Submitted by frlarry on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 10:53

It seems to be more effort than its worth to find a definition of intactivism on the Internet, but a search for the word on Wikipedia yields circumcision controversies. I can only guess that the word refers to a movement to preserve male foreskin in its original, God-given location. Obviously, this has raised the hackles of many who are religiously descended from the faith of Abraham, who, according to the Book of Genesis, originated the practice in obedience to God. It has also raised a number of eyebrows in the medical community, which has long considered male circumcision to have a variety of preventative benefits. One might compare the medical controversy to the one over tonsillectomy. The controversy over circumcision, however, strays into hyper-individualism. The idea, according to the Associated Press report (see "Circumcision ban to appear on San Francisco ballot") is that parents should not be permitted to make this decision for their child…

Supporters of the ban say male circumcision is a form of genital mutilation that is unnecessary, extremely painful and even dangerous. They say parents should not be able to force the decision on their young child.

"Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what's in the best interest of the child. It's his body. It's his choice," said Lloyd Schofield, the measure's lead proponent and a longtime San Francisco resident. He added the cutting away of the foreskin from the penis is a more invasive medical procedure than many new parents or childless individuals realize.

But opponents say such claims are alarmingly misleading, and call the proposal a clear violation of constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

By that logic, parents should not be allowed to make the decision to cut the umbilical cord, because that could be painful to the infant. Parents should not be allowed to insist that their child wear braces on their teeth, because that could be painful and embarrassing. And so on, ad infinitum. The same folks that would prevent parents from making such decisions for their children would no doubt also insist that children not be raised in the parents' faith tradition. The question naturally arises in this context, "Why have parents at all?"

What's really behind the intactivist movement can only be guessed at. I'm willing to guess that it has to do with people fuming over what their parents put them through as children, and they want to do their utmost to protect children everywhere from parents everywhere. It never seems to have occurred to them that if they suffered actual trauma at the hands of their parents, their experience is not universal, but an aberration. And their logic is an embarrassment.