June 12, 2012

"Liberation as Death Sentence"

In the NYT, Jennifer Schuessler, who might be a closet crimethinker, writes about historian Jim Downs' new book on the huge death-by-disease toll that Emancipation took upon freed slaves:
To understand the [Civil] war’s scale and impact truly, Professor Downs argues, historians have to look beyond military casualties and consider the public health crisis that faced the newly liberated slaves, who sickened and died in huge numbers in the years following Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. 
“We’re getting ready to celebrate 150 years of the movement from slavery to freedom,” he said in a recent interview at a cafe near his apartment in Chelsea. “But hundreds of thousands of people did not survive that movement.” 
“Sick From Freedom,” at 178 pages (not counting 56 pages of tightly argued footnotes), may seem like a bantamweight in a field crowded with doorstops. But it’s already being greeted as an important challenge to our understanding of an event that scholars and laypeople alike have preferred to see as an uplifting story of newly liberated people vigorously claiming their long-denied rights. ...
Professor Downs, 39, is part of a wave of scholars who are sketching out a new, darker history of emancipation, Professor Blight said, one that recognizes it as a moral watershed while acknowledging its often devastating immediate impact. And the statistics offered in “Sick from Freedom” are certainly sobering, if necessarily tentative. 
At least one quarter of the four million former slaves got sick or died between 1862 and 1870, Professor Downs writes, including at least 60,000 (the actual number is probably two or three times higher, he argues) who perished in a smallpox epidemic that began in Washington and spread through the South as former slaves traveled in search of work — an epidemic that Professor Downs says he is the first to reconstruct as a national event. 
Historians of the Civil War have long acknowledged that two-thirds of all military casualties came from disease rather than heroic battle. But they have been more reluctant to dwell on the high number of newly emancipated slaves that fell prey to disease, dismissing earlier accounts as propaganda generated by racist 19th-century doctors and early-20th-century scholars bent on arguing that blacks were biologically inferior and unsuited to full political rights. 
Instead, historians who came of age during the civil rights movement emphasized ways in which the former slaves asserted their agency, playing as important a role in their own liberation as Lincoln or the Union army. 
“For so long, people were afraid to talk about freed people’s health,” Professor Downs said. “They wanted to talk about agency. But if you have smallpox, you don’t have agency. You can’t even get out of bed.” 
As he developed the topic into his dissertation, Professor Downs recalls sparring with his adviser, Eric Foner, the author of the classic book “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Business, 1863-1877.” 
“He would joke: ‘Look in my index. You don’t even see smallpox,’ ” Professor Downs said. 
... He is also not shy about drawing out his work’s contemporary relevance. His dissertation included an epilogue about AIDS, another epidemic, he said, that broke out shortly after a moment of liberation (in this case of gay people), was blamed on the victims and was largely ignored by the federal government. (He dropped the point from the book, which instead ends with an epilogue showing how policies developed in the post-Civil War South were exported to the Western frontier, with similarly devastating health consequences for American Indians.)

"He dropped the point from the book ..." Good thinking. Maybe in another century historians will be ready to acknowledge gay liberation's role in causing the American AIDS crisis. But, not yet, not yet ...

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

@Steve Sailer

""He dropped the point from the book ..." Good thinking. Maybe in another century historians will be ready to acknowledge gay liberation's role in causing the American AIDS crisis. But, not yet, not yet ..."

Yeah, it is better to be an animal in chains with no freedom and treated at the whip than to be free to live your life as you see fit and not suffer the horrifying HUMILIATION and INDIGNITY of being an animal of property. Great logic there.

As for gay liberation, you are missing the point. It doesen't matter if gay repression would have saved the life of a few or even millions of gay men by stopping them from having promiscuous sex - at the threat of being incarcerated. The point is that the government and "Society" has no business telling people what they do with THEIR bodies and THEIR lives.

If you are a gay man, you should be aware that there are diseases that spread via sexual contact and particularly via anal penetration, and thus you should take precautions such as wear condoms, choose your partners carefully or CHOOSE(not be ordered by the government)to be celibate. If a gay man chooses to have promiscuous sex with no protection and contracts AIDS, it is HIS problem and if he spreads the disease it is the fault of the people who CHOSE to have sex with him who also CHOSE to have promiscuous sex.

So a gay man who who likes to have sex but is responsible, wears condoms and chooses his partners carefuully should be forbidden by the government from doing so because some mentally ill gay man will use this freedom to bareback with dozens of other mentally ill gay men? Why should reasonable, sane people pay for the misdeads of the unreasonable and insane?

Libertarianism is the only political system of thought that is logical, because it allows maximization of well-being on a titanic scale. It is the human organization what the market system is the economy. I cannot know that makes you happy, so my best course of action to make you happy is to allow you to be what you are and want you be. This rationale, adopted by everyone, allows for massive maximization of happiness, but with a CAVEAT: no infringing upon the rights of others. From an utilitarian perpective, especially from a negative utilitarian one, libertarinism is the most rational way to organize society as it allows the maximization of happiness and the minimization of unhappiness.

The fundamental problem, Steve, is that you take a collective rather than individualistic view of human relations. What is "good" for you is what results in a particular structure of institutions and customs that, in your view, maximizes overall happiness to the largest number of people.

What you conservatives don't understand is that the white picket fence World you love so much, of religious heterosexual families, where the man works at an office and brings home the bacon and the woman stays home taking care of the children, which you regard as your ideal Heaven, is hell to a lot of people. There are people who are not heterosexual, or religious, and there are a lot of straight people who don't want to have kids, or work at an office, or go to church every Sunday. There are lots of women who genuinelly do NOT want to be precluded from persuing careers and would be miserable being housewifes. Instead of trying to foce people into this mold, which makes 30%-60% of the population happy and the other 40%-70% miserable, why not let everyone do as they please as long as they don't harm others? Conservatives can still be conservatives and live in their white picket fence World, and those who don't want to live like that don't have to. Then, 100% of people are happy. We are all Humans, and we all have biases and weaknesses. Let us be who we are.

Eric said...

His dissertation included an epilogue about AIDS, another epidemic, he said, that broke out shortly after a moment of liberation (in this case of gay people), was blamed on the victims...

And rightly so. Disease has always followed promiscuity. Is it really that hard for homosexuals and their advocates to accept the bathhouse lifestyle was the reason AIDS spread so quickly through that community?

Ed said...

I have to admit that I'm missing the point of the book. So we should never have emancipated the slaves? If we had kept slavery, more slaves of that generation would have lived to a ripe old age. Though grant it they would have been, well, slaves.

I'm going to assume that the author of the book got his facts correct, and in the 1860s and 1870s a smallpox epidemic resulted in a significant number of deaths for the newly emancipated slaves (er, citizens for those that survived past the 15th Amendment). This would be a notable finding if all the following were also true:

1. This happened every time slaves were freed. For example, there was a huge smallpox epidemic in Brazil in the 1890s.

2. The state of public health in the 19th century was such that white people simply didn't die of epidemics such as smallpox, cholera, typhus, etc.

3. Slaves never died from these epidemics either. But you emancipate them, then public health disaster!

Even assuming the author got his facts correct, this is the academic equivalent of trolling.

Anthony said...

AIDS, another epidemic, he said, that broke out shortly after a moment of liberation (in this case of gay people), was blamed on the victims and was largely ignored by the federal government.

"largely ignored by the Federal government" is not true in the AIDS case.

Anonymous said...

The former blogger, Moldbug, (as I shall call him until he posts again), posted R.L. Dabney's letter on the 'burden'. Worth reading.

Gilbert P

Anonymous said...

This looks like it's already getting off track.

I think the main point here, and Steve's I would guess, is that one of the highest values in our modern world is to not know things, and especially obvious things. If the only thing you're allowed to know about emancipation is that on day one former slaves took control of their lives and everything got better immediately except for white racists... nothing more to see here, then you're going to have a lot of fuzzy thinking when it comes to other events like gay liberation. If there was a general awareness that suddenly changing the social and political rules for a group can have some really nasty unexpected consequences, then maybe we do a better job of it and fewer people get hurt. A more current example is immigration- what if we suddenly change the rules for 10-20 million hispanics living in the US? Any chance of that having some nasty unintended consequences?

As a general rule it's better to know things, than to not know them.

gcochran said...

So, libertarianism means sodomy and death. That's unfair , I think: you need to mention toking, too.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

@Steve Sailer

Yeah, it is better to be an animal in chains with no freedom and treated at the whip than to be free to live your life as you see fit and not suffer the horrifying HUMILIATION and INDIGNITY of being an animal of property. Great logic there."

You seem to be a stranger to logic. Neither Steve, nor the author he is quoting said, or even implied, any such thing. They are simply pointing out that a log of freed slaves died soon after their emancipation.

"The point is that the government and "Society" has no business telling people what they do with THEIR bodies and THEIR lives."

And sexual minorities have no business telling the majority what to do with THEIR society.

"From an utilitarian perpective, especially from a negative utilitarian one, libertarinism is the most rational way to organize society as it allows the maximization of happiness and the minimization of unhappiness."

If it is the most rational way to organize society, then surely it would have been tried.....at least once. It never has been, because it doesn't work.

"......why not let everyone do as they please as long as they don't harm others?"

So, I take it, you have no problem with landlords who choose NOT to rent to gays, churches who choose NOT to perform "gay marriages", employers who choose NOT to hire gays?

Anonymous said...

"""He dropped the point from the book ..." Good thinking. Maybe in another century historians will be ready to acknowledge gay liberation's role in causing the American AIDS crisis. But, not yet, not yet ..."

Yeah, it is better to be an animal in chains with no freedom and treated at the whip than to be free to live your life as you see fit and not suffer the horrifying HUMILIATION and INDIGNITY of being an animal of property. Great logic there. "

Your reaction reinforces Steve's point. Great logic buddy.

"If you are a gay man, you should be aware that there are diseases that spread via sexual contact and particularly via anal penetration"

what do you mean sodomy and AIDS are linked? Correlation not causation, homophobic bigots!!

"Instead of trying to foce people into this mold, which makes 30%-60% of the population happy and the other 40%-70% miserable, why not let everyone do as they please as long as they don't harm others? "

hahaha there's always harm to others, which slips out in your use of the term "force". And the tolerance that gays show to businesses that turn them away.

"Conservatives can still be conservatives and live in their white picket fence World"

more hilarity!

"We are all Humans, and we all have biases and weaknesses."

yep yep, and we all have assholes. Or did I leave out some minority mutation?

stari_momak said...

"This rationale, adopted by everyone, allows for massive maximization of happiness, but with a CAVEAT: no infringing upon the rights of others. From an utilitarian perpective, especially from a negative utilitarian one, libertarinism is the most rational way to organize society as it allows the maximization of happiness and the minimization of unhappiness."

But it never works out that way. You're a bartender in West Hollywood -- you've been in business 30 years. You don't like seeing homosexual activity ('courting, kissing, etc'). You put up a sign "Fags keep out"). The homosexuals in charge of West Hollywood have you remove your sign (inside your bar, btw), on the pain of losing your license.

C Van Carter's aphorism has to be repeated often "Libertarianism is implied autism".

josh said...

How many people actually have made any kind of effort to understand what slavery actually was?

Gaius Baltar said...

I hope that the book mentions a major fact that the article missed.

The slaves had no property, no money and no education. With that in mind, is it to be unexpected that many of them died when they had no idea of exactly "how" to be free, nor the means? They were simply released.

When you compare the liberation of slaves to promiscuous gay sex, the implication is that it would have been better had blacks remained slaves. And to mention that is "bravely" breaking a "taboo".

You are wrong on this one Steve.

Nyk said...

To the libertardian here:

Suppose some individuals contract a superbug, a modern Black Plague if you will. The pathogen is resistant to all known medicine and always mutates fast enough to counter whatever the high-IQ scientists throw at it. Would you let the infected do whatever they want? Are they free to infect the rest of humanity if they so desire?

This is just one example of how one malignant ideology like libertarianism can destroy civilization as we know.

Marlowe said...

In contrast, historians have no problem with pointing out how the arrival of the white man in the New World led to mass death among the native inhabitants because of the infectious diseases born by the newcomers.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when the historiographic pendulum would start to swing back from the Eric-Foner-radical-reconstruction-would-have-worked-great-if-it-weren't-for-all-those-evil-Southern-whites school of thought.

Anonymous said...

That Eric Foner comment was from me, A Solid Citizen.

Forgot to sign it.

- A Solid Citizen

Henry Canaday said...

Nicholas Eberstadt at The American Enterprise Institute has written and spoken about the death toll of Emancipation. He sees a modern analogy in the extraordinary rate of premature deaths, from alcoholism and violence, in post-Soviet Russia.

dearieme said...

And the Armistice in 1918 was followed by "Spanish flu" from the USA killing more people than the war had. The lesson is..... what?

Anonymous said...

Second liberation of blacks in the 60s led to the demise of family and rise in crime.

Anonymous said...

Spread of small pox among blacks wasn't their fault.

But spread of HIV among gays was their fault. They didn't have to bugger butts all around.

Anonymous said...

Actually, HIV might have spread even before 'gay liberation' if the disease had been around. There were gay communities prior to Stonewall or whatever, and if the disease had been around, it would have spread just the same. Maybe more insidiously since gays would have felt compelled to keep it secret.

Anonymous said...

This narrative sounds more like 'poor poor blacks'.

Victims of slavery and then victims of emancipation too. So, both bad whites and good whites done victimized the Negro, which means we should give them more free stuff to make up for past horrors.

Anonymous said...

White moral horror over American slavery actually betrays an element of white narcissism.

It implies that white use of slavery was worse than non-white use of slavery because whites, as morally superior people, should have known better.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I'm missing the point of the book. So we should never have emancipated the slaves?


The "point" of a history book is to describe historical facts. You seem to be under the impression that no facts should be mentioned which do not serve some grand cause.

The truth needs no excuse for being spoken.

Anonymous said...

libertarinism is the most rational way to organize society as it allows the maximization of happiness and the minimization of unhappiness.


Libertarianism is just another species of totalitarianism. As such it maximizes the happiness of the ruling elite.

Anonymous said...

Second liberation of blacks in the 60s led to the demise of family and rise in crime.

Provocative comment. Do others have thoughts on whether it is true?

Anonymous said...

@Josh

How many people actually have made any kind of effort to understand what slavery actually was?

What do you mean by this?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6/12/12 6:40 PM says " Why should reasonable, sane people pay for the misdeads of the unreasonable and insane?"

Indeed. Except that the bulk of the homosexual agenda throughout the 80's and 90's was to ceaselessly shriek about how Reagan and others were murdering homosexuals by not spending unlimited sums on AIDS "cures". Have you forgotten ACT-UP and all the rest?

"What you conservatives don't understand is that...which you regard as your ideal Heaven, is hell to a lot of people."

What you shrill homosexuals don't understand is that having homosexuality broadcast ceaselessly from all directions is hell to a lot of people. Fine we get it. You're homosexuals. Now please please shut the f**k up about it. And if you get AIDS, don't hold parades demanding that I pay for it.

Anonymous said...

I think religious liberation that puritans/pilgrims found in the new world was deadly too.

Indians got diseases and many early white settlers starved.

Svigor said...

But they have been more reluctant to dwell on the high number of newly emancipated slaves that fell prey to disease, dismissing earlier accounts as propaganda generated by racist 19th-century doctors and early-20th-century scholars bent on arguing that blacks were biologically inferior and unsuited to full political rights.

Liars are always the first to call everybody else liars.

Skeptical Economist said...

Yet another example. Life expectancy plunged after the Berlin Wall fell. See "Causes of declining life expectancy in Russia" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9508159). quote

"RESULTS:

Age-adjusted mortality in Russia rose by almost 33% between 1990 and 1994. During that period, life expectancy for Russian men and women declined dramatically from 63.8 and 74.4 years to 57.7 and 71.2 years, respectively, while in the United States, life expectancy increased for both men and women from 71.8 and 78.8 years to 72.4 and 79.0 years, respectively. More than 75% of the decline in life expectancy was due to increased mortality rates for ages 25 to 64 years. Overall, cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke) and injuries accounted for 65% of the decline in life expectancy while infectious diseases, including pneumonia and influenza, accounted for 5.8%, chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis for 2.4%, other alcohol-related causes for 9.6%, and cancer for 0.7%. Increases in cardiovascular mortality accounted for 41.6% of the decline in life expectancy for women and 33.4% for men, while increases in mortality from injuries (eg, falls, occupational injuries, motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and homicides) accounted for 32.8% of the decline in life expectancy for men and 21.8% for women.
CONCLUSION:

The striking rise in Russian mortality is beyond the peacetime experience of industrialized countries, with a 5-year decline in life expectancy in 4 years' time. Many factors appear to be operating simultaneously, including economic and social instability, high rates of tobacco and alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, depression, and deterioration of the health care system. Problems in data quality and reporting appear unable to account for these findings. These results clearly demonstrate that major declines in health and life expectancy can take place rapidly."

helene edwards said...

was blamed on the victims

who else would you blame it on? Sounds like Schuessler's right there in the mainstream.

Eric said...

Libertarianism is just another species of totalitarianism. As such it maximizes the happiness of the ruling elite.

This makes no sense whatsoever.

Norville Rogers said...

Wow, great retort there by Prof. Foner. He sounds like some kind of Herblock cartoon depicting Jesse Helms at an NEA hearing

ben tillman said...

But spread of HIV among gays was their fault. They didn't have to bugger butts all around.

Don't forget the drug abuse, especially the widespread abuse of antibiotics, and the immunosuppressive effects.

Anonymous said...

'How many people actually have made any kind of effort to understand what slavery actually was?'

'What do you mean by this?'

I don't know either. I sho hope massuh will tell us.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 11:44 AM

"
What you shrill homosexuals don't understand is that having homosexuality broadcast ceaselessly from all directions is hell to a lot of people. Fine we get it. You're homosexuals. Now please please shut the f**k up about it. And if you get AIDS, don't hold parades demanding that I pay for it."

Ugh...I am not gay. Whys is it that everyone in this blog assumes that, if you empathize with some group, you must belong to that group? I don't need to be gay to be in favor of gay rights.

And yes, no one should pay for anyone's medical bills, including those of gay men with AIDS who contracted it due to their irreponsible promiscuity.

Anonymous said...

"Second liberation of blacks in the 60s led to the demise of family and rise in crime.

Provocative comment. Do others have thoughts on whether it is true?"

This should actually read "Second liberation of blacks in the 60's subsequently followed upon by their gradual enslavement to the welfare state in the 80's led to the demise of family and rise in crime."

Read that way, the answer is already in. Yes, it's true. Read Thomas Sowell's work on how blacks in the 50's fared much better than comtemporary blacks by 'whitening' up and conforming to then current societal norms.

Anonymous said...

"If a gay man chooses to have promiscuous sex and contracts AIDS that is HIS problem.."

Well what about the taxpayers and health system who then get stuck paying for it? Its not like the infected gay guy just crawls away alone into a corner to die without troubling anyone.

Matthew said...

The first great death toll of emancipation was the 700,000 mostly white men who died in Lincoln's war, not to mention the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Americans who would not be born because their would-be fathers were out dying in the field for Lincoln's cause.

Lincoln was a man so moral he was opposed to the US taking a few hundred thousand square miles of unsettled land from Mexico at the price of a relative handful of lives.

And then there was the federal supremacy that came in the wake of the war, the great wave of immigration to make up for the labor shortage, and the constitutional amendments which have been used to justify everything from government meddling in practically everything (fighting discrimination, you know) to birthright citizenship for the invading hordes.

For America, 1861 was the beginning of the end. I am no fan of the Antebellum South, or slavery, or its vie for independence, but Lincoln is no hero in my book.

Anonymous said...

I'm gay, and I feel compelled to point out that all the obnoxiousness of the gay rights movement didnt come out of nowhere. I recognize a lot of straight people are very live and let live and have no interest in making life miserable for gays. But a lot of straight people do want to make our lives miserable. If gay activism disappeared, it would take two generations tops before our bars were getting raided and our careers were getting ruined again. Again, I know a lot of straight people have no interest in doing any of these things. I feel sympathy for the ones that don't and are put off by some elements of gay activism, and I do wish gay activists would ditch the overt sexuality and ridiculous costumes. But with regard to gay activism in general, look at it from our perspective: we are a tiny minority to whom a much larger percentage of society has an intractable aversion. We can't afford to be silent.

Anonymous said...

"all the obnoxiousness of the gay rights movement didnt come out of nowhere. "

why, yes, it came from the 'gays'

"If gay activism disappeared, it would take two generations tops "

not sure if serious...

"we are a tiny minority to whom a much larger percentage of society has an intractable aversion. We can't afford to be silent."

If it's intractable, then it's a wonder that they haven't squelched your kind already. Or that we can have debates over the legitimacy of 'gay marriage'

"But a lot of straight people do want to make our lives miserable."

as Dharun Ravi found out to his utter surprise.

Anonymous said...

"But, not yet, not yet ..."

One of my fave movie scenes.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows HIV/AIDS ground zero was the gay community. For whatever reason the U.S. government failed to acknowledge the growing public health crisis until straight whites and famous people started dropping dead. By then the epidemic was nearly uncontainable.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

But with regard to gay activism in general, look at it from our perspective: we are a tiny minority to whom a much larger percentage of society has an intractable aversion. We can't afford to be silent."

And decent, normal society - if it wants to remain decent and normal - can't afford to let you be vocal.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 5:54 PM

"Well what about the taxpayers and health system who then get stuck paying for it? Its not like the infected gay guy just crawls away alone into a corner to die without troubling anyone."

I have already addressed this: libertarianism states that gay men can have as much promiscuous sex as they want, but if they contract a venereal disease, IT IS THEIR PROBLEM AND THEY SHOULD PAY THEIR OWN MEDICAL TREATMENT OR DIE WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYONE TO PAY FOR THEIR MISTAKES. I have already addressed this, so why do you guys keep bringing up this stupid point that has already been addressed and dismissed? Libertarianism gives you absolute freedom but with absolute responsability. Live and die by your own choices.

The problem is that a lot of conservatives use this point as an excuse to deny gays their rights and restrict their sexual freedom. Even if gays payed 100% of their medical bills, conservatives would STILL want the police to close gay bars and lock promiscuous gay men up. A lot of conservatives have a VISCERAL disgust for male homosexuality and want to stop it all costs. The costs of gay medical problems on the taxpayer are just an excuse. Some conservatives truly only object to homosexual promiscuity because of the costs on the taxpayer, and in this case I agree with the conservatives that gay men with STDs should pay their own medical, but the problem are those conservatives who would STILL want to stop gay promiscuity even if all medicine were privatized for moral/religious reasons. That is the problem.

Anonymous said...

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/621

Anonymous said...

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/621

41:00 discusses socio-biology and HBD.

Anonymous said...

"'all the obnoxiousness of the gay rights movement didnt come out of nowhere.'

why, yes, it came from the 'gays'"

I was referring to the fact that gay men and lesbians routinely were harassed, were arrested, and had their careers ruined through outing prior to the gay rights movement. If you want to deny that, do so explicitly.

"'If gay activism disappeared, it would take two generations tops'

not sure if serious..."

I'm completely serious. Look at the ubiquity of laws criminalizing gay behavior throughout history and today in less developed regions of the world. We don't have them in this country any more because of years of activism and the Supreme Court (yes, the former informed the latter). Why do you think these laws would never come back in the west?

"And decent, normal society - if it wants to remain decent and normal - can't afford to let you be vocal."

How does letting gay men and lesbians speak up for their rights make society indecent? Walk me through the steps here.

IHTG said...

Autistic libertarian dorks! Where's Udolpho when you need him?

Anonymous said...

"Look at the ubiquity of laws criminalizing gay behavior throughout history "

the common theme being gays themselves.

"Why do you think these laws would never come back in the west? "

'and so we should keep the onward march lest we slip down the slippery slope that we admonish the conservatives for believing in.'

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

How does letting gay men and lesbians speak up for their rights make society indecent? Walk me through the steps here."

Gay marriage for one. "Gay Pride" parades for another. Teaching elementary school children about deviant sex practices for a third. The list goes on and on.

rob said...

I'm curious if Africa's HIV pandemic was fueled by de-colonization, and African behavior in the wake of liberty. Really, we're supposed to believe that a negrophiliac gay flight attendant just happened to get HIV from one of the tiny number of infected people in either Africa or Haiti, and then spread in Haiti, Africa, and the US? No, the disease was fairly well-spread in black countries already, and I wouldn't be surprised if US blacks were virgin soil.

First anon, the actual argument ACT UP and such made was that Reagan was responsible for so many gay men getting HIV, so it was the fault of squares and we should pay for all their medicines, and treat a lethal venereal disease like a civil right. No significant or influential gay men have ever made a we CHOOOOOOSE to spread diseases amongst ourselves, please leave of to die from our choices.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, Sailer did said gay lib -> gay HIV epidemic, therefore gay lib bad. He stopped at gay lib -> gay HIV epidemic. Stating the (ostensibly) factual cause-effect relationship is not a moral judgment. For all we know, Sailer might think gay lib...lots of dead gay men, WHOOOPEEE, turn gay lib up to 11! [I do not think that that's his opinion] Describing what happened is not necessarily either an endorsement or condemnation.

ben tillman said...

I'm curious if Africa's HIV pandemic was fueled by de-colonization


'Twere better if you were curious about whether it actually exists.

Spoiler alert: It doesn't.