfill can no longer be realized..."

I ended up spending half a day clicking links that accompany the presentation, and even recovered a video that appears to have been deleted (I think this is the one):

Now, if my grandkids approach me with the question of "...should we circumcise?..." my response might be somewhat different than it might have been prior to reading your essay. I'm still not backing away from my mantra that it is definitely the parents' responsibility to decide -- or that the family is the only legitimate governing unit on earth.

But I have upped my rating of your article from a "5" to an "8". Sam

Kevin M. Patten's picture

Well, that's actually pretty swell Sam. I hope you continue reading up. Gollaher's book is a good read. Ronald Goldman, a Jewish born doctor, also has a great essay (and book ive yet to pick up) on the psychological damage. 
About anti-semitism and other assaults on religion. I think its important to stress how utterly, totally, completely messed up it is that individuals coming from a religious background - no matter which it is - can not speak out against practices without the fear of being called a traitor to their people. For example, I know of a young Jewish intactivist who HATES Jews as a group, as mainly because of his own circumcision but also because he's not happy about what goes on inside those Brooklyn suburbs (you know about this, right). To be reflexively deemed a "self-hating" something or other is terrible, and also a really clever smokescreen.
The reason I dont feel myself as part of that campaign is because I'm hostile to every religion. However, and here's my point, when I say something about Islam I only get called an evil Islamophobic by the Critical Theorists and the Post-Left, Social Justice Warrior types, who again, with drool coming out of their mouths, deem me an angry, unthoughtful racist. Certainly not said by Conservatives. If I say anything about Judaism, then it comes from both Conservatives and then again by many CT-SJW people. But, if I say something bad about Catholism, like their policy of restricting condoms to Africa, or their vast pedophile networks, then I hear virtually nothing from anybody. After all, we've already had a Catholic president, thank you JFK. I simply dont like how some groups manage to create a forcefield around themselves: "You cant criticise, you're no better than a racist-bigot-white supremacist." And yet as a white male I have to hear criticism about my alleged godhood all the time. A lot of that is BS, but a level of white privilege is unavoidably true. I dont then ask for hate speech laws to be erected to protect my feelings, though ive heard plenty of Commies who would quickly do away with the First Amendment in favor of legislation intended to curtail those "hateful", white-male-spoken words. 
One last thing: I agree that the family is - should be - the only legitimate governing unit, which is why the responsibility is so important to consider.
Thanks for rating up and for your comments Sam. Enjoy a cold one on me. Cheers.