My dear young friend,
Yes, I believe I do comprehend the argument. You needn’t patronize me about
genetics; we know how to breed an ass, and that would seem sufficient.
Permit me to rephrase your argument in somewhat different terms. Suppose that
I am a brigand, descended – bred, to use your argument – from a long line of
same. It is my unfortunate nature that I am born to be a brigand. Alas for me, I
cannot help myself. My breeding determines what I am, and that is brigand.
Therefore, say you, righteous and civilized folk should look upon me with
special favor. For indeed, instead of denying my breeding, taking upon myself
the discipline common to ordinary mortals, I “liberate” myself. I go about
the town cutting purses. When caught, I justify my actions by my breeding. Are
your magistrates so easily fooled?
Is it not rather that my breeding is that which I must overcome? Give a child
honey, he will crave more – to the point of sickness. Discipline must be
applied. So it is with your born and bred brigand.
And so it is with your effeminate men. They are every bit as much an
abomination as the brigand. They should be treated accordingly. How you have
suddenly discovered to the contrary exceeds my imagination. It is as if every
prodding of nature must now be exalted, rather than tamed. If you persist in
this, you will become a race of barbarians. The barbarian is one who cannot
control himself – and therefore must control others by force. For it is the
chief character of the barbarian that others are to blame for his troubles, and
from them he will extort recompense.
I ask you: for all the blather, is it not the case that the effeminate seek
to make you agree that they are righteous? That you are at fault for their
troubles, not they themselves? That they will not rest until you admit that you
are wrong and they are righteous? It is the surest test of the barbarian.
You distress me most of all with your tale that some of the church think as
this. As I told you, we know how to breed an ass. We also know from which end
comes the manure. Be sure you know likewise.
Appalled, I remain,
Isaac the Alchemist