Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Deliberate distortion from anti-circumcision activist

I spent some time trying to decide whether I should post this. It was a difficult decision for me. On one hand, what follows is part of a message to a private mailing list, and those posting to such lists do so with the expectation of privacy. On the other hand, it illustrates intent to mislead on the part of a prominent anti-circumcision activist, and people have a right to know about this sort of thing.

In the end, I decided to post it.

Hugh Young is a well-known anti-circumcision activist (or "intactivist", as they often call themselves) from New Zealand. He is the owner of the "" website.

INTACT-L is a mailing list run by the anti-circumcision website "", for discussion of anti-circumcision issues in general.

Recently, participants on INTACT-L have been discussing the anticipated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. One participant suggests that the anti-circumcision activists write a statement for the AAP:

Rather than waiting for them to do the wrong thing, as they surely will, let's tell them what the right thing is.

To which Hugh Young replies:

From: Hugh Young
Subject: Re: The AAP's new position statement on circumcision
Date: Feb 10, 2010 7:23:56 AM


A good point. Brian Morris drafted his version of a statement for the RACP but it was so over the top they would have laughed at it (though they still haven't issued theirs). We need to make ours something they could/should agree to. If it gets published so that people mistake it for the real thing, so much the better. If we can ease them out of legal action for past circumcisions, they'd appreciate that too - that's their big fear if they go straight from "neutrality" to condemnation without giving all present victims time to die off.

(Emphasis added.)

Now, if anti-circumcision activists want to write a "policy statement" for the AAP, that's up to them. It seems a waste of time to me, but it's their time to waste, after all. What I find really alarming here is that Young explicitly indicates that he wants to mislead people. He wants people to believe that the (hypothetical) version authored by the anti-circumcision lobby is the real policy statement.

I'm sorry to say that I believe that what's unusual here is the admission rather than the intent, but even so the admission is startling enough. It makes one think: if the anti-circumcision "message" is so strong, why would anyone feel the need to deceive people?

Does he not have any concept of ethics? Apparently not.


Hugh Young said...

I'm lost in admiration for Jake's high ethics....

It's a BIG stretch from "If people much the better" to "he wants to mislead people"..."Does he have no concept of ethics? Apparently not." It's not unethical to write a draft policy that's so well-argued and clear that anyone could mistake it for an official policy. (And in fact, that was all I intended - people actually being fooled was an afterthought. What possible benefit is it to Intactivism that people mistake our draft for the real thing? - unless, when they learn the truth, they say "It's not official? Well it should be!") People will mislead themselves with no help from Jake or me, and it's not unethical to take note of that.

Should I have said "We must take care that it's so poorly written, hysterical and unconvincing that nobody could possibly mistake it for a real AAP policy"?

Anonymous said...

So am I ... lost in admiration for Jake's ethical standards.

Jake is the gay fellow who loves children so much that he hopes to adopt one day. Only the child has to be a boy. Not a girl, mind you, a boy, an intact boy.

"I would personally choose to circumcise a son ..." Jake wrote in March 2006.

Even earlier Jake gave this trenchant bit of advice to a young couple with two young sons:

"While 10 months is too young, it ought to be possible (if challenging) to talk to a three year old about this [circumcision], and I think his wishes should be taken into account. That's my opinion."

Jake.Saturday, 11 September 2004

A three year old! Some ethical standards Jake has, talking a three year old child into having his penis mutilated. And seeking to adopt a child solely so that he can have the boy circumcised. My God, has he no shame?

Jake said...

Thanks for your comments, Korydon. I don't quite understand a couple of things, though.

First, how do you manage to interpret "I would personally choose to circumcise a son" as "I would have to adopt a boy, and an uncircumcised boy, so that I can circumcise him"? Wouldn't "I would personally choose to circumcise a son, if I had one" be a more obvious interpretation?

Also, how do you manage to interpret "I think his wishes should be taken into account" as "talking a three year old child into having his penis [circumcised]"? I'm afraid I don't recall the exact details of a conversation that took place six years ago (perhaps you can quote some of the context for me), but knowing my style of writing as well as I do it looks as though I was actually saying, to paraphrase, "hold on, don't be too quick to circumcise, make sure you talk to the kids and pay attention to what they say".

From my point of view, it seems that you're choosing frankly implausible interpretations of my words, and it isn't clear why you're doing that.

ChildProtector said...

What follows is my opinion, or rather a series of them, to which I have a right, and I have the right to communicate my opinions. Jake is a well-known obsessive mutilation advocate. Choosing to mutilate one's own penis as an adult is perhaps within a person's rights. Jake chose to do that to himself, or rather have someone else do it "for" him. That's his business. He can cut off the whole thing for all I care. It's his. Leave the man to his own devices, and every other man as well. Choosing to mutilate OTHER PEOPLE'S sex organs without their fully-informed adult written consent is a heinous, hideous sex crime, ESPECIALLY when the victim is a CHILD of ANY age, let alone only three years old!, and Jake knows it. He is a dangerous psychopath, intent on mutilating as many penises as possible, so every one else will be as sexually disadvantaged as he himself is, by his own decision. Shame on you, Jake. Shame.

Jake said...

I've approved ChildProtector's post, but please be advised that I do not, as a rule, tolerate personal attacks against myself or others. Please make an effort in future to avoid them, otherwise your post will be rejected.

Anonymous said...

I find it particularly preposterous to find you, Jake, bemoaning verbal attacks against you, personally, when you openly advocate brutal, bloody physical assaults on the genitals of helpless infant boys.

The term "lily-livered" comes to mind.

Print that!


Jake said...

All participants in this blog are expected to be civil towards each other, Korydon, regardless of their views on circumcision. This is not negotiable.