When all you have is a hammer

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Ethics, HIV, Logic | 1 Comment »

I’ve written about the blog The Case Against Intactivism before. I don’t expect much when a rare new post comes through RSS from paper0airplane. There are valid criticisms to be made about the behavior of some activists. To that extent, I don’t mind paper0airplane approach. I avoid engaging in those behaviors because they’re flawed and unhelpful. And I’ve criticized bad behavior in the past. I have no concerns about my credibility on this, or the credibility of many others I interact with, so paper0airplane’s posts aren’t about me. That’s why their general focus is frustrating¹.

So it is again with the latest post, AIDS workers baby rapists, which highlights examples of idiots celebrating the deaths of prominent AIDS researchers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 because the researchers maybe had connections to circumcision. I don’t know what else to say about those intactivists beyond this: any individual engaging in this behavior is an untrustworthy ass and no ally of mine. Personally, I’m for individual rights. That includes the right to not have one’s genitals altered for non-therapeutic reasons without one’s consent. It also includes the right to not get blown out of the sky by murderers. Obviously. This isn’t complicated for most activists. But that doesn’t sell a canned argument.

It’s also clear how short-sighted these idiots are. I have no idea which portion of those who died were involved in research promoting circumcision for HIV risk reduction. All or none, it doesn’t matter. Their deaths are bad for the push for bodily integrity over circumcision without consent because some of the smartest minds searching for an end to HIV are now dead. Even if every one of them pushed circumcision, their absence means fewer knowledgeable people looking for a cure. I’d guess that means a push for circumcision is more likely, or at least likely to continue longer than if the researchers were still here working.

But, again, regardless, celebrating their deaths is ugly, garbage behavior. It’s wrong. I do not support it.

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The point I still take from paper0airplane’s overall approach is that the good intactivists should call themselves something else because the bad intactivists are ruining the term. Well, sure, if your gig is talking about any activists as if they’re all guilty of what the idiots among them do, you’d suggest this change. A flaw in that rests with paper0airplane. If I call myself an intactivist and don’t engage in awful behavior, why am I the one who should abandon² the label? The label is a decent, if goofy, expression of what this activism wants. I don’t call myself an intactivist precisely because it’s so easy for others to smear or to lazily blame me for the terrible tactics of others. But whatever I call myself, it isn’t my responsibility to relabel myself because paper0airplane criticizes too broadly.

¹ We can all play this silly, unfair game. But I’m not willing to suggest that everyone who supports non-therapeutic child circumcision must own Vernon Quaintance. That isn’t a reasonable demand.

² It’s reasonable to abandon it because enough people associate it with the actions of a few. The cause and effect issue there would be an interesting discussion.


One Comment on “When all you have is a hammer”

  1. 1 Choose Intact » Blog Archive » Standards for thee, not for me said at 9:06 am on August 9th, 2014:

    […] my last post about The Case Against Intactivism, I wrote that I think “paper0airplane’s overall approach […]


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