David Kirby: Truce, My Ass
You really don't get it, Kirby, do you? This is not an academic debate for any of us on the neurodiversity side. It's a real-life war. Unlike you, Kirby, we don't have the option of just walking away and going back to our previous lives. Those lives no longer exist. All the bigoted stereotypes that you and your cronies splashed all over the international media made sure of that. Now we're a despised minority race of second-class citizens struggling with prejudice and discrimination, our civil rights in jeopardy at every turn. Governments and private organizations are funding prenatal screening research to identify and abort autistic children. We're on the brink of eugenic extermination worldwide.
Those of us who are autistic face the prospect of spending the rest of our lives in the grim limbo to which those with Down Syndrome already have been consigned—existing only as isolated survivors of a routine eradication scheme, regarded by society as blunders of nature who never should have seen the light of day. Likewise, neurodiversity activists who are parents understand that if society's intolerant attitudes do not change, their children soon will have to face that nightmare scenario. What parents would want such a horrific future for their children?
To make myself completely clear, Kirby, the reason you're our enemy is because of your disgusting display of bigotry toward autistic people, not because of your opinions (however ignorant) on the thimerosal hypothesis or "biomedical" approaches in general. As Kevin Leitch recently pointed out, neurodiversity is a broad-based philosophy of respect and social acceptance for all people, regardless of their neurological configuration. It doesn't require its adherents to hold identical opinions about the causes of autism, the merits of alternative medicine, or dietary choices. Many of us take dietary supplements to improve our health. Like anyone else, autistic people can benefit from a healthy diet and regular exercise. Some of us find meditation or other "alternative" methods of reducing stress to be helpful.
We have no quarrel with caring and respectful parents who reasonably believe that a particular alternative diet or treatment is helpful for their child, and we have no animosity toward people who want to discuss potential causes of autism rationally and politely.
But when it comes to the greedy quacks who knowingly endanger autistic children with bogus medical treatments and frighten parents with a nasty barrage of false horror stories; to the self-proclaimed charitable autism advocates who envision a world eugenically cleansed of autistic people; and to the publicity-scrounging media vultures who deliberately fan the flames of bigotry, knowing full well how much damage they are doing, for their own personal gain —