dangerous thoughts on "neutrification"

In my numerous posts about AB 1634 (California's mandatory Spay and Neuter bill), my focus was on dogs -- primarily the right of dog owners to decide for themselves what's best for their dogs.

By focusing on the role of government, I didn't focus much on cultural factors, because my primary goal is to defeat what I see as awful legislation, not argue over the propriety of neutering dogs.

However, I have been noticing an increasing societal tendency towards neutering in general which deeply disturbs me.

I decided to explore this because there's recently been a lot of discussion in various posts (and a Glenn and Helen podcast interview) of "The Dangerous Book for Boys," which looks like a great book about the sort of stuff of interest to boys when I was growing up. (This one also looks interesting.)

Many people believe that society (especially the educational establishment) is trying to make boys into girls, or like girls. I don't think that's exactly what's going on. Rather, I think the goal is to neuter boys, which is not quite the same thing. I don't think this is a distinction without a difference, either, because they're doing the same thing with girls. Not trying to make them like boys, just neuter. Boys are being made non-boys. Girls are being made non-girls.

Not boys into girls, or girls into boys. The idea is that masculine traits and feminine traits are to be gone. That the distinction between the sexes (which is physically a fact and hormonally based) can be eliminated by an official policy of neutering.

Neuter is poised to become the national sex standard if it hasn't already.

I find this chilling and depressing, and I am not enjoying this post. Perhaps that's why I saved it for a cold and depressing day. For there is something truly colorless and depressing about neuter. Not masculine, not feminine. Not even androgynous (which is sexual and colorful), but cold, sterile, bleak, ugly, and utterly devoid of both masculine and feminine components.

If I don't like the fact that people were being first conditioned, now forced, to get used to having their dogs neutered, why should I like the fact that they're conditioning people to get used to having their kids neutered?

It's not just kids. Several years ago, a brilliant essay ("The Pussification of the Western Male") by Kim du Toit pointed out how this is happening with men, and while I agreed with much of what he said, if the essay had been mine to write (fortunately it wasn't) I'd replace the word "pussification" with "neutering," or maybe "neutrification" if that isn't too much of a monstrosity. As I pointed out in reaction to the du Toit essay, I don't like anyone defining manhood or the lack thereof or telling anyone what to do, though. So I think there's an individual right to be neuter, or downright effeminate. (BTW, it's off-topic, but I think a deliberately effeminate man is more of a man than a pussified man. And a sissy boy has more integrity than a neuter boy, because at least he is striving for something involving the human spirit.)

But in terms of the overall picture, these are minor objections. The fact is that there is an ongoing process which seems hell-bent on neutering us all: men, women, dogs and pussies cats.

The contrarian in me has long had this wild and irrational suspicion (I say "irrational" because I can point to no supporting science) that the primary social value of The Pill is not contraception, but neutering women so that they are better workers. I say "neutering" because I have heard too much anecdotal evidence from women who say that the pill cuts off not just their ability to procreate, but their procreative instincts. They feel less feminine. Whether these stories are true for the majority of women, I don't know. Not being a woman, I cannot guinea-pig myself to find out. But suppose -- just suppose -- that the Pill has created a number of women who are close to being female eunuchs -- neuter women. Is that not an enormous benefit to an economy reliant on working women? And if there are ever-growing ranks of neuter women and neuter men, why should it surprise anyone that there's a movement to make children neuter?

Little wonder there's so little opposition to the state using government force to neuter all dogs. When I was a kid, people didn't cut off the family dog's balls. Nor did they stop boys from rolling in the dirt with toy guns.

Tell me it's all a coincidence and maybe I'll cheer up.

Of course, if I look at this another way, things might not be as glum as they appear. Despite my paranoid concerns about possible socioeconomic side effects of oral contraceptives, no one is suggesting the physical neutering of human beings. Until they start doing that, hormones may prevail.

There is evidence that even in animals, deliberate attempts at sissification ("girls would dress Centipede up in dresses and put lip stick on him") far from being a feminizing influence, only serve to encourage the warrior spirit in unneutered males. And until the 20th century, boys wore dresses -- a fact that did not stop them from becoming warriors.

The sexes are so different that barring surgery or hormonal treatment, neutering may be impossible. The human spirit (especially the male spirit) chafes at the bit.

No wonder The Dangerous Book for Boys is so popular.

MORE: While I hadn't been thinking about him lately, Glenn Greenwald is having fits over "The Dangerous Book for Boys" -- and is now accusing Glenn Reynolds of treehouse loving behavior:

That same dynamic is what enables an effete and bloated figure like Rush Limbaugh to parade around as the icon of masculinity, and it is what drives him not only to dismiss -- but to overtly celebrate -- the abuses of Abu Grahib and other torture policies as just good, clean fun had by real men (like Rush, as proven by his support for it). As John McCain pointed out in the GOP debate in South Carolina, men who have actually served in the military find torture to be dishonorable, dangerous and repulsive. Only those with a throbbing need to demonstrate their masculine virtues would glibly embrace things of that sort.

This dynamic is depressingly pervasive, yet incomparably significant. It's what causes someone like Glenn Reynolds -- who, by his own daily admission, devotes his life to attending convention center conferences on space and playing around with new, cool gadgets in the fun room in his house, like a sheltered adolescent in his secret treehouse club -- to fret: "Are we turning into a nation of wimps?," and directly in response to that concern, to urge "more rubble, less trouble" -- meaning that he wants to watch on his television set as the U.S. military flattens neighborhoods and slaughters more people in the name of "strength," "resolve," and "power."

It's a tough job to nail someone for the crime of liking a children's book. No wonder he throws in Abu Ghraib and Rush Limbaugh. Especially Rush Limbaugh:
And just as Glenn Reynolds has done, Rush has developed a virtual obsession with the book The Dangerous Book for Boys, geared towards teaching "boys how to be boys." Rush spent the week hailing it as the antidote to what he calls the "Emasculation of America."

Identically, Reynolds on his blog has promoted the book a disturbing 17 times in the last six weeks alone. When doing so, he routinely proclaims things such as "maybe there's hope," and -- most revealingly -- has fretted: "Are we turning into a nation of wimps?" It is the identity of the "we" in that sentence where all the meaning lies. Perhaps if "we" torture enough bound and gagged prisoners and bomb enough countries, "we" can rid ourselves of that worry.

Imagine, counting the times Glenn Reynolds mentioned a book he likes! Obsessive though I can be, it's never occurred to me to count how many times a book is mentioned.

The thing is, I did Google the title earlier in an honest attempt to find someone -- anyone -- who objected to the Dangerous Book for Boys, and I couldn't. And here, right under my nose, was a guy who linked the book to Abu Ghraib and Rush Limbaugh!

No fair!

Anyway, to continue, Greenwald is furious, and he's now morphed from Giuliani Derangement Syndrome to Thompson Derangement Syndrome. I guess Guiliani wore a dress, and apparently Thompson is too butch to do that, but never mind; the point is neither one of them is enough of a neuter to please Greenwald. Rather than characterize Greenwald, I should be fair here. He once called Giuliani an "authoritarian narcissist" -- "plagued by an unrestrained prosecutor's mentality -- who loves coercive government power," "hates dissent above all else," and "would make George Bush look like an ardent lover of constitutional liberties." But now, Greenwald has issues with Thompson's "tough-guy military persona" and there's stuff about "smells and arousing masculinity and the "daddy" qualities of various political officials" which would only be offensive to a genuine angry and vengeful neuter.

Sorry, folks, but I do think Greenwald is a neuter. (I know some people have called him "gay," but I think he might be too much of a neuter to really be gay.)

ggmarionette.jpg

Again, there's nothing wrong with being masculine, feminine, straight or gay, or any combination thereof.

But neuter is not both masculine and feminine; it's neither. It's not straight nor is it gay.

I'm reminded of castrated male dogs who hate dogs with balls.

UPDATE: Ace's translation of what Glenn Greenwald meant ("Glenn Greenwald Calls Instapundit A Faggot") takes a slightly different view, but the dynamics are similar. However, I think this assessment may only be partially accurate:

I really think that questioning others' masculinity is a game probably better left to people who haven't had more cock in and out of them than a Tyson Chicken regional distribution center.
While he certainly has no business questioning others' masculinity, I think it's entirely possible that Greenwald is one of those "spineless, ball-less wimps who thinks sex is icky."

Has anyone actually seen him sweating and grunting in the act?

MORE: If we assume Ace's theory is correct, then Greenwald means it as a smear, right? But here's my question: how can the imputation of homosexuality be considered a smear unless Greenwald thinks there is something wrong with being gay?

What gives here? Doesn't Greenwald also claim there's nothing wrong with being gay? If there's nothing wrong with being gay, then why smear Glenn Reynolds with that? It always struck me that attacking people for being gay (whether they're gay or not) constitutes anti-gay bigotry.

But Greenwald claims to be gay -- as if that makes it "better."

Really?

What sort of gay person would go around imputing homosexuality to people in a condemnatory manner?

Something doesn't make sense.

(Unless, of course, Greenwald is one of those self-loathing homosexuals I keep hearing about....)

If you doubt my logic, imagine a heterosexual man imputing heterosexuality to another man as a smear. It wouldn't work, would it? That's because few heterosexual men would hold another man's heterosexuality against him. In fact, most modern American heterosexual man would not hold another man's homosexuality against him. Unless I am wrong, it seems that the only people who hold homosexuality against people are the following:

  • old fashioned anti-gay heterosexuals
  • political leftists (both gay and straight) who hate gay conservatives
  • homosexuals who accuse heterosexuals of homosexuality.
  • Now, I think all three groups have to be considered prejudiced. But it strikes me that only the first group is being honest. The second group is trying to have its cake and eat it too, while the third group is hating something which isn't there, but which they want to be there.

    The problem is that the only reason they want it to be there is so they can hate it. Yet what they hate is what they do.

    Hating someone for doing what you do is either hypocrisy or self loathing. And if you hate them for doing what you do even though they don't do what you do, that means you're hating a projection of your own fantasies (which only heightens the hypocrisy and the self-loathing).

    In the case of a eunuch though (who can't really do anything), I suppose it might be projected form of jealousy...

    (Damn if this doesn't get complicated!)

    posted by Eric on 06.14.07 at 05:57 PM










    Comments

    As one of the women who went off the Pill due to the changes to my personality and...self, I guess, I can attest to the "neutering" effect; nor am I the only woman I know who's abandoned the stupid drug for those reasons. Very thoughtful of you - the "better workers" is an interesting theory and might not be as far off-base as some might think!

    And a question for you - I'm apparently a bit younger, because when I was a child, everyone neutered their dog(s) unless they intended to keep the animal for breeding. When do you think this started? Of course, a lot of it might have to do with regional preferences, I suppose, but it's just something I've grown up being accustomed to.

    Miss O'Hara   ·  June 14, 2007 9:27 PM

    I was born in 1954, and no one neutered males, but getting females spayed was pretty common. I didn't really notice the castration of males until the 1980s, and I think Bill Clinton was the first to do it to a White House dog. (Many objected.)

    Eric Scheie   ·  June 14, 2007 10:57 PM

    The pill neuters women by denial of birth.

    Once a woman gives birth she is a drag on the workplace: leaving early, problems with the daycare, baby sick, etc.

    Not only that, but a woman with a baby is less likely to return to full time work at all.

    So in an idealized workplace, fully equalized for sex, and fully productive and stable, there is no room for women dropping out to have babies, perhaps permanently.

    The result can be seen in the notably low birth rates among the western world. (many other factors contribute but the Pill is definitely a major one)

    Side note: I can't stand the folks that think panties on the heads of prisoners is the moral equivalent of beheading and power drills and torches type torture. Every person who thinks panties on the head = Hitler should go spend some time with the Taliban. (I think it would be a one way vacation...)

    Phil   ·  June 15, 2007 10:49 AM

    Read an interesting article today, stating the actual inventor of the "Neuticles" was OPPOSED to AB 1634, even though he possibly could see a profit if it passes. Gregg Miller was quoted: "If anyone knows testicles, after 13 years, I know testicles. If you neuter at four months, you're going to have some sickly, puny dogs running around California." He goes on to say: "I could have 50,000 pairs ready in no time at all." Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

    Diane   ·  June 17, 2007 1:25 AM

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