Culture U.S.

Why Libertarians need to stop making jokes about autism

For some people this headline is so obvious that its almost insulting deigning to address such an obvious issue, but humans are inherently good and if you’re misguided enough to be making fun at the expense of special needs people then you need to read this.

Although libertarians are not the only people to make these kinds of jokes, I’m invested in this political title and if you’re going to share the identity then we must make the community less toxic. Many people use jokes like “autismo,” the R-word, or share hurtful memes, not to intentionally hurt people with these conditions, but to lessen the stigma of fellow political allies grappling with mental health issues.

For students in college, this is an extremely confusing time to be growing up, but really the entire country is grappling with how to address the political and social changes happening, and how to fortify their own worldviews against post-modernism. But pain is a good thing. Pain forces us to change, growing and discarding ideas that are wrong to come closer to the truth. Christians have a term for this called being “purified by fire” –in this sense with how we view reality.

But when we feel emotionally damaged, one of the first things we do is close ourselves off from being vulnerable in our relationships, misguidedly trying to prevent ourselves from being hurt again. Just like how we learn as a little kid to keep our hands away from boiling hot water, that same instinct is driving us to stay away from relationships, or to engage in them in self-destructive ways. This is how autistim jokes first entered the libertarian lexicon, attempting to describe the social awkwardness and emotional detachment of some of us.

Destigmatizing these issues in a way that allows the left to call us ableist jerks isn’t how we are going to deal with them. You may need therapy, but ultimately, we all need God to properly understand reality, to wake us from the nightmare of solipsism with the promise of hope beyond our current circumstances good or bad. That requires instilling a deep sense of honor in taking responsibility for our personal growth into our culture, and a sense of shame for anyone trying to take the easy way out on a road that inevitably leads to nihilism.

Underneath our political exterior, everyone in the libertarian community is deeply interested in exploring philosophy and coming to a stable worldview, while fighting for the freedom to consider and apply big ideas in the meantime. This intellectual humility is why we are proud to be Americans, finding our dignity in the peaceful and fearless exchange of ideas. You should feel a strong sense of self-worth that you have come this far, driving you to keep going, to push through whatever is keeping you down.

It’s this sheer willpower towards the universal good that keeps you going—a principle the Catholic Church teaches is inherent in every human being as evidence of our inherent goodness. This self-interest for mutually beneficial, self-sacrificing relationships, not pining after unrequired love, but transforming love that affirms the positive qualities of the one you love without asking for anything in return, is what libertarians seek to find, and I pray everyday they will pick up a copy of Pope John Paul IIs Theology of the Body.

Only when you begin to properly understand relationships will you feel ready to be vulnerable again. And at that time, you’ll remember why life is worth living and why you even fight for our political freedoms in the first place. Fighting for liberty for its own sake leaves us with a feeling of restless despair. Only when liberty is aligned with truth will you feel the fully satisfying feeling of being alive, and if you ask me that’s a far better alternative than dying a sorry death wallowing in self-pity.

Our ideology will only become more popular when we stop giving the left more fodder to call us bad things. If you really care about what your preaching, you’ll stop using crass language, overcoming self-pity with the joy of dignified culture.

One comment

  1. Thank you for your article. I have grown accustomed to this also. But I also wanted folks to realize that people have started using mental illness as a badge of honor (my ocd) or even Asperger’s as a reason why they are terrible people (antisocial tech industry people, etc). It goes farther than where you reported. I think people are accepting all of this as normal when it isn’t.


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