The issue has surfaced because Rev. Jeremiah Wright recently claimed “the government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.” He backed up his claim by saying the U.S. government “purposely infected African-American men with syphilis.” He also said: “Based on this Tuskegee experiment ... I believe our government is capable of doing anything.”
According to Jonah Goldberg, many present-day Americans, including some prominent conservative commentators, believe the Tuskegee experiment involved purposely infecting the experimental subjects with syphilis. Until I read the linked story, I also believed that.
As awful as the experiment was, it absolutely did not involve purposely infecting the men - they were recruited because they already had syphilis. As for the lack of treatment, at the initiation of the study, in 1932, penicillin was not available. Into the 1940's and '50's, it was not medically established that penicillin was a safe treatment for men in the latter stages of the disease. Thus, the un-ethical aspect of the Tuskegee experiment consisted of: 1) Lying to the subjects when telling them they were being treated for syphilis and 2) Not providing penicillin to those still alive when it was known to be an effective and safe treatment.
Lesson of Tuskegee for L-Minds:
According to Goldberg, "I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard guilt-ridden white liberals say ... 'Considering what we did at Tuskegee, who can blame them [black people] for being distrustful of government?' ...”
"Liberals like to invoke Tuskegee as if it’s solely an indictment of what other people did, proof that we need more progressive government."
Lesson of Tuskegee for C-Minds:
Goldberg adds: "as a conservative, I have no problem with distrusting government, nor can I fault the descendants of slaves or the victims of Jim Crow for distrusting government more than most. But why blacks remain the most reliable voters for the party of ever-expanding government power is something of a mystery. Indeed, it’s worth noting that the Tuskegee study, launched under the New Deal, was symptomatic of arrogant liberal government. The study ... emerged out of a liberal progressive public health movement concerned about the health and well-being of the African-American population.”
"... Tuskegee was in fact the poisoned fruit of progressive government."
OK, L- and C-minds on this Blog - what do YOU think?