Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fighting AIDS with African Common Sense

That's the title the Acton Institute gave to my review of Helen Epstein's fine new book: The Invisible Cure: Africa, The West and the Fight Against AIDS
This book is good and interesting on multiple levels. The most striking thing about the book is that it makes it clear that the international aid organizations charged with fighting AIDS had their own agendas, particularly a view of human sexuality. I hope to write another review, highlighting that aspect of the book. The review over at the Acton site focuses on the good sense of the local people in comparison with the distant and out of touch approach of the international agencies. This is a fine example of the Catholic Social Teaching principle of Subsidiarity. Although Epstein is probably not aware of it and never mentions it, I think she would agree that social functions need to be performed by the lowest level of society that is capable of doing the job. The lower levels of organization have knowledge and information that are not avaialable to the higher levels. And the lower levels can interatct with individuals in a more humane way. This book is worth reading in any case.

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