Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Last week in an interview on Newsmax, I said:
“During the AIDS crisis, can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users, who were the vast majority of the people with AIDS, had they been pariahs the way the non-vaccinated are? But it would have been inconceivable. And it should have been inconceivable; they should not have been made pariahs. But this (banning those not vaccinated from bars, restaurants, salons, etc.) is kosher, this is OK.” The reason I raised the comparison of gay men and IV drug users as pariahs to the current-day unvaccinated is that I took for granted that those two groups, were, in fact, made pariahs at that time. My whole point was they were not made pariahs in the same way the unvaccinated are today. No AIDS-infected people were the subject of government-issued edicts to bar them from private businesses such as restaurants, bars and hair salons.
Had gay men and IV drug users never been made pariahs in the beginning of the AIDS crisis, there would have been no point in raising them as a point of comparison. To any honest person hearing or reading that statement, it is therefore clear that I did not say gays were not pariahs during the AIDS crisis. I said the opposite: I said that they should not have been made pariahs and that it should have been inconceivable to make them pariahs. I compared gays as pariahs then to the unvaccinated as pariahs today. I said they were not pariahs “like the unvaccinated are today.” There’s a reason people use qualifiers.
The Left went into its standard mode of operation — lie, smear, get hysterical and incite the mob.
MSNBC devoted a segment to what I said. They played the Newsmax video of me — but, tellingly, they played only part of what I said. They dropped, “And it should have been inconceivable; they (gays) should not have been made pariahs.” If you watch the video of me speaking as played on MSNBC, you actually see me mouthing those words, but MSNBC made sure you can’t hear me say them. Dropping those words changes the entire meaning of what I said.
And change the meaning of what I said is precisely what The Independent, Slate, Politifact, the Advocate, Media Matters, The Bulwark writers and every other left-wing individual and organization that covered this story did.
Gays with AIDS were indeed pariahs, and some awful things were done to and said about them. This was especially true in the first years of the AIDS outbreak, and especially after Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that AIDS may be transmittable through casual household contact (rather than solely by the exchange of body fluids), and most especially after the media hyped the myth that AIDS was as easily transmitted and common among heterosexuals as it was among gay men and intravenous drug users. As a result, many Americans panicked.
Consequently, almost everyone with AIDS — not only gay men — were rendered pariahs. One of the most famous examples was Ryan White, a 10-year-old boy who was not gay (to anyone’s knowledge), who was kicked out of school in 1986 because he had contracted AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion.
Now let’s compare that pariah status to that of the unvaccinated today.
Were there government mandates to fire every gay man with AIDS, as there are today for every company in America with 100-plus employees?
Did government edicts deprive AIDS patients of their incomes and pensions? Were gay policemen, nurses and firefighters fired?
Was there a ban on gay men (with or without AIDS) entering movie theaters, restaurants, hair salons, etc., unless they could prove they did not have AIDS? Such bans exist at this moment on the unvaccinated.
Was there any talk about banning anyone with AIDS from using all public transportation? Such a ban on the unvaccinated exists in Canada and is being seriously discussed by the Biden administration. Last week, Austria barred unvaccinated people who do not have natural immunity from restaurants, hotels, hair salons and large public events.
Here’s more on the treatment of the unvaccinated:
The former premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, has called on the Australian government to follow Singapore’s decision to discontinue free COVID-19 treatment for unvaccinated patients. He said it was time unvaccinated Australians should be forced to “pay for your willful stupidity.”
Howard Stern said: “I’m really of mind to say, ‘Look, if you didn’t get vaccinated and you got Covid, you don’t get into a hospital.'”
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan supports segregating the unvaccinated and denying them access to basic goods and services.
Noam Chomsky said that the unvaccinated should be pushed into isolation. When asked how the unvaccinated would then be able to get food, Chomsky responded, “How can we get food to them? Well, that’s actually their problem.”
“Noam Chomsky is trending because he wants to get tough on people who choose to stay unvaccinated,” Mehdi Hasan said on MSNBC. “Good for him.”
Leana Wen, a visiting professor of health policy at George Washington University, Washington Post columnist, and medical analyst for CNN, told Chris Cuomo on CNN:
“We need to start looking at the choice to remain unvaccinated the same as we look at driving while intoxicated. You have the option to not get vaccinated if you want, but then you can’t go out in public.”
Jimmy Kimmel said this:
“Dr. Fauci said that if hospitals get any more overcrowded, they’re going to have to make some very tough choices about who gets an ICU bed. That choice doesn’t seem so tough to me. Vaccinated person having a heart attack? Yes, come right on in, we’ll take care of you. Unvaccinated guy who gobbled horse goo? Rest in peace, wheezy.”
My comments were about the government-imposed pariah status of the unvaccinated today; they in no way denied the social pariah status of gays with AIDS in the 1980s. But facts do not matter to the angry and the hate-filled.
Tim Miller, writer-at-large for The Bulwark, said on the MSNBC program that featured my Newsmax interview:
“His (Prager’s) revisionist history is a central tenet of right-wing victimhood. They love the victim status … and to pretend like the suffering of people didn’t exist.”
Miller simply lied about what I said. I never pretended the suffering of people didn’t exist. I compared the pariah status of the unvaccinated today to the pariah status of gays during the AIDS epidemic and said the former is worse. That is demonstrably true: Not one of these commentators cited an example of government or commentators calling for banning AIDS victims from working, from eating out, from getting a haircut or a plane ticket or from receiving medical care.
As noted above, every left-wing outlet that covered the issue lied:
The Independent: “Right-wing radio host claims gay men weren’t ‘pariahs’ during Aids crisis — but unvaccinated are now.”
Poynter Institute for Media Studies: “Dennis Prager’s claim that it was ‘inconceivable’ that gay men were seen as ‘pariahs’ in the 1980s is extraordinarily inaccurate.”
Politifact (a so-called fact-checker): “To suggest that gay men and intravenous drug users were not considered pariahs during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s is entirely inaccurate … We rate the statement Pants on Fire.”
The Advocate (perhaps the most long-standing and prominent gay site): Like MSNBC, it dropped the last two sentences when it quoted me.
Tampa Bay Times headline: “The Pants on Fire claim that it was ‘inconceivable’ gay men were seen as ‘pariahs.'”
Another writer at The Bulwark, Jonathan V. Last, asked: “Is Dennis Prager Stupid or Evil?” To support this, he printed the truncated quote of what I said, just like MSNBC and the others.
Why did the Left lie about what I said?
For two reasons.
The first is something I have known and written about since I studied communism in graduate school: Neither liberty nor truth is, or has ever been, a left-wing value. Both are liberal values, and both are conservative values. But neither is a left-wing value.
The second is that on the Left, victim status is everything. Only left-wing approved groups can be deemed victims, and gays are, of course, one of those groups. Whatever the price — including truth — the Left must maintain its monopoly on victimhood.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” was released to home entertainment nationwide on September 15, 2020. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.
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