An open letter to the Spectator’s anti-neurodiversity article: THE DANGERS OF NEURODIVERSITY4 min read

This is my response to the quite-frankly, ravingly-paranoid article I found printed in hard copy in the mag­a­zine.  The infa­mous blogger and social media con­trib­utor, Jonathan Mitchell, had sub­mitted the article to the UK Magazine and boasted how he did it for free.  I cannot help but think a vul­ner­able and cleary depressed and suf­fering man has been taken for quite a ride here.  He’s being exploited as a means of expressing the agendas of others through his pain.

Mitchell is a member of the AUTISTIC DARK WEB, a person appears to be an autistic, or someone who claims to be, who can only con­ceive of humanity as being either sick or healthy.  No spec­trums of the brain.  They believe the only valid human is Neurotypical.  

All else is dis­ease and dis­order.  So they invari­ably express them­selves as self-hating and depressed people.  Forever aspiring to being cured, which is a state of being in which, we must assume, they could achieve all the goals they feel they cannot right now and finally be happy.  

Only when “cured” can they live the lives they want and do the things they cannot do.  We, of course, believe there is no ‘cure,’ and that the con­cept and frame of ref­er­ence it exists in is redun­dant.  They assert their beliefs absolutely.  They cannot com­pro­mise and are always aggres­sive in their actions towards neu­ro­di­ver­sity advo­cates.  

The Spectator article itself can be read here. They don’ like fluffy kit­tens.…

I am a pro­fes­sional autistic self-advocate, per­for­mance artist, and autism con­sul­tant.

I wish to make the fol­lowing points about Jonathan Mitchell’s article in The Spectator mag­a­zine, dated 19th January, 2019.  On page 18 of the print edi­tion the article appears under the title ‘THE DANGERS OF NEURODIVERSITY.’  It is cred­ited as being exclu­sively authored by Jonathan Mitchell.

This is a col­lab­o­ra­tive, two part open letter.  To read part 2, a response in-line with the article, click here.  The fol­lowing rep­re­sents my com­plaints with the article:

  • That the infor­ma­tion Mitchell has pub­lished and the state­ments he makes about ‘neu­ro­di­ver­sity pro­po­nents’ and ‘neu­ro­di­ver­sity self-advocates,’ and the entire tone of his article, is biased; fur­ther, that some of it is not fac­tu­ally cor­rect.
  • That the article has put a vul­ner­able man in harm’s way. That Mitchell details in the first para­graph of his article that he is a vul­ner­able adult. That he has been pub­lished in such a way as he may encounter hos­tility and responses via social media – which he will­fully main­tains daily – when it could have been avoided.
  • Mitchell’s article seems to relate to any kind of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with him that opposes his ideas and beliefs as mali­cious and aggres­sive; thus, he will inter­pret the inevitable back­lash from people like myself, who feel we have been insulted and slan­dered, as abu­sive and hurtful actions.  Naming him in such an inflam­ma­tory article was a vio­la­tion of jour­nal­istic integrity. 
  • Further, Mitchell refers to advo­cates like myself as brutal and aggres­sive, and pos­sessing some ability to pre­vent par­ents from doing what they want to their autistic chil­dren in terms of med­ical inter­ven­tions, treat­ments, and so-called “cures.”
  • Autism is an umbrella term used to describe a col­lec­tion of either neurologically-defined behav­ioural char­ac­ter­is­tics, or “symp­toms,” if you con­sider it a dis­order. Mitchell does not acknowl­edge any­thing pos­i­tive about the first def­i­n­i­tion and is biased against the second. We con­sider this atti­tude one-sided and aggres­sively slan­dering the very nature of people like me.  Without pro­viding a counter-perspective, readers are not given access to the pre­dom­i­nating majority voice of autistic people.
  • Mitchell refers to the term ‘autism’ as if it were a dis­ease, like a virus.  Despite his admit­ting it to be a hered­i­tary phe­nom­enon and dis­cussing the neu­ro­di­ver­sity advo­cates’ per­spec­tives, he nonethe­less ref­er­ences the term throughout the article as if it were a plague or epi­demic people caught at birth.  This is not true.
  • Mitchell paints a pic­ture of advo­cates like myself as com­pletely narrow-minded, when in fact every advo­cate acknowl­edges that people have the freedom of choice to make what­ever deci­sions they want. All we do is oppose by reason and state­ments. We are not, as Mitchell seems to insin­uate, blockading clinics and forcibly pre­venting par­ents from doing what they want with their autistic chil­dren.
  • Mitchell makes state­ments about online abuse being per­pet­u­ated against who oppose neu­ro­di­ver­sity advo­cates.  His argu­ments are very sim­plistic and fail to pro­vide evi­dence of actual inter­ac­tions.  He feels free to make sweeping gen­er­al­i­sa­tions without sub­stan­ti­ating them, expecting the audi­ence to accept his words as being rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the broad neu­ro­di­ver­sity move­ment. 
  • Mitchell, who is clearly artic­u­late enough to write a winding screed worthy of pub­li­ca­tion and to have been awarded twenty jobs in his pro­fes­sional life– all of those he notes from which he was sub­se­quently fired—is clearly not a person who is inca­pac­i­tated. He is a person who has always needed more under­standing and more effec­tive sup­ports. An autistic man who spends his days and nights on social media slan­dering and trolling autis­tics is a vul­ner­able person, and prop­a­gating this self-loathing nar­ra­tive was exploita­tive. 
  • Mitchell con­sis­tently refers to the desire to be cured of autism. He is in his fifties and clearly has com­plex issues. How can neu­ro­di­ver­sity advo­cates do any­thing but com­ple­ment his life?  Neurodiversity advo­cates are asking to be seen as human beings, inex­tri­cable from their autism.  They do not push for all research sur­rounding autism to be halted.  Yet Mitchell does not con­nect with his own ‘neu­rotribe’ – the very people who can give him what he says he lacks: rela­tion­ships.  Instead, he spends his days and nights trolling them on social media, insulting their looks, and pre­suming that indi­vid­uals belong to some uni­lat­eral, uni­fied theory of what the tra­jec­tory of autism research and treat­ment needs to be. 

 

27 Comments


  1. Completely fake and insin­cere false ‘com­pas­sion.’ I am well aware of the gaslighting tac­tics of you and your ‘com­mu­nity.’ Your idea that people can just wish autism away and enjoy life would never be con­doned if it were said to someone with cancer and AIDS; and autism (actual non-self-diagnosed) autism is just as real as cancer or AIDS; and it has most cer­tainly has no more right to exist than AIDS or cancer. Jonathan Mitchell doesn’t need your hyp­o­crit­ical pre­tence at empathy; many people have already seen how the Neurodiversity Lobby operate with these stan­dard issue gaslighting tac­tics. #EndAutismNow — wal­lace

    1. Oh, look, it’s Turd Ferguson of incel alt-right fame. Don’t you have a MGTOW rally to attend? Did you get kicked off Twitter?

      1. Incel? Alt-RIght? Ha ha. Someone must be very bored. Since when is rejecting iden­tity pol­i­tics tan­ta­mount to affirming it? 😉

  2. One day autism will vanish from the page of time. Nothing less will ever sat­isfy me, as an autistic person. Your majority hege­mony is going to fade over time; social jus­tice has peaked, and you neu­ro­di­ver­sity apol­o­gists are all facing the onset of a cold, hard winter in the war of ideas that you will never recover from. Neurodiversity has peaked, and in 50 years from now, nobody will even remember it. You can enjoy your little day in the sun, but reason is des­tined to pre­vail over ide­o­log­ical lunacy. All evil ideas deserve to perish, and they are very much liable to do so; and from this, we can known that Neurodiversity is on bor­rowed time. Diversity is swal­lowed up in vic­tory!

    1. What’s wrong, did Jordan Peterson not make you feel spe­cial today? You sound like a pathetic Saturday morning car­toon vil­lain from the Jim Crow era. I’m not even going to delete your com­ments because they are so self-defeating that they are laugh­able.

      “And I woulda done it, too, if not for those pesky little NDs!” Go back and stroke Simon Baron-Cohen’s ego some more about how we should “embrace dif­fer­ences.” Your hypocrisy is showing…

      1. Oh dear, some­body sounds angry. Are you pre­pared to defend your defam­a­tory com­ments in court? 🙂

        1. Here’s some extra reading, Comrade! Can’t to see how people react when they see REAL evi­dence of my ACTUAL views, rather than your ridicu­lous smears 😉
          https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/godwin-in-cambridge-autism-intellectuals-nazi-comments-spark-almighty-uproar/
          https://goodmenproject.com/guy-talk/what-is-real-freedom-for-autistic-men-cmtt/
          http://glossynews.com/top-stories/201806110425/white-nationalism-is-not-the-answer-dont-drink-the-kool-aid/
          Hm… A white nation­alist incel who has explic­itly con­demned white nation­alism and incelism mul­tiple times, plus has written for a pro-Israel pub­li­ca­tion on mul­tiple occa­sions. Have fun dis­en­tan­gling that one. 😉

        2. When you post #endautismnow on a neu­ro­di­ver­sity site, you’ve already done the work of estab­lishing your­self as alt-right. There are a lot of ways to be “alt right” which do not include anti-Semitism. The world con­siders you as being an active member of a hate group and as prop­a­gating hate speech and calling for eugenics. And no matter how you want to create a euphemistic slant on incel ide­ology, even the arti­cles in the links you’ve posted argue that the two options an autistic man (or the over­whelming majority) has are to live a life of unre­lenting misery or to embrace chastity vol­un­tarily.

          And you say this in an article about the “joke” of white priv­i­lege:

          “But I do need to con­tinue making a geno­cidal, full-frontal assault upon this hor­rible dis­ease, which inevitably deprives people of their basic humanity.

          I may never be a real human being, but I’ll always be able to strive to inch closer towards basic humanity, even if I never quite reach it.

          It’s killed or be killed!

          And the death of autism is begins with me!”

          And, then you have done the rest of the work for me by defining “alt-right” as having no meaning in your article about white suprema­cists. No one called you an anti-Semite. But no one is going to have a hard time char­ac­ter­izing you as alt-right.

          So, by all means, take this to court. Pay the court costs for the vast amount of expert wit­nesses my attorney will call to the stand to have a judge sit with his mouth agape, hor­ri­fied as quotes from your own writing are read. The majority of the world sees you as being an active member of a hate group. Sit and squirm as a judge looks on in dis­gust that you would waste the courts’ time with this kind of friv­o­lous hypocrisy.

          Because there are lots of cruel things you say to vul­ner­able people online, and they are gross… but then to balk at someone responding to your hateful com­ment and threaten lit­i­ga­tion is a whole new level of enti­tle­ment. So, go ahead, Wallace. There is a repos­i­tory of screen­shots of your posts we can bring in for evi­dence.

          What a joke.

          1. Further, defama­tion must hurt the rep­u­ta­tion of the person about whom libelous untruths have been spoken. There is no degree to which I could hurt your rep­u­ta­tion that you haven’t already done this on your own. You think you’re in friendly ter­ri­tory spouting your geno­cidal hate speech on a neu­ro­di­ver­sity web­site? You think our readers sud­denly started to feel dis­gusted by the fact that you want our con­trib­u­tors to die once I responded to you? You did that all on your own.

    2. Author

      You do realise all of this is a waste of time?

      If you self iden­tify as autistic.
      If you con­nect with other self iden­ti­fying autistic people.
      If you relate amongst such people about being autistic.
      If you hold common beliefs to be true amongst such people.
      If you have rela­tion­ships with others based on your being autistic
      If you pro­ceed to work together as a group and a com­mu­nity to pro­mote ideas you all believe in, let alone back each other up…
      Then you are so called Neurodiversity move­ment.

      We are all Neurodiversity Movement. The only dif­fer­ences between us, are the opin­ions and atti­tudes we hold to being autistic.

      So some people come together and see it as a dis­order and dis­ease. Some come together but do not. some want a cure. Some eschew that frame of ref­er­ence. Fine. I think that will always go on.

      You do know you can have more than one view, even opposing ones, present in a debate at the same time?

      You’re writ­ings that define some sort of ND Movement seem to stig­ma­tise and project — neg­a­tively — on people who hold beliefs around autism that are largely the oppo­site of yours. You have friends in the ND Movement com­mu­nity online who agree with you. You also use won­der­fully childish terms like ‘EVIL IDEAS’ and write demented sen­tences like DIVERSITY IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY!

      Actually your writing is so deeply over intel­lec­tu­alised that you read as if you are in a world of your own with it.

      It seems to have become a mildly para­noid thing, in the style of poor Jonathan Mitchell. He cannot get a job or expe­ri­ence a romantic rela­tion­ship because of his per­son­ality. Not as he assumes, due to his attempts to extrap­o­late his autistic nature from him­self and frame it as some sort of sep­a­rate entity that plagues him. He could do vol­un­tary work in the right sup­portive con­text, or appre­ciate his friend­ships are the start of the road that leads to having a sexual partner.

      I espe­cially love the absolute dog­ma­tism of your phrase IDEOLOGICAL LUNACY. Oh, you mean people who are not depressed about being autistic and try to be cheerful? Because actu­ally that’s about all is going on mate. But feel free to mas­sively over­com­pli­cate life.

      Hope this helps. x

      1. Dear Humble Aspie, I am an adult living with the effects of autism. You and me have absolutely nothing in common.

        1. Author

          Yes we do. The rather extra­or­di­nary capacity for someone who pro­fesses such ter­rible dis­ability, to write the way you do. That’s quite an iq, elo­quence of phrase and ability with words you have there for one so pro­foundly men­tally dis­abled. Good job it’s just a silly com­ments sec­tion.

      2. People suf­fering from authentic, real, true, severe autism, have learning dis­abil­i­ties which in extreme case made them unable to take care of them­selves, these dis­abil­i­ties are a life­long con­di­tion that don’t change with treat­ment. There is nothing that con­nect them to someone who want to call him­self “autistic” or “actu­ally autistic.”

        As you’ve prob­ably fig­ured out by now, choosing to believe you have autism does not make you autistic. Even if you find a doctor that will give you the diag­nosis. You want to believe you are autistic. And I myself as person who has suf­fered through severe autism in child­hood and recov­ered from it, I shall con­fess having very little interest (none at all) in knowing what the moti­va­tion for such a choice would be.
        With that in mind, those who you have renamed as “neu­rotyp­ical” (a totally illu­sory cat­e­gory) can’t realize that you are autistic simple because they are unable to see the dif­ferent between you and a person who does not have autism.

        Aspies take to com­plaining bit­terly about other people. Many of their mishaps in social sit­u­a­tions are not because of autism but because an autistic like per­son­ality they have cul­ti­vated. If your assump­tions were true, if you were really a neu­ro­di­ver­gent person, then you will have some evi­dent (remark­able) char­ac­ter­is­tics that will make people realize that you are indeed “autistic.” But that is not the case. That is why you would have a dif­fi­cult time to be in touch with the rest of the world.

        1. Recovered from autism! What a gas.

        2. Author

          Blimey.

          What do you hope to gain with all this rub­bish? You’ve never worked with gen­uinely autistic people have you, faking this. Some of us have. We have empathy for our own kind. You think I’ve never been near a spe­cial needs school or centre? Oh but please, write some more. It is great to read.

  3. To the author of this Blog: What is your goal? What do you expect to gain by attacking Mitchell so openly and without any feeling what­so­ever?

    1. I believe the OP is cel­e­brating intel­lec­tual diver­sity 🙂

    2. Appeal to motive fal­lacy right here. Implying that the author has the moti­va­tion to attack Mitchell with this response article thus making the arti­cle’s point wrong.
      No, the author isn’t attacking Mitchell here and was not moti­vated by such goal.
      The whole point of this piece is to debunk in 2 parts Mitchell’s biased incon­sis­tancy expressed in the Spectator.
      The man mainly relied on strawman to built up his “critic” of the ND move­ment.
      Obviously people would’ve responded to that sooner or later but not to attack Mitchell but to call him out on his lies about the ND move­ment.

  4. I was born in Argentina and raised in La Banda, Santiago del Estero. Some of my child­hood mem­o­ries are clouded in fog but I can remember the over sen­si­tive­ness to noises. It was a world of sen­sory scram­bling. I learned Spanish through pic­tures and con­stant rep­e­ti­tion, con­necting people and words by visual per­cep­tions. Not sounds. Autism had an adverse effect on making some friends, though I’ve never been met with any open dis­crim­i­na­tion or aggres­sion. I doubt that I fully under­stood my predica­ment at six years of age, but I had a strong sense that I was dif­ferent. To my knowl­edge I was the only child with autism in La Banda, though that was likely an obser­va­tion based on the lim­ited breadth of my world at that age.

  5. “The world con­siders you as being an active member of a hate group and as prop­a­gating hate speech and calling for eugenics.” Nope! Pretty sure that’s just you love 😉 Or your esteemed com­rades 🙂

  6. “No matter how you want to create a euphemistic slant on incel ide­ology.” An ide­ology, iden­tity and sub­cul­ture I have con­demned many times. Do stop dig­ging 🙂

  7. “the fact that you want our con­trib­u­tors to die.” This is actu­ally quite hilar­ious. Are you now sug­gesting I want people to die? I strongly rec­om­mend you seek pro­fes­sional help. Do you have some kind of bizarre per­se­cu­tion fix­a­tion? Since when does killing autism involve killing people? Honestly, your flailing truly is a sight to behold. I have to say this page truly is the gift that keeps on giving! Tara for now.

    1. “Since when does killing autism involve killing people?”
      Since always.
      You’re altering a person to such an extent that the orig­inal person is basi­cally gone. You have a new person in their body, but the person you’re talking about helping? Gone. Dead.
      Killing us would be more honest.

  8. By the way, nice bluff re: the allegedly-existing screen­shots about my alleged-existing ‘hate speech.’ Given that the neu­ro­di­ver­sity believers gen­er­ally talk as though they somehow thought ending autism is hate speech, if not out­right geno­cide, it sounds like you could end up making some pretty heavy weather of mar­shalling any real evi­dence in court. Have fun for now. No doubt we can speak again later on, in a more felic­i­tous envi­ron­ment, should I decide to press this fur­ther in a formal lit­i­ga­tion con­text. I will take note of your fur­ther unfounded accu­sa­tions (past and if applic­able, future), and make a deci­sion in due course. For now, a little more cir­cum­spec­tion and pru­dence might help you dete­ri­o­rating the sit­u­a­tion any fur­ther. Cheers chuck!

  9. Wow, what a shitheap of a com­ments sec­tion.

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