Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mental Capacity and Autism Rights

I would like to clarify an issue from my earlier post on autism rights. I argued that the concept of rights, by definition would only apply to those on the higher end of the autism spectrum:

Any discussion of rights, by definition, only applies to people who have reached a certain base-line of intellectual self-sufficiency. So autism rights, by definition, only apply to autistics on the higher end of the spectrum. If you are capable of reading this piece and understand what I am saying then you can rest assure that you pass the threshold. A completely different discourse would be needed for those on the lower end of the spectrum, one based on care and charity.

This statement has caused offense to a number of people and I apologize for that. Part of the problem is that I am proceeding from a very different understanding of rights which causes me to use the word “right” in a different fashion from that of other people. Most people, coming from the perspective of modern liberalism, use rights in a very open-ended fashion. Rights are supposed to make someone human, they are meant to grant people meaning in their lives and solve their problems. For example, if homosexuals find themselves unable to marry their partners they are being robbed of some right. Or if blacks are unable to advance in the same proportion as other groups it must be because some right has been violated.

For me, rights are something more specific. When I think of rights I think of life, liberty and property. An extension of these rights and a necessary protection for them is the ability to take part in government. By this I mean to the right engage in such actions as running for political office, voting in elections, taking part in the justice system by serving on a jury and serving in the military. To safeguard all of these things we possess civil rights as weapons in our arsenal. There are two particularly important ones that should be mentioned. First, there is our freedom of speech, which protects us on a day to day basis. Second, of greater importance though more for extreme situations, there is the right to bear arms. Private citizens have the constitutional right to possess the sort of firearms necessary to wage, if need be, an armed insurrection against the government.

The right to life belongs to all human beings no matter their mental capability. This right, while important, is, for the most part, outside of our political discourse. I have not heard anyone suggest that people on the autism spectrum be put into cattle cars and shipped off to gas chambers. Furthermore, this right is passive; it does not allow you to engage in anything proactive. Other people are not allowed to murder autistics, but what can autistics do?

There is the issue of the long-term elimination of autistics in the event that a genetic test can be designed for fetuses. For those who view rights as something that belongs to groups, this becomes a right to life issue. I view rights as something that belong to individuals and I believe that fetuses do not count as human beings, certainly for the purpose of having rights. Because of this, I recognize that we do not have any means, through the government, to stop mothers from aborting autistic fetuses. All we can do is wage a social campaign to convince people to not abort autistic fetuses. I have a friend who point-blank told me that she would abort a child that she knew was going to be autistic. She would not object to having an Asperger child like me, but she grew up with a traditionally autistic sister and she would not wish to go through that experience as a parent. I can challenge this friend whether she can say she really loves her sister; if she really loved her sister she would rather have gone through all the difficulties she had than not have had the sister at all. I suspect this will be a losing battle and we may, as tragic as it may be, see the elimination of autism. I support personal autonomy and I am willing to fall on my sword to protect this ideal; this is what it means to be an idealist.

Moving away from the right to life, we are left with the rights of liberty, property, participation in government and civil rights. In a sense, liberty is passive; you are protected from being wrongfully imprisoned. That being said it also includes the active right to make decisions in one’s life, to pursue one’s own good in one’s own way as long as one does not interfere with the liberties of others. The moment you bring active rights into play you have to consider who has the mental capability to pursue such rights. J. S. Mill said point blank at the beginning of On Liberty that nothing he was about to say was meant to apply to children, the mentally handicapped and, for arguments sake, savages living outside of civilization. When I was a child, as much as I thought it was unjust, my parents ran right over my “rights” to not bathe, stay home from school, stay up beyond their arbitrary bedtime and not eat my vegetables. They even spanked me and put me in time out without the benefit of a trial by my peers. (While this may sound childish, I was the sort of child with the political awareness to try for such a constitutional approach.) So should autistics have the liberty to make personal decisions in their lives like whether they should be institutionalized, allowed to live at home or by themselves? My answer is that it depends on the ability of the individual autistic. I am an adult and I have the mental ability to understand and make decisions regarding my liberty and others can understand what these decisions are. As such, I should have the right to exercise these liberties and my decisions about my personal liberties should be respected. If my parents wished to commit me to an institution or force me to come home and the government went along with this it would be a wrongful violation of my liberty. My parents would not be able to use the argument that I am an Asperger since that is a legitimate mode of thinking; nor could they argue that I do not eat enough vegetables, go to bed at an early enough hour or use language that they did not approve of as these would also be legitimate lifestyle choices. Now there are people on the autistic spectrum, even many adults, who are not capable of making such decisions. Such people cannot in any meaningful sense be said to possess liberty and should be left to the care of their legal guardians.

The same applies to the higher rights such as participation in government and civil liberties. All of these things as active liberties require that an individual has the mental capacity to make a meaningful decision. It is not even enough that a person say the words, there has to be some sort of intent behind them. Furthermore, those intentions must, by some means, be able to be communicated to society at large. A person who cannot do this is doomed to being a ward of society, without the ability to take on the role of full citizens.

A useful example is that of the deaf. Today it would sound completely ludicrous to say that a deaf person cannot be a CEO of a company, serve in the military (There may be restrictions about on the deaf serving though I doubt they would stand up against a determined lobbying effort particularly if resources were offered to get around the disability. Who would object to a deaf unit operating with sign language?) and be the president of the United States. That being said in the nineteenth century there were few resources available for deaf people and society lacked the ability to effectively educate them. For all intents and purposes, this doomed the deaf to a lifetime of being wards of society, of little use to anyone and unable to take on the role of active citizens with all the rights that entails. Now because of advances in technology and in education the deaf are capable, just like everyone else, in being active citizens and society has been blessed with this beautiful new deaf culture arising in its midst. I see the same thing for the autistic community. Right now there are many autistics, particularly at the "higher end of the spectrum," perfectly capable of being fully active citizens. It is important that such people be supported and that they are allowed to fully take advantage of their rights to make personal decisions, to handle property, to take an active role in government and to use their civil liberties. That being said there are many on the autism spectrum, particularly on the "lower end of the spectrum," who do not have this ability. For such people, it is meaningless to talk about them having rights. This is not to say that they should be thrown to the wolves or refused medical care. They are wards of society and must be cared for as such. I hope that with further improvements in technology and education we will find more and more people on the autism spectrum with the ability to take on the role of citizens and will no longer be wards of society. This will make for a stronger and more vibrant autistic community and will benefit society at large.

20 comments:

Positively Autistic Advocacy said...

Benzion Chinn,

Benzion said: So should autistics have the liberty to make personal decisions in their lives like whether they should be institutionalized, allowed to live at home or by themselves? My answer is that it depends on the ability of the individual autistic.

Institutionalization is not only inappropriate but also very dehumanizing for ALL people on the Autism Spectrum. The abilities and challenges of Autistic people are be very context based.

Benzoin said: Now there are people on the autistic spectrum, even many adults, who are not capable of making such decisions. Such people cannot in any meaningful sense be said to possess liberty and should be left to the care of their legal guardians.

I am an Autistic adult with an Asperger's Disorder diagnosis. My mother is my legal guardian. What decisions am I "capable" of making?

Benzoin said: Furthermore those intentions must, by some means, be able to be communicated to society at large. A person who cannot do this is doomed to being a ward of society, without the ability to take on the role of full citizens.

Benzoin Chinn, an adult with an Asperger's Disorder diagnosis, attempts to represent Autistic adults with various diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum.

Since I have an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, I STRUGGLE with speech production -inconsistent inability to speak, stuttering, mild echolalia, and other DIFFICULTIES with verbal communication. Currently, our society does not accept alternative communication modes for people on the spectrum with limited or incoherent verbal abilities.

According to Benzoin's statements, I am "a ward of society" and do not have the "ability to take on the role of full citizens."

Benzoin frequently writes regarding various human rights and how they apply to people with disabilities.

What right does Benzoin have to speak for Autistic adults such as: Ari Ne'eman, Scott Michael Robertson, Dora Raymaker, Stephanie Lynn Keil, Jake Crosby, and other people who support and oppose the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the Neurodiversity philosophy? What real investment does Benzoin have in the lives of the aforementioned people?

Benzoin's statements do not show support for human rights for ALL people on the Autism Spectrum. By using functioning labels, especially regarding human rights, Benzoin is practicing FALSE Autistic advocacy.

Benzoin said: They are wards of society and must be cared for as such. I hope that with further improvements in technology and education we will find more and more people on the autism spectrum with the ability to take on the role of citizens and will no longer be wards of society.

What is "the role of citizens?" What "rights" do "wards of society" have and not have?

- Katie

Anonymous said...

BZ, You know who I am.

Even though I know I need to spend far more time with Foucault, he is appropriate here.

I'm one of 2? friends with an Axis 2 disorder. And trust me, the other one doesn't know what Axis 2 means.

To clarify, I have Bipolar Disorder NOS. (Primarily Mixed Episodes that can turn into depression and/or low level mania/hypomania, often set off by high anxiety levels...) I'm in that category of pariah from where we are from if I do not handle myself well.

I recognize that you are trying to use Mill's utilitarian definitions over a Hobbesian world- but that pact is not the one I am sure we are in.

Hence Foucault- who defines such pacts as ever changing.

I'm symapthetic, but from the opposing point of the spectrum of what it means to be in this battle of neurotypical. I don't think that disregarding the DSM will help. Nor will disregarding the idea of ward of state. I've seen the best and the worst of people through the eyes of my own comrades (Shoot up untested e to make the depression of PTSD of the craziness fallout go away....for example). The inability to participate fully in society is hampering. If, as they say in the Valley, you can't hack it, then get help. Being a ward to help participate to the fullest extent possible, and to get what is needed, there is no shame in that.

But the question of what makes someone lucid, as raised above, as raised by groups like MindFreedom and The Icarus Project, are not small ones. They ask what the limits of the mind are, and what separates normal from abnormal. I welcome them. After all, I will climb mountains once I can get my body well from medication.

In the meantime, to the person above- BZ hasn't seen me in two years. He doesn't know up until now that I fainted recently from weightloss associated with medication, coffee, and stress. I have a hard time getting around my campus some days still because I am too thin. Should I be ward of the state-no. If I could not stabilize to the point where this was it: we might have a discussion.


The criteria for needing a ward is that you could potentially cause harm for yourself or to others for a psychiatric unit. For Autism- you would have to raise the legal test.


(Note: Psychiatric problems are real. So is the creativity they are linked to- I don't assume to undermine the problems they cause, trust me...been there, done that)

Izgad said...

Positively Autistic
“I am an Autistic adult with an Asperger's Disorder diagnosis. My mother is my legal guardian. What decisions am I "capable" of making?”
From the perspective of the court, little to none. Now you may be capable of doing a lot of things, far more than your current legal status implies, but as long as you are still in your parents’ care our legal system is going to side with them over you every time. I was a very bright child, capable of making many more decisions than our legal system allows. Since I was still the ward of my parents my parents had full legal control over me. Now that I am over 18 and live on my own that is no longer the case.
“Currently, our society does not accept alternative communication modes for people on the spectrum with limited or incoherent verbal abilities.”
That is a falsehood. Our legal system allows for sign language and for speaking machines.
I notice that you call Asperger syndrome a disorder. I do not view it as a disorder, but as an alternative mode of thinking. Who gave you the right to pass judgment on my way of life? Now that to me is false autism advocacy. Despite your accusations, if you had actually been paying attention to this post and the earlier one you would realize that this is an attempt to get away from speaking for those on the “lower end” of the spectrum. All I am doing is applying a J. S. Mill model to autism advocacy.

Melanie Yergeau said...

A couple of clarifying questions. How are you defining "capable"? I'm a bit confused on this. At some points, it seems as if you're reverting to a medicalization of disability (e.g., that incapabilities are inherent in certain individuals). But then your d/Deaf example seems to suggest otherwise -- that capability, per these models of rights, deals with how society constructs capability (or disability)? I think that distinction makes a BIG difference. On one hand, you might be arguing that certain autistics are inherently better/smarter/more capable/more worthy than other autistics (an argument that I find to be "ugh"). On the other hand, you might be arguing that this is what the current social climate dictates. (And hopefully the next step = this current climate is bad and needs to change.) (Does my distinction make sense? I hope so!)

To rephrase: you might be saying 1) that certain individuals should be institutionalized, rendered passive, etc., or you might be saying 2) "this is how rights work in our current sociopolitical framework." And "this is bad and we need to change this."

And I'm curious to know what you believe an ideal model of rights would be, perhaps outside the context of Mills, etc.

Izgad said...

I do not assume anyone has any inherent capabilities or lack of which nor do I believe that some autistics are better than others. I am trying to get away from the medical model of autism as disease by removing as many people as possible from it. There are certain people whom one can make the case for rights and I am going to do my best for those people. As technology and education improves, I hope there will be more such people.
I like the J. S. Mill model of rights. I think society would be much better off if it adhered more closely to it. I am a fighting 19th century liberal. I would have hoped that these posts made that clear.

Melanie Yergeau said...

Ah, OK. That makes more sense. I think part of the problem here is that stuff is getting lost in translation. You're talking about things in the theory realm, or things that deal directly with a field that you've studied quite intensely, and those outside this field aren't catching onto some of the more nuanced things you're describing. (I might be wrong here. Correct me if I am.) I think this sometimes happens with PhD folk... (me included)

So, if I may, I'm going to attempt to rephrase your previous comment, just to make sure I am grasping your claim. Your argument is that capabilities aren't inherent or essential characteristics, and you have no love for medical models of disability. (I'm assuming you feel similarly about the idea of "mental capacity," despite the title of your post?)

So, your difference in thought isn't so much about social model values as it is about strategy and effecting social change? Meaning... that you believe autism is a difference, not a deficit/disorder/disease, in all of its various forms (that is, not just Asperger's but the entire spectrum). Your argument is that it's easier (or more effective? realistic?) to advocate for certain members of certain disability populations?

Again, I might be misinterpreting, so correct me where I'm wrong.

If what I've written above is an accurate reflection, I would posit that my disagreement here is with your proposed strategy. My argument would be that a whole array of things in society need to "improve" or change, ranging from education (as you mention) to technological support to the ideology of the people who occupy leadership roles -- parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, government officials, and so forth. So, the question is, do we work toward all of what we think is right and just, or do we only work toward some of what we think is right and just (the "some" being but a portion of the population). (My argument is for all.)

I'm not sure if I'm writing this coherently. But I suppose I fail to see how only making the case for rights for a certain subset of people with disabilities is any different from only making the case for rights for the so-called normates/neurotypicals/people who dwell under the average part of the bell curve. See what I mean? To me, it's really an all-or-nothing argument. If only certain people with disabilities receive rights, it's not victory -- and we instead engage in the sort of hierarchical systems that we've been trying to escape all along. We'd only be imposing a revised conception of normalcy -- in other words, including certain disabilities under the guise of "normal variation" and thereby reifying the idea that certain disabilities are nightmarish, freakish, and laden in deficit.

Anyway, again, let me know where I've misinterpreted here, if I have. (And let me know if I need to clarify.)

Miss S. said...

Just a couple typos...

Other people are not allowed to murder autistics, but when can autistics do?

"what"?

When I was a child, as much as I thought it was unjust, my parents ran right over my “rights” to not bath, stay home from school, stay up beyond their arbitrary bedtime and not eat my vegetables.

"bathe"?

Izgad said...

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Melanie accurately raises the point that your read leaves your read of the utilitarians points of medicalization as arbitrary point. Granted they wrote a long time ago, when medicine was old, and they wee not writing from a social science point of view. This is to be expected. Weber and Foucualt hadn't come along yet.

M. Mcluhan makes an excellent point that adoption of technology as a harsh and difficult thing for any society, and that could effectively bring society into birth and destroy it at the same time. He tends to be a bit pre-ecient about the rise of media, and the rise of technology. It isn't clear yet if this is actually enough, nor how the majority of people will react. 1993-5 was the only the beginning of the real first wave of the internet. That was only 15 years ago. This is all really new. We still have yet to fully feel the fallout of second wave feminism- and the internet and how it will change the lives for someone autistic is far more radical.

CC: people like Foucault. Bz just because you don't like the french, doesn't mean that the sociological structuralists and post-structuralists have nothing to say on the subject. :-p

Read his read of Bentham...this is just a construct of knowledge of society as it needs it right now. Millian rights do not exist, and even you recognize this shift among liberals. So you need to come up with something stronger.

Further, although he would in fact hate the read, his work many work on prisons and madness would be enlightening on the subject. In fact, why we put who we do in prisons is also a social construct....

Go Foucault...he is the man...
(I should read more of him, and I should also read Derrida and Lacan to finish up my fake french education :-) )

Izgad said...

Anonymous friend. (I know who you are but I will respect your privacy. All the same I am glad that you have been able to meet some of my other friends like Melanie and Miss S.)
I actually am a Foucault fan. He was a political thinker who turned away from tribalism; even though he was gay he rejected the label and refused to tie himself to the gay rights movement. Like Foucault I recognize that, in practice, rights are arbitrary agreements that we make with society. The advantage of Millian rights is that it offers something that is actually philosophically consistent thus giving us a set of principles that we can apply across the board.

REAL Autistic Advocacy said...

Benzoin said: I notice that you call Asperger syndrome a disorder.

I, an Autistic adult, abide by the OFFICIAL diagnosis codes in the DSM-IV. Autism Spectrum DISORDERS are neurological disabilities that affect Autistic peoples' QUAlITY of LIFE. Autism DISORDERS are NOT joyful conditions.

Benzoin said: I do not view it as a disorder, but as an alternative mode of thinking.

Individual perspectives are an OPINION, NOT medical fact.

Benzoin said: Who gave you the right to pass judgment on my way of life? Now that to me is false autism advocacy.

Please provide specific examples where I have passed judgment on your LIFE.

Benzoin said: Despite your accusations, if you had actually been paying attention to this post and the earlier one you would realize that this is an attempt to get away from speaking for those on the “lower end” of the spectrum.

You have shown bias towards Autistic people with severe challenges whose needs and support requirements are immense.

- Katie

Miss S. said...

I find that there are quite a few topics of interest that are addressed in Izgad's blog (such as history, religion, racism, and the like). But Autism is not one of them. Not because I do not find it interesting and worthy of discourse. But mainly because I have no personal vesting in the issue (like I do with some of the others). In this, I am biased, through and through for sure.

So I am not going to comment on the original post as much as the comments listed.

Katie: for some reason you are misspelling "Benzion's" name (although you spelled it right twice). Also you are arguing personal perspectives; which is fine, but it is being presented as if there is some mix-up in definition. I actually find your definition interesting enough; but your full explanation of it gets cut short by just offering counterpoints to previous opinions [made by Benzion]. As far as "medical facts" go, I would go as far to say that such a term is an oxymoron almost. If anything they should be called "medical theories" or "medical methology" For example, there was a time when medical professionals did lobotomies because it was a "medical fact" that they "calmed down" the mentally ill. Other "medical facts" such as DNA testing are proving not to be as completely reliable as previously thought. (And there's a whole lot more where that came from.) Nevertheless, I don't intend to discredit what you're saying. I'll probably check out your blog to get a clearer picture of your viewpoint on this issue. :-)

Melanie: thanks for the elucidation

REAL Autistic Advocacy said...

Miss S.,

I was not even aware I misspelled "Benzion."

Autism disorders are neurological disabilities. I should mention I am very STRONGLY AGAINST eugenics for ANY and ALL disabilities. ALL people, REGARDLESS of disability and "severity", have a RIGHT to LIFE and QUALITY of life via medical treatment (mainstream and biomedical), services, supports, and accommodations. Disabilities should NOT preclude quality of life.

However, I expect research to continue into treatments and cures for "different"/FAULTY neurology.

As far as I know, G-d didn't intend for people to have brain disorders. Something went WRONG.

- Katie

Anonymous said...

Woot for not having lobotomies!!!

I don't desire a lobotomy.

A) What makes something a brain disorder? Brainscans would show a variety of parts of my brain to be affected in minute ways (You can get the entire excel sheet from Google if you want to see here.)

Yet mainline treatment and non-mainline treatment (I am becoming radicalized you see) maintains that the brain is plastic, and that there is some level of the mind involved. Hence why Cognitive Behavioral based therapies work.

Do I have a brain disorder? A neurological disorder? Or just recovering from life? Beware that the answers you give, if not well thought out, impact me, since you are trying to use the DSM as an objective standard. The book is very umbrella means that the definitions you choose deeply affects other groups. If you demand one thing, it affects me, because I do not necessarily agree with your definitions of the mind or the brain. I expect long term better definitions to arise.

The DSM-IV-TR/IDC 10 is a highly political document. Grief is in it. And the US is one of two countries that allows direct to consumer marketing of drugs. (I actually could have gotten involved with a class action for Ability because of this among other forms of marketing.) There is a reason why MindFreedom has UN Observer Status.

I'd be a bit more wary of it. It is a document still be sorted out. It has its uses, but until we have a firmer understanding of how the mind and the brain work- it is going to be a rough ride. And that, everyone, is going to take years.


Beware of anyone telling you too much about who you are and how you define yourself.

I take a principled stand and refuse to define myself as faulty. (I remain anonymous because I know this affects my dating life....Joys of religion.) The ability to see emotion further than others is not faulty. Nor are some of the affects. They have expanded the meaning of art and science for me. I may not be able to handle the power of too many shades of green, more than you will ever know, but to know that even with medication I can still see the barest traces of them- makes me wonderful. I am just another extension of the wonders of humanity. The same way as the truths one finds when one feels real grief at the loss of a parent is. Just another blip that way.

Anonymous said...

Part two:

I don't want inclusion in disability rights, beyond a need to eat in an office. I would prefer to kick or lower the medication altogether. This requires the attitude of wellness. Which I am choosing to slowly adopt.
_____________

Katie:
I could always throw a Peter Singer on you. He uses proof via exception (though some call it a reductio ad absurdum) to create something called speciesism- that we discriminate based upon that we are modern man, and that monkeys are not, despite the fact that they are as intelligent as say, a three year old.

At what point does your slope end- and turn into his?

Should I save everyone? I have limited resources. Why? Who has priority on your list? There is a reason why we discriminate- even with music. I choose to listen to go hear John Zorn over Britney Spears. My priorities have meaning. What are yours?

The reason I ask is thus- in the extremes are often the test- if I have limited state funds: child with Autism or Child with Bone Cancer? (damn me later- bli ayin hara this will not happen to any of us)
____________________


It seems that the question here is the following: at what point is someone too disabled in society to need guardianship? What kind of guardianship? Should there be a spectrum of guardianship? How is society changing to affect guardianship? What makes someone high functioning or low functioning? What is good or bad support? Should we define integration as something that society needs to change around someone who is on the Autistic Spectrum, or should someone in the Autistic Spectrum change around society, or a mix in between? What makes for quality of life? (I define quality of life differently than everyone here. I suspect that is true for us all, beyond basic needs. And I would remind everyone here, this is not the rural Himalayas. We are privileged beyond belief.)

Clearly being Utilitarian isn't going to cut it BZ- because utility won't define the nitty gritty. Principled negotiation will, but that doesn't really happen in a Hobbesian world....Stict to structuralism.

Back to the sketchbook BZ.

Izgad said...

Anonymous friend

As it should be clear from my earlier post I operate in terms of societal negotiations. Those factions within general society that control the economy and culture have a distinct advantage which everyone else has to live with. As a matter of general policy I operate with sort of special tolerance program for dominant cultures, the exact opposite of what the modern left does. Dominant cultures deserve special consideration because it is their culture that the rest of society operates with and they deserve some small form of charity on the grounds of tradition. For example I would place a lower threshold for putting up Christmas trees or even crosses on state property than I would for symbols of other religions it carries the justification of being part of “American” culture and therefore protected from any challenge from the establishment clause.
What piece by Foucault do you want me to read? In terms of Jeremy Bentham, I am familiar with Foucault’s Discipline and Punish on prisons. I see Foucault as a libertarian brother in arms. I am not trying to define the nitty gritty here; I am trying to establish some basic theoretical principles. It is important to have clearly defined principles; it stops you from selling out so quickly the moment things get rough. The Millian bargain is not peaches and cream; I still believe that it offers the best shot for allowing the sort of society that will tolerate people like me.

Anonymous said...

The Millian argument seems to have gotten you in trouble becasuet it did not handle the nitty gritty well.

Ted Seeber said...

I recently ran across this pro-abortion post by a woman who wished she had been given the option to abort her autistic son. Autistic rights, including the right to life, are being threatened by the Autism Speaks theories of Autism as a disease, like it or not.

Chris said...

Ben,

You've got some videos in your left sidebar that obscure some of your blog text, at least on my screen.

-Chris

Izgad said...

I got rid of the videos. You were not the first person to have a problem reading the main part of the blog with them on the side. I am not sure what the issue is.