Originally Posted by SammyJr
I think the "family tradition" reasoning is simply a justification for caving and/or adhering to wishes of other family members.
sure, it's exactly like that. don't beer commercials work that way, too -- you know, "bandwagon" mentality? it's a really powerful way of creating in-groups and influencing other people's behavior.
that's why i say -- i know it's wrong, and when my son was born i didn't do it, but it's still hard
-- very hard -- to go against the weight of history, tradition, and my mother's shock. it's probably still hard even if it's a manufactured tradition because you can't necessarily tell when you're on the inside.
since we're such social animals, going against the norm requires personal strength and conviction. i mean, notice how we who oppose circumcision gather together in a place where being pro-intact is the norm -- we're reducing the drain on our emotional energy by discussing it in a place like this. it's much more casual. bringing the case against circumcision to a less receptive environment requires a much greater investment of self. going against tradition is like forcing oneself to engage in that
debate inside your head, and then again with whoever is pressuring you to do it. even if you don't have
the debate, even saying "this is my decision, i will not compromise, and i will not discuss it further" requires the same emotional energy.
all i'm saying is that, though "tradition" is no excuse, i think if you want to understand people's motivations, you have to realize that it's more powerful than it seems on the surface.
by the way, shalom auslander
wrote a memoir called foreskin's lament
-- i don't know if it's any good because i haven't read it. but i heard him talk on the radio once, and he talked about how, even years after having a falling-out with judaism, he still had a lot of difficulty with his desire to not circumcise his son (hence the book's title). in case you want another example of someone working very hard to go against tradition.