They are getting what they deserve

From the New York Times:

“We don’t want public health vigilantes going out and taking matters into their own hands, particularly if it means breaching the confidentially and civil rights of people with H.I.V.,” said Jon Givner, the director of the H.I.V. Project at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. “Frankly, I find it pretty scary.” Whether such ideas gain acceptance, the fact that activists are even thinking about curbing gay sexual freedom is a huge shift.

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, gay men protested attempts to close down bathhouses and strenuously opposed efforts by health officials to trace those infected with the virus. Until now, those advocates, driven by concerns about privacy and the stigma associated with the disease, have successfully fought off efforts to impose a traditional public-health model for tackling the spread of the virus.

“You have to remember that was the era when Jesse Helms and others were saying that gay people got what they deserved, and that the government shouldn’t spend any money to help them,” said David Evans, an H.I.V. treatment advocate who writes about prevention. “There was a time when people thought, ‘Oh my god, they’re going to put us in camps.’ “

I had sympathy for men who contracted AIDS fifteen years ago. It was a new and unexpected disease, about which no one knew anything. But I never understood why the traditional public-health model should be ignored – one would not expect people with cholera or smallpox to be permitted to wander around freely infecting people – and now the gay community is enjoying the predictable consequences of its successful political action. Why should anyone feel the least bit sorry for the short-sighted idiots?

The essence of libertarianism is that your rights end where mine begin. No one has a right to give another individual a lethal disease without consent; if that means quarantine is necessary to prevent transmission, then that trumps one’s right to free travel. If the shrill voices of the hysterical gay activists had been ignored as they should have been the first time around, AIDS would be no more a problem than smallpox is today. Instead, it seems a new generation of gay men will be struck down in their prime.

The Greek aphorism is fitting here: whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.