The Ethics of Vanity, Part III

Even though blogging has been sporadic recently, I’m paying attention. I realize I’ve given far more attention to circumcision than any other topic lately. Rolling Doughnut is not turning in to “all circumcision, all the time,” I swear. But the backlog is there right now. So, a little bit more, and then other stuff will return.

Last week I saw news links similar to this article.

It sounds like just another uber-meltable cheese product, but Vavelta is actually miles away from anything you’d want to put in your mouth. It’s a radical new treatment for facial pitting, scarring, and wrinkles made out of—what else?—newborns’ foreskins.

I didn’t write about it because it’s just a new example of something I’ve discussed before. And, while I’m happy an ethical issue appeared in the article…

There are also ethical issues to consider, especially if the folks behind Vavelta start paying parents for their sons’ severed sheaths.

… it hints at the wrong ethical issue. Parents do not own their sons’ foreskins. That’s why they don’t have the right to cut them off, much less demand payment for them. If a similar value worked for freshly circumcised adult foreskins, adult males should be free to sell for the highest price. They’re not, because the state thinks selling parts of your body is “wrong”. But taking healthy, functioning body parts from a child for no objective reason without his consent? That’s somehow a valid parental choice. It’s madness.


The link came from Hit & Run where I expected to encounter juvenile nonsense, the normal trend of comments there. To my surprise, my fellow libertarians came through in shining glory. Before that, this from commenter Dello:

f I had male children, they’d all get the cut. In the end (of life, that is), it’s for their own good.

This is the dumbest excuse I’ve encountered, although this is not the first time. Dello explains further:

….wait until you’re 75, incapacitated, and in a nursing home. Since none of the aides will wash your genitals, having a foreskin means you won’t even get fresh water around the head of your penis.

It had to get worse before it got better. The good stuff, from SugarFree:

Yes. Mutilate your penis because you might end up in a crooked rest home. There’s a winning argument.

Right. Except, it needs a clarification, provided by Episiarch:

NutraSweet, you have it wrong. It’s mutilate your son’s penis because he might end up in a crooked rest home. That’s even more full of ethical win.

Bingo. Really, how hard is it to understand that most adult males will not end up debilitated in a nursing home that won’t care for them properly. Anyway, if it’s causing problems at 75, that’s a medical necessity. Circumcise then. This is not complicated.


Naturally, someone had to begin the path to logic with an unquestioned regurgitation of simplistic propaganda, as if this dismisses ethical concerns. From J sub D:

A serious note –

Circumcision Gives Men up to 60% HIV Protection; WHO, UNAIDS Urge Adult Surgery

First, condoms. This is not complicated. They’re more effective and cheaper. Second, what part of urge adult surgery involves newborn foreskins? The studies used adult volunteers, not infants who can’t consent.