The Right Hasn't Cornered the Market on Criminal Stupidity

When I hear fundamentalists mouthing off about so-called "Intelligent Design" I want to go as medieval on them as their mindset. There are plenty of other countries in the world just as devoutly Christian, yet we seem to be the only one with such a vocal core of unimaginative literalists. And we can't forget that the Book of Genesis was the first book of the Torah millennia before Christians inherited it yet you don't hear any Jews claiming their creation myth as scientific fact.

Then there is the whole George Bush thing. He was elected only because the majority of those voting for him were misinformed. (I'm sure you few informed Bushbots out there are already spluttering, firing up your laptops to fire at me yet another vindictive screed, but the facts are incontrovertible.) Last October the non-partisan PIPA (Program on International Policy Attitudes) from the University of Maryland showed that 72% of Bush voters still believed that Iraq had WMDs while only 26% of Kerry voters did. And 75% of Bush voters still believed that Iraq was significantly supporting al Qaeda, yet only 30% of Kerry voters were still so misinformed.

Yet none of this stupidity on the right made me as sick to my stomach as what I read in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

Christine Maggiore, a wealthy, New Age 49-year-old clothing executive is HIV-positive yet she has convinced herself that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. Like a lot of people, especially out here in California, she not only has distrust for Western medicine, she seems to have a virulent contempt for it so refuses to take any anti-retroviral medication. Still, to each his own. If she wants to gamble with her own life than she is of course free to do so. But she didn't stop there. Instead she became a charismatic leader of a global movement of AIDS deniers whispering their ignorant medieval poison into the ears of men like South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, leader of a nation where a tenth of the population, over four million people are HIV-positive. But she didn't stop there. Instead, both times when she became pregnant she still refused to take any meds and gave birth to two children, first Charlie and five years later, Eliza Jane, breastfeeding them both. Four months ago Eliza Jane died of AIDS-related pneumonia. She was three-years-old. And Christine Maggiore still denies that AIDS is a disease.