Bitterness Isn’t Working: The Decline of Radical Autism & the Rise of the Autistic Dark Web

The following is an invited blog by Jonathan Ferguson. As in previous occasions, I have asked the author to introduce himself to the audience of Cortical Chauvinism.

Jonathan Ferguson (Wallace Runnymede) is a PhD candidate at King’s College London (Russell Group). He has been published on a number of important freelance outlets, including Times of Israel and Being Libertarian. He is a founding member of the emerging movement known as the Autistic Dark Web. This is a loose coalition of critically minded autistic people who oppose the relativism, nihilism, entitlement and victimhood of mainstream autistic identity politics. Jonathan’s books can be found on Amazon, as ‘Wallace Runnymede.’ And he has recently had a poetry book published by Sad Press too. At present, his income is partly dependent on his Patreon account. He welcomes engagement at: wallacerunnymede@gmail.com.

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In the 1960s, two major civilizational value shifts occurred in Western countries. Postmodernist intellectuals shifted our traditional political and moral values away from objectivism, towards subjectivism. This means that the truth is all about what you feel, rather than having any real compelling objective weight and force. You’ve probably seen a lot of sanctified idiots whingeing about how they have a ‘right to an opinion,’ or even saying ‘this is just an opinion.’ We all know, of course, that opinions are not worth very much; because an opinion, when all is said and done, is merely that. An opinion. Nothing more.

Socrates and Plato noted that knowledge and opinion are two very different things.

And how right they were!

Stating that you have an ‘opinion’ is merely an excuse to assert something, without providing a reason. Mere opinion, in Greek, is ‘doxa.’ Whereas knowledge is ‘episteme.’

Aside from the move away from objective truth, the Western elites moved away from universalism to relativism. Instead of the classical view that what is right in London is right in Lhasa, and what is wrong in Jerusalem is wrong in Geneva, right and wrong came to be purely matters of context. Cultural diversity, religious diversity, theological diversity, sexual diversity…

Everyone is equally right; so presumably, also, nobody is right at all any longer. If differences are generally positive and generally require to be ‘celebrated,’ as though being different were somehow meritorious in itself, then the natural consequence of this is a policy of outright denialism and negationism of right and wrong in any remotely meaningful sense of the word.

Enter Neurodiversity.

The headlong anti-civilisational plunge into moral relativism and post-truth barbarism and savagery created a proliferation of oppressed ‘communities.’ This process of endless severing, fission and divisive sectarianism can be aptly named ‘community spiralling.’ There have to be more and more new ‘communities’ of ‘oppressed’ people. Just as firemen will go out of business if they are too proud to commit arson, so also do social justice warriors need fresh pretexts for contaminating and infecting the body politic with their metropolitan high dudgeon and bourgeois outrage.

In the case of disability and mental illness, ‘Neurodiversity’ strode arrogantly onto the stage, dripping with highminded middle-class sentiments, and the eternal rage of the mediocre and the resentful against the noble and the virtuous.

Neurodiversity is the view that there is no right or wrong neurology. The anatomy and physiology of people’s brains is always right, and there is no right or wrong way to act in light of this. Whether it’s autism, narcissism, borderline personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, sociopathy, paedophilia, coprophilia, psychopathy or pyromania, there is simply no right or wrong. How dare anyone else judge others?

Well, I take the liberty of judging.

Indeed, I insist upon maintaining my critical freedom.

Narcissists often hurt and abuse others.

So do paedophiles, incests, necrophiliacs and other sexual deviants.

Morality is founded upon discrimination, or to put it another way:

Discernment.

The terms are more or less synonymous, in fact.

Neurodiversity is anti discrimination, i.e. it is opposed to discerning right from wrong.

Neurodiversity is a brain-death cult who are full of victimhood, entitlement and resentment. Read Nietzsche, if you want to understand this. Read Max Scheler’s “Ressentiment.” The resentful hate others not for what they do, but for what they are. There is only The Oppressor and The Oppressed; world without end. Neurodiversity apologists are possessed by ideology, and by their hatred and bitterness towards certain key bad guys:

Parents, doctors, scientists, internal dissidents (e.g. autistic people who disagree with the neurodiversity cult) and neurotypicals (i.e. people whose neurology does not diverge from the norm).

Alongside Neurodiversity is its trusty sidekick, the Social Model of Disability.

The latter predatory ideological framework teaches the ignorant and the vulnerable that they are not disabled by biology or by nature; they are disabled by society. This is palpable nonsense, but it keeps the perpetual motion machine of bourgeois grievance-mongering running, so the utterly imbecilic character of this thoroughly meaningless and futile ideological conceit is hardly like to trouble the enemies of civilisation, as they continue to peddle their pedantically profitable snake oil.

However, there has never been an autism community. That is to say: autistic people are individuals who have autism, not autism who has individuals. So, some pushback against this arrant nonsense can reasonably be expected.

There have been a number of pioneers, including Jonathan Mitchell of the ‘Autism Gadfly’ blog; he is also on Twitter. He is one of the most famous anti-Neurodiversity voices. His blog lists a number of other sites of interest too, such as Autism Jabberwocky. Sadly, it seems the latter has not blogged in a long time.

But in the past few months, people have started to loosely organise around Twitter. This has sent the dominant, hegemonic establishment of Alt-Autism into a panic. The old guard of autism, the decrepit Ancien Regime of big disability, has responded with unbridled fury towards those supposed traitors who have dared to challenge their unquestionable supremacy. The Diversitarian Plantation is guarded every bit as jealously as the Democratic Plantation.

I coined the term ‘Neurorealism’ a while back, to provide an alternative to Neurodiversity. An approach and a perspective based on moral universalism, objectivism and realism. However, some people that I am interacting with on Twitter are pro Neurodiversity as an idea, but against the movement itself. Others want to reform Neurodiversity, rather than abolishing it completely.

It is good to see that Thomas Clements, the Autistic Buddha, has coined the term ‘Autistic Dark Web.’ The Autistic Dark Web is a loose coalition of autistic freethinkers. It is not a ‘community,’ because we agree on some things, and disagree on others. We have reformists who support a weak or less dogmatic form of Neurodiversity, rather than a strong version; then there are hardliners who are 100%, unyieldingly opposed to Neurodiversity.

The essay you are now reading is from a hardliner or hawk.

But the Autistic Dark Web is bigger and broader than any one person, and so, you should probably bear in mind my bias as you watch my videos and read my writings. I believe the elimination of Neurodiversity is the correct stance, but I am happy to see others who at least wish to moderate and tame its wilder excesses.

They, too, are part of the Autistic Dark Web.

This is a very exciting new anti-SJW, anti-postmodernist, anti-identitarian movement. We oppose authoritarian identity politics and the culture of victimhood. Please consider following as many of us as you can on Twitter, and do look out for relevant hashtags like #autisticdarkweb or #autisticsagainsthate or #westandwithautismparents.

I just want to finish by saying that the Autistic Dark Web are encountering a lot of hatred and opposition; but this only makes us all the more determined to beat the extreme viewpoints and perpetual bitterness and resentment of Alt-Autism.

Be with us in our holy war against entitlement, victimhood and nihilism!

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON GLOSSYNEWS AS WALLACE RUNNYMEDE:

http://glossynews.com/top-stories/serious-commentary/201806191033/bitterness-isnt-working-the-decline-of-radical-autism-the-rise-of-the-autistic-dark-web/

35 responses to “Bitterness Isn’t Working: The Decline of Radical Autism & the Rise of the Autistic Dark Web

  1. Manual, I have read this blog for a long time, and I get that you are critical of the neurodiversity movement (in my view due to totally misunderstanding what the arguments in support of it are). That is fine: it is okay to disagree, and it is okay to be mistaken. I actually clarify some of your mistaken reasoning in a forthcoming peer-reviewed publication. However, allowing this alt-right narrative space on your blog is shocking. The move from being critical of the autism rights movement to supporting the openly autism-hating alt-right slides from respectful disagreement towards something much more sinister.

    I am also surprised that at the lack of understanding, scholarship, and sound reasoning in the article, given that the author is, apparently, studying for a PhD at the institution where I have taught for the past two years. I would have failed this if an undergraduate had handed it in; that it was written by a PhD student is almost unfathomable.

    Robert Chapman

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    • Robert, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are always welcome to submit the same in the form of an invited blog. As to myself, I have friends on both sides of the divide. I support a soft stance on neurodiversity that proclaims the need for both acceptance and accommodations. I am against the stance that denies autism as a medical disorder, decries research and fights against medical interventions for those in need. I am also against that branch of Neurodiversity that has permeated other areas of psychiatry and believe that the transposition of beliefs into schizophrenia and bipolar disorders (no need for medications) is dangerous and may prove deadly. You can read my understanding of Neurodiversity, including its history, in previous blogs (using a word search on the front page of cortical chauvinism). Best regards.

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      • Thank you for this reply. I am aware of your own views and arguments (as I say I discuss and refute your arguments regarding neurodiversity elsewhere), and take them to be misguided but understandable. My only concern with commenting here is not to do with criticising neurodiversity: it is that you are giving space for a member of the alt right. So this is not a matter of being pro or against neurodiversity, it is a matter of allowing someone to spread their “alt right” ideology (in other words, spreading fascism). When I have time I will be raising the issue of this post with relevant faculty at KCL as I am sure the university will not want to be associated with the horrific views of the author.

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  2. Dear Radical Neurodiversity,

    Perhaps you can clean up something for me: How is Neurodiversity NOT a delusion?

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    • I’m not sure how to answer this question or whether it was written in good faith. You are welcome to read my blog, however, and other publications, if you want to find various arguments relating to and in support of the neurodiversity paradigm.

      Kind regards,
      Robert

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      • Claudia, I see Robert has bitten off more than he can chew, and he’s decided to talk down to you instead. Don’t worry: one day he will end up disseminating palpable untruths about someone who is less pro speech and more of a thin-skinned serial litigant than I am. Dealing with ideologues is fun, but better to not give them too much credit…

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  3. This article makes zero sense. Sounds like it was written by someone with no grasp of reality. I had to reread the sentence “Neurodiversity is anti discrimination, i.e. it is opposed to discerning right from wrong” because I had trouble believing the author didn’t know the definition of a simple term like anti-discrimination.

    Pro-tip: making references to things that have absolutely no connection to the subject of your article doesn’t make you sounds smart, it just makes you sound confused.

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    • “This article makes zero sense. Sounds like it was written by someone with no grasp of reality.”
      You seem to have spent a great deal of time reading and commenting on something you weren’t able to understand. I have to admire your enthusiasm! Still, that said: may I suggest you try being a little bit less ambitious next time? If my child wanted to read John Milton or Edward Spenser and got frustrated, I might recommend Voltaire or Hugo instead. Ultimately, if you’re interested in philosophy, you might want to start with Mill or Locke or Constant or Popper, before progressing up to Baudrillard or Heidegger. Hope this helps! Always a pleasure.

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    • Alex, maybe take a look at my other reply here, Ignore the biases (who doesn’t have any?). I want to see your reason why you disagree. The article (and me as well) is quite pedantic, so it is hard to absorb. The point is there, but the author I believe needs to be specific to cover and back up his argument.

      If you see this Johnathan Ferguson, try to tone it down, it can be hard, but being brief will make it easier to get a direct reply.

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  4. ‘Radical Neurodiversity,’ your nonsense rhetoric about ‘Alt-Right’ is fooling no-one. The term ‘Alt-Right’ was coined by the white nationalist Richard Spencer. He is a person practicing white identity politics. My record opposing ALL identity politics, including autistic identity politics, or any other kind, is beyond reproach. If you go around falsely accusing others of supporting the Alt-Right, don’t be surprised when someone less charitable and chill than me lands you with a serious defamation lawsuit. The term Alt-Right was not coined by a libertarian individualist, but by a white supremacist / white nationalist, as a way of characterising his own movement. The fact you have to stoop to falsely accusing a non-white (i.e. Celtic) social critic of being a white supremacist shows you have no arguments left. All you’ve managed to do is set yourself on fire. I will continue to fight against all identity politics, be it white or black, men or women, autistics… And you need to know that your unfounded ad hominem smears, which are 100% uprooted from fact, are not going to have any effect on me. If anything, they make me even more determined. Libertarian individualism is the absolutely, unqualified opposite of the Alt-Right; in fact, there is nothing in the world more utterly, absolutely irreconcilable with collectivism, racial interests and racial rights than an ideology that denies all collective interests and group rights whatsoever. Still, I’m sure you enjoyed spewing your vitriol over the internet with your handy pseudonym. Don’t worry…. I am not going away, and nor are the rest of the Autistic Dark Web! You are going to have to live with the prospect of autistic individuals (be it libertarian individualists like me, or conservative, or populists, or anyone else) who have different views. Your inability to live with dissent is your Achilles heel right now. You are going to have to learn to move beyond it, or you are going to be a very unhappy young keyboard warrior.

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  5. I have absolutely no moral obligation to ‘defend’ myself with evidence against someone who makes arbitrary and wholly groundless allegations without evidence. However, I am more than happy to write in detail one day about the various false allegations made against me, and against the Autistic Dark Web in general; not because our slew of incompetent and/or bad faith critics are deserving of a serious answer, but because it would be a good way of exposing the kind of cult-like, sectarian Neuroscientology of the militant autism lobby, who themselves are representative of only a faction or fragment of the entire autism demographic (although they do of course try their very best, such at it is, to mask this behind weasel words like ‘autistic community;’ in order to provide a false sense of consensus). I will look forward to good faith, constructive critique from morally and intellectually credible people; but in the meantime, I will continue to use dispassionate, objective critique, satire and polemics, in order to continue discrediting the bad faith and/or staggering ignorance of Alt-Autism, as I call them (i.e. the militant autism lobby; by analogy with their fellow identitarians, the Alt-Right and Alt-Left). Fortunately, I have no inclination to taking up suing people as a hobby, as I am living well below the poverty line, although I hope to change that soon, as my physical health gradually improves. I am most certainly not one for victimhood and entitlement, and that is why I am opposed to Big Autism and Big Disability, and their essentially fraudulent schemes both to make and to keep autistic, neurodivergent and disabled people embittered, frail, fragile and resentful. Furthermore, litigation culture is at best question in terms of my deeply held libertarian principles. I would encourage all those reading this article to be courageous and bold in standing up to the ferociously thin-skinned bullies of militant autism: whether you are autistic or not, you are perfectly entitled to express your well informed and rational views, and you certainly don’t need a piece of paper and a few letters after your name in order to do so! Academic credentials are a beautiful thing, provided you have critical thinking to begin with, and you can apply your learning in a positive direction. Failing that, one just ends up in a true prison of the mind; or rather, not even the mind, but the alienated, severed intellect, which is walled up in an eternal gethsemane of the damned. For the walls of Hell, as they say, truly are on the inside, and not the outside. C.S. Lewis, St Isaac of Nineveh… tolle, lege! I’d far rather be a Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek and Isaiah Berlin, writing books that are beloved of free spirits and critical thinkers, than be ‘renowned’ for some heap of tedious, pedantic postmodern garbage, that is used to prop the door in some worthless post-Siberian diploma mill for self-styled intellectual vanguardists. We all make our choices in life; I wonder whether the person who made the ridiculous smear above has any clear plan or vision for his life? Either way, I will keep my integrity. The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on. Libertas vincit omnia! The future remains an open prospect, and no power in Heaven, Earth or Hell can turn me aside from my vision of a world where autism is finally cured, not celebrated. I will redeem the memory of my late mother, and all the toil and struggle and strivings of me, and all my loved ones. I will never stop advocating for a cure, and I believe my adversaries understand perfectly well that the more they make these groundedless smears and hammer me with ridiculous, vitriolic and utterly unfounded criticisms and accusations. This is part of what drives their anger. And they know, of course, there are others of whom the same can be said; these are not the actions of people who regard me and my friends as some kind of ‘minor irritation.’ Things seem to be well beyond that now, and that really is all to the good of autistics and allistics everywhere in this world. Ultimately, as someone with a legitimate diagnosis, and many painful decades up to now, and many strivings against this terrible disability still to come.. the end of autism begins with me! It’s going to be OK. I believe one day, things will be different for me, and different for so many, many others. And I promise never to keep on fighting, no matter what the cost. You all have my word on that.

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  6. Correction: “I believe my adversaries understand perfectly well that the more they make these groundedless smears and hammer me with ridiculous, vitriolic and utterly unfounded criticisms and accusations, the more determined and resolute I become to work for a world where autism is no longer permitted to have exert such terrible, predatorial tyranny over innocent people: autistic and allistic alike.” I encourage all those reading this article to fight hard against autism, to keep fighting hard, to never give up, and to be pro-active, and to take the battle TO autism, and to take the initiative to fight with merciless rigour and commitment and determination against autism apologetics, rather than constantly reacting, and being on the backfoot. Autism is a hard nut to crack, but everyone can play their part. One day, things will be very different in this world; some know it. For even the wandering stars know the name of freedom; and they tremble…

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  7. Wow. An article and approach void of the slightest compassion or empathy for others.
    And I find extremely offensive, even libelous to mix autism with pedophilia and incest.
    What a waste of a brillant mind. It saddens me that an autist insults their peers.
    Note: I am an autistic adult and I advocate neurodiversity as an empowerment tool and movement.

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    • This is a common misconception. Here is an article that busts this myth:
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/out-the-darkness/201705/is-autism-really-empathy-disorder
      Also, autism is not a person, so he cannot be libelled.
      This comment is still useful and instructive though, as it demonstrates the constant personification of autism, whereby whatever is said about autism is projected onto autistic people.
      We have certainly had some interesting comments on this thread. I for one must really own I shall be very sorry when the article eventually slips down the rankings, as most online articles do. I really do take a certain pleasure in exposing the logical fallacies, factual errors and psychological warfare tactics of the identity politics community; even if, at times, the level of aggression, brutality and vindictive ignorance is painful to me.
      I find continuing to keep my calm, regardless of the degree of bad faith provocation, is helpful.
      Ultimately, no matter how much my autism-related acid reflux hurts me, no matter what physical or emotional pain I am in 24/7, I am always very glad to take a robustly assertive stance against bad faith criticism. If people have some actual constructive, dispassionate, objective criticisms of my pro-cure, anti-identity politics stances and perspectives, rather than shallow, meaningless ad hominem criticism and long-identified fallacies and strawmen, I shall be very happy to engage further.

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    • Okay, It would be a bit more accurate to mix it with other psychiatric (non-personality) disorders, but that option isn’t taken either by neurodiversity. I would hear.
      “Those are disorders/illness, ASD is only a CONDITION”. Except some of those, even appearing only til adolescence are arguably developmental too. And look at the results, there is going to be a bit more backlash, trolling, and less sympathy than if there wasn’t.
      If you deny it is a disorder, the symptoms will be looked at as a character problem.

      I have had recently intense feelings of shame and guilt for the things I have done or said in my life, behaviors I have engaged in, and the things I have not done I should. And these behaviors are common in people on the spectrum. Okay, it’s not pedophilia or murder, but hurtful rude comments, and being annoying or difficult to deal with. And these things had to be pointed out to me most of the time. Have you thought of what you don’t know you don’t know is?

      It is not so harmless a disorder.
      There is also violence by people on the spectrum, sure they were bullied and almost always had trauma, but a person without ASD I imagine could shrug those off and/or not lose control as easily.

      Had this been a post by an actual alt-right non-autistic internet poster from 4chan, oh boy. And one thing they and neurodiversity both share is identifying anything direct or indirect to do with autism with the person, and the morality too. I am on the spectrum, so understand you can be more certain I am saying all this from a different place than someone who isn’t if they wrote the above.

      It’s not the only condition, there are substance abuse, psychotic, mood, and brain damage disorders contributing to violent acts or relationship problems, but the communities of people with other conditions own up and admit stuff. The neurodiversity movement being in power is not helping.

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      • Interesting point, John. Trolling culture’s ‘ironic’ idealisation of autism as identical with ‘shitposting’ (sic) is indeed a collapsing of the person into a perceived identity. Both Neurodiversity and various backlash cultures like the Alt-Right, MRAs, incels, etc., seem to view the identity (whether real or imagined) as logically prior to the person. Both tendencies, however opposite to one another they may consider each other, are following a similar logical: de-individuating the person, and collapsing and absorbing them into a higher, ideal, ‘spiritual’ identity.

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    • Ha ha! {***SHOT***} Excellen work, old chap! That’s another one for the good old Neurodiversity drinking game. Now, I hope you’re all sitting down when I say this, but believe it or not… Yes, you’ve guessed it! This is indeed… (as you have all already worked out really quite a long time ago…) a commonly circulated falsehood, which is frequently weaponised in order to ‘discredit’ my oppositional stance to Neurodiversity. Before I coined the term ‘Neurorealism’ as a term referring to an oppositional stance against Neurodiversity, the term ‘Neurorealism’ existed purely in the sense used by Ben Goldacre of ‘Bad Science.’ https://www.badscience.net/2010/10/neuro-realism/ The very idea that the term I have coined has anything to do with ‘Neurorealism’ in that sense is palpably nonsensical; however, after years of dealing with bad faith interlocutors and uncritical apologists for the militant diversity lobby, I do not expect honesty or good faith from the Ancien Regime. I strongly recommend you do some basic research in future on the dictionary meanings of basic vocabulary, as well as on language in use, before commenting on any matters of public import. Some might say you’re looking a little bit silly, for once in your life 🙂

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      • Let me summarise that last comment you made;
        1) You refute my claim and stand by your assertion.
        2) You used Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ as evidence to make a new claim of which of which Goldacre coined the term.
        3) Goldacre in ‘Bad Science’ cites Racine et al. “fMRI in the public eye”.
        4) You restate your previous claim of coining the term.

        You ad hominem directed towards Neurodiversity supporters and my self are erroneous to your arguments, especially as previously else were you claimed that didn’t what to be on the receiving end of ad hominem.

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      • Dear, dear, dear! I’m afraid I do not have the time nor energy to decipher that incomprehensible word salad. Top marks for effort though, my friend! Now, if anyone out there has a sincere, objective, dispassionate, unemotive refutation to make (rather than strawmen, smears, red herrings and pointless ad hominems), I have to say I’m looking forward to it. We live in hope! 🙂

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      • Chill Jonathan, try to not be so pedantic, I am too, it will make you lose sympathy from readers no matter what you wrote, and it’s a very ASD thing I feel bothered by when I do it or see others do it.

        Don’t lose control, getting wound up is not good for you, in the future if there is an audience listening, they can find it exhausting, I learned it the hard way when someone hurtfully pointed it out to me, yet they were right (lord I still have shameful feelings). Likewise, now don’t take this the wrong way, being correct doesn’t mean you have to act mean. Even it’s not on purpose.

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  8. Thanks John. I will try and keep my cool. Ultimately, like Professor Peterson vs Cathy Newman, I have to keep the moral high ground. I’ve improved on this over time, but I am sure I can improve more, as my life is starting to pick up a little recently, and hopefully I can find some decent quality of life soon.

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    • Also I would like to comment/expand on what you said on backlash cultures, yes, one thing they and neurodiversity also have in common is viewing autism the same way, not just their representitive areas. A pseudo-neo-eugenicist edgelord on reddit and neurodiversity pridester both derive from a similar pool of “decisions”. (I hate to advertise, but I wrote a post about “decisions” on this website and you can find out what I mean by that word)

      I have lost track of how many “brave” people believe in euthanization over the internet (smoking costs more money from society than disability/illness yet not a peep from them on that!).

      Both believe they are cutting edge.

      Both are against research, to be so, both need think it’s entirely genetic and there is nothing to treat, so the latter believes in culling it out of the pool will work (it won’t, Nazi Germany aktion t4 didn’t change a thing in modern Germany, environment and epigenetics matter!), both see ASD as part of the person’s morality, one as an idealization the other as a target of bullying or trolling.

      They share the same set of basic “factual” beliefs since both need them for narratives and wishful thinking, and what is closer to the truth is derived from a set of different basic views.

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  9. It’s nice for a blog to give space to other writers and points of view. However, some constructive criticism might have helped to make this article more readable and less gratuitously offensive. If the author is engaged in an ideological battle with other people on topics related to autism and disability, this is certainly an interesting introduction to that controversy. But as a pragmatist, I’m more interested in how ideas and labels help or hinder people who are trying to improve conditions for people on the autism spectrum, including, like me, themselves.

    I find neurodiversity to be a useful term for explaining that different minds work differently, and that a difference is not in itself a problem. Even when a condition like autism causes problems, it often comes with strengths, and making use of those strengths can be helpful to the person who has them, as well as to people who might employ that person or otherwise benefit from their help. Beyond that, I’ve never ascribed that much meaning to the term, and I’m somewhat surprised to hear that there are people who do. As someone who is on disability, I am too busy trying to improve my health and functioning and, sometimes, trying to stay alive to pause and ponder the intricacies of terms like neurodiversity. I hope that anyone else who does spend a lot of time on this type of conceptualization of autism is spending a lot more time trying to make concrete progress for people with autism.

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    • Barry, I believe that we all have the same good intention in mind to be of help, even when our perspectives may be different. I will extend to you the same courtesy and publish your blog, it you decide to do so. Thanks for the comment.

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    • To Robert & Barry,

      How is Neurodiversity NOT a delusion? I asked that question (on August 28) because I most of the time I do not understand what makes a person 1) to believe they are “autistics,” and 2) to divide the human race in two type of people: neuro-typical and neuro-divergent. They are like, as George Bernard Shaw would say, “a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making (them) happy.”

      I certainly do not consider anyone in the Neurodiversity movement as having autism. As a prime example, consider the repeated claim of those who call themselves “actually autistic” like … Nick Walker. Google him. Read his blogs. Listen to his lectures. He is just a regular, strong, healthy human being. He has the same physical, emotional and intellectual abilities like everybody else. If he has any mental issues, it should concern only to his private life and nobody in this blog or another platform has any right to gossip about that.

      You need to provide a narrative for Neurodiversity, a story people will believe. So far ND has next to no evidence to go by and sustain the belief that its members’ brains have been wired differently. Everybody’s mind works differently!

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      • Claudia, you seem to be questioning whether autism exists. I think a medical professional would be better qualified to answer that than I. However, one thing I can mention is that autism is now thought of as a spectrum condition. Or as Stephen Shore has put it, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. This viewpoint has its pros and cons. It makes room for people like me whose characteristics look like autism but don’t fit a classic profile like Asperger’s or Kanner’s autism. Unfortunately, it also creates confusion by lumping a broad spectrum of people together whose lives may look very different. Some people even take offense when someone who is seemingly high functioning says that they’re on the spectrum, because they seem to be taking the spotlight away from people whose functioning is profoundly impacted by their autism. Personally, I’m waiting for a better diagnostic system to come along, and I’m just trying to do the best I can with what we have now. But I can understand why someone like Nick Walker or I might not fit your picture of someone with autism.

        As for neurodiversity, you’re right that even among people without autism, there’s a lot of diversity in how people’s minds work. But with the autism spectrum, people can have a much different profile of strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and sensitivities than the average person, which raises the questions of how these people might fit into society and whether society needs to make accommodations for any of these differences. I see the term “neurodiversity” as part of an attempt to answer these questions. As Jonathan’s article demonstrates, it’s apparently not an entirely successful attempt, since the word has become polarizing to some people.

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      • And interisting is how they divide it based on autism vs non-autistic. Disorders beside autism exist, even some things they call “just a mental illness” to try and distance them from autism despite shared things such as also being developmental.

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  10. Interesting, John Doe. When I had a roommate with a different kind of developmental disability, as well as bipolar disorder, I seemed to have more insight into some of his problems than anyone else, even though we were probably seeing very different doctors. I could identify with how he was being presented with consequences if his behavior didn’t improve, but he wasn’t being given any workable plans for achieving these behavioral goals. And for a long time I kept asking my mental health providers why I wasn’t being diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, when my problems have features that seem more typical of these conditions than what I hear about autism spectrum disorder. I mostly stopped asking this question once I came across information that was recognizing the similarity between ASD and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. I’ve also been encouraged by genetic research that finds commonalities between conditions, including ASD, that have traditionally been put in very different boxes. Unfortunately, though, I have yet to see a real difference in the treatment that’s available to me. However, mental health peer advocates seem more receptive to the idea that we all face some commonalities and can draw on some of the same toolkits to deal with them. Advocates can still be a mixed bag, though. After fighting for years to achieve recognition of the particular struggles faced by the population they’re advocating for, be it people with Asperger profiles or severe psychosis, some of them can be resistant to anything that seems to threaten to undo their work.

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  11. To clarify, I was trying to draw a distinction between peer advocates on the one hand and professional or family member advocates.

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  12. Dear Barry,

    Here is the problem. There is no explicable reason for the language that Neurodiversity is using to express itself. Nothing to support Stephen Shore’s belief that “if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” That is typical Neurodiversity’s baloney.

    There is no such a thing as a Spectrum in autism.

    If we study the symptoms of people who were diagnosed with Classic autism, severe autism or Kanner’s autism in infancy or kindergarten we will realize that the similarities are remarkable. Temple Grandin and me think in pictures. My grandma Irma and Soma Mukhopadhyay used similar approach and methods of education to rescue their children with autism.

    Naoki Higashida, Tito Mukhopadhyay, Birger Sellin, Dov Shestack (Portia Iversen’s son), Temple Grandin and me. Autism has affected us in almost identical ways.

    Meanwhile, if you study “autistic” people who were diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder, say, after the age of 12 (like Ari Neuman) or in adulthood (like John Elder Robinson & Nick Walker), you indeed will encounter a wide spectrum.

    From people who have suffered through child abuse to those who know very well how to be unwell and miserable to those who are struggling to find meaning or thriving in the emptiness of their own lives. From people who hate others & can’t adjust themselves to a social environment to those wants to create a platform in the social media or dream about writing a book that will become a bestseller.

    They have developed autism like symptoms – I repeat autism like symptoms – as a result of (a) many traumatic events or (b) reasons totally unknown to the external observer. In this spectrum autism is a choice – because it is based on how they each feel about their own lives. In essence, the only judge of how autistic they are is they.

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    • Again, Claudia, I’d like to emphasize that a medical professional or researcher could respond to your points with a better command of the evidence than I could. But I do notice that you don’t provide much evidence for what you’re saying. Thinking that “autism like symptoms” come from trauma or unknown reasons doesn’t sound any different than thinking that classical autism comes from having a refrigerator mother. Both sound plausible, but the evidence doesn’t back them up. But what you’re saying does support the importance of doing a careful differential diagnosis before saying that someone has autism spectrum disorder, or any other neuropsychiatric condition for that matter.

      As for there being no autism spectrum, you may be right, in a way. My understanding as a layman, and as someone who qualifies for the diagnosis, is that ASD is a diagnostic construct. It’s a box to put neuropsychiatric cases in, because these cases have to go somewhere. But as best as I can tell, there’s widespread recognition in the medical professions that ASD probably constitutes a bunch of separate conditions; I’m not even sure if the word “probably” is needed here. Previous attempts to separate out these conditions proved to be problematic, and the exact diagnosis a patient got under DSM IV could have a lot more to do with what clinic or clinician was making the diagnosis than the features of the case. Or a patient might qualify for a different diagnosis at different times in their life, as their presentation changed. In my case, one clinician would diagnose me with Asperger’s, then the next clinician would reject PDD altogether because I didn’t quite fit Asperger’s, then the next clinician would reconfirm Asperger’s, and so on. For reasons like these, the DSM V committee thought it was thought best to lump these conditions together into autism spectrum disorder for the time being. But I think everyone will welcome the day when there are validated diagnostic tools for dividing these cases into distinct conditions. As it happens, I’ve gone to a talk by Temple Grandin and had the opportunity to ask her a question about my situation; I’m quite aware that there are important differences between our cases. When there are better diagnostic tools, you and Temple Grandin may very well end up with the same diagnosis, and I might be booted off the autism spectrum altogether. That would be fine with me, as long as there was an understanding of the similarities and differences between our conditions, and how the similarities might lead to the same ways of managing some of our symptoms.

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