AIDS, Pragmatism, and Faith… Oh My!

Normally, I’d just expand on the link sent. But as this particular link comes to us from GreginOz, one of HoT’s favorite commenters, I just have to share his description first.

UN AIDS meeting to analyse faith based bullshit versus use a fucking condon you fundy piece of shit! Ah America, where MORE single young women fall pregnant than any other 1st world country, where 50% percent of virginity pledges are broken in the first 12 months, where womb cancer drugs are banned because those filthy sluts are FILTHY SLUTS! Sent from the Batcave where I sit on my Battplug. Oooooooh.

Greg, you fucking rule.

Anyway, onto the story. The UN is holding an AIDS conference in New York, where they’re debating the best way to fight AIDS. On one side of the issue is the pro-condom crowd, who have people like Naomi Watts and things like facts on their side. On the other side is the pro-abstinence crowd, who have Laura Bush, fundamentalist Christianity and wishful thinking firmly in their camp.

A REPORT showing the battle against AIDS is being won has taken centre stage at a UN conference in New York, where fiery debate is expected between the sexual abstinence lobby of US first lady Laura Bush and pro-condom campaigners such as Australian actor Naomi Watts.
Mrs Bush will address the conference tomorrow, arguing the conservative White House line that education programs promoting abstinence should be the cornerstone of international AIDS prevention strategies.

Watts, who is attending the conference in her new capacity as a UNAIDS ambassador, publicly disagreed with the US abstinence policy last month, saying she was a “big believer in contraception protection”.

Mrs Bush is leading a 47-member US delegation to the conference that includes her daughter Barbara, abstinence pusher Anita Smith from the US presidential advisory council on HIV-AIDS, and Baptist minister Herb Lusk, an adviser to President George W. Bush on faith-based programs.

But the first lady will have a difficult time winning converts after the greater use of condoms was identified in the 2006 report from UNAIDS – the UN’s program on AIDS and HIV – as a major reason for inroads against the disease in some of the world’s worst-affected areas.

So yeah, if governments have taken on the duty to fight the scourge of AIDS, they have a duty to the citizen and the taxpayer to show results and to not violate anyone’s right to their own religion. Condoms do that; they’re not forced on anyone and they show results. Abstinence is usually rooted in religion and, while I personally partook of it growing up and it obviously worked, most people won’t and abstinence as a public health strategy is clearly not working.

Now, I know that thus far, I’m inviting a lot of comments along the line of “OMG STATISM ON HoT WTF” because I’m writing an article on foreign aid, the UN and “public health” without:

1) Calling for America to leave the UN
2) Calling for America to evict the UN from the country and blow it up
3) Calling for an immediate abolition of foreign aid
4) Affirming that there is no such thing as “public health,” you statist bastard

Now, let me explain WHY. You have to meet the non-abstinent masses where they’re at in order to reduce AIDS, you cannot impose an ideally perfect solution on them. Likewise, you have to meet the non-libertarian voter where they’re at to reduce the state, you can’t impose perfect liberty on them.

No matter how many anti-UN bitchouts are posted at, we have to face up to the fact that they’re not going away… at least not anytime soon. We also have to face up to the fact that 11,000 people are dying everyday from this disease, and when the solution is so cheap in the scheme of things ($15 billion over five years, or $3 billion a year, when we spend ten times that amount on highways alone), it’s not terribly relevant WHO does the job, so long as the job gets done.

So, I would think that it is more libertarian to have a big government that actually helps people than a big government that doesn’t. Yes, big government is not ideal. Yes, they’re going to incur a lot of waste in fighting AIDS. But unless we as libertarians wish people to continue thinking us heartless assholes (and many of them do), we need to bite back our aversion to big government and get involved in making it suck less. Then people will see that we care, and actually listen when we talk about the nobility of private charity, and we can actually DO something about big government instead of intellectually handjobbing each other about the revolution that’s never coming.

  1. Stuart, you filthy statist! How dare you suggest that government can ever do a single good thing to help anyone, ever? Don’t you know that every single thing government has ever done is 1000% EVAL? You and your state-defending Hammer of Statism comrades should move to Somalia where the true anarchist heroes will trample you all!

  2. The Hammer of Statism is missing a sickle.

    My job here is to stir the pot, in case you haven’t figured that out by now… what if AIDS was in effect invented by the government/media/big pharma complex. IE, what if it isn’t caused by HIV and there isn’t really an “AIDS”, but rather a series or number of conditions, lumped together which are classified as such.

    Surely such institutions have a lot to gain from AIDS, bird flu and any other incurable plague du jour. We need to be protected from these things!

  3. Carevul, DD,

    Tell too much truth in this world, the shredders come after you….

    Just for the record, Stuart, cervical cancer is caused by a virus carried by rats. Possible most-likely transmittal method is drinking soda from cans left sitting in warehouses where rats can piss on them.


  4. AIDS continues to spread in the developing world because they keep screwing like rabbits – condom or no condom. At the risk of exposing my own fundamentalism, I’m for a pro-abstinence policy here, its the only sure fix.

    A little personal responsibility and not the false promise of a UN or government approved condom would go a long way and sounds like just the thing we libertarians can get behind.

  5. Personal responsibility would mean the government not dicking around in this in the first place-why should they care what you do with your personal life or how it affects you? They shouldn’t even be in the education business anyway, if we want to be perfectly, strictly libertarian here.

    We’re seeing government intervention ANYWAY. The sheer, obvious fact is that abstinence sucks as a strategy. America employs abstinence and is seeing higher teenage pregnancy rates than Europe, higher STD infection rates. Knowing this, and knowing that we’re not in a strong enough position to end government intervention… let’s go with the government intervention that actually WORKS. Let’s throw what influence we have behind what works, instead of mixing our efforts or scoffing from the sidelines because it’s just another big gub’mint program.

  6. But the point here Stuart is that government intervention never works. Why would we work to increase the size of government at all or waste our time sidestepping the issue?

    It would be negligent to support a government program for something that like this that is supposed to have people’s lives in the balance. Government programs do to opposite of what they are intended to do. Thus, we can count on AIDS cases increasing. Please reread my post above. Whether my devil’s advocacy is true or not, it would be in the best interests for AIDS to increase. We see this in Africa, actually where every sick person is diagnosed with AIDS. But we realistically know how government operates. I will not advocate ANY government action here. The best solution is to get government out of the way and let people decided if they want to abstain or use rubbers. Your false solution is not just counterproductive, but antithetical to our cause and probably dangerously negligent.

  7. Indeed.

    The solution here is not to have any government agency involved at all. For the only thing that will happen to that aid money is the same thing that happens to all the other aid money that gets poured into Africa:

    It winds up in the hands of dictators. Aid rarely or never reaches its intended recipients.

    And you want to support this?

  8. Whether my devil’s advocacy is true or not, it would be in the best interests for AIDS to increase.

    What you’re saying is that it’s in the best interests for more people to die. If you were running for office, that’s how that statement would be taken.

    Also, you’re ignoring the actual facts… go look up some studies. THIS IS WORKING. In countries where condoms have been handed out… infection rates have dropped. Where abstinence has been preached, infection rates have soared.

    It’s not increasing the size or power of government to support this. The government is going to spend billions of dollars on this no matter what we say or do right now. We can’t change the fact that they’re spending the money. What we MIGHT be able to do is increase the effectiveness of that money. A statist program that works is more libertarian than a statist program that doesn’t. We could have a policy that increases liberty without making us look like monsters to the average Joe.

  9. Mistype there… I meant to say, “Whether my devil’s advocacy is true or not, it would be in THEIR best interests for AIDS to increase.” THEIR meaning government politicos, bureacrats, big pharma, blah blah the usual suspects.

  10. Okay, that makes more sense then. But still… if you think it’s one big conspiracy, then why are we even playing the political game? Why even have a Libertarian Party if we can’t rest on the assumption that playing the game of politics can help advance libertarian goals?

  11. We aren’t monsters of course, and it’s our job to communicate that effectively. Not to run around entrenching bad policies that are going to affect people badly because we are poor communicators. Statist programs DO NOT WORK and that is my contention despite all your global warming horsecrap studies. Probably conducted by the people enacting the program.

    If we don’t oppose the spending, then of course we’ll never get it repealed. Being so fond of the defeatist attitude of “if you can’t beat em, join em”, maybe you would like it over at the GOP. Or if you like more populist rhetoric, the DNC.

  12. I’m not sure it’s a conspiracy for one, Stuart. Political action is a complex instrument. I think that it is an effective tool to employ for the furtherance of our goals, but let’s be clear what the goals are and not embroil ourselves in surrendering those goals and working against their achievement.

  13. Oh GAWD, not the “love it or leave it” crap again.

    This AIDS program is obviously not meant to run forever. Just as long as it takes to get the problem under control. After that, I’d fully expect a Libertarian administration to be able to politically get away with quietly ending the funding.

    But we need to get the problem under control before axing it altogether becomes politically feasible… meaning we have to support condoms, not abstinence, as the lesser of two evils of government intervention.

  14. It’s not surrendering a goal to realize what is politically feasible and what is not.

    You do what is feasible, and when the people see it working, they trust you… and as they continue to trust you, more of your plan becomes feasible until finally it all is. This is called incrementalism, and it’s what I’m proposing here. It’s just that in real life, we can only start out with baby steps (compared to what most libertarians think “incrementalism” is) if we want to get anywhere.

    I’m not throwing out the end goal, don’t think that. I just can see the steps we’ll have to take to get there.

  15. No government program was enacted with the public intention of perpetuity. The PATRIOT Act was enacted as a temporary measure. So was that telephone tax for the Spanish American War and just about anything else. They are all there just as long as it takes to get their respective problems under control. And of course political organizations that supported them when they started can’t flip-flop and oppose them any time soon. Besides, by the time plenty of people are feeding at the trough after several expansions of the program, it would be political suicide to end it because you would lose a constituency.

    Your suggested steps to get to our shared goal will get us there about as quickly as a treadmill will get me to California. Never. But at least you’ll get a good workout.

  16. I just don’t see how this can gain a new constituency though. There will be no need for it after AIDS infection rates are low enough, which is pretty much guaranteed after a generation. After that, the existence of the conservative “no foreign aid” constituency coupled with a stronger libertarian constituency should be sufficient to kill it off.

  17. stuart,

    D.D’s stated goal here is to :stir the pot:

    he’s nother one of them thar no government next Wed. types.

  18. don’t have sex with an infected person and you won’t get AIDS. i know this because i have been educated. if i choose to ignore the facts that is my responsibility. people in africa can be educated as well.

  19. how can you tell the ones who are vs. the ones who arent? Lotta hiv+ people look perfectly normal for years and years.

    Much of Africa does not operate on “standard” Judeo-Christian “values” – whch are as foreign to them as you being forced to adopt Al-Queda’s “values” would be.

    It’s too bad that the one organization that could honestly take over from the world’s governments – organized religion – is too busy moralizing and condemning millions in direct violation of Christ’s word.

    But they are too busy acting like modern day Pharasees to actually make a difference in the fight….just like libertarians do.

  20. Personally, if anyone asked me what I thought of this issue, I’d tell them that this is another example of why the UN shouldn’t exist – it lets tyrants and crazy fundies like the busheviks set policies for the world to follow. Better to let people spend their money on orgs like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders that we could expect to show significantly better results and significantly fewer rapes.

    Of course, if I was pressed, I’d say that while the UN is allowed to exist, it should do better than “save your virginity for Jesus” education. I don’t see anything contradictory about this stance.

    And no, I don’t have a problem with how Stuart is going at the issue. I really don’t get why so many libertarians act like we all need to use the same strategy and emphasize the same issues in the same way at all times. I’d rather see us all actually TRY what we say is the best way, instead of endlessly arguing with each other over who is giving who intellectual handjobs.

  21. here’s another bone to throw in. What if I were to say that the government’s duty in this case WAS to get the word out that AIDS is not good and that these following methods prevent you from getting it: do with them as you will. Basically, I think the government has a fiduciary duty to ensure that the people they represent get the whole story and decide the actions for themselves.

  22. “Basically, I think the government has a fiduciary duty to ensure that the people they represent get the whole story and decide the actions for themselves.”

    Judging from the stories that governments have fed people in the past, this seems impossible. What will stop them from lying or skewing the news to their contributors’ or cause’s favor? And of course the official word of government will hold bigger sway with the public than any dissenters.

  23. The government has no such fiduciary responsibility. If it does, then it has a fiduciary responsibility to bomb Iraq, rattle sabers with false accusations towards Iran, tax us heavily, bar gays from marrying, mandate abortion, regulate everything etc etc.

    The only fiduciary responsibility government has is to abide by it’s Constitution. Period. End of story.

  24. As a libertarian, does that preclude manifesting kindness? I remember vaguely that christian kindness once existed. How is it that hate filled funde-mental-ism has supplanted human decency? As for suggesting abstinence – go fuck yourself, no pun intended! My screed includes ownership of my own body, and no hate filled, sexually repressed, evangelical, sanctimonius butt-fucker is EVER going to influence me. Condoms WORK, abstinence is a joke. I’d suggest stop fuckin’ moralising and get on with supplying condoms. And, in the spirit of friendship, I shan’t make Mrs Bush wear a condom…I’ll fuck her up the arse instead!

  25. Nigel,

    HPV (Human papillomavirus) is not a thing, it’s a class of 30-80 viruses named (papilloma) for the anatomical anomaly within which they are found and which they are presumed to cause: warts and soft-tissue ‘nipples’, or bumps.

    Which is to say that they are not defined by their name, only described as to locational manifestation. That’s typical of medical nomenclature: disease “names” are more often than not mere descriptions of symptoms and manifestations and tell nothing of causes.

    Speaking of causes, only about 10 of the 30-80 (depends on if you’re an American or British publication) identified genital HPV types can lead, in rare cases, to development of cervical cancer.

    In rare cases. In truth, there is no actual proof, only a high-incidence association.

    Either way, where does this virus come from? Not all viruses are carcinogenic, and not all are biological immaculate conceptions.

    According to recent literature…

  26. …According to recent [reports], the primary culprit is a virus that has hopped the biological chain from rats to people, a rarity in itself, but one which, if it can happen between one rat and one person can happen between all rats and all persons.

    And where is this virus found in rats? In their bladders and urine.

    What’s the most likely transmission vehicle for rat urine to people? Hand-to-body contamination from handling rats and rat-urinated substances, and packaging-to-mouth ingestion from non-sterile warehoused goods.

    What’s the most common packaging regularly sucked on by people? Soda cans.

    Wash and wipe the can, dammit. Even if it’s just to prevent aluminum-oxide poisoning.

    Can you say, “cold sores” (oral herpes, a type of papillomavirus ‘nipple’)?