Are There Compelling Reasons Not to Circumcise, Take 2!

Previously, there was a post with this title written by the old Paper Airplane.  That post is well intentioned, but slightly off, in my opinion. Not necessarily the reasons given but the why.  Perhaps it’s because the new Paper Airplane is less against circumcision than the old. 

In any case, I’ve decided to visit the issue, and list the reasons I find compelling not to circumcise. 

Parental Choice – I’m a firm believer in this concept over any other.  I’m not pro-circumcision, though I’ve obviously been painted as such by the intactivists here.   I am seriously pro – parent, however.   It’s interesting that this may be accepted as a reason not to circumcise, but not as a reason to circumcise.   The fact is, children can’t consent.  To anything. That’s why parents can.  Parents consent to any number of things that may permanently alter or even end their child’s life.  Homebirth, not vaccinating, driving in a car or even having children at all, if you have a harmful genetic condition.  You may not agree with that as a reason to circumcise, but it is a fact that it is a legal choice with potential health benefits and cultural and religious benefits. 

Culture – if your culture doesn’t circumcise, this is a perfectly valid reason not to.

Religion – if you’re a Christian, for example, it is unnecessary to circumcise your child.

Philosophical Reasons – if you’re philosophically opposed to circumcision, this is a perfectly valid reason not to circumcise your child.

Aesthetic Preference – if you prefer an uncircumcised penis aesthetically, that’s a compelling personal reason not to.

Health Reasons – obviously if your child has hypospadius or other health reasons that contraindicated circumcision, that’s a very compelling reason not to.

I find those reasons compelling reasons.  Very much. However, none of those are compelling reasons to harass, belittle, threaten, stalk or harm another person.  No matter how little you believe the health reasons are valid reasons to circumcise, or how much of an atheist you are, or how firmly you believe it’s a human rights violation…those are not good reasons to behave so inappropriately.   

I take no issue with being anti-circ.  That and intactivism are different things.   One view compels the belief that you have the right to make a decision for someone else’s family.   One view compels the embrace of people making violent threats or pederasty or pedophilia. One view disregards boundaries completely. And one view totally obliterates any chance to meaningfully change the conversation around this topic.

If your intent is to create an us versus them environment and discard dialogue in favor of monologue, then intactivism is for you.  


11 responses to “Are There Compelling Reasons Not to Circumcise, Take 2!

  • Jhon Murdock

    All rise for a big round of applause for these parents who exercised their legal rights over their young chattels in perpetuation of the ancient and venerable foreskin amputation ritual alleged to confer medical benefits even to this day:

  • Erika Talvitie

    i’ve been trying to have a conversation with you now on 3 blog posts. you refuse to answer my questions. you refuse to actually engage in the subject matter. granted, your subject matter is a conversation “about the other side of the circumcision debate” (whatever that means…?), but what point is a conversation about the tone of a debate if the prima facie issue being debated can’t actually be discussed? instead, you’d rather lump all intactivists together, mischaracterize two intactivists’ actions and ignorantly purport to understand their personal life, and then throw all the rest of us in with that as if it negates the whole thing. sorry, but that’s absurd. it’s also a classic ad hominem logical fallacy because it attempts to discredit the message of a movement by cherry picking two individuals out of thousands and ascribing their techniques and tone to everyone. really, really absurd.

    the pro-life movement is comprised of a huge spectrum of individuals. some are gentle. some are not. are the gentle ones discredited by the bombers? is their message any less a valid argument because of the actions of other people? don’t like that example, pick another one. how about religion. the spectrum of christians. or muslims. or jews. you have Brother K and Hollie falsely pegged, but even if your accusations were true, it would still not discredit the intactivist movement. none of us follow anyone but whom we choose. every intactivist that i’ve encountered has their own style and their own experience to bring forth in conversations. there is a very diverse spectrum of intactivists and even among intactivists there is wide disagreement on other “social” issues like abortion, and vaccines, and politics in general.

    i am very curious what you believe a “real conversation” about this would look like. seems to me it should include real responses to one another. you could start by replying to the content of the second paragraph of my last response.

    • paper0airplane

      Edited because I made a mistake about which post I’m on; I’m mobile. My mistake. It’s especially difficult because you ARE trying to drag the same conversation across 3 different blog posts.

      A real conversation looks like skipping the same intactivist rhetoric to address the topic at hand. The topic on intactivists invite crazy is about how intactivists should distance themselves from the individuals who have done the things described, and make clear that violent language is unacceptable. Obviously I’m not too far off base, or you wouldn’t know who I’m discussing. Every one of the things I’ve said about them I know are true. Unlike you, who claimed I was people I’m not.

      And…well, if what you say is true (both in this post and about Brian Morris) then why should it matter? People who have a problem with intactivist tactics are a diverse group of people.

      Oh I mean cutters. Oops.

      • Erika Talvitie

        i’m responding to each blog post but you’re the one who keeps creating new ones to make this conversation more tangential, not me.

        the one thing that all cutters have in common is their lack of regard for the fundamental rights of babies. it’s their premise, and i reject it, so it’s easy to lump them all together on that fact alone. i don’t make gross generalizations beyond that; why would i?

      • Joyce

        Love this comment by paperairplane.

  • Erika Talvitie

    i do not understand why you continue to lump all intactivists together. your myopic view of the genital integrity movement is inaccurate and borders on slanderous, IMO. i’ve engaged with you in a civilized and responsive manner, as have many others – that isn’t discarding dialog in favor of monologue. that’s a discussion. that’s a debate. you do yourself and your argument a disservice by pounding home such an obviously false argument. if you want to pick on specific activists and their specific actions, that’s one thing. it is a very narrow and uninformed view of the actions and agenda of the 2 intactivists you seem especially concerned about, however, and the stereotypes about this being the M.O. of intactivism in general is misleading, inaccurate, and dishonest.

    and furthermore, you have yet to explain why you feel that a parent’s opinion and choice (religious beliefs, cultural context, whatever) should trump the individual rights of an infant to their whole body and their own choice when an informed one can be made by THE INDIVIDUAL. the modern century has seen a vast revision in our concept of autonomy and individual rights. protecting baby boys from unnecessary genital tampering is a logical step in enforcing the rights of individuals, regardless of their age, just as making FGM illegal (for all reasons, medical, cultural, AND religious) is a logical step in the same process. even if the foreskin were a completely useless body part (which it isn’t) and even if its removal was completely painless and even if its removal GUARANTEED the individual could not contract an STD, it would still be unethical to remove it, absent an acute reason.

    the penis of that child belongs to only one person – THAT CHILD. no one should be meddling with it. NO ONE.

    • paper0airplane

      I’m painting with the brush I see. As for debate…that’s not what the page is for nor am I obligated to indulge you.

      You’ve accused me of being multiple people. Or a lemming. That’s not exactly super sweet. Nor is at as bad as threatening someone. So I guess in that regard you’re better than some. However, you’re neither the only person on here nor the only intactivist. You’ve also managed endless repetition with the rest while managing to ignore the very real problem presented.

      More of the same boilerplate intactivist repitition isn’t necessary. It’s well understood your opinion on the subject. So stop, and try to have a real conversation.

    • Andrew Gross

      Erika, if you want to debate the ethics of circumcision, send a private message to my Facebook page. I’ll be happy to explain why parents have the right to circumcise their sons.

      • paper0airplane

        She’s lucky you’re willing. I’m not. I’m not interested in the slightest. This is my blog and my space. I don’t owe anyone the right to comment. I think she’s missing that, Brian. I mean Naomi. I mean Andrew. Damn. Now she’ll figure you out.

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