second thoughts on second things

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 03, 2006

Below I quote C.S. Lewis:

To sacrifice the greater good for the less and then not to get the lesser good after all-- that is the surprising folly.

Since my occasion for citing that quote was a conversation about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, let me add a second thought.

A married couple might decide to sacrifice the integrity of their marital act for the sake of preventing disease. We could all understand that decision, even if we did not condone it.

But the decision is based on the assumption that a condom will prevent the transfer of the HIV virus. Will it? Reliably? Always? Because one failure could mean a death sentence. And then it wouldn't be just the marital act that was sacrificed; it would be a human life, too-- offered up as a victim to condomalotry.

Given any choice at all-- and unless we're talking about rape, which is an entirely different matter, couples do have a choice-- rational people do not base serious moral calculations on the assumption that a thin sheet of permeable latex is adequate defence against a tiny, deadly virus.

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