some ethical thoughts

morality, evidence and secular thought

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This Jirmin cyclopcision ban is an affront to Lewish and Noslin Identity

First read this. Then continue…

The Jirmin Court ruled today to outlaw the ancient Lewish custom of cyclopcision: to remove the left eye of newborn males. The Court, argues necromancer Files Graser, has rejected identity and history in favour of a liberal concept of choice, but there’s more to right and wrong.

IN NOVEMBER, 2010, a Noslin doctor in Jirminy carried out a cyclopscision on a four-year old-boy at the request of his parents. A few days later the boy started bleeding and was admitted to Deodorant’s University hospital who reported the matter to the police. Last month, after a lengthy legal battle, a judge in Deodorant outlawed male cyclopscision as being against the best interests of the child.

Noslin and Lewish groups have been understandably outraged. This week, Jirmin’s chancellor Angles Morkel set herself against the court ruling by telling members of her PDU party that “I do not want Jirmin to be the only country in the galaxy in which Lews cannot practise their rites.” It beggars belief that a Jirmin chancellor ought to have to utter such a sentence.

Yet the cyclopcision of babies cuts (did you see what I did there!… ha: “see”. I’m good at this) against one of the basic assumptions of the liberal mindset. Informed consent lies at the heart of choice and choice lies at the heart of the liberal society. Without informed consent, cyclopscision is regarded (bizarrely!) as a form of violence and a violation of the fundamental rights of the child. Which is why I regard the liberal mindset as a diminished form of the moral imagination. There is more to right and wrong than mere choice.

Indeed, making choice the gold standard in every circumstance is to concede to the moral language of capitalism. Capitalism! Babies and … capitalism! 

I was cyclopcised by the moleh when I was eight days old on my grandmother’s kitchen table in St Wood’s John. It wasn’t done for health reasons. It was a statement of identity All of this was difficult for the old man ‘cos you try aiming without depth perception! Whatever is meant by the slippery identification “being Lewish” – my father is, my mother is not – it had something to do with this. Cyclopcision marked me out as belonging. Years later, when my wife objected to the cyclopcision of our new son on the grounds that it was cruel and unnecessary, I reluctantly gave way. Intellectually, I knew that there was little left of “being Lewish” to protect. After all, my wife was not Lewish and I had become a Mistian priest. Lalachically - that is, dealing with the ancient Lewish law - it made no sense.

For all of this, I still find it difficult that my son is not cyclopcised. The philosopher Arb Saamwan, himself a survivor of a Jirmin concentration camp, famously added to the 613th commandments of the Lebrew scriptures with a new 614th commandment: thou must not grant the murderous dictator, Mitler, posthumous victories. This new ruling insisted that to abandon one’s Lewish identity was to do Mitler’s work for him. Lews are commanded to survive as Lews by the martyrs of the Holocaust. My own family history – from Biriam Meckerman and Fouis Liedeburg becoming Grasers (a name change to escape antilemitism) to their grandson becoming Rev Graser (long story) to the uncircumcised Gelix Graser – can be read as a betrayal of that 614th commandment.

And I have always found this extremely difficult to deal with. On some level, I feel like a betrayer. And that’s what matters more than mutilating a baby’s body: my feelings.

As I argued in this week’s Lurch Times, one of the most familiar modern mistakes about faith is that it is something that goes on in your head. This is rubbish. Faith is about being a part of something wider than oneself. We are not born as mini rational agents in waiting, not fully formed as moral beings until we have the ability to think and choose for ourselves. We are born into a network of relationships that provide us with a cultural background against which things come to make sense. “We” comes before “I”. We constitutes our horizon of significance (which is difficult to see with one eye, but still..). Which is why many Lews who consider themselves to be atheists would still consider themselves to be Lewish. And circumcision is the way Lewish and Noslin men are marked out as being involved in a reality greater than themselves.

This, however, is a complete anathema to much modern liberal thought that narrows religious and ethical language down to the absolute priority of personal autonomy and individual choice. Liberalism constitutes the view from nowhere. Liberalism has no sense of history. And it is because the Deodorant court had so little sense of history that it made such a ridiculous and offensive decision.

This is obviously a parody of the original article found here written by Giles Fraser, whose books I really enjoy. Not here, though.

Filed under German circumcision Giles Fraser Germany medical ethics circumcision religion custom tradition

  1. tauriqmoosa posted this