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The Father’s Milk of Human Blindness

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine advises doctors and nurses to take up the term "father's milk" to be more "inclusive." Bad idea.

We are becoming a nation of dunces and slaves.

It’s come to light that the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine advises doctors and nurses to use “inclusive language” to refer to mothers nursing their children. Instead of “breast milk,” the Academy recommends “milk,” which of course is vague, “human milk,” which sounds like something out of science fiction, “mother’s own milk,” as opposed to a mother’s milk that belongs to somebody else, “parent’s milk,” which again is vague, and “father’s milk,” which is insane.

What about the mothers? Everyone knows what a mother dog is. In this regard, Homo sapiens, or Homo insipiens, is not at all different from Canis familiaris. Lady has a litter of puppies. We don’t say, “I wonder whether Lady is male or female,” or “Perhaps Lady is really the father,” or, “It will be a year before we can tell how many boy-dogs and how many girl-dogs the gestating dog will have had.” No, we simply acknowledge the reality in front of our noses.

But our elites from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine are smarter than all that. They do acknowledge that there are situations in which it is appropriate to say “mother.” Come down off that mountain, O Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and tell us what else you have seen! This, for example: you may say instead “lactating parent” and “lactating person,” so that what your phrase lacks in sanity it makes up with ugliness, and you may also say, “for clarity”—clarity!—“breastfeeding mothers and lactating parents.” As for a person’s sex, a thing one might think nurses and doctors would need to know about, you may say that he or she was “noted” or “recorded” or “assigned” this or that at birth.

It is easy to ridicule this nonsense. Why stop at sex? Why should we offend “otherkin,” who identify as, and sometimes make a sorry attempt to look like, wolves or foxes or hippopotami? Why stop at the notion that a singular creature is a singular creature?Why not include also “parentses,” to refer to single people who identify as more than one person at once? Why stop at earth? Why not include Klingons and Romulans? And what about the milk? Don’t the lactators get to determine what they are lactating? Why not vinegar and gall, or life essence, or Kool-Aid, or precious bodily fluids?

Enough of this. It is its own parody. Two things concern me: the unreality of such sexual fantasies, and their use as signs that you belong to the elite.

We are not, in general, overfond of reality. Reality is like a 400-pound boulder in the middle of your yard. You want it out of there. Not all the sexual fantasies in the world will get it to budge one inch. A strong man might be able to heave it and roll it, if it is not sunk into the ground. It might take a couple of strong men and some tools to pry it up. The teenage boy is not going to do it. His mother, who is not as strong as he is, is not going to do it.

Reality is the living child in the womb. The child isn’t an undifferentiated and unorganized clump of cells. It isn’t a parasite or a tapeworm. It isn’t a cancer. It isn’t inert, like an ungerminated acorn. It isn’t inanimate, like an accretion of crystals. It isn’t canine, like a dog, or ovine, like a sheep. The only reason why anyone pretends otherwise is that he wants the child out of the way, and it is a lot easier to float in the mists of unreality and say you have brought a pregnancy to an early end, rather than to face what you have done, and to whom.

But we pretend that the right ideology, the right fantasy, the right language, the right social training, will move the rock, will determine the identity of the unborn child, will replace the family, will win a war, will put a ring in the nose of the leviathan and lead the pride and passion of man into the realm of peace. It is not so. I do not believe that the ideologues and fantasists themselves believe it is so.

Then why assault our common sense with flights of unreality? The answer is power.

American elites in old times knew things and could get things done. Maybe you were a preacher, and you could read Latin and Greek and some Hebrew. Maybe you were a senator, and you were familiar with Plutarch, Polybius, and Livy, so you could draw upon the centuries of political experience the ancient Romans compiled. Maybe you were an inventor, like Alexander Graham Bell, who was fluent in many languages ancient and modern, who wrote poetry, and who was a musician, too, and an inventor of musical instruments.

Elites gave us libraries stocked with real books. They built opera houses where you could hear Verdi. They draped a continent with roads and railways. They dug canals and dredged harbors and brought water by aqueducts into big cities. They might sometimes have been avaricious, unscrupulous, ambitious, and wicked—but they were not daft. I’m trying to imagine a time-traveler from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine explaining to Andrew Carnegie what a “lactating person” is that a “mother” is not. Mr. Carnegie, hard-headed Scot, would have dismissed that person in an instant. It would be like splashing a cup of water against a cliff and expecting it to make an impression.

Since our elites are generally incompetent—we have thousands of English teachers who cannot scan a poem; we have producers, directors, screenwriters, and actors who cannot tell a good story; our politicians know nothing about history, and can hardly utter a sentence without falling into a grammatical or anthropological pothole; we are not flush with new inventions; we have buried many forms of art, including the most human; our churches, like our overpasses, are sagging—they must use something to establish their authority over us. Hence the madness, and, more important, the whip, to get us to agree or else.

Hence also the impudence of it all. It is no great victory to get someone to agree that a grafting politician is a father of his country. Many men have been a little of both, and some of the most corrupt politicians in history—try Julius Caesar—have done well by their nations for a time. But it is a great victory to get someone to deny the evidence of his own eyes and to contradict what a child knows about mommies and daddies. People go along to get along, slaves in a train of slaves.

If we would maintain the last beachhead of liberty, we must refuse, and with a hearty laugh. For elites, like Satan, can’t bear to be mocked.

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