In what is becoming a frequent practice of a secular left, the city of San Francisco has put on November’s ballot a proposal to ban the circumcision of children under the age of eighteen. In many ways the proposal is the inevitable result of certain aspects of secular leftist thinking, amongst them being that parents shouldn’t be able to influence the choices of their children with regard to lifestyle and belief, that the state is the primary protector and provider of health and wealth for it’s citizens, and that the most critical knowledge we have about any subject is the knowledge we acquired most recently. These elements compose what is rapidly becoming a recipe for overt and intrusive statism and despotism.
And it is no coincidence that such initiatives are occurring in our largest cities. Unlike most of theUS, many metropolitan areas are ruled by small cabals of the extreme left whose thinking would otherwise be unacceptable by populations not dominated by bureaucrats, public unions and radical academics.
In a very real sense this is where liberty and tradition coincide. Most people see tradition and communities based on tradition as conservative organs who are intrinsically resistant to change and ‘science’. And that can sometimes be the case – but they are also extremely valuable at protecting individuals from the overt power of the state which is ever seeking to impose its current political will. There is a tyrannical aspect to social engineering which urgently seeks to impose the latest political fashion on people fueled by the latest research. Rule by state imposed political correctness can be every bit as despotic as rule by gun or army; the difference between denying Jews the right to practice their cultural and religious distinctives and seeking to eliminate the Jews themselves is really only a matter of degree.
There have been many bellwethers of our eroding liberty, and this move by San Franciscois is just the latest. But until we decisively seek to preserve and respect the right of groups to act according to their traditions and beliefs (a right which should be safely ensconced in the 1st amendment) we are going to face increasing intrusion into our lives by the state, and an increasing denial of our basic liberties – and there may be no remedy for this at the ballot box.