Thursday, March 10, 2005

Dan Savage on NPR

The most excellent Dan Savage in on NPR's Talk of the Nation right now. Should be a good show. He's talking about a memorable exchange over the last two "Savage Nation" columns, which proposed the idea of "drug support payments" for HIV-positive people who knowingly infect someone else. I thought it was a great column, and confirmed my impression of Dan as the most delightful sort of liberal -- one with a solid grasp on reality. He laid into a correspondent who called himself a HIV agency professional for this guy's claim that gay men shouldn't be blamed for not telling their partners they're HIV positive. It's well worth checking out:

Now I'm commenting deep in the archives!

I love me some Dan Savage, even though he's a stone cold moralist. His stances on this HIV bullshit have always enraged me. As a liberal of the libertarina-influenced sort, I believe the most morally relevant concept for society and politics is that one is ultimately and enitrely responsible for one's own body. It is, therefore, a woman's absolute right to choose an abortion, or a dignified physican-assisted death, or to use drugs or to have unprotected sex. Yeah, it's shitty not to warn partners of your positive status, but this seems far less an issue if one is playing safe and not being promiscuous. If one chooses to engage in behavior we know isn't safe, why should their partner be stuck with "support payments"? Savage wants conservatives to allow responsible adults to make their own choices, but he doesn't want those adults to have to live with them. It just don't make sense.
Interesting take. I suffer from that very common American disease: moral earnestness. So I think that people who don't tell partners they're HIV positive are irresponsible. But, as I recall, the main thing I loved about Dan's response was that he really laid into the counselor dude for making excuses for HIV positive men: oh the poor gay men can't be blamed for their bad behavior. That is a typical sensitive liberal approach to "oppressed" groups that gets on my nerves. Your view seems to be more, everyone's responsible for themselves and their own behavior -- both the HIV positive guys and the guys dumb enough to have sex without asking.

Anyway, Dan's great, and I'm really looking forward to his guest blogging stint on Andrew Sullivan's site.
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