Thursday, October 28, 2010

American Thinker Promotes Bigotry Against the Intellectually Disabled, Surprised They Didn’t Categorize Them as “Untermenchen” Altogether


American Thinker is a conservative on-line political magazine that covers quite a lot of topics pertaining to the US and the world. It is usually an interesting read when it comes to foreign policy analysis and even at times economic policy. However, what I have noticed recently is the unmitigated turn towards snobbery, elitism and demagoguery. Now the interesting thing about that is that those at American Thinker tend to rail against the progressives and their vision of their superiority in all matters, but lo and behold it is time for those who live in conservative glass houses to not throw stones.

What actually threw me a little today is the ignorance that abounds in an article about accommodations in college setting for those with disabilities. (here) Read it if you wish, just don’t have anything near you that can smash through your television because you will be inclined to hurl something at some point. It is astounding to me the absolute ignorance of persons that pride themselves on their intellectual feats. What is also interesting is that twenty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, how uneducated people are about disabilities, the reason for accommodations, their purpose and  how they actually work.

I should have known that some of the comments were going to be incredibly condescending and ignorant, but what I found were downright nasty and evil perceptions of those with disabilities. Somehow our children, or for that matter those  adults with disabilities, take up too much oxygen and serve no purpose in society. They decried the idea that college has been dumbed down to fit those with issues and that it was all about the colleges trying to make money. Some even said that too much emphasis is placed on college and that is why those with intellectual disabilities insist on going. That more merit has to be given to menial tasks that these individuals can do and then they wont bother those who are truly entitled to an education.

I have to tell you I thought that this kind of stupidity was no longer mainstream. I suppose that since there is so much more awareness in our world about persons with disabilities that the majority of people had some kind of an inkling of what persons with challenges can do. (Now remember we live in a highly progressive area and collegeman was not welcome and abused by his peers, nursery schools and even  synagogues in our area because of his autism, so this ignorance is not the lone commodity of the conservatives.) I even thought, stupidly it seems, that those who pride themselves on their intellect would have actually read a book or two about disabilities, accommodations and how they work before writing an article or mouthing off. Yes, we have had a few instances at collegeman’s school concerning professors and his disability, but for the most part, when faced with the challenge of teaching a child with differences, the professors have gladly accepted the quest before them.In fact some are even proud of the fact that collegeman is in their classes and has access to their school.

However, these grand intellects at American Thinker  have decided that for some reason because it may take our children longer to understand the meaning behind Plato’s Republic than say someone without a language processing disorder they are unfit for a college education. They call it dumbing down the curriculum. I don’t know about your college but my child’s school does not dumb down anything for him in anyway. What they do is allow him extra time on tests and an alternative location. But if he doesn’t answer the question correctly, doesn’t process the idea the way they are supposed to be processed, doesn’t hand in a paper on time, he doesn’t get a good grade. There are no curriculum allowances for him and make no mistake it is not expected. What is expected of the professors and the college at large is an understanding that intelligence is manifested differently in different people. How a person processes information is not what defines their intelligence it is how they use it and apply it in their daily lives. The ability to spout off poems, quotes from Kant or analyze the Treaty of Versailles extemporaneously is not what makes a person intelligent. What it makes them is insufferable.

The reality is that the entire article seems to talk of those with intellectual disabilities as if they were lesser people. That somehow those with intellectual disabilities are not entitled to the same humanity than those without these challenges. That somehow those with intellectual disabilities are not entitled to try to achieve as best they can throughout their lives. That society has deemed them unfit and that they are not entitled to the respect that everyone else in society is born with. That somehow the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is not within the purview of those with disabilities. There were a people that felt that way at one time in history, they termed the disabled “untermenchen” and practiced gassing them before they turned on the Jewish population of Europe.

The reality is that the percentage of autistics that have taken part in modern inventions is astounding and would not have happened without them. I suppose the author of this article and those that agree with him can go sit in a room somewhere and contemplate the meaning of life all they want they just better not do it using a computer, cell phone, any data base or modern technological achievement, including life saving medicines. So when you get sick make sure to go back in time and leech yourselves. Also don’t bother to go to any great art museum because the percentage of those with mental illness and disabilities who created some of the world’s greatest art works and architecture is also astounding. Also the concept of life, liberty and happiness is not something you should adopt because persons thought to have autism developed it. Too bad these "untermenchen" had a right to an education. By the way here is a list of persons with a myriad of disabilities who have added to the world’s intellect and progress.

In truth I should not be shocked at how much ignorance abounds in this world, especially among the most educated, but truthfully I am. Luckily I don’t have to deal with them on a regular basis. See it is my right as a human being to tell them all to bugger off.

Until next time,

Needing to recoup from the sticker shock of my children's college tuition,

Elise