merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
[personal profile] merielle
So I had a disability milestone moment recently. 

An acquaintance of mine posted on her Facebook the internet-famous quotation, "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." Some asshole commented that she loves Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand, that "the West" needs to stop being so privileged and annoying, that everywhere else in the world, if you don't work, you don't eat, and that's fine by her.

I know, I know. I shouldn't say anything, because IT'S A TRAP. For two major reasons. 1) It's Facebook. 2) She's a stranger. So I should not engage. 

I did, anyway. The acquaintance OP is a social worker who does badass activist work on human trafficking issues, and I was so taken aback that someone she's friends with would be quite this snotty and oblivious that I got into it. I will admit, I was extra taken aback because the asshole's profile pic showed a middle-aged woman I parsed as African-American. Expectations of alliance aside, it's straight-up statistically hugely unlikely that she's a Republican. So did she really mean all that? 

I started by asking, um, is a world where your right to survive is directly proportional to your level of capitalist productivity a world we actually want? I have some disabilities and sometimes I can't work. Does that mean, in your world, that I don't get to eat on those days? Really? What about the elderly? Children? The chronically ill? I think we can do better than that, I think nearly *every* society has chosen to try to do better than that, and personally I work for a world in which everyone is valued for the unique contributions they bring to the whole human endeavor. (Also that Ayn Rand was one of the hugest hypocrites on the planet; uh, no, you're completely wrong that everywhere outside the G8 the old, the ill, and those with disabilities are just pitched into the sea; and other things.)

And she flat-out said, how unfortunate that you have some disabilities, sucks to be you, but you don't actually deserve to live if you can't get everything you need for yourself. Right now, this minute. And if you live in the West, you and everyone like you should damn well be grateful and say thank you to me as a middle class taxpayer that I foot the bill for you.


Wow. I've had people tell me they wished I were dead because I'm a vocal, visible feminist, a queer person, and a progressive. But this is the first time I've been told that I don't deserve to live because I was born with a brain that doesn't work like most other people's.

I was aghast and furious. I started drafting a reply. I started typing a bunch of sarcastic things like, "Oh, well, LUCKY ME, I married rich, you snotty bougie jerkface, so I get to live, even in a Randian capitalist utopia! Eat THAT while you're reading The Fountainhead or Dr. Mengele's Funhouse or whatever other bullshit social Darwinist fuckery you entertain yourself with, asshole. Also, you might consider reading books by people who are NOT delusional sociopaths. Then you might learn things about people with disabilities who have done amazing, world-changing things once they got what they needed to navigate the world, or about other cultures that revere their elders and do a better job of sharing resources, or, you know, human empathy. Or you could die in a fire. Asshole."

But then I calmed down and decided not to talk to her anymore. Because, really, where do you go from there? Where do you go from, "Yes, I see that you are a human being and we have a friend in common and everything, but whatever, I don't give a fuck, you are broken and you survive only on my sufferance?" What conversation is possible to have? This was not going anywhere good. 

This is a shit achievement to unlock. 


merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)

February 2016

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