My young daughter Emma, who happens to autistic, recently wrote (because she has difficulty with spoken language):
“I want to know what you think about autism and am curious to understand why wasted time is spent being against a way of thinking and being.”
Emma, here is my simple answer to your “why” question: Because most people are idiots.
Myself included. “Idiot” is merely another label, or course, and as such, it is ultimately just another word on a very long list of categorizations intended to “other.”
I will now (idiotically) expound on my statement, attempting to use that label (idiotically) to describe that same label in some sort of useful (yet idiotic) manner–which I have (idiotically) labeled ISD: Idiot Spectrum Disorder.
Idiot Spectrum Disorder is a devastating condition that affects 80-90% of the human population. At this time, there is no known cause of ISD, nor is there any cure. Genetic predisposition, cultural conditioning and environmental toxins may all play a role in this tragic condition, but the best we can do now is analyze the symptoms and attempt to catalog the various subcategories of idiots on the spectrum.
“Delusional idiots” are ego-based consciousness forms who believe themselves to be intelligent (“know what’s what”). This presupposition leads to many dangerous and/or harmful conclusions. They think they “know what’s best” for themselves and others. They marshal “facts” and “logic” to support their analysis and conclusions, even though the “facts” are unsupported by a thorough understanding of whatever issue is being examined, and their “logic” is self-supported by the same delusional thinking. They will argue, intimidate and bully those they wish to convince of their “correctness” (everyone) because they are so convinced that their opinions are the “truth” and therefore others will suffer greatly if they don’t comply with their directives. Delusional idiots can be very dangerous because they have also a delusional sense of superiority fueled by the misperception of their not-so-intelligent intelligence. While often classified as “high-functioning” (typically self-diagnosed), psychopaths and fascist leaders are prime examples of delusional idiots at the most extreme fringe of the spectrum.
NOTE: I count myself primarily in the “delusional idiot” subcategory, substantiated by data indicating that I have thus far been unable to convince more than 1% of those I have come in contact with that I am even half as intelligent as I think I am.
“Culturally-conditioned idiots” are those who identify themselves as “members” of a “society,” which can be further (and endlessly) subdivided according to nationalistic identification, ethnic or racial groups, religious affiliations, political agendas, or an ingrained suspicion and hatred of anyone who “just doesn’t seem right” and meet the necessary specifications for clan membership. These idiots can be identified by symptoms including: inordinate respect and even fondness of authority and authoritarian symbols, groupthink, social climbing, snark, gossip, assuming their “proper” roles and “position” within the society, compliance, blind obedience, flag-waving, jingoism, patriotic fervor regardless of any wrongdoing of their society (“my country, right or wrong!”), unquestioning acceptance of patently ridiculous mythological explanations of observable conditions, reliance on rules and dogma as a substitute for personal integrity and ethical morality, pronounced lack of empathy and compassion for “outsiders” or those marginalized by their society, unwillingness to entertain thoughts, opinions and feelings that do not comply with the accepted group tenets, mob mentality, genocide, homicide, torture, lynching, playground bullying, and passionately following pundits and TV/radio talk programs, particularly those of the “call-in” variety.
“CCIs” typically get their marching orders from delusional idiots.
“Apathetic Idiots,” also known as “couch potatoes,” comprise the “low-functioning” subcategory of ISD. They often tend to have co-morbid diagnoses of CCI, yet are far less threatening because they lack the ambition, energy and initiative to actively comply with the combative directives of DIs or CCIs. AIs tend toward LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) lifestyles that require the least amount of effort on their part in terms of physical labor, mental analysis and ethical behavior. If any actions suggested by DIs or CCIs conflict with self-interest, they will typically be ignored, disregarded, or occasionally acknowledged with stock phrases such as: “Absolutely. I’ll get to that right after Duck Dynasty.”
Interestingly, many, if not the majority of individuals (italics emphasized) diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) fail to exhibit symptoms of ISD, even though the label Idiot was once used as medical term defining those who were unable to effectively express themselves through spoken or written language.
So my dearest Emma, that’s my answer to the “why” question. As to what I think about autism: I believe it is a higher form of intelligence, and likely the next phase of human evolution. I think you are the smartest, kindest, and most wise person it has ever been my privilege to know and love.