The title of this post comes from a chapter of The Incal, something that you should read if you get a chance. Here we have the members of the Church of Industrial Saints (commonly referred to as the Techno-Technos or the Technopriests, a technocratic cult which worships the Dark Incal) whipped up into a religious frenzy after hearing the words of the Techno Pope:
Which brings us to an interesting article by a medical student on circumcision from Lew Rockwell’s site.
Circumcision for All; Free Choice for None
by Stephanie R. Murphy
I was shocked, surprised, and flabbergasted to hear it. I’m sure that you’ll never believe it, either. The federal government is – get this, readers – butting into your most personal and private business.
A good start!
[…] The CDC is now considering a campaign for universal circumcision in the US.
This is entirely wrong. It is wrong because the government has no right to tell you what you can put into or take off of your body, or your child’s body.
The reason for pushing this one-size-fits-all policy stems from the results of several studies, all done in Africa, which have demonstrated the benefits of male circumcision for reducing the transmission of HIV.
The studies on circumcision and HIV transmission are very interesting. They are large, randomized, controlled trials; the methodology is solid. They show, on average, a 40–60% reduction in the risk of a circumcised, HIV negative man contracting the virus from an HIV positive woman, as compared to an uncircumcised man. The precise mechanism of circumcision’s protective effect is unknown. […]
The rationale offered for circumcision in this case, based on a well designed scientific study, is entirely irrelevant. This is about rights and the proper role of government, not scientific data. If one day they discover that female students are not as proficient at medicine than male students are, should that be used as a basis for banning females from practicing medicine? I am sure that there are some people out there that would say yes. That does not make it right.
However, when considering the benefits of circumcision, there are some significant caveats. For one, circumcision is not a panacea; it does not completely prevent transmission of HIV, it just lowers the probability that a man will contract the virus during any given sexual encounter with an HIV positive woman. It should be noted that these studies only examined the effect of circumcision on transmission of the virus from an HIV positive woman to an HIV negative man. While this is a relatively common scenario in Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV epidemiology in the US is different. Overall rates of infection are lower. Also, HIV in the US is relatively more common among men who have sex with men (MSM). There is no evidence that circumcision protects against HIV acquisition in MSM. […]
All of this, once again, is irrelevant. Science can be used to demonstrate lots of things. None of them should form the basis of legislation.
Circumcision also has risks and demerits. My personal philosophy on medicine leads me to look skeptically at any procedure that removes a part of the body which is not causing harm, pain, or annoyance to the patient; in other words, don’t mess with success. […]
And here is where we encounter the truth of this matter. Some people have an opinion that circumcision is not right, and so they want the state to use violence to stop other people from doing it. Some people think that circumcision is good, for whatever reason, and they want to use violence to make people do it.
Both of these positions are WRONG. No one has the right to force you to do something that you do not want to do. Libertarians are against the use of force to make people do things, and they are against the use of collective force, which is as illegitimate as force employed by a single person.
As with any surgical procedure, infections and pain after circumcision are both possibilities that should not be ignored. Medical errors should be considered as a legitimate risk during circumcision, too. There are rare case reports of penile amputation that have occurred during botched circumcisions. There are also many more reports of less extreme, but still real, consequences resulting from circumcision mishaps.
This is all irrelevant. Medical mistakes happen. Doctors should study hard and practice their art so that they do not happen often. They should never do their procedures on people who are being forced to have something done to them.
Of course, the question on the minds of many who are considering circumcision is that of whether the procedure impacts sexual enjoyment and satisfaction. That question is, in my opinion, impossible to answer accurately. To distill the immense debate surrounding this issue to its barest essence, choice seems to play a significant role in how men view their foreskins (or lack thereof). Men who choose to get circumcised tend to be happy that they did so; those who did not have a choice in the matter because they were circumcised at birth are more likely to lament it.
It may or may not be the case that men who are circumcised lament it. Once again, this is irrelevant to the core of this, which is who has the right to use force against another person so that their personal opinion is the rule of law that everyone is compelled to obey.
That brings me to my main point in writing about the prospect of universal circumcision: the issue of choice. If my patient asked me about circumcision, I would discuss with him the information above. I would also encourage him to do his own research about the procedure if he felt interested. He would make his own decision about whether he wanted to have the surgery.
By contrast, the CDC’s attitude demonstrates a lack of consideration for patient autonomy and consent, two essential elements in all medical decisions.
FALSE. And here we get to the center of this argument; is a child property or is it not property? In a very real sense, children are a special form of property. First, lets look at the unborn child
This brings us to the more complex case of abortion. For the libertarian, the “Catholic” case against abortion, even if finally rejected as invalid, cannot be dismissed out of hand. For the essence of that case — not really “Catholic” at all in a theological sense — is that abortion destroys a human life and is therefore murder, and hence cannot be condoned. More than that, if abortion is truly murder, then the Catholic — or any other person who shares this view — cannot just shrug his shoulders and say that “Catholic” views should not be imposed upon non-Catholics. Murder is not an expression of religious preference; no sect, in the name of “freedom of religion,” can or should get away with committing murder with the plea that its religion so commands. The vital question then becomes: Should abortion be considered as murder?
Most discussion of the issue bogs down in minutiae about when human life begins, when or if the fetus can be considered to be alive, etc. All this is really irrelevant to the issue of the legality (again, not necessarily the morality) of abortion. The Catholic antiabortionist, for example, declares that all that he wants for the fetus is the rights of any human being — i.e., the right not to be murdered. But there is more involved here, and this is the crucial consideration. If we are to treat the fetus [p. 108] as having the same rights as humans, then let us ask: What human has the right to remain, unbidden, as an unwanted parasite within some other human being’s body? This is the nub of the issue: the absolute right of every person, and hence every woman, to the ownership of her own body. What the mother is doing in an abortion is causing an unwanted entity within her body to be ejected from it: If the fetus dies, this does not rebut the point that no being has a right to live, unbidden, as a parasite within or upon some person’s body.
The common retort that the mother either originally wanted or at least was responsible for placing the fetus within her body is, again, beside the point. Even in the stronger case where the mother originally wanted the child, the mother, as the property owner in her own body, has the right to change her mind and to eject it.
I completely agree with this. A child has no ‘right’ to remain in its mother’s womb, otherwise, the mother becomes property.
When a child is born however, it becomes a human being with all the natural rights that human beings are born with. It cannot fend for itself in any way; it needs special care and nurturing. Since it is the creation of two people, those parents are, naturally, the people with the responsibility of caring for that child; the child is the ward of the parents.
Being a ward in this way is a special form of property. While you are in the care of your parents, they have total responsibility for you and can have procedures performed on you that they feel are for your benefit. Some parents circumcise their children. Many vaccinate them. Some parents have scars cut into their chldren’s bodies. When they are born, some parents allow silver nitrate to be dropped into the eyes of their children, and allow their children to be injected with vitamin K. All of these procedures, when done with the best interest of the child are completely legitimate, and no doctor, or do-gooder or moral crusader has the right to use force to compel a parent to do or refrain from doing any of them.
The CDC would like every baby boy born in America to be circumcised, no matter the opinion of his parents and, more importantly, without the boy’s consent.
Now there are TWO problems in this sentence. The first one is that the CDC wants to mandate a medical procedure. They have no right to do this. The second part of this that is completely wrong is the idea that an infant boy must give his consent to be circumcised. This is totally absurd, and contrary to common sense and the natural relationship between parents and children. This fallacious idea is a part of the move towards ‘children’s rights’ which is a back door way to allow the state to become the ultimate parent of all children, usurping the natural role of the parent. The UN is pushing for it, governments all over the world are picking up this fallacious reasoning as a lever to ban Home Education or even to stop people sailing around the world.
If circumcision were a medically necessary and life-saving procedure with no possible ill effects, things might be different.
This is false reasoning. What is or is not medically necessary, like vaccination or dropping silver nitrate in the eyes of newborns, or injecting them with vitamin K on the day they are born, is a matter of opinion, and it is up to the parent, not the state, or a PhD doctor with the coercive force of the state behind her to make these decisions.
In reality, it is a surgical procedure that is not essential for the health of a normal man;
Wether or not circumcision is essential is irrelevant; circumcision, like piercing the ears of girls is the personal business of parents, and should not be the domain of the personal opinions or prejudices of doctors.
furthermore, it has both risks and benefits.
Everything has risks; it is up to the parent to weigh the risks and make these private family decisions, not doctors or the state.
The relative importance of those risks and benefits is subjective. Every man may value them differently. For that reason, it’s essential that each individual be afforded the choice about what to do with his own foreskin.
FALSE. If we extend this logic, then no infant should be vaccinated, lest when he becomes an adult he should have a religious objection to it. I wonder how many doctors would agree with that?
To be perfectly blunt, I do not see any justification for removing a part of a baby boy’s body without his consent.
Then do not remove the foreskin of your son. If you have a son, I presume that you have not done this. If your husband has no foreskin, he might have had something to say about this. Either way, what you do with your own children is your own business. It is not your place to tell anyone that they should not circumcise their boys, or that what they are doing is wrong and it is entirely immoral to call for the state to stop circumcision.
The people who think that circumcision is correct think that YOU are dead wrong. Both groups can live side by side very happily, as long as one does not try and compel the other to do something, or refrain from doing something, that they do not want to do. This is the very core of Libertarianism. Understandably, emotionalism clouds the thinking of even the best people. When emotionalism and science are mixed together, you get a cocktail that is completely intoxicating; in a drunken stupor the force of the state is then invoked to make sure that, “the right thing is done”. It is however, ALWAYS the wrong thing, and the case of forced circumcision or the banning of circumcision is yet another example.
Men can always get circumcised as adults if they wish; by contrast, once the foreskin is gone, it’s gone forever.
Irrelevant. No child is put onto this world without being created by its parents. If men were self made out of eggs or they grew like fruit from trees neither of which anyone owned, and they could look after themselves from birth like some animals or amoebae do, then you could make an argument like this. The same argument could be made of what a child is fed; if a child wanted to become a pure vegan as a moral response to ‘animal cruelty’, should we refrain from feeding it meat until it becomes an adult? Of course not; what we choose to feed our children is one of the many choices a parent makes, quite legitimately. That also goes for what we feed our children’s minds, and of course, there are ‘experts’ out there who think that children must be taught certain things in a certain way, and these same people are ready to use force to make parents comply with their personal prejudices.
It is all wrong and immoral.
Most people will concede that the procedure is painful even for babies, but they insist that the pain is justified because the baby will not remember it.
It is most certainly painful, and the number of people conceding this is irrelevant. Lots of procedures are painful, like getting a vaccination, one of the 24 that infants up to the age of two receive. Getting a disciplinary slap is also painful; and the pain is one that parents who practice that form of care certainly want a child to remember. There are many things in the world that hurt; hurt cannot be avoided, and the people who try and eliminate all danger and hurt from life either do not understand what life is, or do not have any experience of being a parent.
I wince at the thought of causing pain to a newborn boy. I say that even if he does not remember the physical pain as an adult, he may still suffer from the psychological sting of having had a body part removed without his permission.
This is squeamish emotionalism, and personal weakness. Both of these things have nothing to do with parents and circumcision, and certainly, infants have no concept of giving or withholding permission. Even if they did, children are made to eat things that they do not like every second of the day, ‘for their own good’; should this too be outlawed? Utter nonsense!
Another argument from the advocates of universal circumcision is that it makes good hygiene easier. This is a typical government one-size-fits-all solution: parents are too stupid, in the minds of government agents, to teach their sons good hygiene, so instead we should just circumcise everyone. People are also too stupid to practice safe sex, so we should circumcise them all because they will gain a marginal reduction in the overall risk of contracting HIV. I’ve also heard arguments for circumcision based in religious tradition and cultural norms. Sure, circumcision is common – and a very old tradition in some religions and cultures. But does that make it right?
It does not make it wrong. That is for sure, and it also does not make it any of our business what other people do.
I don’t think that’s for us to decide. I think that each individual, the owner of his own body, should make the call about whether or not circumcision is appropriate for him.
But the subtext here is that infants cannot defend themselves, and so the noble doctor, backed by the force of the state, should step in and protect it, using the ‘rights of the child’ as the pretext. It simply will not wash. And yes, that is why some people circumcise!
It’s difficult for me to assume the mindset of statists who advocate for this kind of thing,
And for the record it is very difficult for me to get into the mindset of people who want to use the state to make other people comply with their personal prejudices. I cannot contemplate going into someone else’s houses and demanding that they eat as I eat, think as I think, or do as I do. It is anathema to me. I also understand what asking for things does in the real world; in the real world, when you ask for something to change, there are consequences in this case, the consequence is, “The federal government butting into your most personal and private business” by telling you that you must, or as this author is advocating, must not, circumcise your boy.
so I raised the issue of universal circumcision in conversation with a few people whose opinions I thought would be unencumbered by that pesky philosophy of leaving others alone and letting them make their own decisions. In addition to the religious and culturally based arguments that several people trotted out, one colleague had an interesting comment. He thought that universal circumcision was a good idea, envisioning a world where no more would awkward teens have to worry about getting teased in the locker room, because “everyone would look the same.” Oh really? The last time I checked, people came in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and that was a good thing!
So is it a good thing that some people are circumcised or not?!
I guess that if everyone looked alike, wore the same clothes, and had the same hairstyles, nobody would ever have to worry about not fitting in. Would this egalitarian also propose to redistribute the wealth from the best-endowed men to those who are not quite as blessed by Mother Nature? Ridiculous.
Many people are brainwashed out there. Some are brainwashed to believe that children have ‘rights’. Since this is the case, it is most logical to not advocate that your personal opinions be made into law. Its hard to do when we are talking about something so wrapped up in emotion, but really, it is the only way to make sure that you do not become the enemy. Follow the non aggression principle; “is what I am asking for going to end up causing force to be used against someone?” If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then you should not do it or ask for it, and you should re-assess your thinking.
I certainly cannot agree with the CDC’s move toward making a blanket recommendation that all boys should undergo a medical procedure at birth, without their consent.
There is the subtext again. The next step is using the state and the medical industrial complex to STOP circumcision under the false pretext of ‘children’s rights’. We could also extend this logic to the very act of birth itself; no child asks to be born – should we seek the permission of a child before it is created wether or not it wants to be created? After all, being born is a sentence to live out up to eighty years in a world full of brainwashed, state loving, warmongering, fear soaked squeamish busy bodies who all have designs on your body and mind from day one. Certainly, some people would rather not be born; life itself is a far bigger pain to suffer than circumcision.
And there you have it; FALSE REASONING.
I want each man to have the opportunity to make his own decision about what to do with his foreskin when he reaches an age at which he is capable of doing so,
“I WANT” hmmm. If you want this, then when you have children, make sure that you have them with a man who is not circumcised, and who does not come from a culture where they do it. Then you can leave YOUR son’s foreskin for him to chop or not chop. What YOU WANT has NOTHING to do with ANYONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD, PERIOD.
based on his understanding of the risks and benefits, and how much he personally values each. The bloated, overreaching federal government apparently does not want the same.
But in fact, what they want is EXACTLY THE SAME AS WHAT YOU WANT; they want to CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE based on their PERSONAL PREJUDICES. They just happen to be on the ‘other side’ of the argument.