The issue is always individual rights.

Three circumcision topics, in order from past to present.

First, author Susie Bright wrote the following based on a discussion in her podcast from 2005:

The problem is, it’s one thing to decide for the newborn… and it’s another to deal with the adult men around you who already had the choice made for them a long time ago. So often people think they’re talking about “babies,” when they’re really talking about themselves.

I’m not deluded into thinking the foundational basis for my advocating against circumcision isn’t my complete dissatisfaction with being circumcised. I hate it. I have been and always will be upfront about that. But, that’s not where my thinking is on why infant circumcision as practiced in the United States is wrong. What is broken can’t be fixed; I’m not trying to fix it. Nor do I need to resolve any phantom psychological problems some imagine I suffer. I’m only making the basic human rights (and common sense) argument I wish someone had made before I was born.

In other words, it’s only about me when someone else makes it about me. That involves assuming something I haven’t said, or ignoring what I have said. You like being circumcised? Good for you. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise. You think your preference permits you to impose it permanently on a healthy child? Only there do we have a problem.

Next, from a blogger who self-identifies as a (paleoconservative) libertarian, this argument pointing to Time’s ranking of voluntary, adult circumcision as a way to reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV infection:

So much for Penn & Teller’s anti-circumcision show [sic]

I’ve seen the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode on circumcision, which its producers describe thusly:

In episode 301, the third season premiere, the mischievous magicians examine the historical, religious, medical and ethical arguments associated with circumcision.

How many of those has the blogger, Josh, ignored? There’s the obvious medical argument against circumcising healthy infants, that we don’t routinely perform surgery on healthy children that corrects no malady. However, I’m only interested in challenging the direct flaw in pretending that X scientific assertion (reduced female-to-male HIV risk) demands Y response (circumcising healthy infants). X doesn’t demand Y. Aside from the easy medical dismissal, the beginning of the ethical analysis informs us that the HIV angle on voluntary, adult male circumcision suggests nothing about forcing infant circumcision on healthy infants, the topic of the circumcision episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.

Finally, for parents who claim a First Amendment right to circumcise their children, consider:

Forty-four percent of Americans have either switched their religious affiliation since childhood or dropped out of any formal religious group, according to the largest recent survey on American religious identification.

The obvious shortcoming is that it’s a survey with insufficient detail. It can’t specifically rebut any rights claim.

Yet, it demonstrates the valid individual rights counter-argument to the invalid group rights claim such parents make. Freedom of religion is an individual right. Parents have only the individual right to practice their own religion. They may raise their children in that religion, but that is a concession to practicality and reason, not a separate guaranteed right. There must be limits that protect the child’s individual rights. That includes his individual right to be free from religion by rejecting his parents’ religion. Modifying his body permanently revokes his right. That can never be legitimate.

5 thoughts on “The issue is always individual rights.”

  1. Nigga please!
    I was sarcastic in saying “so much for” P&T . I am anti-circumcision (what’s the [sic]? What did I spell wrong?)
    I could care less about Time’s argument but is it wrong to link and add an additional reference?

  2. Nothing was misspelled. The sentence lacked a period.
    I accept that it was sarcasm, although that did not come through to me. I scanned through your site before linking to get a feel for what was going on. I’m open to the idea that I have poor interpretation skills, but I don’t think viewing sarcasm there required interpretation as much as psychic ability.

  3. No point in arguing with you, and thanks for the plug. You didn’t offend, upset or misrepresent me in any way that hurts. Take care

  4. I didn’t detect any sarcasm in that blog entry either.
    And I couldn’t find anything on his website where he states his position on the issue of circumcision one way or the other, so what basis would anyone have for assuming his intentions were sarcastic?

  5. Scott:
    Yeah, I searched for other circumcision posts to find a bearing and came up with only the post I linked. I think the missing punctuation would’ve helped. With a question mark at the end, for example, I would’ve read it a few times to decipher intent. I don’t think I would’ve come up with sarcasm, but I would’ve thought he was refuting the silly logic of HIV and circumcision.

Comments are closed.