Friday, July 04, 2008

Ethical Governing

I have said before and still believe that challenging policy and social rules is a way that Democratic citizenship can best be expressed. At the very least I would say that the United States as it is seen as the most powerful nation on earth must be much more responsible as the one who holds that position than it is. Whether it has done better than other nations with similar responsibility is not so much a factor to consider for me as the fact that aspects of how things are done in the United States need to be continually inspected, investigated, and challenged if necessary.

As a part of the autistic online community, I feel some obligation to others within the community to share some personal aspects about myself as to what qualifies me and my judgment as something that others need to listen to as valid. I may however be less forthcoming about such things.

Sometimes I should my way out of doing that. What I mean by that is that I don't think that I or anyone should have to adhere to all the unnecessary and sometimes ridiculous social mores that afford us the privilege of having our expressions validated. Without an expression being acknowledged or recognized as valid it makes no impact on anyone else's situation. Being constantly reminded that your expressions aren't valid often discourages people from exploring the impact they can have. This is a waste that no society can afford.

I know there may be some rules of convention that everyone must adhere to in order to be entitled to have their voice heard and I know I also don't believe that anyone who achieves this status that provides them a better platform from which to speak should be deprived of what anyone else with less unfairly judged characteristics is afforded. However, I am mainly an advocate for learning from what is expressed by anyone no matter the typical methods that are more traditionally used to evaluate whether any person is seen as worthy of having their expressions recognized as valuable.

As I hope I have made it clear in my blog posts, I have no formal education, specialized knowledge, nor do I hold any position that would typically afford me the privilege of having what I say seen as valid. I maintain the position that there are many valid expressions that are not regarded as such because of typical standards. I would like to see that change.

I do not believe that any government is rightfully in the position of issuing human rights and then deciding weather those rights will be denied by them. Instead I believe that those who were appointed or elected to positions of government are there to protect the rights of its citizens based on what they (the citizens) see is ethical. The US government contradicts the very documents they claim are the foundations for how they are to govern when they deny citizens ethical treatment and force unethical treatment upon their own people as well as people in other countries.

Beyond human rights of basic survival, the efforts that are made to discourage people from our right to earn more rights based on the responsibility we take is a way to suppress our voice and therefore our rights as people. Too many provisions for people in need can't accurately be described as the biggest part of the problem until people with less means can see their opportunities coming from responsible parties that truly want to see them succeed more than they wish to maintain and protect their bigoted view that oppressed populations choose their fate and aren't capable and/or worthy of success. At least it would be helpful if people didn't see their own government working to show our failures as what defines us as people.

I see the demand for having our severity of symptoms and hardship described constantly as a badge of being in the most need and being the most deserving of aid used as a tool to keep oppressed people from desiring to succeed or expressing their ability and talent. That is really twisted. (twisted....that's my new word. :) )

This also turns us against others who are in similar need of provisions as we are. Division can be a powerful means of oppression.

One of the rights that I feel is a human right that is protected within the Constitution of the United States is the right to free speech. A closer adherence to enforcing laws that protect that right would in turn bring about many other ethical changes that are needed as well. I don't believe anyone has that right until everyone does. Otherwise it's not a right but a privilege that is royally protected by and for royals. There are certain social standards of hierarchy that would at this point only allow for the votes of our nation's most prominent citizens.

I don't see a very broad group of people being asked to express how they feel about the policies in the United States that govern how they live, what is expected of them, and what if anything they can expect in terms of preventing their own government from violating their basic human rights. When too many people who really do care about the welfare of all others and are afforded the privilege of making decisions about the welfare of everyone are also under the mistaken impression that most peoples views actually are being expressed and factored into the decisions that govern their lives, dangerous exclusive decision making habits are formed. Just as fewer voices can take a negative path, encouraging more can have a positive one.


I don't see the provision of civil liberties as a type of treatment that is needing to begin at home (home being defined as the U.S.). If people don't stay at home then they don't really have one do they? While agencies like the United Nations have often not acted in ethical ways, neither have many governments who had the power to change things and didn't. World agencies don't need to dissolve borders in order to make and enforce policies that protect human rights and no nation or agency should enforce policies on others who just think differently. How overly idealistic civil liberties may seem can't be seen as a way to discard our need to try and change things for the better in the ways that we actually can.

Few are regarded as a contributing members of American society. How could a nation rise to this level of power and not regard the majority of its citizens as contributing to its success? I would say that this rise to power has often been rather ruthless and that needs to change for the very survival of our nation.

The only people who truly have rights to the land we live on are Native Americans or Indians. Stealing something doesn't make it yours. It just makes it something you have temporary control of. Many nationalities of people have come to the United States and contributed with little or no regard for their human rights. Many were forcibly brought here. Their lack of being acknowledged as valued members of this society has often afforded them little or no voice. No one in positions of power and governmental authority has been provided their position by any type of fair means that affords them the right to deny these people that voice.

I think it's clear to most people by now that our method of financial exchange does not allow for financial means to trickle down to the masses. What too often does trickle down are the attitudes of our most powerful and influential leaders that don't serve us but instead serve those leaders.

I believe that the laws that are written in the Constitution of the United States of America do provide for the ethical treatment of all people in this country. I believe in the people that are here. I believe that if the masses of people are allowed to vote on policies that there will be a positive change that allows for and encourages the responsibility that provides for all peoples well being.

Of course those who are defined as having superior intelligence and are seen as being more valuable contributing members of society do not validate the right for us all to be treated in more ethically and humane ways. The questions I have are: Why would anyone or any attribute that anyone has be needed to validate anyones ethical treatment. Why must ethical treatment be designated to any person or group of people?

I advocate for anyone who is fighting for better and more ethical and humane treatment of all people to be allowed to express this view and for it to be recognized.

I am expressing my own personal views here and they are not meant to reflect the views of anyone else.

I advocate for the rights of unfairly oppressed populations to be allowed a voice that provides for not only our human rights and our ethical treatment but also for our opportunity to be responsible for our own lives so that we can succeed or fail based on merit and our willingness rather than unclear and unfair judgments that describe our worth as people.

2 Comments:

At 2:16 PM , Blogger AnneC said...

Ed wrote:

As a part of the autistic online community, I feel some obligation to others within the community to share some personal aspects about myself as to what qualifies me and my judgment as something that others need to listen to as valid. I may however be less forthcoming about such things.

Sometimes I should my way out of doing that. What I mean by that is that I don't think that I or anyone should have to adhere to all the unnecessary and sometimes ridiculous social mores that afford us the privilege of having our expressions validated. Without an expression being acknowledged or recognized as valid it makes no impact on anyone else's situation. Being constantly reminded that your expressions aren't valid often discourages people from exploring the impact they can have. This is a waste that no society can afford.

...
I see the demand for having our severity of symptoms and hardship described constantly as a badge of being in the most need and being the most deserving of aid used as a tool to keep oppressed people from desiring to succeed or expressing their ability and talent.

I've been thinking about the issue(s) described in the quoted section above for a while now, and I'm still at a bit of a loss as to how to resolve them. Sometimes I feel like I "should" describe more of the difficulties I've faced (and that I still face) so that people won't be able to dismiss me as having had "too easy" of a time for my expressions about disability, etc., to be taken seriously. But on the other hand, I feel as well as if doing that sort of thing frequently (or even just "over-sharing" on a few occasions) is just catering to the catastrophizing mentality that is so problematic in "autism advocacy" already.

I mean, I don't feel like the difficult aspects of my life make it (or me) an actual catastrophe, but I know some of them would certainly be viewed as such if I were to focus on them (heck, I've had people express shock and pity at the fact that I can't drive a car, which to me seems basically trivial at this point). And then, perhaps as opposed to being seen as "too high functioning", people would start demanding to know how I justified my lack of self-pity.

It always strikes me as curious how there are at least two (completely true) ways in which I could describe my life, but which I know based on what other self-advocates have experienced in the aftermath of certain levels of self-disclosure would quite possibly lead to contradictory impressions being formed, in which case people would end up focusing more on the "contradictions" than on my actual message.

And then there's the "diagnosis" aspect -- sometimes I do wonder whether my words "should" be taken as valid without my publishing my diagnostic paperwork online, but I know that there are autistic people who don't have that kind of paperwork (or access to it even if it exists -- I only narrowly managed to get my own paperwork as a doctor actually lied to me and told me that I wasn't allowed to have copies of my own records), and plus, it strikes me as a terrific invasion of privacy to even expect that others ought to "have to" publish such personal documentation on the Internet or elsewhere, lest their words be dismissed as somehow meaningless and evidence of malingering. I mean, should I also have to post a doctor's note indicating my gender to be taken seriously as a woman? I doubt many would say yes.

It just never ends sometimes!

I imagine I will just keep muddling along like most of us, and in that process, discussing the things such as you've described in this post seem plenty important.

 
At 6:22 AM , Blogger Ed said...

AnneC said: "It always strikes me as curious how there are at least two (completely true) ways in which I could describe my life, but which I know based on what other self-advocates have experienced in the aftermath of certain levels of self-disclosure would quite possibly lead to contradictory impressions being formed, in which case people would end up focusing more on the "contradictions" than on my actual message."

That's a good point. As far as there being two ways to describe my life (both in terms of one overall way of describing skill level vs. not having that or hardship vs. enjoying life) many would see and therefore focus on the contradictions also.... and as you say, not listen to the actual message that's more important.

Because we have different periods of circumstances, different ways of viewing things over time, different influences, and different friends who evaluate "who" and "what" we are in ways that influence our views, others focusing on contradictions can be a way of dismissing the effort that is required for getting to know someone.

I wasn't seen as having skills as a child but as an adult (based only on how I write stuff) I've been described as having splinter skills. I've been told by others though that this term indicates pathology and (especially with autistics) much of what people are and how we act doesn't fit neatly into a pathological package or label.

Once again the label/stereotype or the contradiction of that becomes the convenient method of dismissing and therefore ignoring people. Ignoring people and what we have to offer is such a waste....both in what value others don't get to see in us AND in the way they display these attitudes really can shield us from seeing more value in them.

 

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