Some people think and act in ways that are just different.
In order to promote fairness, standard evaluations and treatments need continual exploration and modification to meet our growing awareness of diverse individuals and diverse populations. This is a team blog. Authors posting are; Ed and Wayward.
The comment policy here is strict in order to maintain an atmosphere
that will encourage people who may not have been in lots of environments
where what they thought counted for much to feel comfortable expressing
themselves here. That's what is most important to me.
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Knowledge may be power but in this information age, the race for such power is as corruptible as any other and bullies involved in this competition are just as likely to describe degradation as the way to encourage toughness. I often see examples on the Internet where those who are seen as highly suggestible or who lack sophistication or savvy are defined as cattle or sheep.
On the playground, this is similar to calling someone a sissy or highlighting someone's weakness in an attempt to show how someone else is strong or tough by contrast. Of course, this is encouraged in the classroom as a way to coerce people to comply with standard evaluations. This is why psychology became so heavily influenced by the philosophy of behaviorism and why compulsory education focuses more of encouraging the standards of behavior than anything else.
The name of this blog is The Standard Review. What I have attempted to describe is the way that cultural standards influence public policy and how unrealistic expectations can negatively influence our relationship with individuals as well as with our community. Almost every post here is tagged "social Darwinism." Herbert Spencer helped to make this particular cultural standard so popular. This is how Wikipedia explains Herbert Spencer's contribution to the theory described as social Darwinism:
"For many, the name of Herbert Spencer would be virtually synonymous with Social Darwinism, a social theory that applies the law of the survival of the fittest to society; humanitarian impulses had to be resisted as nothing should be allowed to interfere with nature's laws, including the social struggle for existence. Spencer desired the elimination of the unfit through their failure to reproduce, rather than state intervention to secure their physical annihilation.
Spencer's association with Social Darwinism might have its origin in a specific interpretation of his support for competition. Whereas in biology the competition of various organisms can result in the death of a species or organism, the kind of competition Spencer advocated is closer to the one used by economists, where competing individuals or firms improve the well being of the rest of society. Spencer viewed private charity positively so long as it did not encourage the procreation of the unworthy, as he believed in voluntary association and informal care as opposed to using government machinery."
Spencer suggested that exclusionary and harsh standards would make the valued class stronger, but aside from how the less privileged are treated by it; I don't believe it strengthens anyone at all. Cultural standards can be used to discourage murder, rape, and other abusive acts, but they can also be used to define someone who isn't as skilled or capable as less worthy of respect and dignity. As someone diagnosed with autism who has been punished by the educational/training/rehabilitation/disability system for nearly a half-century, I see the values encouraged by the system to be mainly exclusionary and abusive in that way.
As much as people work towards creating better supports for people with mental illness and intellectual disability, they should also recognize that most people due to class status and disenfranchisement are simply just classified by the system as crazy and stupid and there's hardly a distinction between the two. It's convenient to claim that someone is inferior in the department of sanity or intellectuality due to moral reasons (for example, someone is described as willfully ignorant and/or choosing to be lazy), but it must be understood that the system which is supposedly providing them support uses those same moral standards which are based on nothing more than propaganda as an excuse to treat them as a subhuman species. Although this is deceptively advertised as support, it provides nothing but more unnecessary obstacles for those who are diagnosed.
The encouragement of overcoming is in no way separate from the fear which creates pity in terms of the treatment in this part of the population. The standard is not set so that no one will be left behind as it is advertised to be. Instead, it is set so that competition can be glorified and the abuse of those who are determined losers will appear justified.
It's important to recognize that anything and everything which criticizes someone classified as mentally ill, intellectually inferior, autistic, or with any variation or vernacular, can and will be used to further degrade everyone with such a diagnosis. Most everything we do is criticized and most anything that anyone of us does which society frowns upon is used to degrade the rest of us as well.
As an autistic, I wonder how anyone can believe that encouraging any type of cultural skill standards (standard of so-called appropriate or normal behavior, standard of communication, standard of so-called appropriate or normal response, etc.) can be seen as anything other than a way to encourage fear and degradation for what autistics do, which causes us so much harm.
Maybe people aren't smart or skilled in traditional ways, and maybe we go along and are naïvely accepting in a way that the savvy and sophisticated (otherwise known as the sane and smart) part of the population describes in the same way they describe the ways of cattle or sheep. However, it doesn't help anyone to show how others are less valuable based on their lack of ability. Furthermore, as I said earlier, lack of skill, naivete, and/or lack of emotional or mental stability is described as a lack of morality by the system which defines what skills are valued and which ones aren't.
It's important for everyone to use the skills which they have to perform their best weather that fits within traditional boundaries or whether the expression is completely unique. Doing your best is self-supporting as well as encouraging the strength of others. When instead, someone else must be degraded in order for others to appear better, the standard of degradation and unreasonable expectations is reinforced at the expense of everyone becoming weaker and everyone's contribution becoming less valuable.