...Some liberals complained the program pushed for ineffective abstinence measures, to please the religious right, while some conservatives viewed it as a an unneeded expenditure. But in general, it has been considered an example of policy success in an era when Americans love to criticize government...(emphasis added)"Ineffective abstinence measures?"
Let us examine the silliness behind this phrase.
We are discussing the transmission of AIDs, a disease which has largely been passed along by sexual intercourse over these last few decades. And initiatives encouraging people to refrain from sex are ineffective...why?
Because, the assumption runs, people cannot possibly abstain from sex.
Baloney. Anyone reading this who is currently abstaining from sex--congratulations. You are achieving the impossible, simply by sitting in a chair, not having sex. Well done.
Over a longer period of time? I say again--baloney. There are people the world over successfully living very contented celibate lives in a variety of religions or circumstances of life which preclude sexual activity.
And best of all--an abstinence policy to prevent the transmission of AIDs still has room for monogamous sexual relationships between uninfected partners. So what exactly is so mind-bogglingly silly about encouraging abstinence as a means of preventing the transmission of AIDs?
Are there married couples with one infected partner and one uninfected? Yes. Are there cases of transmission by rape? Yes. Are people prone to have sex outside marriage? Yes. Does any of this mean that abstinence has no place in AIDs prevention measures?
I'd take a lot of convincing on that one. You want to curtail the spread of a sexually transmitted disease. Gee. What should we do? Faithful marriages, no sex outside of marriage...transmission rates would do what?
"...At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.
"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"
"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.
"Both very busy, sir."
"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."
"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"
"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.
"You wish to be anonymous?"
"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."
"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."
"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that."
"But you might know it," observed the gentleman.
"It's not my business," Scrooge returned. "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!..."