Friday, July 05, 2002

Well, Steven Den Beste responded to at least one of my comments and insists that it has nothing to do with any extremist notion of corporate property rights. Duly noted, although when he makes a comment like this:

Demosthenes may find it hard to believe, but there was no hidden agenda, no magic unrevealed reason. I always try my best to explain my true rationale for what I write. It's a shame De couldn't actually respond to what I wrote, instead of constructing a straw man to attack.

I do kind of wonder whether he actually scrolled back in my archives at all. I did respond to your arguments, Steve, and in much greater detail than Vaara did. This latter post was merely conjecture, as the language I used clearly implied. While I appreciate the irony of someone claiming "you didn't read my post" based on not reading posts, I'm not really any fonder of being misrepresented than Steven obviously is. In any case, this was not the erection of a strawman because I was not misrepresenting or mischaracterizing his arguments, but speculating on the possible reason for them. Whether I was wrong or not, it wasn't anything near a strawman argument.

The problem with Den Beste's argument, again, is that he doesn't come to any real conclusion except for the "let them all die" that Vaara accused of him. He misrepresents the nature of the disease, misses the obvious point that the expense of anti-retrovirals will drop to negligable levels if you suspend the IP entitlements of the pharmeceutical companies in the area and allow for the production of generic versions (this plays merry hell with corporate patents, but I've already addressed that in earlier posts), and somehow thinks that $63 billion is anything but chump change in the multi-trillion dollar American economy (let alone the world economy), especially considering the security and growth in Africa that it would be an investment in.

Steven says "we should think about applying money where it might make the most difference". This may be true, it may not. (I personally think that the $63 billion isn't as politically impossible as he thinks, depending on how it's handled). However, he has given no ideas whatsoever about how the money is to be targeted, except for the wrongheaded belief that suspending the distribution of anti-retrovirals will do anything towards halting the spread of a disease that is communicable for years before it kills off the carrier months before it's even detectable.

I hate to say it, Steven, but Vaara still has a point. Unless you are willing to describe and justify exactly how you want to target the money to a greater extent than "withhold anti-retrovirals and let them die off to make sure they don't communicate the disease" (which is nonsensical), right now I don't see anything that doesn't boil down to Vaara's "too many africans have AIDS. Let them die". The people who argued that AIDS patients should be isolated had a better point, and as I pointed out earlier, the "recessive" nature of the disease ended that (superior) argument quickly and completely.

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