sible, for instance, for an excessivencrime rate, they can be considered asngroups when benefits are to be passednaround.) Responsibihty is so diffused itnis unlocatable, which among othernthings renders democratic decisionmakingnimpossible. Thus, diseasenbrought on by an irresponsible group isnto be handled not by taking appropriatenaction against the group responsiblenand protecting the innocent, butnby spending money and an unseemlynintrusion into the lives of the innocent.nIn other words, a superstitiousnshifting of guilt. The problem will notnbe solved that way. It will probably getnworse. But we will all feel we havendone our progressive enlightened best.nOne would like to lay this confusion atnthe door of ritualistic liberals, but it isnso pervasive that we must begin tonsuspect that it is an irreparable defectnin the national character.nThe SG and his confreres seem tonsuffer, too, from the American confidencenin technical solutions. It is notnat all clear to me why anyone shouldnnecessarily expect a cure for AIDSn(except possibly those people who arenany day now expecting a cure for deathnto be announced). There are plenty ofnincurable diseases and even if a preventivenvaccine were found, a mutantnversion might emerge all the morenrapidly.nAt any rate, it would appear thatnbehaving oneself will provide far betternprotection than a vaccine. But encouragingnpeople to behave themselves asnopposed to invoking every possiblenmeans to save them from the consequencesnof misbehavior has a low prioritynin public discussion. The authoritiesnare anxious to convince us thatnAIDS is the consequence of a virusnand not a punishment for Sin. In fact,nnothing in the last millennium sonobviously and surely is a punishmentnfor Sin—that is, unless the danger ofninfection by nonsexual means hasnbeen deliberately understated by ournauthorities.nBy all means let us pursue scientificnmeasures where they are promising.nBut what disturbs me and apparentlynmany others is the ignorantly secularistnand technological thrust of the officialnpresentation. The SG, or our ownnphysician, should offer us technicalnexpertise, but we also normally andnreasonably expect moral advice wherenit is relevant. (The SG sees no problemnwith this when it comes to cigarettes.)nIn fact, a physician is falling short ofnhis full duty if he offers an easy technicalnsolution for the pains brought onnby a moral failure, or refuses to recognizena behavior problem. To his credit,nthe SG has endorsed chastity, butnneither he nor anyone else in publicnlife can bring himself to condemnnaberrant life-styles, even when theynendanger the entire society.nThe real clincher in the SG’s performancenwas the recurrent motif that, innthrust if not in tone, rose from clinicalndescription to moral imperative. Wenmust remove the stigma from AIDSninfection, he said, again and again.nNow, there may be sound practicalnreasons for this suggestion: To drive theninfected underground might make thenwork of the epidemiologist more difficult.nThis was mentioned, but clearlynthe imperative went much furthernthan that. The SG believes it is wrongnto stigmatize people for deviant behavior.nThis conclusion is not science, fornscience does not dictate values onenway or the other. This comes straightnout of the bounhful cupboard of liberalnsentimentality. Even if we admit andegree of practical usefulness in encouragingnpeople not to hide theirnaffliction, does not the right of theninnocent to be warned and thus protectednfar outweigh it? We have nonmoral obligation, per se, not to condemnnAIDS sufferers. On the contrary,nthere is a moral obligation notnonly on the part of the authorities butnon the part of the diseased personnindividually to warn others. Here wencome up against a new version of thenmentality that finds punishment of thenmurderer more real and shocking thannthe incalculable sufferings of his innocentnvictims. In my state there is nownin custody an AIDS-infected drifterncharged with multiple rapes. It is onlyna matter of time until we see federalnjudges contorting the laws and candlelightnvigils of liberals, both mobilizednto interdict just punishment from fallingnupon this person.nThe priorities of the public healthnestablishment, who are after all bureaucratsnas well as “scientists,” wouldnappear to be (1) to protect the “community”nof deviants from public outragenand discrimination; (2) to pursuenheroic curative and preventive mea­nnnsures to save the deviant “community”;nand (3) to protect the decent public,ninsofar as it does not conflict withnPriority 1. Deprived of unqualifiednsupport at both the executive and legislativenlevels, the decent public hadnbetter hope that the priorities get rearrangednsomehow, before the disaster.nWe are all sinners and fall short ofnperfection, and we are enjoined tonstand ready to extend our hand to ournrepentant fellow creatures. But I donnot detect very much repentance, asnopposed to regret and resentment,namong the representatives of the “lifestyle”nthat has put us all in danger. Innfact, in heeding the admonition not tonstigmatize, we are actually throwingnup obstacles to repentance.nWe do not know and cannot controlnall the mysterious springs of humannbehavior, and misfortune stalks us all.nFor persons who succumb to an occasionalnact of perversion under an apparentlynuncontrollable compulsion,nor for persons who carry on an unnaturalnbut responsible relationship, mostnof us can indeed muster a degree ofnsympathy if not approval. But it seemsnthat the plague has been brought onnnot by these, who have always beennwith us, but by people who have engagednexuberantly and persistentiy innabominable acts, contrary not only tonevery law of God and man, but even inndisregard of that compassion for othernindividuals which our liberals and libertinesninvariably profess to honor.nSome of these persons lived respectednand well-rewarded lives in the publicneye while engaging in the mostnpromiscuous, destructive, and exploitivendebauchery. Where were our greatnheroic investigative journalists? I standnbehind no one in my respect for thenright of privacy. I even sympathizenwith the earthy realism that urges us tonoverlook a modest amount of sexualndelinquency as inevitable. But thisnsanctity of privacy does not apply whennthe delinquency is rampant and aberrant,nor in the case of persons likenliberal politicians, whose public positionnis based upon aggressive pretensionsnto moral superiority over thosenwho disagree with them.nNot too long ago, Rock Hudson wasnwidely accepted among us as a propernperson to represent pilots, policenchiefs, and other exemplary masculinenfigures. And all the while he lived annNOVEMBER 1987 I 45n