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Pass the prophylactics, please

December 15, 2010

Recently, the NYT’s stated that “Pope Benedict XVI has said that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS, the Vatican’s first exception to a long-held policy banning contraceptives.”  I can just see the Fifth Column, I mean the Fourth Estate sending up a collective cheer for this, “…something of a milestone for the church and a significant change for Benedict, who faced intense criticism last year when, en route to AIDS-plagued Africa, he said condom use did not help prevent the spread of AIDS, only abstinence and fidelity did.”  I can imagine the thoughts of some, who while sipping their chardonnay, bray over how enlightened the Pope is becoming.  Maybe there is hope for the Catholic Church yet.

And what is the catch-because you just knew there would be?  While I know the vaunted journalists believe that an interview with any one of them constitutes an encyclical enunciation from the Papacy, the Pope’s lengthy and detailed responses to questions from German journalist Peter Seewald as detailed by George Weigel in his Deflating the NYT Condom Scoop, clearly show that “No, the pope did not change Catholic teaching on condoms.”  It is worth your time to read both articles to gain a further understanding of how those in the press, motivated by their particular bias, spin a story to suit their agenda.  This sort of reinterpretation can take place on the Left or the Right however my observation is that typically the Left is the side in need of deconstructionism to attempt to lend credibility to their otherwise vacuous, amoral, and unpalatable tripe which they try to pass off as pate, when it is clearly liverwurst.

I admire Charles Krauthammer for his conservatism and clarity in most matters however a recent statement he made regarding World AIDS Day had one disturbing aspect in my view:

I think there are two wonderful stories here. One is American generosity and the other is American science. Generosity is what the president has done on behalf of the American people, spending billions of dollars in Africa which dramatically altered the course of the disease.

And even though President Bush implied strategic interest, there was none. This was entirely an act of compassion and generosity on the part of America, really unmatched in the world.

But secondly, underlying it is not only we gave the drugs away, it’s that we developed the drugs. The great story here is that virus emerges in the early ’80s. We have no idea what it is. The viruses are traditionally extremely hard to find, identify, and tame. We can do it with bacteria, but with the viral illness it’s much harder.

And in three decades we turn a death sentence into a chronic condition. It’s an amazing story of mostly American science yoked with American generosity, and it saved millions of lives.

Sounds great doesn’t it?  An “act of compassion and generosity on the part of America,” except can we really call an act by the Government of the United States “compassionate”, when by definition the State is a coercive power which confiscates your hard earned money by the force of law and then unilaterally and arbitrarily determines what cause it deems worthy to be generous toward?  Sounds more like the “social justice” movement of late, where Government is a benevolent arbiter of the equitable redistribution of wealth.  Something which history clearly demonstrates the State is incapable of since “Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerant one.” (Thomas Paine)

I am cognizant that the this “act of compassion” has saved millions however I am certain the furthest thought from the Founders’ minds was Government as the purveyor of such generosity.  Their definition of charity emanated from a free people moved by compassion and accountable to a Supreme Being freely associating to address the ills of their fellow men.  Such as Benjamin Franklin, when he raised money to start our nation’s first hospital.  Here are a few quotes for your contemplation:

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” – Benjamin Franklin

“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” -Thomas Jefferson

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” – James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.”  – James Madison

Yes, the American people are compassionate and generous, freely giving over $300 billion to charities in 2009. And yes, our Government does act unilaterally using our military in times of natural disaster to rush assistance to stricken parts of the globe, but that is ideologically and principally worlds apart from it choosing to generously “spread the wealth around.”  American charity is the domain of a free people giving freely out of the kindness of their hearts through non-governmental organizations, charities, and religious organizations the world over.  Just think how much more we could do and give if our Government stopped acting on our behalf and let us act on our own.

One more item regarding the topic of AIDS, it knows no continental boundaries.  While there have been advances in the development of drugs to stave off the death sentence that AIDS once was for those who are fortunate enough to afford them, it still remains a virulent killer.  Unfortunately there remains only one “risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections are increasing.”  And that is among the male population of the homosexual community, or as the CDC categorizes it, “Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).”

Here are a few facts for your contemplation.  I have to warn you, they are disturbing:

MSM account for nearly half of the more than one million people living with HIV in the U.S. (48%, or an estimated 532,000 total persons).

  • MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year (53%, or an estimated 28,700 infections).
  • While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522–989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men).
  • MSM are the only risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections are increasing. While new infections have declined among both heterosexuals and injection drug users, the annual number of new HIV infections among MSM has been steadily increasing since the early 1990s.

If covering your private part with a thin layer of latex and engaging in sexual activities with someone you don’t know comes to mind, there is a game called “Russian Roulette” that you may want to consider which may offer you a higher chance of survival…as long as you only play once.  How many of our young people truly understand the risks associated with this “alternative lifestyle?”  I doubt many, but that is a topic for another day.

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