The idea that Mike Huckabee as U.S. Senate candidate in 1992 would have advocated the draconian step of quarantining AIDS patients is appalling. It not only displays a shocking ignorance, but is further evidence of authoritarian tendencies in Huckabee that we have already seen in his support for big government, nanny state policies, such as a national smoking ban in workplaces.
Huckabee’s defense, which I posted below, that “In the late 80’s and early 90’s we were still learning about the virus that causes AIDS,” is highly misleading. It is true that during the initial AIDS hysteria in the 1980s, all sorts of false information was being spread by the media, including the now laughable idea that AIDS could be caught by using public toilet seats. But by 1992, it had been well established that AIDS could not be transmitted by casual contact-I was even taught this when I was in high school at the time. The idea high school students would have a better understanding of what causes AIDS than a man running for the U.S. Senate-and a man now seeking the presidency-is alarming.
But beyond the ignorance, what is also troubling in Huckabee’s statement below is that he says, “In the absence of conclusive data, my focus was on efforts to limit the exposure of the virus…” This is inexcusable. The idea of quarantining U.S. citizens is such a massive violation of civil liberties, that the only way you would even consider it would be if there were conclusive evidence about the spread of a deadly, untreatable, easily communicable disease, without a cure, that would wipe out millions of people imminently if it were not quickly contained. The idea that “in the absence of conclusive data” Huckabee’s instinct would be to advocate the most draconian policy imaginable, is, frankly, scary.
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