Sunday, June 8, 2008

acceptance of John Best: A dilemma for neurodiversity

Many autism afficianados in the blogosphere have heard of the notorious John Best, the pontificator of angry invective about autism really being mercury poisoining and chelation being the cure. Also the pontificator of anti-neurodiversity diatribes, more drastic than yours truly, one of the few bloggers to have the audacity to write unfavorable things about that sacred cow to many, neurodiversity.

I don't agree with Best about mercury causing autism and chelation being the cure. I don't really approve of a lot of his harsh tactics either. However I have to admit to sometimes taking a guilty pleasure of reading his blog and occasionally posting comments there to get the anger I have towards the neurodiversity movement out of my system as well as the fact the blog provides a sort of Three Stooges slapstick entertainment with all the back and forth bickering between Best, his entourage who usually post anonymously and may be Best themselves in some cases, and his neurodiversity detractors who often don't seem to want to turn the other cheek.

Lately the controversy involving the hating autism blog has reached a pinnacle of sorts with someone posting the address of one of neurodiversity's poster children, the famous Amanda Baggs. Amanda has often been a subject of the hating autism blog as Best claims she is a fraud pretending to be autistic for some reason or another, though i don't know if Amanda is a fraud or not.

I must agree that publishing her address and using this as a back-handed threat to be violent towards her was wrong and I would delete a post like that if it were ever posted on my blog.

Though I don't know if Baggs and her friend Laura are autistic I do know that hate begets hate and that might be a factor in people's response to Amanda. On, the website of her friend Laura and herself is a nasty abortion type cartoon showing an aborted autistic fetus with CAN written on a trashcan in which the fetus is being deposited with the caption "the real meaning of autism prevention" For that reason, I was the second person to post a response to the blog thread Best started talking about their complaint to blogger about the threat. I must admit I do have some misgivings about my comment, because, as I said before, I don't think there was a justification for publishing Amanda's address and suggesting in any way someone commit a violent act upon her.

John Best defends his bad behavior on his blog claiming that he knows that autism can be cured via chelation and that neurodiversity are engaging in lies and propaganda so that people will not know their children can be cured. However, another explaination for Mr. Best's behavior which has been given by some of his detractors is that his behavior indicates that he himself is somewhere on the autism spectrum, this is the reason for his obsessions and perservations and his cybertantrums.

Neurodiversity proponents for the most part seem to claim that autistics need acceptance and not a cure. Michelle Dawson in her essay the misbehavior of behaviorists even suggests that a sister wanting to cure her brother of his autism which causes her to be kept awake all night, causes him to scratch her and destroy her property is some sort of intolerant bigot for wishing this.

One must wonder if John Best is truly on the spectrum are neurodiversity advocates intolerant bigots for insulting him on his own blog, complaining about his actions to blogger and villifying him on their own blogs. And in the case of autism diva, Joseph of the natural variation blog and possibly some of the other neurodiversity blog owners banning him outright from particpating in the comments section of their blogs. Could it be that these preachers of acceptance rather than cure are not accepting John Best, assuming there is any possibility at all that Best himself is one of their own, even if possibly having a "forme fruste" of the condition or a shadow syndrome of autism?

I really wonder how any follower of neurodiversity can reconcile this. They should either acknowledge at least the possibility that Best is somewhere on the spectrum and accept him, not insult him, allow him to post in their blogs or perhaps they should re-examine some of the cognitive dissonance of their own philosophy.


Ivar T said...

I accept John Best's behavior as much as I accept nazism - He's destructive on the blogs while he, contrary to most autistics, seem to intend it aswell.

Neurodiversity is among other things about equal cooperation from both the minority and the majority in integration, and John Best fails miserably on his part.

As an autistic I have very strong feelings attached to the fight against prenatal tests - I would cry if I saw that the future had no space for people like me.

jonathan said...

But, Ivar, that does not explain how neurodiversity can reconcile their autism acceptance message if John Best's nasty behavior is in fact the result of an autism spectrum disorder.

There is currently no prenatal test for you to fight against just as there is no real cure for neurodiversity to protest, but they seem to protest these in any event.

Contrary to what you and many other neurodiversity adherents may believe, genetic research in autism is not done with the intent of developing a prenatal test so that an autistic fetus can be aborted. Implying that in any way that organizations like CAN (before they were gobbled up by Autism Speaks) is intentionally trying to find a way to abort autistic fetuses is absurd and sends the same message of hate that John Best's nasty behavior does. That also goes for people like the lady who calls herself autism bitch from hell who write nasty messages about autism speaks trying to commit genocide.

Ivar T said...

His obviously intentional nasty behavior isn't caused by autism, jonathan. Whether or not he is autistic his behavior has been unacceptable.

I will continue to fight the intent of developing prenatal tests for autism as one of Autism Speaks projects, Autism Genetic Resort Exchange (AGRE), so openly tells of.

You can't know whether some kind of beneficial gene-therapy can be developed when knowing the genetic cause(s) of autism, and I'm pretty sure there are other things that could be funded that more certainly has benefits for the autism community, so why the hell the genetic research which cause so much controversy?

jonathan said...

Because autism is largely genetic in nature, albeit caused by many different genetic mechanisms and once these mechanisms can be understood by the scientific funding that autism speaks provides, then we can find ways to help people with autism, cure them or prevent them from becoming autistic so they won't have to go through the pain and suffering that I have and many others have who have this horrible disability.

Ivar T said...

People don't need to know the cause of us to know us.

Why the simplistic view? Why is the only way of helping autistics making them not autistic?

I do not dream of a world without autism, I dream of a world where autistic people can live happy and productive lives - being given the opportunities that was never given before is my dream.