Create Your Own Economy

Tyler and I chat about his latest book and the implications of human neurodiversity at Bloggingheads TV.

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2 thoughts on “Create Your Own Economy

  1. I wrote some thoughts about this very issue not too long ago that proved to be controversial. To put it simply, Cowen's argument is occurring in the context of a cultural understanding of autism that has become, with almost entirely noble intentions, deeply wrong. The American vision of autism has become a fantasy. I can't tell you how many people I meet who now genuinely believe autism to be nothing other than a kind of artistic shyness, that autistics all possess powerful savant abilities that offset their social difficulties, and that in general autism is not something to be cured or mitigated but something to be purely celebrated, and that any talk of cures and prevention is the stuff of eugenics. That is a view of autism that is ignorant of the actual impact of autism on most people who have it and their families.For many autistics and their families, autism represents a powerful, at times debilitating, disorder. There are many autistic people who rendered entirely noncommunicative by the disorder. Some can't control their bathroom functions, dress or groom themselves, feed themselves without assistance, etc. Some autistics can't stop hurting themselves or others. I saw it personally when I worked for a long time at a school for children with severe emotional disturbance.I haven't read Dr. Cowen's book yet, I'm going to order it from Amazon on payday. I have been intrigued by what I've read of his argument online. And I know most anyone who is working to change the public view of autism is doing so in good faith. I just do worry a great deal about how much these arguments tend to rely on a simply factually incorrect understanding of autism and how it effects most people, and I think the first consideration for how we view autism should always be, “Is our conception of autism beneficial for the people who have it and their families?” My belief is that the best way to view autism is as a medical issue, and specifically that autism is a disorder.Autistic people deserve dignity and respect, and so do their families. I am opposed to ever forcing any kind of treatment on anyone, of course, and I don't believe I would use genetic testing to try to prevent an autistic child of my own. Mostly, the disagreement might be semantic. But I have to ask: when we take our respect of difference to such a degree that we demand that something as commonly debilitating as autism be seen as just a personality trait, for who's benefit, exactly, are we doing it?http://www.ordinary-gentlemen.com/2009/04/autis

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