“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; And they that indulge it shall eat the fruit thereof.” -Proverbs 18:21
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination.” -Leviticus 18:22
“Therefore, send not to know/For whom the bell tolls/It tolls for thee.” -John Donne (1572-1631)
The physician, garbed in hospital-scrubs and looking glum, approached the obviously apprehensive parents. “Mr. Mayfield. Mrs. Mayfield.* I’m sorry . . . terribly sorry. Your son, Robbie, just passed away. The infection? It became just overwhelming.”
His words elicited immediate, racking sobs from the distraught mother. Gradually, the woman began to compose herself. “I don’t understand, Doctor. Robbie didn’t have any infections when he was admitted. He came here for a simple surgery . . . a simple hernia-repair, you said. How could he suddenly die of an overwhelming infection? “
“The surgery was successful . . . .”
“And the patient died. Is that it?” The mother’s grief suddenly was transforming itself into anger.
“Unfortunately, after the surgery, as you know, he suffered urinary retention. It’s not uncommon, especially in older men.”
“He’s . . . he was . . . an adolescent boy not an older man.”
“True, but even so, it can occur in anyone. His urinary bladder was becoming distended, so we were forced to drain it by inserting that indwelling catheter you saw. The catheter . . . a foreign object to the body . . . apparently became the focus of the infection. As you know, we detected the situation almost immediately. We called in a specialist in infectious diseases. He used every antibiotic in our arsenal. They failed. These things happen . . . unfortunately, with increasing frequency and ferocity.(1)”
“Do you prefer a less unpleasant lie or a more unpleasant truth?” Now, it was the physician who was showing anger.
“Of course, I want the truth! Who wouldn’t?”
“Apparently, a majority of Americans,” replied the physician bitterly.
The grieving mother was taken aback. The physician’s attitude, even more than his words, alarmed her.
“Alright, Mrs. Mayfield, I’ll tell you the truth. There are thousands of perv . . . persons . . . with HIV and AIDS. The virus compromises their immunological systems, seriously weakening their capacities to combat infections. Ultimately, even with the most powerful antibiotics, the patient must cure himself.
“When persons with AIDS contract infections, even infections that would be relatively benign in otherwise normal patients, treatment may require massive doses of our most powerful antibiotics. Eventually, the bacteria develop resistance to these antibiotics, a kind of genetic learning. Worse, the bugs not only develop resistance. They become more virulent . . . more lethal . . . more deadly.
“When other patients . . . sexually normal patients such as your son . . . contract the same, now more virulent infections, they are more likely to suffer higher morbidity and higher mortality than otherwise would be the case.”
“Can you say what you just said in plain English, Doctor.”
“Sorry. Thanks to homosexuals with HIV, normal people are suffering infections that are making them sicker and killing them more frequently. Your son was one of those victims.”
The woman turned to her husband, who had remain seated, silent with an ashen pallor. “Howie . . . Howie killed our son!” she screamed.
“Who’s Howie?” asked the physician.
“He’s a friend of mine since childhood,” mumbled the husband. “He’s ‘gay’.”
“Gay?” screamed his wife. “You mean he’s a queer . . . a faggot . . . a pervert. He’s not ‘gay’. Gay is a feeling not a way of life . . . or, more accurately, a way of death. Your son was gay until Howie . . . and those like him . . . murdered our little boy, my innocent baby.” Her eyes seemed to dissolve in a pool of tears.
The husband arose, pointing his finger into his wife’s face, raising his own voice. “How conveniently you forget that you’re the one in favor of ‘homosexual marriage’ . . . not I. Well, there are consequences, aren’t there?”
The woman sank onto the hard, plastic bench behind her, breathing rapidly but shallowly. Slowly, she seemed to regain a modicum of composure.
“So, what you’re saying, Doctor,” she began, “is that possibly to save one homosexual afflicted with HIV, potentially thousands of other, innocent people will die.”
“You might put it that way.”
“I believe I just did.”
“Mrs. Mayfield, we physicians can’t withhold treatment from homosexuals, irrespective of the long-term consequences for the rest of the population.”
“Is there a name for this insanity?” the husband interjected.
“Some call it ‘Radical Maternalism’ (www.inescapableconsequences.com).”
“Interesting term,” opined the husband. “Tell me, what do you predict will be the ultimate consequences of this . . . this Radical Maternalism?”
The physician paused. “It depends upon advances in medical technology. If the genetic advances among the bacteria outpace the technological advances in medicine, possibly worldwide pandemics with millions of deaths.”
“In order to make the world safe for homosexuality?”
“You said it, Sir, I didn’t. There’s another problem, however.”
“What’s that?” inquired the wife.
“Yes, I know what you mean,” the woman replied. “Greedy pharmaceutical companies making huge profits at the expense of the sick and injured.”
“No, ma’am! Quite the opposite to your widely held opinion. As we develop new antibiotics in America and Western Europe, they’re stolen by undeveloped countries that rob the developers of their rightful profits necessary for investment in future research. These thieves defend their thefts by proclaiming the need to save lives now not later. Meanwhile, these same countries refuse to control their mindless breeding, so a life saved today means more lives to save tomorrow . . . at someone else’s expense. Radical Maternalism!”
The husband raised his hand as though he were a pupil in school. He meant the gesture as a sign of respect for insightful knowledge over blind opinion. “My son is dead. We can’t restore him to life. Can’t we protect other innocent Americans and Europeans? If so, how?”
“From what I know, I’d say that the answer is to employ biobehavioral science.”
“Never heard of it. Have you?” the husband asked his wife.
“Neither have most others,” admitted the physician. The most frightening aspect is that most people don’t want to learn about it even though it’s the only road to our survival as individuals and as a species.”
The couple looked stunned. Then, the husband asked, “Can you give us an idea what it’s about?”
“To answer your question as best I can, firstly you describe the context in which the situation-in-question is occurring. Then, you specify the antecedents, behaviors, and consequences . . . the ABC’s.”
“That’s it?” the wife asked.
“No. Then, you define the problematic behavior in terms of it being either an excess or a deficit, you target appropriate and attainable goals, you design practical plans and put them into play, then you measure the outcome.”
“Why aren’t we doing that now?”
“Ideology controlling politics. The consequences? Short-term gains enjoyed by the politicians and ideologues . . . long-term losses suffered by the rest of us. We prefer to ignore one basic fact.”
“What’s that?” the couple asked in chorus.
“Ultimately, reality always wins.”
The couple remained silent. Then, the wife hesitated, “You seem . . . How should I put it? . . . quite bitter, Doctor. Is your attitude only a consequence of Robbie’s dying?”
The physician sighed. “You’re an observant woman, Mrs. Mayfair. The sad fact is that my own, beloved wife . . . mother of our two children . . . died in this same hospital last year . . . from the same sort of infection that killed your son. Two innocents . . . victims of our current ignorant, arrogant, misguided, suicidal ideology.”
The couple, bereaved themselves, again remained silent. Then, the husband asked, “You focus your attention on homosexuals. What about patients with cancer or with transplants receiving immunosuppressant chemotherapy?”
“Your point is well taken. The difference is that their plight typically isn’t the consequence of their own wanton lust. It’s more of a happening than an action. The issue, nevertheless, is similar, and there’s no easy answer . . . but there is an answer. It’s a biological balance between the interests of the individual and the interests of the species . . . a balance to be decided rationally via scientific methodology and the morality of the Ages not emotionally via ideology and the morality of the moment.”
The physician looked at his pager. “Now, please excuse me. Ironically, I’ve another innocent patient down the hallway, dying from the same infection.”
1. “Deadly Bacterial Infections On the Rise.” The Wall Street Journal, 06MAR2013, page A6.
*The characters presented herein are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.