Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Most Bizarre Autism Hypothesis Yet

Banner ad for a video and ebook promising to explain how "Global Elite Uses Vaccines to Create Autism", and also "How Autism Profits the Globalist Cronies"
A commenter on one of Orac's recent posts linked to this website, which lays out one of the most ludicrously counterfactual Autism Hypotheses I've ever seen: the global elites are deliberately making people autistic (using vaccines, obviously) because autistic people make better, more docile workers.
Graphic from anti-vaccine crank website showing the All-Seeing Eye as it appears on the Great Seal of the United States, as the capstone floating above a pyramid, with the Eye of Sauron photoshopped in as the pupil of the eye. The words "Neo Aristocrats" are superimposed over the eye, and over the pyramid below are the word "Servants" with a red line below it, and the words "Delta Technicians" (a reference to the caste of developmentally disabled menial laborers from Brave New World) below that. Below the picture is a quote from Lord David Freud, a Conservative member of the UK's House of Lords, in which he talks about the benefits to businesses of hiring autistic workers. He says, "... it makes good business sense to employ people who are reliable, punctual and loyal; people who have good attention to detail and concentration levels..." Indeed it does! But that doesn't mean people are running around zapping people with Autism Rays, or even hiring as many of us as there are who need jobs.
Now, if you're like me, you moved right past the first two absurd premises --- vaccines cause autism and big pharmaceutical companies want to make people sick --- because you've heard them so many times. No, what floored me was the immense, crushing irony of their believing that autistic people make such desirable employees.
There's that Brave New World reference again
Do they not know how many of us are unemployed, underemployed or mal-employed*?

They cite Goldman Sachs UK's recent decision to offer (paid!) internships and job placements to qualified autistic people in London as proof that autistic people make desirable workers, but they totally miss the fact that the company had to set aside these positions specifically for autistic applicants. Not only that, but this program (and others like it, at other firms like SAP and Freddie Mac) represents a long-overdue first step toward integrating autistic people who are willing and able to work into the mainstream economy. A first step. A departure from the way things are normally done. And a drop in the bucket compared to how many autistic people are still shut out of the conventional job market.

There is definitely a flaw in your plan for world domination if you've designed the perfect army of loyal minions, but most of them can't get a job working for you.

*Malemployment, if you didn't know, is Mark Romoser's term for the scenario in which a lot of autistic adults find ourselves: working at a job far below your skill level and at a task for which you are unsuited. Like, say, an autistic person with an advanced degree working food service, where they struggle to keep up with people's orders and to talk to customers and prepare food at the same time. Romoser wrote an article about it, but it is behind a paywall. You can buy the article from Amazon for a lot less than you would pay if you got it directly from the journal (i.e., six dollars as opposed to fifteen), but it's still not free.


Lorraine said...

It's nice of you to provide a detailed description of the graphic. In this case, of course, the description is hardly complete without noting the use of the infamous "Algeria" font of Windows 3.1 fame.

Lindsay said...

Oh, I didn't know about that! My knowledge of infamous fonts begins and ends with Comic Sans.

Derivat said...

You consider yourself a sick person?

Lindsay said...

@Derivat - What is the context of your question? I can't see how it connects to anything I wrote.

Lindsay said...

Also @Devirat - Now that I reread my post yet again, I think I might see what you're asking.

Are you referring to the thing where I list the two absurd premises this conspiracy theory is based on, where one is that vaccines cause autism and the other is that big pharmaceutical companies want to make people sick? I see now that you *can* read that as saying autism is a sickness! I don't think it is, but is *is* disabling. And in the minds of the people who make up conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism, it most definitely is a sickness.

Derivat said...

Well, you know that the pharmaceutical industry is a mafia that seeks to raise sizeable profits on the subjective pathologizing people like us. I'm not autistic, but I consider myself as within the spectrum.
I'm asking you this question because every moment, even in scientific studies, there is a tendency to pathologize the autistic profile, as well as other extreme personality.
I would like to understand how an autistic person declares themselves after suffering a massive brainwashing that they have serious flaws that must be corrected.
Do not take this question the wrong way, I think I was very straightforward and should have explained immediately after you post it.

My case, as a teenager, in my 12 years I went to a psychologist, after developing an onset of agoraphobia. Then she diagnosed me as manic depressive (bipolar). I found it funny the diagnosis because I knew someone with bipolar disorder, almost always need medication to be able to contain the most severe symptoms (supposedly, this is necessary in our type of society). I never felt like bipolar and refused to take anti-depressants. After that, I never felt the need for medication, despite my behavior always quite closed, in my own world.
I think of extreme relevance stupidly logical that autistics themselves have the opportunity to pursue their own diagnoses, without the need for a stupid person (most mental health professionals are stupid), cold and indifferent to the subjective problems socialization that we passed.

Derivat said...

The disability of autism is subjective or objective?
I mean, in any social context, a person with autism tend to be unable to be able. Or, because of neurotypical social context, radically against the style of social functioning of autistics, that failure becomes a reality?
Do you believe that does not have empathy or you have a different style of empathy?
I think autism is a mutation and how every mutations in its early stages of recessive, tends to be diverse in its manifestation and unstable, especially by the environment.

The excuse, I messed up my last name is Derivat, not devirat.

I think that autistics are extremely empathetic, only that it is a rational empathy. I mean, a neurotypical tend to be rational and emotional. The autism is primarily a rational being, but that does not mean that it has no emotion or empathy, but, like any rational measure asim we take, the emotional expression depends on a reason. Autistic think this way and I think it's a very forward-thinking style. Non-engineered and natural emotion has caused many problems for humanity.

Derivat said...

I recently read an interview with Baron Cohen, who said in a survey of large representative sample in Japan, did not find a relationship between the increase in the population of autism and vaccines.