This isn’t an issue that can be won or lost with legislation. It goes deeper than that. It’s about attitudes and values. It could just be the ultimate issue in the great debate between rationalism and tradition. And tradition still runs strong. Legislation is probably doomed to fail, no matter where the reasoning leads us. That’s how politics works. Or rather, how it often doesn’t. Prohibiting something that 50% of American parents are already doing is a non-starter. Change minds first. Yes, it will be difficult. But reducing the amount of cruelty in the world always is.
Jason Kuznicki, in an excellent post on circumcision. Read the whole thing.
Another nice paragraph:
Look closely: This is what a taboo looks like. It’s a familiar, domesticated taboo, not some alien Polynesian thing about how women aren’t allowed to eat bananas. It makes sense, apparently, until that moment at which it stops making any sense whatsoever: Here we see how a very unreasonable thing is defended by a colossally unreasonable thing, and then the debate is over. Taboo.
I think a more useful introspective strategy in understanding taboo and bigotry is to think about bestiality or consensual adult incest. Chances are, you’ll find these things deeply disgusting and your gut will tell you that they should be prevented. If you’re a liberal, you might even come up with an argument as to how these actions violate someone’s rights. We need to recognize that this is the reaction many people have to homosexuality, interracial marriage, etc. Trying to override these gut reactions will often be impossible: social change has to be a generational thing.