Last night a thought came to my mind on a possible reason why the circumcision debate, although strong among today's new parents in America, is not getting as much attention as issues such as abortion or health care reform. The latter two issues are largely split along the liberal vs. conservative line, while both the strongest supporters and opponents of circumcision tend to be liberals. Jews and Muslims (two groups with their long tradition of circ) tend to lean left, as do the "free-thinking" anti-circ crowd (e.g. a dominant group in San Francisco, where a circ ban will be on the ballot in a few months). American conservatives, on the other hand, are as a whole neutral on the circ issue (with neither a religious or other tradition nor a strong incentive to disapprove of it). This is of course a generalization; individual results may vary (thought I'd put in that disclaimer).
This also explains how the circumcision rate in the two "blue state" regions vary a lot (the West's low circ rate vs. the high rate farther north and east), with the conservative South falling in between.
A lot of conservative people are strongly opposed to infant circumcision. It goes along with individual liberties, if the issue is presented in terms of politics- I think that few would have trouble "getting it" but the same problems face conservatives as liberals as anyone else who is circumcised or has circumcised- they lose their objectivity. Circumcision exists outside any other logical connections in their beliefs.
To put it simply- you can never know who is "on your side" ...don't make assumptions. The is a fantastic video interview with Van Lewis on youtube, telling the story of his arrest for protesting circumcision back in the 70's. After his arrest, his father called a lawyer to get him out of jail... both his father and the lawyer though Van had lost his mind- but the sherrif, upon learning what Van had been arrested for- backed him up and told everyone that he thought Van was right in his beliefs- he also confirmed that he was intact, his whole family was intact and that he had not circumcised his sons. You never know.
A lot of people who look "conservative" are really libertarians who choose a traditional lifestyle for themselves. May vote Republican as a practical matter.
Many libertarians are not aware that circumcision does not offer the *child* any benefit (or any appreciable benefit). We are certainly told over and over it does, but, point out that the purported benefits (HIV, HPV, etc), if real, are of benefit to the adult male. Once this is explained, most will wholeheartedly assign all foreskin decisions to the person involved.
Libertarians do not want anyone messing with our wallets, pistols or anything else that goes in our pants, without consent.
This morning I thought of another interesting find on regions and circ rates: I don't remember exactly where I saw the graph, but it was one that took the regional circ rates back to sometime in the 1970s or early 1980s. It may surprise you which region you're most likely to encounter an intact adult American-born male. The South was the holdout in the high-circ days, with about 1 in 3 boys born during that era in that region escaping the knife (in contrast to the 80-90% national circ rate of the time). It wasn't until sometime later in the 80s or the 90s that the West took the national lead in intactness (and as I've said the South still has the second-lowest circ rate of the four major regions).
Nah, I don't think there is a correlation. In my mind, the split is between people with curious, flexible minds, and people who are neither curious nor flexible and rather fear-based. That may correlate politically, but I doubt it, as the true libertarians would throw it off.