Thursday, August 12, 2010

Does Support for Gay Rights Entail Discrimination against Aspergers?


Ultimately, I can accept the neurotypical status quo, despite its inconveniences, because even when it "discriminates" against me, in its "discrimination" there is a larger equality. Those in the majority are not truly discriminating against me as their actions are in keeping with universal law. In our society each person is free to attempt to fashion society as they see fit. As such I am equal in society, as an individual, to any neurotypical, with an equal vote; I am simply fated to lose this vote. That being said, nothing in this process necessitates an acknowledgement of the superiority of the neurotypical position. This is no different than in political democracy where the passage of liberal expansion of government in no way implies the superiority of liberal positions. (This is one of the advantages of democracy; one can "lose" while still maintaining one's legitimacy, thus eliminating the need to turn to violence.) Furthermore, as an Asperger, I am simply one of many outsiders to society with the exact same problem; as we live in a society not designed with us in mind we are all at the disadvantage of having to suffer daily reminders of that fact. Ironically enough, this is comforting because we are all equally disadvantaged. Of course this position only works if all outside groups are truly equally disadvantaged. The moment one outsider group is protected and given, as a "civil right," the right not to feel like outsiders then this all collapses. Thus any attempt to give one outsider group such "civil rights" is actually an act of discrimination against all other groups as it implies that one group is "more equal" than others in deserving such rights.

At its core, the gay rights movement is about defining civil rights not just as protection against direct physical harm, but also against indirect harm or anything that results in the placing of homosexuals as outsiders. For example to say that attempts to define marriage as something between a man and woman discriminates against homosexuals requires the assumption that civil rights do not just mean that homosexuals are to be protected against laws that say things like "only heterosexuals shall be allowed to marry," (see How to Practice Discrimination against Homosexuals) but also against anything that incidentally puts them at a disadvantage. It is plausible that one can support a traditional definition of marriage simply because, in one's own mind, one believes that marriages between men and women accomplish something specific of importance to society without ever intending alienate homosexuals. Heterosexual marriage long predates the rise of the gay rights movement just as neurotypical friendship long predates society's awareness of Asperger syndrome. This is in contrast to racial discrimination laws like separate water fountains which have only existed in the presence of a racial minority and with the explicit purpose of alienating such groups. It is irrelevant to the guy rights movement whether supporters of traditional marriage are consciously acting against homosexuals. The fact that such a definition of marriage de facto harms homosexuals automatically makes it discrimination.

When Judge Walker decided that Proposition 8 discriminated against homosexuals, but left intact public school report cards and even government employee evaluations offering tangible physical rewards to those who "work well with others" (others in this case meaning neurotypicals), he denied my humanity and the humanity of every Asperger person. Somehow my suffering due to being forced to socialize and being penalized for failing to do so is not important, but the suffering of homosexuals in a traditional marriage society is. (Note that I am not denying the reality of homosexual suffering nor am I trivializing it.) The fact that Judge Walker likely never considered the issue of Asperger syndrome is irrelevant since he himself does not deem this to be relevant when applied to homosexuals. There are real consequences to this; homosexuals now have the force of law behind them as they negotiate with the rest of society. How can I claim to be different but equal if the government does not officially endorse that equality, particularly when the government is willing to endorse the equality of homosexuals? Clearly, unlike homosexuals whose alternative lifestyle is equally valid, the Asperger information based lifestyle is really a mental illness of not being able to relate to other people. As such Aspergers must submit to the care of neurotypicals who clearly know better than they do and help "educate" and "cure" them. Those Aspergers who are stubborn and refuse to be "educated" and "cured" must suffer societal censure to make them see the error of their ways.

I have nothing against the practical objectives of the gay rights movement just as long as I get my "rights" as well. You want government endorsed gay marriage? I wish we could get rid of the concept of government endorsed marriage to begin with. People on the spectrum are statistically less likely to ever married; thus government marriage serves to place an undo tax burden on us as well as a means of alienating us by implying that our non-married lives are of less value. Perhaps we could have a form of "Asperger" marriage to acknowledge our special relationship to our fields of study. This could take the form of special tax breaks to help me complete my doctorate, discounts on museums, Renaissance fairs and Comic-Con. You want to stick Heather has Two Mommies in public schools? Fine, I just want the entire concept of friendship and any other social relationship as an innate good removed from the curriculum. This is to say nothing of every other group of social outsiders, who must be given their "rightful" recognition. Anything less is bigotry.

I charge Judge Walker, the gay rights movement as well as their allies with the theft of the human rights of Aspergers as well as every outsider group. More importantly, I charge them with hypocrisy.

4 comments:

Clarissa said...

" I wish we could get rid of the concept of government endorsed marriage to begin with. People on the spectrum are statistically less likely to ever married; thus government marriage serves to place an undo tax burden on us as well as a means of alienating us by implying that our non-married lives are of less value. Perhaps we could have a form of "Asperger" marriage to acknowledge our special relationship to our fields of study. This could take the form of special tax breaks to help me complete my doctorate, discounts on museums, Renaissance fairs and Comic-Con."

-I know you are being sarcastic here, but I actually agree that all this would be great. I hope society evolves in precisely this direction eventually.

As for your argument addressed to Judge Walker's perceived hypocricy, I'm not sure I understand it. Do you have specific knowledge of any cases brought before him where he refused to defend Aspergers' rights? Was there a case where he refused to consider whether the reposrt cards you mention were discriminatory? I mean, he's a judge, he can't rule on cases nobody brought to him.

Prop 8 initially catered to the group of social outsiders, i.e. fanatical Christian fundamentalists. Judge Walker ruled that as a society we can't cater to their interests to the exclusion of everything else all of the time.

Izgad said...

“I hope society evolves in precisely this direction eventually.”

To get rid of marriage or to get me to Comic-Con? At Comic-Con can I have the government marry me to Captain Kirk?

Izgad said...

If Judge Walker was serious about fighting discrimination he would have declared that the very notion of marriage being between to physically alive people to violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

I take it as the mark of just law that it is framed in the most abstract terms possible. So the side that can better avoid framing their position in terms of specific groups wins.

Clarissa said...

The judge can only rule on cases brought before him. Which means answering a specific question put before him by the litigating parties. Since nobody asked him whether " the very notion of marriage being between to physically alive people violates the Fourteenth Amendment", he has no authority to answer this question.