Daulton Gatto asked to interview me. I agreed on the condition that he first answer a question from my last post. In response to Daulton’s alleged critiques of my “stupid arguments which claim to show that Mike Gatto likes to cut up baby boysâ€™ wieners with surgical instruments,” I asked: “Why do you state my claim as something unconnected to what Iâ€™ve written?” I got something resembling an answer.
â€œTonyâ€ seems to have taken issue with a statement I made in a previous post, which spoke to his implied belief that Mike Gatto likes to cut up baby boysâ€™ wieners with surgical instruments. While I will acknowledge that Tony never actually stated such a belief in so many words, it is my position that his distorted interpretation of California AB 768 provides ample justification to draw such a conclusion.
The link you provide to California AB 768 doesn’t contradict my interpretation of the bill, which you excerpted in your answer. The rest of your answer appears to recognize that I interpreted the bill correctly. Instead, you’re agitated about this:
… I stated that [Mike Gatto] believes male minors do not have the same rights to their bodies as every other citizen of California. … But he incorrectly believes he and every other parent has the valid authority to choose, and, in his capacity as a legislator, to protect that authority in law.
That is the gist. The authority to impose non-therapeutic genital surgery on a child is illegitimate.
To which I respond:
Of course parents have the authority to have their infant children circumcised. Do you really expect a newborn baby to make this decision for himself? Or do you think that every single male in the world should be forced to wait until they gain legal control over their own medical care to have their stinky, ugly foreskin snipped off? As the proud owner of a smooth, polished penis … I can unequivocally state that my own experience with circumcision has been overwhelmingly positive …
Your thinking on this is too narrow. It’s absurd to imagineÂ¹ that parental authority is specific within genital cutting so that it only applies to the healthy prepuce of a son but not the healthy prepuce of a daughter. As I wrote before, if parents have the authority you say they possess, that applies to control over their daughters’ genitals, too. It would be about the parents, not the child. Yet California law already prohibits this for exactly the reasons I state that non-therapeutic male circumcision is not a legitimate parental choice. Non-therapeutic genital cutting is an individual rights issue for the child (i.e. the surgical patient), which trumps this supposed parental right to proxy consent for sons only. The right to bodily integrity is the core of self-ownership and includes the genitals, even for male minors.
I don’t expect a newborn baby to make this decision, or any decision. But the standard for proxy consent (i.e. parental authority) is not “babies can’t make decisions for themselves”. And you have a curious understanding of what “force” entails. I think that every single male should be able to choose, absent medical need before he is able to decide for himself. No male should be forced to live with a circumcision he does not need, probably won’t need, and may not want. I don’t think this requires that he wait until he’s an adult to choose, but it should never be forced on him without need or his consent.
I’m happy for you that your experience with your circumcision has been positive. You don’t have to share my preference for my body. I don’t have to share your preference for your body. That’s the uncomplicated thing about individual preferences. They’re all subjective to the individual. A presumption of shared circumcision preference between a child and his parents is too convenient for public policy. It assumes away the value of self-ownership to the individual himself.
Parents have the legal right to make decisions about the medical care of their children until their children come of age. Otherwise, emergency rooms around the country would be filled with blubbering infants going â€œga ga goo goo ooga bahfah fumâ€ when doctors ask them whether or not they want their booster shots. …
I haven’t said anything suggesting otherwise about a general approach to parenting and its interaction with the State. I didn’t write that parents do not have the authority to make medical decisions, period. You’re not claiming I did, but this isn’t a good buildup for where you’re going with it.
… This legal right necessarily extends to circumcision, …
Necessarily? We agree that parents may choose circumcision where there is medical need, although I’ll add that there is an ethical duty to exhaust less invasive solutions first. This legal right does not “necessarily” extend to non-therapeutic circumcision. All you’ve done here is argue “Parents make decisions, Circumcision is a decision, Parents may decide on circumcision.”
… and the only objections are coming from a small minority of extremist demagogues who erroneously believe that Mike Gattoâ€™s protection of parental rights is tantamount to supporting genital mutilation. …
I recommend that you look up the definition of demagogue again, and perhaps reread our series of posts after doing so, before tossing it around like that.
Mike Gatto protected genital mutilation. I do not know if he supports genital mutilation. Again, if AB768 bill protects a valid parental right, then the California penal code violates parental rights. Mike Gatto is duty-bound to try to correct that if he and you are correct about a parental right to have a child’s healthy genitals cut to satisfy their own preferences.
… I see no reason to offer a more thorough explanation, as it is my firm belief that your argument critiques itself by its circular and misguided nature. Itâ€™s Sunday, Iâ€™m hung over, and I canâ€™t be bothered to make an exhaustive list of the endless number of logical fallacies youâ€™ve and your supporters have committed.
Don’t worry, you were thorough enough to show the gaps in your argument.
Â¹ I take it as a given that you oppose female genital cutting, as prohibited in California law. Please correct me if I’ve assumed too much on that point.