The Superpower that Disempowers: Is it Time for a Black Book of Autism? (LONG READ… ENJOY!)

Well, what have we got here?!
Something a lot bigger.
Not as funny (a bit of dry wit, perhaps), but nonetheless VERY much out of the mainstream.
Is autism a superpower?
A flamboyantly colorful and identity ‘we’ all can celebrate?
A fabulous lifestyle choice?
Read on and decide for yourself.
All content here compiled from my blogging account on TOI, lightly edited.
Share it if it made you laugh, cry… or think!
Now this one REALLY means a lot to me.
Hopefully I’ll be well enough to do more essays soon and compile it into a book.
In the meantime…
Hold onto yer hats!

Part I: The Dismal Science

What’s the worst Godwin fail you’ve heard all year?

There’s a lot of it about, but I am quite sure you’ll all have no trouble agreeing that the story that’s about to follow is one of the worst you’ve heard in a long, long time.

A Tale of Two Cousins

The Autism Research Centre is directed (as things stand currently, for now) by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, of Cambridge University.

Amusing as it sounds, Professor Baron-Cohen is indeed a relation of Sacha Baron-Cohen. As many readers will already be aware, Professor Baron-Cohen’s cousin is a flamboyantly controversial comedian, whose bizarre and whimsical alter-egos are known all over the world for their demented ravings, and their consistently side-splitting foot-in-mouth gaffes.

Among other half-hilarious, half-tragic creations, we have the flippantly dismissive yardie hooligan Ali G, the tasteless, embittered shade-thrower Bruno and the unintentionally comic buffoon and sanctified idiot, Borat.

However, Simon Baron-Cohen is absolutely nothing like his namesake; for unlike his court jester kinsman, he is very much a pillar of the intellectual and scientific establishment, rather than some kind of Swiftian satirist or Voltairean troublemaker.

And it is precisely for this reason (to wit, that the publicly expressed views of Professor Baron-Cohen carry more weight than that of some perpetually outraged Twitter egg) that his recent autism comments are as morally unacceptable as anything I have ever read about my disability, bar none.

Some context is required here.

Context #1: The Autism Wars.

I am disgusted by the #EndAutismNow campaign. This is hate speech and eugenics. How is this different to the Nazi EndJewsNow (1939-45) & the KKK white supremacist EndBlacksNow campaigns (1860-2018)? Treat symptoms in autistic people that cause suffering, but don’t prevent autism.

Some individuals with autism want a cure for autism, and I am among them; just as there are people with other medical conditions and disabilities who want a cure.

There are also some anti-cure individuals.

The latter often support the ideology of Neurodiversity, which is essentially the view that autism should not be ‘pathologised,’ i.e. treated as a disease, or a lack, or a disability.

Instead, one ought to ‘celebrate diversity,’ and not set up a hierachy between the neurology deemed regular or standard (i.e. that of the ‘neurotypical’ person) versus all the other neurologies that diverge from it (i.e. the neurologies of ‘neurodivergent’ people).

In other words, people are not just deemed ‘divergent,’ as a fact; but also ‘diverse,’ as a value judgment.

Neurodivergent people include, among others, those with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy, post-traumatic stress disorder, dyspraxia.

All these conditions, mental illnesses or disabilities are to be celebrated as natural human differences that make up a rich tapestry of neurological diversity, rather than to be criticised, stigmatised or cured.

Of course, to do this, one has to avoid being selective; i.e, one must not view neurotypicality as of positive value and neurodivergence as of negative value. It also means not being selective between different kinds of neurodivergence.

For example, one cannot say narcissism or psychopathy are ‘worse’ than bipolar disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome; e.g., by saying that narcissists have deeply rooted moral failings that people with some other forms of neurodivergence don’t.

From the perspective of the neurodiversity paradigm (or ideology), there is no hierarchy here.

Everyone’s brain anatomy, brain physiology and external expression of their innate biology is legitimate and valued.

This is one perspective found among some neurodivergent people, and among some autistic people also.

Neurodiversity advocates commonly represents these views as being views held by ‘the autistic community.’

There are also some neurodivergent and autistic individuals who do not regard their neurodivergence as a blessing.

One example is Jonathan Mitchell, or ‘Autism’s Gadfly.’ Another example is Tom Clements.

This is not an exhaustive list; but it is important to remember that there is no single ‘autism community’ with unified views and goals, as I have argued here.

Having set all this out, we must now consider the hashtag Professor Baron-Cohen is discussing.

Context #2: #EndAutismNow

At the time Professor Baron-Cohen made the inflammatory comments above, there was already a passionate debate on Twitter about the hashtag #EndAutismNow.

I do not know who started the hastag; rumours were circulating that the hashtag was originated by the controversial vaccine critic Jenny McCarthy, but I do not know if this is so, or not.

(It is worth noting in passing that contrary to stereotypes, pro-cure autistics and pro-cure autism parents are not all vaccine critics; there are some who are, but any attempt to suggest that pro-cure individuals are somehow part of a’community’ that all think the same thing must be steadfastly resisted; just as for autistic people and autism parents more generally.)

But regardless of who started the hashtag, the important thing is that the tag was used by a number of pro-cure autistic people, who desperately want to be well, as I do; as well as many autism parents, who have suffered greatly.

(NB: I use the term ‘autism parents’ to refer to the parents of autistic people; whether said parents are themselves autistic or not. This is because the term ‘autistic parents,’ if anything, is even more confusing, as it is a highly ambiguous term.)

Those who are familiar with the Autism Wars will not be at all surprised to hear that the pro-cure individuals, whether autistic people or autism parents, were met with a huge onslaught of ad hominem accusations: including guilt by association with ‘Nazis,’ with ‘genocide’ and with ‘eugenics.’

But Professor Baron-Cohen’s tweet, as outlined above, added something new into the mix, with an admirably innovative nod to the Ku Klux Klan.

Now I am sure you are all aware that the latter, unlike the various pro-cure autistic people and pro-cure autism parents using the #EndAutismNow hashtag, were a gang of violent extremists and domestic terrorists; they were all vicious thugs and hooligans who went around physically assaulting and murdering black people, and hanging them from trees.

It is unclear how much Professor Baron-Cohen knew about the broader context of the hashtag; i.e., whether he had examined the fiery debate in detail, or whether he had just taken a glance and decided to fire out a tweet at breakneck speed, without considering the matter in more detail.

But either way, and irrespective of whether this was his intention or not, likening the hashtag to some kind of (analogically and rhetorically fancied) Nazi and KKK hashtag is tantamount to endorsing the anti-cure side of this discussion.

It is noteworthy that I have not seen Professor Baron-Cohen criticise the accusations and death threats hurled around by anti-cure advocates, either during the #EndAutismNow maelstrom, or at any other time.

Of course, if he has done so, I would appreciate some intelligence on this matter, as it is useful for me to take this into consideration.

However, given that no public apology appears to have been forthcoming, for the actual tweet itself, it is perhaps a little too much to ask for him to distance himself from the behaviour of other anti-cure critics.

If you see any, past, present, future, whatever!…

Then please do let me know.

But I am quite sure I shan’t be holding my breath…

Zero Degrees of Apology

I did approach the Autism Research Centre, in order to make a formal complaint.

After they conducted their investigations, they sent me a formal response.

They confirmed that it was a private communication, which was not intended for public disclosure.

So, I am not going to discuss the contents of it, nor quote from it, nor post any screengrab from it.

What I can say, however, is that I was entirely dissatisfied with the contents, and that I do not hold up much hope of Professor Baron-Cohen ever apologising to all the autistic people and autism parents he insulted and degraded with his unbelievably crass, vicious and irredeemably trivialising tweet.

But what is the deeper significance of all this?

Well, the lack of a public apology from Professor Baron-Cohen cannot but raise the question of whether he himself, or one or more other people at the ARC, might be more interested in damage limitation and PR, than in publicly owning the hurt caused to autistic individuals and their parents.

Of course, it is always at least possible that this is not so; but then, such being the case, providing an authentically heartfelt, contrite and unqualifiedly repentant public apology would seem to be, not at all the best way, but rather the only way of reasonably avoiding such a damaging suspicion.

Unfortunately, no matter what the intentions of Professor Baron-Cohen and the ARC may have been in this affair, I am not a man that is easy to buy off.

I am nothing like a Nazi or a KKK member, and nor are the other autistic people using the #EndAutismNow hashtag; nor are the autism parents.

Regardless of Professor Baron-Cohen’s intentions in making this tweet, there is a strong implication in his comments either that autistic people and autism parents are either morally equivalent, or at least that were are morally analogous in some qualified or relative sense, to the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan; both factions of evil, irredeemably reprobate thugs who are known primarily for mass murder, violent extremism, terrormongering, and the systematic dehumanisation of others.

So let us just be crystal clear on the obvious basics:

Autistic people are not Nazis.
Autistic people are not KKK.
Autism parents are not Nazis.
Autism parents are not KKK.

Or anything like it.

The fact this even needs to be said is utterly dispiriting.

Of course, Professor Baron-Cohen may well be inclined say in response that he did not intend to liken us to Nazis and Ku Klux Klan; but if so, the burden of proof is on him to explain how is is logically conceivable for people to use a hashtag analogous to one the Nazis or the KKK might use, without being to some degree guilty by association with Nazis or the KKK.

For it really ought to go without saying that if someone uses a hashtag that is somehow worthy of the Nazis, then they ought inevitably to be considered a person of low character whose character and views substantially overlap with those of the Nazis themselves.

And I should also have thought that if someone used a hashtag of the kind you would expect the KKK to use, that they are behaving just like the KKK, and are not only morally culpable in their actions, but morally reprobate in terms of their personal character and moral worth.

If Professor Baron-Cohen can perhaps be so good as to explain why all this is not so, and my understanding of the deeper significance of his tweet is somehow misguided and fallacious, then I am all ears.

But the fact remains that he simply has not done so; and in such a case, the highly stiff and bureaucratic handling of the affair up to now must inevitably appear tantamount to some sort of ‘reputation management’ exercise.

Unfortunately, I am not interested in public relations at all; I’m interested in the inflammatory comment the Professor has made, and in the broader consequences of his conduct in this matter.

It’s Not About the ‘Feelz’

And speaking of consequences: all this brings me to a very crucial point.
This is not merely about ‘hurt feelings.’

Yes, it definitely hurts for many autistic individuals and autism parents to be spoken of in this vicious manner; but there is an even broader context at play here.

The politically correct valorisation, even sacralisation of autism as just another form of ‘diversity’ risks disincentivising research into cures; because of autism is not really a big deal, then why not just spend the money on something else instead?

If there are real problems out there like cancer, or sexually transmitted diseases, or diabetes, then surely autism is a secondary consideration, and it can be safely shifted down the list of funding priorities?

I must be clear that I don’t begrudge people with leukaemia or HIV or motor neurone disease the research money; I’d just like to see a more realistic attitude taken towards autism.

Take all other disabilities and illnesses seriously, by all means; but please take autism seriously too, instead of palming the problems of autistic people onto ‘society,’ and downplaying the essential and intrinsic role biology plays in our suffering.

For after all: Bill Gates, Temple Grandin and Sheldon Cooper are not the norm; the fashionable, twee ‘sexiness’ of Asperger’s Syndrome in much of the popular imagination doesn’t speak to the experience of all people with Asperger’s Syndrome, let alone autistic people who don’t have high-functioning forms of autism.

Ultimately, extravagantly controversial comments like the one quoted from Professor Baron-Cohen here (the internet is forever!) risk contributing towards an anti-cure culture; the problem here is that ‘symptom relief’ is not much comfort to a lot of autistic people, and indeed a lot of autism parents as well.

The option to have an autism cure should always be there.

I realise it is impossible to magic a cure out of thin air, and the last thing I would want to do is to pile pressure on anyone currently conducting research into a cure; however, whenever scientists are doing precisely this, people should be supportive, instead of making false accusations of ‘genocide’ or ‘eugenics,’ as so many level 1 Twitter eggs do, or drawing false analogies and misleading allusions either with the disability-selective abortion of today, or the T-4 programme of the Nazi era.

Final Conclusions

In order to be fair to all concerned, I realise that the ARC is not a monolith, and a contentious dispute like this will likely lead to a variety of views among the individuals at the ARC, both about the rights and wrongs of the dispute, and how to effectively deal with it.

So I will not tar everyone with the same brush; however, someone, somewhere, seems to have some kind of obstructionist intentions, and I do not know who it is, and I am not too worried about who it is.

My responsibility is to publicly expose the comments made by Professor Baron-Cohen, and to remind everyone that autistic people are not remotely analogous to Nazis and the KKK, and indeed, many of us were indiscriminately slaughtered by the Nazis.

I will also remind everyone to beware of any association of autism parents with such people too.

This is not about victimhood, but about fighting hard against the stigmatisation of autistics and autism parents, and against those who risk recklessly contributing to such; it is not so much about settling scores or about being defensive, as about trying to create an atmosphere where this horrible disease of autism will one day be cured.

I would encourage Professor Baron-Cohen to actually speak with real autistic people and autism parents; there are many autistic people who, like me, are in constant physical pain, 24/7, from our digestive pain.

Other autistics have other problems, and parents have as well.

Some autistics are even autism parents too.

Scientists must always remember that we are not objects of study, first and foremost.

Nor are we even autistic people or autism parents, primarily.

We are human beings; not idle pot-shots on the blood-strewn ideological shooting range of neurodiversity, of the Autism Wars, and of politically correct autistic identity politics.

None of the above is about eliciting sympathy or pity; it is really more about how people need to have an objective, dispassionate, unsentimentally impartial understanding of autistic people and autism parents; instead of the kind of attitude which condemns and dismisses us, and likens us to the Nazis and to the Ku Klux Klan.

This doesn’t just apply to neurotypicals; it also applies to anti-cure autistic abusers and flamers, whose ‘zero degrees of empathy’ and understanding for their fellow autistics causes unnecessary harm for people who are often already in a lot of physical and emotional anguish.

If you found this article of value, please share it.

I want the whole world to remember once again that flippant and tasteless Nazi analogies don’t do anyone any good, but only serve to poison the atmosphere any further.

What are you going to do today to support autistic people, and not work against us?

And what can you do for any autism parents that you know?

And finally, what are we able to do for you?

Let’s all work together to try and find a way through.

Part 2: The Disease that Dare Not Speak its Name

If your child had diabetes, would you celebrate it?

If your child has sickle-cell anaemia, would you celebrate it?

I’m assuming for the overwhelming majority of you, the answer is ‘no.’

How about autism, though?

Well these days, there really does seem to be something of a double standard on this one!

Previously on Times of Israel, I’ve discussed Simon Baron Cohen’s inflammatory KKK and Nazi references with regards to curing autism.

He didn’t mention this with regard to any physical illnesses though, and this is a very revealing symptom of the tedious mainstream Zeitgeist of our age.

Normalising and depathologising autism and mental illnesses too, under the banner of ‘Neurodiversity,’ really is all the rage.

Partly a metaphor, yes! …

But partly a fair representation of the ‘radical’ activists of the ‘autism community;’ those who, needless to say, represent themselves alone, and not the autism demographic as a whole.

The autism demographic may be a complex tapestry of views and sentiments and values and convictions, but the ‘autism community,’ predictable enough, is incredibly rigid, dogmatic and monolithic; in common with other postmodern social justice mobs.

And sad to say, like all remotely serious scholars today, Professor Baron-Cohen is in the unfortunate position of having to appease the social justice mob in question: or the partisans of ‘Alt-Autism,’ if you will, who are a prime incendiary segment of the torrentially pomo-spiralling ‘Alt-Left.’ And yet, how far he can succeed in doing so remains to be seen. In the meantime, one Twitter account claim that SBC has had to reassure others that all disabilities, including autism, should be “celebrated.”

The tweet below is not a direct quote, but it does seem to be representative of the general postmodern, relativistic trend of SBC’s essentially decent, centrist, inclusive, tolerant, middle of the road vision of autism.

For example:

The neurodiversity movement has been a very positive influence in reminding us that there is no single pathway in neurological development, but there are many ways to reach similar end-points.

Professor Simon Baron Cohen endorses Neurodiversity

http://blogs.britannica.com/2010/12/exploring-autism-empathy-and-neurodiversity-5-questions-for-psychologist-simon-baron-cohen

This utterly horrific and downright terrifying endorsement of neurodiversity, a largely relativistic, subjectivistic and ultimately dehumanising ideology explicitly devoted to the normalisation, depathologisation, detoxification and even outright ‘celebration’ of a serious mental and physical pathology, will come as no surprise to those who have been tracking with concern and steely crouching the ascendancy of the ND religion to crushingly hegemonic status.

Organised autism and mainstream discourse in media, politics and academia now have an utter strangehold, and the iron grip of neurodiversity and its fashionable stablemate, the social model of disability, is no less strong than that which Lord Sauron used to hold over so much of Middle Earth.

However, it is impossible to avoid the truth any longer: the indiscriminately inclusive and tolerant core assumptions of neurodiversity (no one anatomy, physiology or expression of these in behaviour is better or worse than another) or the social model of disability (people are not disabled by biology or nature, but by mainstream society), often mask an unspeakably cold-hearted, callous dismissal of the experiences of anyone whose life does not align with the Pollyannaish turd-polishing of the self-styled, self-appointed ‘autistic community.’

It really is rather sad that Professor Baron-Cohen has ended up capitulating (whether he realises it or not!) to the aggressive agitation and bourgeois identity-hustling of the militant autism lobby.

How far this is due to ignorance, how far due to intellectual limitations of some kind, how far due to sentimental cognitive biases, or any other reason, is obviously difficult to say.

But as far as the oft-mooted ‘mind-blindness’ of autistic people is concerned, all human beings are limited in their understanding of others; hard as it may be for us all to believe!

So perhaps one day, all those who celebrate autism or any other debilitating disease will take the courage to shed their own mind-blindedness…

And to understand the bodies, souls and spirits of those of us who regard autism as something to be mourned, and not to be revelled in, nor even legitimised and normalised to the slightest, most infinitesimal degree.

If I were by any chance a Hindu, I would be invoking the Kali Yuga today: the dark age when enlightenment is scattered and scarce like the Kabbalah’s seeds of light!

But as a good Orthodox son of the Church (or a not so good one, pick yer poison!) and a staunch believer in the God of miracles, I will say that I do agree wholeheartedly with God’s people in Israel and in the diaspora.

For it is indeed an eternal truth that God has reserved to him a righteous 7000’s remnant that shall not perish from the earth, until that all that is written in the Book has come to be fulfilled.

Now let us all not by any means give up our sacred hope that the darkness, after all that has been and all that shall ever come to be, is only for a season.

Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth ? Tell me if thou hast understanding.

https://biblehub.com/job/38-4.htm

Part 3: Sex and Shopping… The Perverse Autistic Fetish!

One sure sign that an ideal is not remotely radical is when ‘everyone’ is endorsing it!

Although funnily enough….

I most certainly do not mean every human being on the face of the earth, or even every person in a particular country.

I really mean the overwhelming majority of politicians, media figures, big corporations and more!

And when it comes to disability, ideas doesn’t get much more toothless and mainstream than the idea that disability, including autism, is something to be celebrated.

Over the past few years, I have observed very carefully how difficult it is to question the view that autism, including high-functioning autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) is to be celebrated.

The slightest caveat on this score is likely to be met with howls of derision, abusive comments and in my own experience, outright and clear-cut defamation, and even death threats!

In such a context, it’s important to think about the boundaries of ‘celebration.’

The idea that autism is to be celebrated generally comes with certain corollaries:

Autism is a difference, not a disability.

People are disabled by society, not by autism.

If you hate autism you hate autistic people.

Trying to cure autism is autistic genocide.

But how far do these four highminded, decent, bourgeois-metropolitan postmodern assertions actually hold up?

Robinson Pomo

The first two can be taken together.

The fact is that even in the most accommodating society imaginable, many autistic people would still struggle.

Even if people were living in a perfect Utopia, the staggeringly high suicide rates of autistic people might be reduced somewhat; but given the severe distress caused by the physical dimensions of autism such as digestive problems and sensory overload, there are clearly limits to how far accommodations can be of assistance here.

Saying people are ‘disabled’ by society does of course ignore the necessity for personal responsibility on the part of the autistic person (which is always better than blaming others for our own problems); but in addition to this, it also neglects the brute physical reality of autism.

In recent years, the physical aspects of autism have deteriorated for me to a remarkable degree: for me, and for so many others, there is absolutely nothing people in society can do to stop this suffering.

I am currently trying to lose weight, and do whatever I can; but ultimately, my body will always be broken and diseased; this is a matter of damage limitation, and nothing more.

It would be grossly unjust and ungrateful of me to blame other people for my problems, when many neurotypicals have been so good to me, and shown such empathy and compassion, and helped me when I have been in trouble.

None of my problems are the fault of individuals, let alone an abstract vision of ‘society,’ whoever that is.

No Hate, No Fear, Celebrate Your Suffering Here!

Thirdly, hating autism is no more hating autistic people than hating Alzheimer’s or dementia  is hating people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Are these all forms of diversity too?

The difference between hating a disability or illness, and hating the person beneath the disability of illness, is self-evident, and does not need to be justified at length.

I myself have had days when I am far less autistic, and have finally caught a glimpse of the true humanity I have so often been cruelly denied on account of my horrible pathology.

And just ask a great many of those who have nursed and tended and cared for a beloved parent or grandparent or child with a disability or mental illness, how fiercely it is possible to love the person, and hate the pathology.

The idea that this is somehow logically contradictory, or materially impossible, is clearly betrayed by the experience of innumerable courageous and fiercely passionate people throughout history who have dared to do so: long before the politically correct sacralisation of disability and mental illness as topics for ‘celebration’ and idealisation ever came to be.

Narcissistic Genocide

Fourthly, curing autism is no more genocide than curing narcissism is genocide! If a cure for narcissism is developed, is that to be understood as genocide of the narcissistic community? Ultimately, unless there are any special caveats and circumstances to the contrary, anything that relieves unnecessary suffering has to be a good thing.

So, having seen clearly enough the politically correct spin about the suffering caused by autism (not by a negatively idealised ‘society,’ but by autism), this is my resolution.

Having lived over three decades trapped in a hostile autistic body, I have become determined to tell the real truth about autism, beneath the PC veneer of acceptance, celebration and diversity.

I am here to celebrate transcendence of suffering, not suffering itself; courage against incapacity, not incapacity itself; and power over powerlessness, not powerlessness itself.

What are you going to do today to celebrate all that hinders and obstructs autism and the suffering it causes?

Previously on Times of Israel, I’ve discussed Simon Baron Cohen’s inflammatory KKK and Nazi references with regards to curing autism.

He didn’t mention this with regard to any physical illnesses though, and this is a very revealing symptom of the tedious mainstream Zeitgeist of our age.

Normalising and depathologising autism and mental illnesses too, under the banner of ‘Neurodiversity,’ really is all the rage.

Partly a metaphor, yes! …

But partly a fair representation of the ‘radical’ activists of the ‘autism community;’ those who, needless to say, represent themselves alone, and not the autism demographic as a whole.

The autism demographic may be a complex tapestry of views and sentiments and values and convictions, but the ‘autism community,’ predictable enough, is incredibly rigid, dogmatic and monolithic; in common with other postmodern social justice mobs.

And sad to say, like all remotely serious scholars today, Professor Baron-Cohen is in the unfortunate position of having to appease the social justice mob in question: or the partisans of ‘Alt-Autism,’ if you will, who are a prime incendiary segment of the torrentially pomo-spiralling ‘Alt-Left.’

And yet, how far he can succeed in doing so remains to be seen. In the meantime, one Twitter account claim that SBC has had to reassure others that all disabilities, including autism, should be “celebrated.”

The tweet below is not a direct quote, but it does seem to be representative of the general postmodern, relativistic trend of SBC’s essentially decent, centrist, inclusive, tolerant, middle of the road vision of autism.

For example:

The neurodiversity movement has been a very positive influence in reminding us that there is no single pathway in neurological development, but there are many ways to reach similar end-points.

Professor Simon Baron Cohen endorses Neurodiversity

http://blogs.britannica.com/2010/12/exploring-autism-empathy-and-neurodiversity-5-questions-for-psychologist-simon-baron-cohen

This utterly horrific and downright terrifying endorsement of neurodiversity, a largely relativistic, subjectivistic and ultimately dehumanising ideology explicitly devoted to the normalisation, depathologisation, detoxification and even outright ‘celebration’ of a serious mental and physical pathology, will come as no surprise to those who have been tracking with concern and steely crouching the ascendancy of the ND religion to crushingly hegemonic status.

Organised autism and mainstream discourse in media, politics and academia now have an utter strangehold, and the iron grip of neurodiversity and its fashionable stablemate, the social model of disability, is no less strong than that which Lord Sauron used to hold over so much of Middle Earth.

However, it is impossible to avoid the truth any longer: the indiscriminately inclusive and tolerant core assumptions of neurodiversity (no one anatomy, physiology or expression of these in behaviour is better or worse than another) or the social model of disability (people are not disabled by biology or nature, but by mainstream society), often mask an unspeakably cold-hearted, callous dismissal of the experiences of anyone whose life does not align with the Pollyannaish turd-polishing of the self-styled, self-appointed ‘autistic community.’

It really is rather sad that Professor Baron-Cohen has ended up capitulating (whether he realises it or not!) to the aggressive agitation and bourgeois identity-hustling of the militant autism lobby.

How far this is due to ignorance, how far due to intellectual limitations of some kind, how far due to sentimental cognitive biases, or any other reason, is obviously difficult to say.

But as far as the oft-mooted ‘mind-blindness’ of autistic people is concerned, all human beings are limited in their understanding of others; hard as it may be for us all to believe! So perhaps one day, all those who celebrate autism or any other debilitating disease will take the courage to shed their own mind-blindedness…

And to understand the bodies, souls and spirits of those of us who regard autism as something to be mourned, and not to be revelled in, nor even legitimised and normalised to the slightest, most infinitesimal degree.

If I were by any chance a Hindu, I would be invoking the Kali Yuga today: the dark age when enlightenment is scattered and scarce like the Kabbalah’s seeds of light!

But as a good Orthodox son of the Church (or a not so good one, pick yer poison!) and a staunch believer in the God of miracles, I will say that I do agree wholeheartedly with God’s people in Israel and in the diaspora.

For it is indeed an eternal truth that God has reserved to him a righteous 7000’s remnant that shall not perish from the earth, until that all that is written in the Book has come to be fulfilled.

Now let us all not by any means give up our sacred hope that the darkness, after all that has been and all that shall ever come to be, is only for a season.

Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth ? Tell me if thou hast understanding.

https://biblehub.com/job/38-4.htm

Part 4: The Medical is the Moral

Personal responsibility and individualism are a thorny topic when it comes to physical illness, mental illness and disability.

Sometimes people may be tempted to say, ‘it was the medication speaking,’ or ‘it was the IBS speaking,’ or ‘it was the autism speaking,’ or ‘it was the BPD speaking’ or ‘it was the anxiety speaking.’

The difficult here is that although that may be, in a way, true (insofar as our truest, highest self can fall under a cloud and we become, as it were, beside ourselves), and yet…

Nevertheless, it is a complete insult and affront to human dignity to deny ourselves agency, and to make ourselves the tools and slaves of any internal or external force.

Saying ‘it was THIS that was speaking’ is tantamount to saying, ‘these actions of mine had a cause.’

But what action doesn’t?

Giving a causal account of something does not in itself constitute a moral argument: all wrong deeds are caused by something, and so it is important to distinguish the fact of cause and effects from the value judgments of personal responsibility and even moral culpability or guilt.

We all act under constraint of some kind; but even the ISIS caliph (to take a very extreme example) acted under ‘constraint.’

So did all dictators.

So do serial killers, murders, terrorists and sex offenders.

The point here of course is not to fundamentally liken those of us who suffer health problems to the worst people on earth; but merely to point out that nobody has the monopoly on acting under constraint, and that furthermore, acting under constraint is not a get out of jail free card for people who don’t believe in a healthy, mature individualism that eschews excuse-making and values personal responsibility.

In a sense, it is indeed correct to say ‘it was THIS was speaking.’

But it could not have spoken unless you chose to let it speak, and to give it a voice, and to let it speak through you.

Unfortunately, we all have to live in the real world, and the world doesn’t stop for snowflakes! If you regret things you have done or said, then it’s better to man up, woman up, grit your teeth and take it on the chin! And wherever necessary, to apologise in whatever manner or context deemed best, or even make some kind of suitable restitution. Too much guilt is counterproductive, and this insight of pearly wonder is a silver thread running from the heavenly-minded Church Fathers and rabbis to the dystopian Aldous Huxley; but blaming all your moral faults on medical imperfections and challenges is not something a mature adult should do.

And worse still, it is a shameless and reprehensible denial of moral agency!

Because nowadays, in the current phase in the eternal and temporal unfolding of Capital and Spirit, so many of us really do live in a society, and in a world, where ideology and discourse focus almost entirely on moral patients; i.e., purely on those to whom something has been done. But not on moral agents, or those who are actually doing something!

And in such a case, if you and I really want to challenge today’s culture of victimhood and entitlement, we’re going to have to make damn sure we do the right thing, and we don’t blame our illnesses, disabilities, medication or other factors for our own hurtful or distressing words and actions.

Threatening to kill or mutilate yourself, ranting, venting, flaming, or even speaking abusively and cruelly to others; none of these things are purely medical matters. They are moral matters too!

The medical is the moral.

Understanding this is of crucial importance for demolishing the culture of entitlement and victimhood around autism today.

And so, even if you are already opposing the social victimhood of those who claim autistic and neurodivergent people are ‘oppressed’ by some Vast Neurotypical Conspiracy, and who are being somehow violently and cruelly excluded by ‘society’ (“and I woulda been equal too, if it hadn’t been for all them pesky normies!”), you can’t allow yourself to fall into biological victimhood and entitlement either.

Moral consistency is as important today as it ever was; especially in a world, and in an age, where it is so rare to find.

The world of Neurodiversity and of the Social Model of Disability is indeed a true dystopian nightmare. And yet, as no less a figure than Bilbo Baggins has already told us (and ever will continue, had we but ears to hear and eyes to see!)….

Those who are exiting the forbidding kosmos of Simon Baron-Cohen, Steve Silberman and Social Justice Tumblr must beware escaping the goblins of social justice victimhood, only to be devoured by the wolves of biological determinism!

Autism does, in a sense, determine us.

But how much power we are prepared to give it, is up to us.

The law of guilt and of fear shall have no power over us.

For like Abraham, Moses and David, we shall learn the perfect grace that casts out fear.

Author: Wallace Runnymede

Wallace is the editor of Brian K. White's epic website, Glossy News! Email him with your content at wallacerunnymede#gmail.com (Should be @, not #!) Or if you'd like me to help you tease out some ideas that you can't quite put into concrete form, I'd love to have some dialogue with you! Catch me on Patreon too, or better still, help out our great writers on the official Glossy News Patreon (see the bottom of the homepage!) Don't forget to favourite Glossy News in your browser, and like us on Facebook too! And last but VERY MUCH not the least of all... Share, share, SHARE! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our awesome site!

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