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Objectivism and circumcision?

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What does Objectivism say about circumcision?

I know Rand never mentioned it, specifically, unless I somehow missed it. But there should still be some interpretations or guidelines with respect to reality, rationality, rights, etc, which can help guide this decision.

Personally, I think it's disgusting. It's religious barbarianism meant to cut man down. It's a violation of rights. It's a sin against the greatness of man to mutilate his body in a way which may humble him until he dies.

If I may say so, I hope if anyone here has a male (or female) child, they will not follow these religious traditions and end this crime against man's ego. Thank you.

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Personally, I think it's disgusting. It's religious barbarianism meant to cut man down. It's a violation of rights. It's a sin against the greatness of man to mutilate his body in a way which may humble him until he dies.

Male circumsicion, as practiced in the West, is unnecessary but mostly harmless. The biggest danger is a botched job, infection and such. I'd preffer not to ahve been circumcised, but I'm not upset that I was. If I had a son I wouldn't circumcise him.

Female circumsicion is different. It's rank butchery and everything you say it is. In fact it's wrong to call it circumsicion precisely because the male variety is harmless, leading peopl to think female genital mutilation is something similarly benign.

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There are a couple of threads on this. The main one comes from a post that the newly-minted Dr Hsieh started via her blog after listening to one of Dr Peikoff's podcasts that had material on the subject.

JJM

Thanks for the links. I did a search, but I bet I made a typo or something so nothing came up.

Sounds like Mr. Peikoff and I are 100% on the same page, so that's a relief.

The whole topic was a revelation to me today, reading some atheist stuff about the horrors of religion and I guess the topic moved me enough to seek out answers.

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Isn't male circumcision done primarily for sanitary purposes?

Sanitary measure is a way to rationalize the original religious meaning and tradition of it.

I think it's barbaric, however I don't know if it should be illegal

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You're saying you don't know if forced genital mutilation of infants should be illegal?

I tend to actually lean towards it being illegal, but then what right does a parent to alter their child's appearance with, for example, a tattoo or piercing?

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There seems to be a wide disconnect between the outrage expressed here and the experiences of men who were circumcised. I'm cut myself and don't feel like I've been deformed or anything. I also don't recall seeing any victim testimonials about it. Perhaps some premise-checking is in order.

Edited by Mister A
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I tend to actually lean towards it being illegal, but then what right does a parent to alter their child's appearance with, for example, a tattoo or piercing?

None. Except that the comparison is stupid, because neither of those involve chopping off valuable, functional body parts that you can never get back.

There seems to be a wide disconnect between the outrage expressed here and the experiences of men who were circumcised. I'm cut myself and don't feel like I've been deformed or anything. I also don't recall seeing any victim testimonials about it. Perhaps some premise-checking is in order.

Did you know that most of the women in nations where FGM is practiced agree with the tradition and don't feel mutilated? Check your premises. Just because you don't feel that you are mutilated doesn't change the definition of the word.

What happened to the idea of non-initiation of force? Does that apply to everything except for the genitals of baby boys?

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For many uncircumcised men, the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis. The nerve endings are different to the nerves in the head - while the nerves in the head respond to direct touch and friction, the nerves in the foreskin respond more to being stretched. the sexual experience is supposed to have a variety of complimentary types of pleasure. Circumcision removes half of the total nerve endings, resulting on only one type of stimulation, and it reduces the sensitivity surface area by over half. Plus, it slightly reduces the girth of the penis. The only places that such a procedure makes medical sense is in horrible 3rd world desert nations with no regular bathing. Even then, third world nations need a prescription of Capitalism, not Circumcision.

There is a medical condition called "phimosis", a tight foreskin. Phimosis makes it painful to have sex or masturbate, and many guys who get sircumcised as adults do it for this reason. They report that sex feels much better afterwards, but that is only because a defect was corrected. Some children are being circumcised due to a 'tight foreskin' (phimosis). This is not good, because the foreskin is partially glued onto the head of the penis until puberty, and you should wait to see how it develops first - it may correct itself. Additionally, most cases of phimosis can be treated by regular stretching every day for a few minutes. This should not be too difficult for a teenage guy. Surgery should be rarely necessary for phimosis.

If you ever see people trying to justify something nasty, and their justifications keep changing every time you shoot one down, you know that you are dealing with something irrational. Circumcision is such an issue. The original excuses were, in order: Religion, to remove the pleasure of sex, for hygiene, so that the child will fit in with his peers in locker rooms, so that he will look like his dad, because women find it more attractive, because it reduces the risk of some very rare medical conditions, because it reduces the incidence of HIV in 3rd world nations (by reducing the surface area of the penis and reducing the type of cells hat can acquire it), and so on. Each of the 'scientific reasons' can be destroyed by applying an argument form absurdity: if the risk of rare penis cancers makes it necessary to remove the foreskin at birth, then the risk of common breast cancers makes it far more necessary to remove the breast tissue of all baby girls. Also, if people call for circumcision to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV, the logical extension calls for removing the head of the penis so that people are less likely to have sex, or to scar the inside of the urethra in order to make a stronger barrier against HIV. The fact that these people only call for a socially accepted surgery proves that their are only circumcision advocates, not health advocates.

Life is risky, yet pleasurable. If you want to cut off your body parts as an adult in order to reduce your risks of diseases in future, then by all means do so - but allow children to make those choices for themselves too. Don't assume that they will value pleasure as cheaply (or be as fearful of risks) as you are.

Edited by Sergio
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Did you know that most of the women in nations where FGM is practiced agree with the tradition and don't feel mutilated? Check your premises. Just because you don't feel that you are mutilated doesn't change the definition of the word.

Whenever there is a conflict between my experiences and the huffy feelings of someone else who never shared my experiences but is reacting to an abstraction, what do you expect me to think? I see you bring up 'definition' so I would appreciate if you didn't reply with a dictionary quote like many trolls here do. I don't fetishize semantics.

What happened to the idea of non-initiation of force? Does that apply to everything except for the genitals of baby boys?

Who are you addressing exactly?

Edited by Mister A
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I'm circumcised, or mutilated as some people here put it. I don't feel mutilated, I like the look of my penis. I'm not going to press charges on my mother and father for doing this to me. Maybe I'll do it to my son. Regardless of whether religious motives were -the first- reason why circumcision happened, I happen to like the aesthetic. Why is that your business? Shall I go through life downtrodden and angry that I was 'mutilated' as a child? Shall people I want to date ignore me or pity because I'm a victim of 'genital mutilation'?

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A child is not a tree on your property to prune as you please. Just because your parents chopped your branch and you like it doesn't give you the right to chop your sons branch for any reason other than a real danger to his health.

I was raised Catholic and my wife Islamic, but both of us are saner now than to try and harm any future children for the sake of aesthetics, or tradition, or cleanliness, and I think doing so nowadays means the parents have thrown all thought in the garbage along with the foreskin.

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Whenever there is a conflict between my experiences and the huffy feelings of someone else who never shared my experiences but is reacting to an abstraction, what do you expect me to think?

Your post is nonsense. There's not even a place to begin responding to it logically.

Your experiences do not change reality nor the definition of the word "mutilate," nor do they alter the rights of individuals to own their bodies. Your experiences and feelings do not enter into a debate about fundamental human rights.

Also, you completely dodged responding to my post in any meaningful way.

Who are you addressing exactly?

You, and any other occult barbarians that think it's a good idea to take a sharp piece of metal and shear off the skin of the penis of an infant.

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No. There is no justification for harmful/needless procedures on people who cannot choose. If there are benefits to circumcision, they can be chosen - or opted against - as an adult, just like with hair transplants, vasectomy etc.

That this is even up for discussion is a travesty. This is an obnoxious tradition that needs to be struck down. It is around because it is old.

Edited by L-C
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Your experiences do not change reality nor the definition of the word "mutilate," nor do they alter the rights of individuals to own their bodies. Your experiences and feelings do not enter into a debate about fundamental human rights.

Experience is not meant to change reality but to provide a frame of reference in case someone comes along throwing emotive adjectives and waving a dictionary in my face like it's a magic wand in a crude attempt to convince me that A is non-A.

Also, you completely dodged responding to my post in any meaningful way.

Since you seem to be intent on emoting and name-calling there's nothing to engage in a meaningful way.

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I'll add further that severing a newborn's umbilical cord or injecting it with a life-saving vaccine also fit the literal definition of concepts like 'mutilate' and 'initiation of force'. The only thing that makes circumcision different is that it is unnecessary; not brutal or crippling just unnecessary and I doubt I would want it to happen to my own son. So what this conflict boils down to is histrionic outrage versus rigid traditionalism; A fight any rational person should sit out from.

Yes, words have meanings that are meant to be consistent with observable reality but fetishizing literal definitions and using a dictionary as a crutch is evading the use of your own judgment.

Edited by Mister A
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How is this subject still going on? I don't understand how anyone could argue for genital mutilation.

The word circumsicion really applies only to males. It may be considered mutilation, but not much more so than pierced ears. The circumcised penis is about equal to a pristine one. So circumcision, while done for wrong resons, is mostly harmless. Boys don't end up traumatized or having abnormal sex lives. Also it's done mostly by either doctors or people with some medical training, so the risks are very small. It's a minor issue.

So-called female circumsicion is different. Look it up online, as I don't have the stomach for discussing it. It can be appropriately called Female Genital Mutilation. It's done at an older age, it's painful, mostly carried out by untrained people with plenty of risks for infection, it affects the sexual experience adversely. It should be fought hard and it should be illegal to pergorm it on girls, with or without their consent (they wouldn't know juat what they'd be consenting to).

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The word circumsicion really applies only to males. It may be considered mutilation, but not much more so than pierced ears. The circumcised penis is about equal to a pristine one.

I think the problem is a tendency to sanctify the phallus; equating even an inconsequential alteration as castration.

Edited by Mister A
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