This morning, after I woke up from a prematurely-started sleep and realised that I was going to have yet another major disruption in sleep pattern, I did my usual computer routine. I hopped onto World Of Warcraft for the nth time, did some tasks oriented around my characters’ skills, and then looked at the news that Fudgebook had to offer. One place that I used to be subscribed to but left because of the whole unwillingness that much of the autistic community has to accept that not everyone shits smiles posted an image that I thought was working talking about. You will see it after the jump.
The shirt you see in this image is being worn by one IACC member who is named Noah Britain. The news item that accompanied the posting of the image states that he wore it to “the meeting” (their words). This is another reason why I have such a problem with the so-called community at large. You see, when Jello Biafra said “don’t hate the media, become the media”, he did not mean “flood the channels with globs of useless shit that dilute your message”. He meant to learn how the media as it is works, and it is a science that the major media outlets have down to an art, and devise a way to subvert that. Artists like Frank Zappa did that to an awesome degree (and in a future post, I might elaborate on that). But the more I see out of the “everything has to be online and only online” culture, the more I understand that they just do not get this point. Sorry, everything onliners, but if you want to subvert something, you have to use similarly scientific methods to go about that.
Oh yeah, the post also had a quote from Mister Britain:
I’m here to represent the thousands of people with Asperger’s who don’t want to be cured… This shirt has nothing to do with abortion, it’s about autism.
Which brings me to the point I wish to make about this message and why. You see, if it were me printing this shirt and making something bold and/or striking with that (a trick the mainstream media uses because, get this, it works), I would be printing “my body, my informed choice”. This is an important distinction. All of the consent in the world is meaningless if the choice given or made is based on false information, or worse yet no information at all.
You see, normalistic so-and-sos like Autism Speaks love to trot out little distorted images of sad, miserable, unhappy children who they say are autistic, and claim that this is consent. Not just on behalf of those children, the overwhelming majority of whom probably have no idea what they are being put in front of the camera for, but on the behalf of everyone on the spectrum (even when those people are writing about their walks and saying “not another step” or the like).
But let us talk for a bit about the second half of Britain‘s statement. Yes, let us leave aside the distinction between “people with Asperger’s” and “autistic people” for a second. In fact, this is what I tend to mean about informed consent. Let me pose a hypothetical for you. Imagine that you live in a world where millions of people in your country, state, or local area die every day. Imagine they are dying from malnutrition, rampant disease, or violence. This violence is because the world is quite literally in a constant state of war. Not frequent, like we have now, but constant. Imagine that for the first time since the industrial revolution, Humans are getting shorter by generation, as opposed to the getting taller (on average) by generation effect that we presently have. Oh, and to cap all of that off, imagine that the vast majority of the animal species that one’s parents or grandparents were concerned about conserving, such as bears, birds, or most feline varieties, are extinct.
Sounds like a real nightmare, does it not? Well, guess what? I have just described a world that can and will become reality unless the world’s collective governments start not only allowing every woman of every age to abort if desired, but positively encouraging them to do so, whilst ramping up efforts to improve the prevention of conception in the first place in the bargain. And by encouraging, I mean that governments are going to have to start taxing people according to how many children are descended from them. Not just born from, descended from. As in everyone has a credit towards their taxation of all kinds that they progressively lose with the more children they have. That is how drastic the problem that is being caused by Human overbreeding is going to get during the next fifty years.
Autism education is a similar beast. Given the amount of abuse, especially on a psychological level, that has been and likely still is entailed by being born autistic, I am sure that every autistic adult has at some point in their live thought that they would gladly trade in being autistic for an easier life. But the popular Benjamin Franklin quote comes to mind here. “Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, is the actual version written as part of his notes sometime shortly before February 17 of 1775. Those who would give up their uniqueness, or the uniqueness of others, for a little comfort deserve to be privileged with neither.
Autism Speaks will hate me for putting that statement out on the “airwaves”. They already hate me for the fact that I tell everyone who speaks to me on the subject that I would just as soon their members’ face off as look at them, and they can thank themselves for that. But there it is. Has my life been lived foolishly, with one wrong decision leading to another with a stream of consequences that make me wish I could go back and tell someone that maybe letting me born is not such a good idea? Sure. Do I believe people who say such fortune-cookie nuggets of “wisdom” as “you have been put here for a reason”? Not on your life. So far as I am concerned, the only reason I even exist is because the species I am supposedly part of is so irritatingly slow at recognising that it is rapidly progressing towards a problem the like of which it has only seen in archaelogical evidence thus far.
There is a saying, popular with historians, by Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás. Namely, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. The state of constant war that I spoke of over resources as basic as food was a feature of the Dark Ages and Middle Ages. In the Europe that Christopher Columbus left on his voyage to the Americas, the slightest fluctuation in the price of food could kill a quarter of the population in a stroke. There has long been a historical precedent for starvation-related war and suffering, and the problem that is coming back to bite Humanity in the arse is that no technological advance, not all of the science in the world, no industrial miracle, can make the planet grow.
This is what I am talking about when I make a distinction between informed and uninformed consent. Regardless of how curebies try to pretend otherwise, they have absolutely no idea whatsoever concerning the consequences of monkeying around (so to speak) in the Human brain. Even indirect methodologies such as Deep Sleep Therapy are notorious for having caused deaths and lifelong debilitating effects that were both unintentional and, as some reports have it, so transparently logical that the failure of the so-called professionals to foresee their occurrence is mind-boggling. And mind you, this is only one of many incidents that have occurred where people who could and should have known better have had their hands dirtied by their own lack of foresight. And mind you, the persons who can be credited with the invention or popularisation of Deep Sleep Therapy have also given science a bit of a black eye in that they actually had valid degrees on the basis of which their opinions were widely considered to be valid. (Also worth noting is that, in complete denial of the fact that he had hurt and killed dozens of people, Doctor Harry Richard Bailey left a suicide note proclaiming that “the Scientologists and the forces of madness have won”. Thank his ghost for giving the Scienos a shred of credibility, however small such might be.)
It begs the question of what the curebies are going to do if they do hold some child down, open up their head, monkey around, then try to present the result the the public and it all blows up in their face. So far, when confronted with real, valid evidence that their so-called therapies simply do not work, and the notoriously stupid idea of pouring bleach into a child’s anus is just one of a long string of abhorrent ideas along that line, their policy has been to deny, deny, deny. Everything is a conspiracy to keep their children autistic (the fact that these children might not mind being autistic, or even would rather be autistic than like them, never enters their feeble little collective consciousness). Everything is a plot against the oh-so brave curebie, and on and on they go.
As I look at the image I tied to the above paragraph, I also remember that I have seen a lot of videos to which comments mention the word “anal bleaching”. I am trying to put this as delicately as I can, mind, but it seems that some viewers of pornography, hardcore ones with a lot of time on their hands, are put off by the sight of a person’s (usually a woman’s) anus in its natural state. Pornographic stars, it seems, bleach the opening of their bottoms in order to make them appear less, well, brown and “icky”. More “nice” for the idiot males viewing them as things get shoved in, so to speak. Yeah, I know, I watch way too much of the wrong kinds of video (and by that, I do not merely mean pornographic ones, as a viewing of a complete Wonder Showzen episode attests). The point here is that my mind utterly boggles at how an overly extreme form of what is essentially a cosmetic procedure can be considered a good idea. Especially in the sense of 1) the “patient” is a child and 2) the only connection that the anal passage has with the brain is nerves that transmit pain or pleasure. Perhaps the idea of introducing bleach to a child’s bottom end reflects the fact that the parents have their heads in their own anuses?
That, in a nutshell, is what I am talking about when I say “my body, my informed choice”. Because a significant number of the choices we make, whether we like this or not, have consequences for others. This is what authors, politicans, and philosophers are talking about when they speak of hoping that whatever individual they happen to be addressing will make the right choice. And in the case of autism, Autism Speaks is hoping, in the sense of wringing their hands and obssessing about it, that you, me, everybody, will make the wrong choice. They also hope you will compound it with making the choice to let them parade you around like a dressed-up monkey, chanting that you are an example of how the wrong choice (theirs) is actually the right one. That is basically what certain kinds of people mean when they use the term “selling out”.
As Cadaveria sang so well years ago, choices cannot be erased. So when the time comes to make your own, or ones on the behalf of others, make damned certain that you have been properly informed. Because the consequences of not doing so before the choice is made can be rather hard to live with.