Decadent bureaucrats mutilate soldiers
"Decadence" is the essential condition of "a society which believes it has evolved to the point where it will never have to go to war."

--Air Force Colonel Robert Wheeler

From today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Fifth-graders in California who adorned their mortarboards with tiny toy plastic soldiers this week to support troops in Iraq were forced to cut off their miniature weapons.
While the Inquirer shifts the focus to "zero tolerance" in general, I think the larger issue is an anti-military, anti-boy mindset, and I see the cutting off of the tiny plastic guns as a perfect example of the bureaucratic eunuchoid class run amok.

There's a great blog post here which reprints the full story, with pictures of the offending mortarboards. What I enjoyed most was the boys' spirited defense of the wounded troops.

wounded.jpgFor obvious reasons, the picture on the left is not getting much mainstream media play. I can't think of a better way to expose the anti-war bureaucrats than the boys' simple demonstration that the school bureaucrats had wounded the troops. No words can match the eloquence of the bloodied bandages!

I wrote several posts about eunuchs, and I think this is as good a place as any to add a few words about Phil Bowermaster's post about transmasculinity, which Glenn Reynolds linked yesterday. I have no problem with the idea of transmasculinity (or androgyny), and don't think it is remotely the same as state-enforced policies forcing boys to become eunuchs.

As Bowermaster observes from personal experience, we've gone from persecution to persecution, in little more than a single generation:

I was born in 1962 and attended public schools in the 1960's and 1970's. So depending on whom you ask, I either suffered under the early stages of a dehumanizing PC agenda that was trying to "feminize" me, or I enjoyed the last few halcyon days of a golden era when boys were allowed to be boys. In point of fact, I think the latter is closer to the truth, but let me just point out one important feature of that lost golden age: it could pretty much suck for boys who weren't terribly interested in boy stuff.

Personally, I hated sports when I was a kid. I read a lot, and very indiscriminately -- meaning that I cheerfully read books that my older sister was reading or had just finished, even though many of these were "girls'" books. When I was in the 5th grade, I wanted an Easy Bake oven for Christmas. It's hard to imagine in the age of Emeril what a stigma there once was around a boy showing an interest in cooking. For these points of divergence with mainstream boyhood, I was rewarded with a label which -- unlike tomboy -- was never considered complimentary: I was a sissy, later a queer or fag. Some thought it cute for a girl to be a tomboy; nobody ever thought it was cute for a boy to be a sissy.

What I would have really liked when I was a kid was for other people to leave me alone and let me be who I was. But no such luck -- and I don't think the peer pressure to be "masculine" had as much to do with trying to raise a just and noble and manlike society as it did preventing boys from growing up to be homos. I was always getting crap about how I walked. There was this bizarre belief that boys who "walked funny" had started down a one-way highway that ended in Queersville.

But as we all know, the opposite of crazy is still crazy. And in this case, we get craziness on a much vaster scale. My longed-for world of live-and-let-live never really came about. Instead, rather than persecuting the few boys who don't have traditional masculine inclinations, we've put a system in place that persecutes that vast majority of boys who do have such inclinations. Progress!

I avoided the whole thing by being morbidly subversive, Machiavellian, and reptilian. (I'm not proud of some of the things I did, but it was survival stuff, and my way of fighting back.)

It's the heavy arm of the state being brought to bear that I think is the larger problem here. Social engineering when practiced by tyrannical boys against each other is inevitable. While it should be policed by responsible authorities when it gets out of hand, the idea of reshaping boys by doing things like carving up their little plastic toys based on a government edict -- at a time when we are at war -- is simply an outrage.

But again, I don't think it's so much feminization that's going on as it is neuterization, or eunuchization. John Lennon "Imagine" pacifism is not feminine, but neuter -- and in my opinion, decadent.

The problem is, it has taken over the bureaucratic establishment.
Pajamas Media links Westhawk's review of a new article by Robert Kaplan:

Mr. Kaplan thinks there are two Americas, a pacifist Establishment and a warrior class, two Americas that hardly know each other.
I'm afraid that the pacifist class wants to castrate the warrior class in any way they can, and at every opportunity -- beginning with the enforced mutilation of tiny plastic soldiers.

The real soldiers are being symbolically castrated with kindness. This includes the very condescending approach of pitying them as victims. According to Kaplan, soldiers want respect, not pity:

I cannot remember how many times a soldier or marine told me that we don't want to be pitied as victims, but respected as fighters.
How can they be respected as fighters by a society that forces children to sever their fighting parts?

This seemingly tiny incident is not as tiny as it appears.

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and welcome to all!

(In answer to Glenn's question, I think bureaucrats may have zero tolerance for decency.)

MORE: Glenn links this post from Marc Danziger offering some suggestions for the Netroots left:'ve got a choice. You can build a movement of the soy-latte drinkers who know tats, startups, and hip underground bands and represent a highly visible 15% of the country and consider themselves madly progressive. Or you can accept the challenge laid out years ago by John Schaar, who wrote of the failure of the early New Left in America:
"Finally, if political education is to effective it must grow from a spirit of humility on the part of the teachers, and they must overcome the tendencies toward self-righteousness and self-pity which set the tone of youth and student politics in the 1960's. The teachers must acknowledge common origins and common burdens with the taught, stressing connection and membership, rather than distance and superiority. Only from these roots can trust and hopeful common action grow."

So here's the suggestion. Move to the suburbs. Buy a minivan. Reach out and understand the hopes and fears of the average American. Help them reclaim our country.
A good start would be helping their children reclaim their toys.

(Beyond that, maybe getting over the idea that suburbs are evil vectors of sprawl and minivans are proper targets for attack.)

I don't mean to sound cynical, as I generally agreed with the post.

Come to think of it, a year ago I wrote a post about the Netroots and middle America.

posted by Eric on 06.18.07 at 10:04 AM


Excellent post. Thanks.

beloml   ·  June 18, 2007 10:46 AM

Perhaps these passivists do not realize that
if we want to continue to enjoy our somewhat
free way of life we must defend it.
There are large groups of people who would gladly sacrifice their young warriors to gain control of North America.

Hugh   ·  June 18, 2007 1:34 PM


I would agree that the intrusion of state power into the mix makes the whole situation much more dangerous. And you're absolutely right about the ultimate goal: trying to make boys passive (or slapping the label of "tomboy" on a girl, as one of the readers I quoted did) doesn't have anything to do with promoting femininity at the expense of masculinity -- it's a control issue about neutralizing / sterilizing the offending kids. It's ultimately a dehumanizing process.

Phil Bowermaster   ·  June 18, 2007 3:59 PM

I wonder if the school would object to figures of the enslaved citizens the disarmed soldiers couldn't protect?

anon   ·  June 18, 2007 4:04 PM

I grew up around the same time as Bowermaster. I played a couple of sports I hated to be accepted in my peer group. Being reshaped, sort of, to be part of the pack was not so horrible, in retrospect. I managed to read compulsively, too, and got in more than one fistfight defending myself from accusations of being less than manly.

I don't think that this episode is a small thing, either. It's more like the little lump we notice that warns of something corrosive and deadly inside.

Dave Eaton   ·  June 18, 2007 4:06 PM

Great post and very apt where you discuss the hoped-for middleground that never came about, but I have to ask: WTF with the FIFTH-GRADE "graduation"?!? When I "graduated" from 5th grade in, uh, 1981, nothing happened. We just went home for the summer and came back in September. Nobody "graduated" from anything until the end of high school.

Jeff   ·  June 18, 2007 4:17 PM

"Decadence" is the essential condition of "a society where a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, datelined Providence, RI is about 5th graders in California"

Ignorance is Bliss   ·  June 18, 2007 4:17 PM

The school that forced the kids to cut the guns off theplastic soldiers cited the federal Gun Free School Zone Act as authority for its "no weapons" policy. I actually had to write to the principal of the school to inform her that law had been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Cout way back in 1995. Not only do these bureaucrats bully students, they use unconstitutional laws to do it.

Richard Fagin   ·  June 18, 2007 5:08 PM

Raising my boys in the SF Bay Area was a trick. Some of their friends were not allowed to come over because we allowed toy guns. I'll never forget one 5/6 year-old who spotted a cap pistol at our house and clutched it to his chest with reverently folded arms for hours!

One son told me of a playmate, not allowed to play with toy guns, who inflamed his mom by running around the house stretching out the arm of his sock doll while yelling BANG! BANG! BANG!

Charlie   ·  June 18, 2007 5:23 PM

This principal's school web

site also includes a link to a "for pay" research paper service, under "Cougar Computers" on the left sidebar.

Classical values, indeed.

Born Free   ·  June 18, 2007 6:12 PM

Well now, liberal (I would venture) bureaucrats sending troops off to war without proper equipment??? Whodda thunk it ...

drillanwr   ·  June 18, 2007 6:46 PM

OK. So what do we do about it? Pointing out the absurdity of this "societal cancer" is fine, but how do we cut it out or fight against it. I read many blogs pointing out the slow decay of our society, but I rarely read an idea to resist it. Is there a site or blog that has an open discussion on how to reclaim our birth right? If so,where?

AuTamu   ·  June 18, 2007 10:07 PM

Re What to do: The Boy Scouts won't harm them. Think of the Eagle Scout at VT who devised a tornequit (SP?) for his thigh wound and saved his own life. We practiced carrying injured people too. Something the cops in those pictures need to learn.

SCATTERSHOT   ·  June 18, 2007 10:49 PM

It is not so much an anti-boy value as an anti-military one which affects boys much more than girls.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  June 18, 2007 11:43 PM

How to solve this problem? Take the so-called educators outside and horsewhip them!

Nothing like a good old fashioned horsewhipping to straighten out thugs like that.

ScottG   ·  June 19, 2007 12:56 AM

An even easier solution? Administrators must teach. Take them out of the ivory tower and into a classroom for an hour or two every day, and things would almost certainly change once they were reminded how the real world actually works.

(Of course, I would also call for term limits for Congress--12 years max--and a 10-year limit on working in a bureaucratic government position--exemptions for the military and maybe the Postal Service. The bureaucrats often do more damage than the legislators, because they're so entrenched in their jobs.)

Kev   ·  June 19, 2007 1:15 AM

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