Simply strange ones

But Giles Fraser looks quite thoughtful compared to Ed West in the Telegraph.

…people are not naturally moral relativists, and female circumcision cannot be viewed in any way as an acceptable cultural practice, violating all Western ethical principles, scarring women for life out of sheer spiteful misogyny.

But it’s inevitable that any movement that has been proved right and principled will then push its ideology too far until it too becomes intolerant and ludicrous, and the campaign against male circumcision is just one example. In theory removing a foreskin could be seen as a violation of a child’s rights, but that’s to take a theoretical liberal argument to an absurd and illiberal position. It equates genuinely horrific and immoral alien cultural practices with simply strange ones, which almost becomes an extreme reverse cultural relativism – all cultures that aren’t mine are equally bad.

Absurd and illiberal? To tell parents they can’t snip off a bit of their baby’s penis just because it’s supposed to be a religious obligation? Come on. I can see saying there are tensions, but to blow off the issue that easily is…well, absurd and illiberal.

Of course most people are not saying that circumcision is anywhere as bad as FGM, but that it does mutilate the child and so violate individual rights…But liberalism should mean distinguishing between abusive, unacceptable cultural forms that violate individual freedom and ones you just don’t agree with (which, to some New Atheists, is going to mean pretty much all religious upbringings).

Yes but in what sense is it clear that snipping off a bit of a baby’s penis for non-medical reasons is not an abusive, unacceptable cultural form that violates individual freedom?

I would disagree with Fraser over only one thing – calling this liberalism. It’s actually statism, an ideology that causes far more child cruelty than all the religions in Europe combined.

Ah right, it’s the fault of New Atheism and statism. That’s that sorted.