Wednesday, December 21, 2016

MO Man Did Not Disclose That He Had HIV, Infected Sexual Partners; Conviction Overturned

   I'm not sure what to think about this case. Such laws seem reasonable to me at least in principle, though the other side argues that HIV is now NBD. That seems a bit crazy to incurable, communicable disease that can be fatal if mismanaged is a decidedly nontrivial thing...even if it's less bad than it used to be. We know how activists of the relevant kind are going to argue basically in any case. But their argument here does have some weight: the laws were written when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. That means that the penalties might be too severe, not that the laws are entirely ill-conceived. And 30 years does seem severe.
   Mostly what caught my eye was this:
Scott Schoettes, a lawyer with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal who said he assisted Johnson’s public defender, said the group was elated by the reversal. “Living with HIV is not a crime,” Schoettes said in a statement. “Except in the most extreme cases, the criminal law is far too blunt an instrument to address the subtle dynamics of HIV disclosure.”
   Of course "living with HIV is not a crime" is a straw man. That's not what the case is about at all. But anyway. the left isn't monolithic, and consistency ad hominems are a dime a dozen when we cast the net so broadly...but I'm going to point it out anyway:
There seems to be a kind of consensus on the left that goes like this:
The state gets to micromanage sexual relationships and can punish men if there is the slightest hint that the relevant women's consent was anything less than perfectly ideal. But "...the criminal law is far too blunt an instrument to address the subtle dynamics of HIV disclosure." (On a similar note: according to a fair chunk of the left, a "transgendered" person is not obligated to disclose his/her actual sex to potential sexual partners.)
   Right. So disclosing to your sexual partners that you have an incurable and serious sexually-transmitted disease that must be managed carefully for the rest of your life...that involves "subtle dynamics" that the law is "far too blunt an instrument" to handle. But consent, persuasion, communication of desire and all that in ordinary sexual interactions...well...that's all so simple and straightforward that the state can micromanage it with the law... 
   Jesus. Talk about double standards.
   On a similar note, I've seen it argued that a failure to disclose the fact that you're a conservative can mean that consent by a sexual partner is not fully-informed; ergo rape. OTOH, apparently it's permissible to fail to disclose your sex. (Though presumably that's going to be discovered at some point in the proceedings...) Even though everyone everywhere knows that sex matters with respect to sex to almost everyone. 
   I don't actually think that the left is utterly insane with respect to some of its positions in this vicinity. But their disdain for consistency is appalling. That's a problem that plagues everybody, of course, though it's particularly prevalent among extremists. Perhaps the influence of postmodernism on the left makes the problem more acute there.
   Again, though, in their defense, it may not be the same groups arguing for these inconsistent positions. Though honestly, I'll bet it often is.


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