I've been wanting to comment on that anti-circumcision decision in Cologne. That is happened in Germany really gave me chills. I won't pretend to know what the judge in question was thinking -- I'm not suggesting he is anti-Semitic (and yes, I know the ruling affects Muslims, as well). But it seems to me there is something rather brazen about a German judge making a ruling along those lines.
And for the record, I think it's a stupid ruling.
So does Ed West and he sees cultural relativism as the force behind it:
It’s hard to see where this new mania came from. The medical and scientific arguments against male circumcision seem thin at best, and the process may even have various benefits (it can reduce the rate of HIV transmission).
The roots of this sinister movement probably lie in the split that divided liberalism over multiculturalism and cultural relativism, which was opened by the Satanic Verses saga. On the one side were the ascendant multiculturalists who saw Rushdie as inadvertently helping to demonise Muslims and their cultural rights; on the other, people like Christopher Hitchens who followed the Denis Diderot principle that people are equal, but cultural behaviours aren’t, and that liberals should not enable barbaric behaviour towards women (or homosexuals or atheists) just because the bad guys have brown skin. (You could look at it in Haidtian terms as a conflict over victims – non-whites v women and gays.)
The latter group of liberals took a more honest and principled stand and their view has rightly come to prevail; anyone who defended female circumcision these days as "cultural identity" would be laughed out of town.
That’s because 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.
I'll add one more thought here -- one that West doesn't articulate: uncircumcised penises look weird, ok?