As regular readers of autism's gadfly know, a few years ago neurodiversity activist Ari Ne'eman wrote an essay entitled Equality Demands Responsibility in which the gist of the essay was that persons on the spectrum should not use insanity pleas or diminished capacity defenses when charged with crimes. That if we were to state a cure was not necessary then an autistic person was expected to obey the law. If not, they should be prosecuted and suffer the same consequences as the neurotypical law breaker.
A few years later, Ne'eman, and his organization, the autistic self-advocacy network, digressed from the tenets of this essay, when a young special education student was charged with assaulting his teachers. I wrote about this elsewhere. This youngster should not be prosecuted for his crime because of his autism ASAN said. The Midnight in Chicago blog in a recent post has suggested if I am not misunderstanding them is that those who engage in autism advocacy may have ulterior motives for doing so. They write:
Again, I say to you that it is important that you carefully evaluate the motives and intentions of people and organizations in the advocacy field. Often times they are advocating for personal or selfish reasons, rather than advocating in the interest of seeing that true justice is served to those on the autism spectrum
This could serve as an explanation for the inconsistencies between Ne'eman's essay and their advocacy efforts on behalf of the young special education student from Arkansas. However, I am not sure what ulterior motive ASAN would have for their actions, but perhaps there is one.
Retired neurodiversity blogger "The autistic bitch from hell" has suggested that the reason certain autistic persons crusade against the neurodiversity movement and efforts of autistic self-advocates is because they are on welfare or social security and refuse to take responsibility for their lives and are worried that these efforts will jeopardize their welfare benefits.
I find this assertion interesting as a crusader against neurodiversity and a critic of the autistic self advocacy network, who for more than 27 years tried his ass off to make a living, applied for hundreds of jobs, worked sporadically with some success, endured multiple firings and all the headaches of having to avoid going on the dole or being completely supported by my parents just to avoid the fate that ABFH claimed that I covet so much. Yet, two of the highest (at the time) profile spokespersons for the autistic civil rights and neurodiversity movement, Frank Klein and Amanda Baggs were both on welfare and/or social security and as far as I know never worked a day in their lives. It is also interesting in light of the fact that Ari Ne'eman stated that he supported money being spent from the Obama administration's economic stimulus package to expedite processing of social security disability claims and hearings at the administrative law level and in federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal. The fact that ASAN has lobbied for Medicaide waivers for persons with autism in various states as well.
All of these facts has just gotten me to thinking. Should the equality demands responsibility ploy just be restricted to criminal behavior as well as those of us unemployed autistics whom ABFH asserts are just lazy loafers who won't work and take responsibility for our lives? What about in special education? What about the state regional center services in California? What about behavior in school and in the workplace?
The IDEA law, which ASAN has lobbied for funding for costs the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. If equality demands responsibility and autism is to be considered a legitimate way of being rather than a disease shouldn't ASAN be lobbying to abolish it and claiming that autistics should be educated in the same manner as their NT peers for the same amount of money and no extra money be spent on special education for these children, after all, equality demands responsibility?
The state of California where I live is billions of dollars in the hole. Jerry Brown, our new governor has created a hornet's nest by proposing drastic cuts in the state budget. According to the equality demands responsibility mantra the families of children with developmental disabilities should not be lobbying for state services at taxpayer expense. They should be lobbying for Brown and the state legislature to close down the state regional centers and responsible parents of autistic children should no longer avail themselves of these services if they are to assert their children are equal to NT children and don't need a cure.
What about inappropriate behavior and social skills among persons with autism. Shouldn't we expect them to always behave in an appropriate manner in spite of their autism? After all, equality demands responsibility. This is in spite of the fact that Ari Ne'eman stated social pleasantry should be eliminated as a criteria for hiring people for jobs and evaluating their work performance.
According to the equality demands responsibility mantra, autistics should not be allowed diminished capacity defenses in criminal proceedings under any circumstance,they should not be allowed social security benefits and should work for a living. They should take responsibility for their own behavior and should not be allowed services by government if we are to state that no cure should be sought for autism and to do so is morally reprehensible.
I don't see ASAN and other advocacy organizations lobbying for any of these things. All I see is one inconsistency and digression from the Equality Demands Responsibility tenet after another. Or perhaps the midnight in Chicago blog is indeed correct. That the autistic advocacy organizations have an ulterior motive for all of their activities and perhaps don't really give a flying fuck about autistics' rights. I wonder what this ulterior motive could be.