I can’t find an alternate source to verify this story, which I like to do when I read the types of claims made in the story. However, in this case, I think that has more to do with it being about Belarus than anything. The details are probably accurate. Regardless, they make for a good thought experiment if the facts don’t check exactly.
Officials from Belarus’ Ministry of Health on Friday formally rejected the idea of circumcising most men in the former Soviet republic as a means of controlling the spread of the HIV virus. “This is not something we are considering,” said Mikahil Rizhma, a government spokesman, according to a Korrespondent magazine article. “In our opinion using a condom is much more effective.”
That’s a wise move, and not particularly surprising¹. Countries without at least a history of routine circumcision (i.e. English-speaking countries) are unlikely to adopt such an irrational over-reaction based on a few recent findings. That’s not really news. This, however, is instructive:
News reports of a possible plan to mandate circumcision operations for most men had caused consternation in Belarus, as the state-run health system routinely administers flu vaccines en masse to government workers, whether they wish it or not.
Now let’s forget circumcision in the story and focus on forced preventive health care. Is it irrational to believe that the United States could take that path? We’re already seeing a trend to ban smoking and trans fats because they’re bad for health. “That’s bad for you” to “this will be good for you” is a short leap. What’s to stop health busybodies in a single-payer system from mandating (or at least trying to mandate) preventive health measures? Other than rationing based on inviolable economic laws, of course.
As the title of this entry suggests, I wouldn’t put up with it. I suspect many Americans would agree when it pertains to their body. The outcome will depend on the success of the statist busybodies in seizing control. But assuming they can’t get control, we still must get back to circumcision. As practiced in the United States, it rarely involves doing it to one’s own body. It’s almost always done to a child who can’t fight back. Considering how many don’t question the procedure now, resistance to mandatory circumcision will depend more on who makes the political decisions, not the economic waste (and ethical obscenity) of circumcising the healthy genitals of infant males.
¹ This is not good, though:
HIV-consciousness is low in the country, with most health officials treating the disease as an infection endangering intravenous drug users, but not the general population.
Cultural blind spot or potential flaw in a single-payer health system? It’s probably the former, but such blind spots could show up in the single-payer health system based on political pandering.