In a blog post about pre-marital HIV testing, Sakshi Juneja writes,
“The question of pre-marital HIV testing has been debated in media and on blogs. We are still searching for a balance between:
A) A nation’s effort in curbing a dreaded disease
B) Freeing the society of its prejudices/taboos
C) An individual’s right to protect what is ultimately a private and confidential matter regarding his/her health”
Who is the “we” that is searching for a balance? Presumably it is the voting public. How is the “balance” going to be decided. By majority vote1. What happens to the rights of the dissenting minority?2 They get “balanced away”.
There can be no standard by which to balance any individual’s rights against any “desirable social outcomes”. No social outcome can be desirable if it comes at the cost of deliberately violating someones rights. The sole purpose of proper political action is to secure everyone’s rights. Unless we3 realize this, we will reach a stage where there will be no rights left to balance against anything.
1) By majority vote – in the theory of democracy; by whoever happens to be in a position of power – in actual practice
2) This is not about the privacy of an HIV+ person in particular. The issue of pre-marital HIV testing raises several legitimate questions which I will try to deal with in another post.
3) We here is everyone who cares about rights.