American Elephants


San Francisco Busybodies Strike Again! by The Elephant's Child

Did you leave your heart in San Francisco? That city has already banned military recruiting, plastic bags, cat declawing, new billboards, ATM fees, citywide phonebook delivery, Styrofoam takeout boxes, officials’ travel to Arizona, and toys with Happy Meals and now has a ballot measure to outlaw the circumcision of minors.  Should the ballot measure win in November, the operation would become a crime punishable by a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

The informative post at the Foundry (Tales of Red Tape #11) doesn’t mention who gets the fine or the jail term. The Mohel (the person who performs the Jewish ritual of circumcision), the parent (which one?), the Rabbi, or the baby. There is almost no likelihood that such a ban, if actually passed, would withstand a constitutional challenge. It is a religious ritual among Muslims as well as Jews, among others.  But the tendency of some to try to force their individual preferences on others— the Busybody Syndrome— shows no signs of disappearing.

Election officials verified that “intactivists” have acquired more than the necessary number of signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Groups such as the National Organization of Restoring Men (now NORM), (previously RECAP) attempt to claim that circumcision is equivalent to the barbaric genital mutilation of girls practiced mostly in northeast Africa.  Most medical professionals say that such a claim is wildly inaccurate.

Busybodies are more prevalent among Democrats, as the actions of the 111th Congress clearly demonstrate, but Republicans are sometimes guilty as well. There are many annoyances in life, but attempting to legislate them out of existence is seldom a bright idea. Irving Kristol once wrote: “In every society the overwhelming majority of people live lives of considerable frustration and if society is to endure it needs to rely on a goodly measure of stoical resignation.” Good advice!




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