The scalpel will not teach responsibility.

This editorial is a mess, so it’ll be easiest to just jump in:

In inner Sydney it has been estimated that between 10 and 18 per cent of the homosexual population are HIV/AIDS-affected, similar to the UN’s figures for parts of Africa.

In NSW and Victoria, the rate of diagnosis of infectious syphilis doubled between 2001 and 2005, “almost entirely through increased numbers of cases among homosexual men”.

Alarmingly, the NSW Government has failed to take the smallest step toward preventing the spread of AIDS and syphilis, though still parading its support for the homosexual community’s annual orgy of self-celebration, the mardi gras.

You know where this is going, right? I’ll get to that in a moment, but it’s impossible not to also highlight the implication of “the homosexual community’s annual orgy of self-celebration” as an important facet in this essay. It will return. But let’s get back to what is the painfully inevitable nonsense masquerading as a strategy:

The step that NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos won’t take is the adoption of circumcision as a routine surgical procedure.

His health department describes the removal of the foreskin as “social circumcision” and not to be performed in the state’s hospitals unless a clear clinical need is established.

Last month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) established such a clear clinical need. It stopped two large clinical trials it was conducting in Kenya and Uganda because it felt the results were so overwhelmingly positive for the circumcised group it could not ethically proceed without offering those in the uncircumcised control group the chance to get snipped.

The writer of this essay, Piers Akerman, made the illogical leap from it being unethical to not offer circumcision to the still-intact adults in the study to demanding that the New South Wales Health Minister adopt circumcision as a routine surgical procedure┬╣ for infants. The WHO’s conclusion included the two key words Mr. Akerman is now ignoring, as well as buried-but-appropriate warnings that circumcision is not a magic bullet. As such, there is not a “clear clinical need” for sexually-inactive infants.

Continuing:

The NSW Government is in politically correct self-denial, as is Sydney’s homosexual community.

While spokesmen such as The Sydney Morning Herald’s cultural commissar David Marr and High Court judge Michael Kirby make gay marriage their gay issue of choice, their cohorts are dying because governments see no mileage in doing more than promoting so-called safe sex.

This at a time when a group within the homosexual community has been identified as promoting high-risk sex and actively pursuing infection or passing it on in a macabre practice known as “bug chasing”.

Mr. Akerman is woefully misinformed if he believes that circumcision will prevent HIV infections among those who are “bug chasing”. Circumcision is not immunity from infection. It will still be possible to become infected without trying too hard. But it’s easier to lambast gays as a group for the irresponsibility of a few than to focus on irresponsible behavior by individuals, gay and straight. The consequences should fall on those who are irresponsible, not infants.

Despite what came before the conclusion, it takes a strained thought process to propose this:

Reckless indifference to safe sexual practices by members of the homosexual community is responsible for most of the transmission of HIV/AIDS in Australia.

State governments need to get off their politically correct hobby horses and prescribe the operation to all male infants to give them a better chance to avoid this plague.

This is ridiculous, as should be clear by the two statements I’ve emphasized. Some gays will behave irresponsibly. This warrants circumcising all male infants, the majority of whom will not be gay? Unless we can identify which infants will be irresponsible when they become sexually active, routine infant circumcision is not the answer. Even then it wouldn’t be acceptable, but until that discussion is warranted, routine infant circumcision as an HIV preventative is little more than a universal punishment for potential future irresponsibility that only placates Mr. Akerman’s apparent animosity towards gays.

Update: For a refreshing look at common sense overtaking the bigotry and stupidity, read the comments at Mr. Akerman’s blog entry for his published essay. They started out badly, but recovered well.

┬╣ We’re discussing socialized medicine here, with the procedure paid by the taxpayers through the government. Parents in Australia can still circumcise their male children for any reason on their own dime.

6 thoughts on “The scalpel will not teach responsibility.”

  1. Australia. Another country where the genital mutilation industry was defeated by the single-payer system.

  2. A point I accept.
    The challenge here, without getting into the specifics of our earlier debate, is that we’re both using assumptions that have potential to be wrong. I contend that the U.S. will respond differently with respect to circumcision because our cultural conditioning with it is different and longer. I could be wrong in thinking that these factors are important, just as you could be wrong in thinking that despite these factors, the U.S. will respond exactly as other countries have. (I think/hope that’s a fair generalization of your stance. If not, please correct me.)
    My perspective is influenced by my finance education to impose that the past doesn’t equal the future. Not that it won’t, but that it isn’t preordained and believing so can result in disaster. And there are my other objections, but yeah, I could be wrong. I just don’t think so.

  3. It may take longer for the US to abandon circumcision under a single-payer system than some other countries, but there’s little doubt in my mind that it would. Americans are not immune to economic forces.

  4. Americans are not immune to economic forces.
    No argument on that. I just think there’s more than the financial cost at stake. Poor families will opt out, but anyone above that will just give up something for awhile if it’s a pinch. Which will lead to fervent circumcision fans like Ed Schoen to ask why America hates poor people and won’t give them the same access to all of the alleged “benefits”. It’s already in his book, so I don’t see that call decreasing with single-payer.

  5. In the short run there may be some class divisions, but in the long run it won’t matter. With each passing year, the trend away from circumcision would accelerate under a single-payer system and the cumulative pressure to abandon it would intensify regardless of one’s income level.

  6. On that point, I suspect you’re right. But it would be very slow. What we’ll see is a significant number of stragglers who adhere to the “look like daddy” argument. It’s irrational, which can’t be as easily defeated by the economic cost. Instead of each passing year, I think we’d be looking at something closer to each passing generation.

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