The anti-telethon blogswarm is up, and y’all should go read.

I’m still going at shakesville, trying to explain why eugenic selection is a bad thing. Turns out, it’s a pretty hard sell.

Some of the brilliant arguments I’ve gotten so far include…

But….it’s HARD!

As if the worthwhile was ever easy. The whole argument at hand digs me so much because it assumes the status quo, and moves from there. Ethics is the imaginative and theoretical practice of constructing a just world, from drawing board to implementation.

And we have an accredited member of the field go an assume that disabled children are a burden? How tediously boring, how utterly lazy! If i wanted warmed over prejudice, I’d have stuck my head out a window. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought their job was to work for a better world, not settle for the shit we’re in now.

And while I have spent much of my time in refutation of additional and related arguments that have come up, I wanted to be clear that I think the original article reflects poor scholarship. I’m not worked up because I’m scared of the brilliance of Prof. Lindemann’s argument. My reaction is along the lines of: “Oh, not this shit again.”

Occluding one’s field of inquiry so that all we can look at is all predetermined is just bad thinking. Of course, mothers should not be obligated or coerced into a relationship of care that they don’t want to enter. Duh. But the entire argument hangs on a “can.”

“Because this care can consume even more of the mother’s time, energy, money, and emotional stamina than would the care of a healthy child, and because many seriously disabled children will never outgrow their need for it, women should not be forced into the special relationship that requires them to provide it.”

Oh, no, this isn’t about sending a message that we’re a burden. At all.

It “can” be more difficult to raise a child in all sorts of circumstances. But apart from eugenic movements, there have been few proponents of recommending abortion in these situations. It’s the “ism” not the person. You don’t solve the problem of a person, you solve the systems and prejudices that make their life difficult or marginalized. Ask why it is, not wash your hands.

“If everybody sprang up out of the ground full grown, like mushrooms, as Hobbes famously fantasized, then the care of people with disabilities would presumably be impersonally provided, perhaps by a state-run health care system or by private organizations instituted for this purpose. ”

This, her further hypothetical, is even less imaginative. Even in the allegedly perfect world of Hobbsian self-independence, persons with disabilities are still being “cared for” by grey buildings and the charitable-industrial complex. Well, pardon me, but fuck that. I didn’t show up for the beatific vision to see a land of institutionalization.

Everyone requires things to live. Painting your necessities as normal, and our necessities as burdens is a normative decision. An unjustifiable normative decision. We all require care. We get sick, we age, we become disabled, we are born that way. We all require care, and either as a society we can face that reality, or we can wallow in our delusion of autonomy, letting the whole world sink around us. We proclaim the immorality of those who flounder right up until the moment that our heads disappear beneath the waves. It’s wasteful. It’s stupid. And it’s immoral.

We can give to each other what we need to live lives of moral agency, physical dignity, and social relation. Or we can keep the status quo.

How’s that for a binding relationship of care?

-sly

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