Sanism in Media and Discourse

Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 06 Oct 2020, 21:43

We just finished writing an article about sanism in media and common discourse, and since we're game developers here, I figure it might be interesting to some people here:

https://onpon4.github.io/articles/sanism.html

We've made an effort recently of ridding games we work on of sanism. It's a problem that unfortunately doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves, mostly because sanist attitudes are so deeply embedded into society.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 06 Oct 2020, 23:13

Small correction on the German origin of "dumb": it is spelled "dumm" in today's German and while these days it has the same meaning as in English, the originally germanic root "dumba" seems to have been only referring to mute and/or deaf people, but as you write it interestingly shows ableist development of the language.

Edit: In the reverse we have in German also the term "taub" which unironically refers to deaf people, however in the root of the word it actually used to refer to empty shelled nuts, which I think is a clear reference to a believed to be empty skull.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 06 Oct 2020, 23:24

Ah, thanks for the correction! In hindsight I probably should have double-checked the spelling of that. Fixed now.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 06 Oct 2020, 23:36

As of the article itself, well I am a bit torn on such things. On the one hand it is good to make people aware that certain cultural pre-conditioning makes us (usually unintentionally) use hurtful language... but on the other hand such kind of things tend to be more often used for rhetorical effect to try to shame / silence people that might disagree on other topics.

I honestly prefer the previously often used tactic of disadvantaged groups to re-appropriate terms and change their meaning into somethings less demeaning or actively empowering. That is a more playful and positive attitude towards such things and has a higher likeliness of winning people over.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 07 Oct 2020, 00:19

but on the other hand such kind of things tend to be more often used for rhetorical effect to try to shame / silence people that might disagree on other topics.

I'm not aware of any examples of such a thing happening. Could you point to one?

I honestly prefer the previously often used tactic of disadvantaged groups to re-appropriate terms and change their meaning into somethings less demeaning or actively empowering. That is a more playful and positive attitude towards such things and has a higher likeliness of winning people over.

Considering how heavily mentally ill people are discriminated against, I don't think that's a valid solution. Sanism isn't just about words being demeaning. It has far-reaching consequences that include people determined to be "insane" losing pretty much all of their rights, especially if that determination is made while they're a minor or they commit a crime. Mentally ill people can also be the target of eugenics, especially mentally ill people of color. In short, there are a lot of reasons why it's not necessarily safe to self-identify as "insane" or "crazy". Most people even fear the "mentally ill" label so much that many entire groups of people have actively chosen to define themselves out of being considered mentally ill by society; the communities I'm most familiar with that did this are the gay community, the trans community, and the plural community.

If any label is to be reclaimed, that is "mentally ill", not inherently sanist terms like "crazy" or "insane" or "lunatic". Incidentally, I think that reclaiming "mentally ill" is worthwhile and that's one reason (along with preventing others from using exclusion) that I always specifically say "mentally ill" rather than only saying "neurodivergent". This will do nothing about the sanism which is ingrained into society, however, where "true crime" shows characterize violent crimes as a symptom of mental illness and politicians are described as mentally ill to attack their credibility (which is only possible because of the societal expectation that mentally ill people have no credibility). Reclaiming "mentally ill" as a label isn't a way to make progress, it's a way to stop running away from an oppressive society and face it head-on.

Regardless of what mentally ill and otherwise neurodivergent people choose to do, though, what ultimately needs to happen is sweeping societal changes. Those have never come about on their own. It's going to take a lot of effort and, importantly, has to involve neurotypical people, not just mentally ill people. Allies are absolutely essential for a group as marginalized as mentally ill people.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 07 Oct 2020, 01:47

Twitter and social media in general is full of that stuff. But I guess that is also due to other systematic problems with those channels of communication and as I said it does have both aspects. Maybe it is just that some people get carried away and start defining their online identities around certain concepts...

But I understand your point about mentally ill people being so strongly discriminated against, that the "re-appropriation" tactic will probably not work. And I also guess contrary to the LGBT movement, mentally ill people don't have a as strong uniting identity and also the obvious problem of... well... being mentally ill.

Anyways, another thing that rubbed me the wrong way about your article is that it claims that there are "evil" people that do crimes etc. I guess the closest thing to "evil" that I can imaging are so called "sociopaths"*, which aren't really "evil" I would say, but rather have a mental illness that makes them lack empathy (and thus their entire internal value system shifts towards prioritizing goals that neurotypical persons would commonly describe as "evil" or rather extremely selfish). Other than that I am not even sure what "evil" is supposed to mean and certainly it isn't the reason why people commit crimes I think.

*edit: and neurotypical people that think they have to complete in an environment full of what appears to them as "sociopaths" (but more likely are mainly just other neurotypical people having fallen into the same trap).

Edit2: yes I am aware that I am again sort of saying that "evil" = mentally ill, but I hope I did get my point across that I am rather wondering if such a thing as "evil" even exists.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 07 Oct 2020, 03:11

Anyways, another thing that rubbed me the wrong way about your article is that it claims that there are "evil" people that do crimes etc. I guess the closest thing to "evil" that I can imaging are so called "sociopaths"*, which aren't really "evil" I would say, but rather have a mental illness that makes them lack empathy (and thus their entire internal value system shifts towards prioritizing goals that neurotypical persons would commonly describe as "evil" or rather extremely selfish). Other than that I am not even sure what "evil" is supposed to mean and certainly it isn't the reason why people commit crimes I think.

I didn't say that evil people are responsible for crimes, I just said that evil doesn't come from mental illness. I don't believe crimes are typically a personal failing. They're usually a failure of the system or specifically designed to put people (usually minorities) in prison.

When I mentioned "evil", what I was thinking of the most is things like racism, genocide, and hate crimes. The particular example that came to mind was the Nazi leadership, which was made up of people that seemed to be completely neurotypical when they were psychoanalyzed after the fact. Other similar examples would be the KKK, slave owners, brutal dictators, and white supremacists. So far as I can tell, all of these groups consist primarily of neurotypical people.

There are many causes of people doing evil things. What matters for this subject, though, is that (as you've demonstrated) there's an instinct that has been bred all throughout society to associate the concept of evil with deviation from the norm, most notably in this case, a lack of empathy (which both antisocial personality disorder and autism can cause, to varying degrees). That instinct is rooted in deep sanism which is used as a justification to continue the oppression of those who are different, and to distract from the real problems that plague our society.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 07 Oct 2020, 12:45

onpon4 {l Wrote}:I didn't say that evil people are responsible for crimes, I just said that evil doesn't come from mental illness. I don't believe crimes are typically a personal failing. They're usually a failure of the system or specifically designed to put people (usually minorities) in prison.

Yes agreed. Most crimes are people failing to conform or somehow trying to wiggle trough a system that doesn't particularly care about their specific situation and tries to enforce conformity through threat of punishment. But that is one of the build in negative side effects of society that can't really be prevented completely I guess.

onpon4 {l Wrote}:When I mentioned "evil", what I was thinking of the most is things like racism, genocide, and hate crimes. The particular example that came to mind was the Nazi leadership, which was made up of people that seemed to be completely neurotypical when they were psychoanalyzed after the fact. Other similar examples would be the KKK, slave owners, brutal dictators, and white supremacists. So far as I can tell, all of these groups consist primarily of neurotypical people.

Well, maybe as a German I have a special view on that topic, but while the actions of the Nazi regime certainly appear as "evil" to an outside observer, I never really considered them as "evil" but rather (in retrospect very bad and unnecessarily cruel) attempts to deal with the specific political situation found in the inter-war period in Germany. I am in no way trying to justify the atrocities that the Nazis did, but from within their own cultural bubble it must have seen like the "right" thing to do. The same is probably true to varying degrees for the other examples you mentioned. But I guess this is getting off-topic :)

onpon4 {l Wrote}:There are many causes of people doing evil things. What matters for this subject, though, is that (as you've demonstrated) there's an instinct that has been bred all throughout society to associate the concept of evil with deviation from the norm, most notably in this case, a lack of empathy (which both antisocial personality disorder and autism can cause, to varying degrees). That instinct is rooted in deep sanism which is used as a justification to continue the oppression of those who are different, and to distract from the real problems that plague our society.


Hmm, yes :? But on the other hand I think deeply embedded sociopathic tendencies in our current mainstream culture and economic system are the main cause of the "real problems" our society is facing. This in my opinion might be one of the cases where what you call "sanism" is actually justified. I would also be tempted to say that this specific kind of mental illness has become accepted as the norm* (i.e. "capitalism") despite not being the norm psychologically speaking at all.
You call that a false instinct, but while I agree with you on many of the other examples of sanism, this might be one of the few cases where that instinct is actually right?

*Edit: in the sense that these non-neurotypical people (aka "sociopaths" Edit2: in this specific case) are having a selective advantage and raise to positions of power and that the majority is sometimes more, sometimes less willingly adapting to that.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 07 Oct 2020, 18:22

Well, maybe as a German I have a special view on that topic, but while the actions of the Nazi regime certainly appear as "evil" to an outside observer, I never really considered them as "evil" but rather (in retrospect very bad and unnecessarily cruel) attempts to deal with the specific political situation found in the inter-war period in Germany. I am in no way trying to justify the atrocities that the Nazis did, but from within their own cultural bubble it must have seen like the "right" thing to do.

Nazi genocide was motivated by eugenics, "social Darwinism", and antisemitism. It wasn't at all specific to Germany; in fact it started in the U.S., and it's still ongoing through forced sterilization (which was the first method of genocide the Nazis used).

So-called "bad genes" are not and have never been a societal problem. Eugenics was widely known to be unscientific by the time the Nazis rose to power; it remained a popular idea in spite of this because rich and powerful people wanted to turn poor people against each other to solidify their power. Even today, there are many people who believe in eugenics despite evidence against it; and as I mentioned, genocide in the name of eugenics still happens even today, just not openly. Today, it usually affects indigenous people and other people of color, especially those who are mentally ill or otherwise neurodivergent.

But on the other hand I think deeply embedded sociopathic tendencies in our current mainstream culture and economic system are the main cause of the "real problems" our society is facing. This in my opinion might be one of the cases where what you call "sanism" is actually justified. I would also be tempted to say that this specific kind of mental illness has become accepted as the norm* (i.e. "capitalism") despite not being the norm psychologically speaking at all.
You call that a false instinct, but while I agree with you on many of the other examples of sanism, this might be one of the few cases where that instinct is actually right?

*Edit: in the sense that non-neurotypical people (aka "sociopaths") are having a selective advantage and raise to positions of power and that the majority is sometimes more, sometimes less willingly adapting to that.

A correction: the opposite of "neurotypical" is "neurodivergent", not "sociopath". The terms "sociopath" and "psychopath" are sanist terms which usually refer to people with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), but are sometimes also applied to people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), schizophrenia, or other arbitrary mental illnesses.

Since you're talking about "having power", I assume you're referring specifically to ASPD. The idea that those with ASPD have an advantage in society is common, but some things noted on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASPD#Epidemiology paint a different picture. I don't have the capacity to look up these sources, but if it's true that people with ASPD make up 50% of the prison population, are more likely to be dependent on drugs, and have an elevated risk of suicide, that paints a picture of a population that's very vulnerable, not powerful. I've heard the rumors that politicians often have ASPD before, but even assuming that's the case, politicians would make up only a small fraction of people with ASPD. I don't have ASPD, but I would imagine the idea of politicians having the same mental illness as them would be no comfort to the intense stigmatization of ASPD in society, where even knowing that they have ASPD will cause many to assume that they're a danger to society and potential serial killer. Diminished ability to feel empathy would make the idea of politicians having a similar experience even less comforting, I would think, as well.

As a matter of fact, I see people with schizophrenia, ASPD, and NPD as on the front lines of sanism, and most likely taking the brunt of sanist oppression, simply because society has such consistently and incredibly negative attitudes about them. I recently decided to do a search: "narcissism ableism". Nearly all results I got were about so-called "narcissistic abuse". There are entire sub-reddits dedicated to "narcissistic abuse" which specifically discriminate against everyone with NPD and ASPD, despite the fact that people with NPD and ASPD are likely to be victims of abuse themselves. The only defense of people with NPD I saw anywhere on the Internet was a single mention on Tumblr, amidst a massive sea of direct sanist attacks against people with NPD, depicting them as vicious monsters.

The fact of the matter is that people with ASPD, NPD, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness are people. Some of them are abusive or otherwise bad, some of them are great people, and most of them are just trying to live their lives safely and freely. The fact that society automatically assumes that they are monsters is a grave injustice to them and to society as a whole.

So as for sanism against people with ASPD being justified, no, it's not. People with ASPD go to great lengths to hide their mental illness because they do not have a "selective advantage". On the contrary, even being found out to have ASPD will completely destroy them specifically because society is so violently sanist against people with ASPD, and mentally ill people in general. It probably also doesn't help that people with ASPD have diminished capacity for empathy, which means even building a community of support for people with ASPD must be difficult.

Back in high school, I used to worry about any similarity I may have had to people with ASPD. I got lucky: I don't have ASPD. But the thought of having ASPD, being one of these people that society thinks of as inhuman monsters, is terrifying. The thought of having to lie about your emotions, put on a fake persona, just for basic survival, because even being found to have ASPD will completely destroy you.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 07 Oct 2020, 19:03

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the opposite of "neurotypical" is "sociopath", was just a quick edit referring to this specific case.

As for the rest... yes you raise some interesting points. And I agree that most people with ASPD are not successful in our society and face intense discrimination. But there are some strong indications that *some* are highly successful and are shaping our economy very much I think.
But what do you think would happen if people with certain types of ASPD would not be discriminated against? I have strong doubts that some of them are not a real danger to society... I am open to suggestions how else society should interact with such people, but I think just letting them do as they please will not work due to the specific effect of their mental illness. Of course it would help if all the different variants of ASPD weren't collectively discriminated against, but it seems hard to draw the line where exactly one starts to behave in destructive/predatory ways.

But anyways, even if we can only agree to disagree on the case of sociopaths (which I would call a subgroup of ASPD), what would be your thoughts on what "evil" is supposed to be? Your article just says that mentally ill people are *not* evil (which I basically agree), but then says "evil" people are the cause of bad things in our society. Which seems a bit like an incomplete argument and people that say some mentally ill people behave in a way that could be called "evil" seem to have a better (if still incomplete) argument there.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 07 Oct 2020, 20:55

But what do you think would happen if people with certain types of ASPD would not be discriminated against? I have strong doubts that some of them are not a real danger to society... I am open to suggestions how else society should interact with such people, but I think just letting them do as they please will not work due to the specific effect of their mental illness. Of course it would help if all the different variants of ASPD weren't collectively discriminated against, but it seems hard to draw the line where exactly one starts to behave in destructive/predatory ways.

The problem is you're thinking of problems that can potentially be caused by someone with ASPD as specific to ASPD, when they aren't. How to deal with bad behavior is an interesting question, but discrimination against people with ASPD cannot be the answer to it because people with ASPD are not uniquely responsible for bad behavior. Any attempt to prevent bad behavior needs to apply to all people, not just people who can be demonstrated to be mentally ill. If it doesn't, then innocent neurodivergent people will be attacked unjustly, and guilty neurotypical people will be allowed to continue bad behavior.

what would be your thoughts on what "evil" is supposed to be? Your article just says that mentally ill people are *not* evil (which I basically agree), but then says "evil" people are the cause of bad things in our society. Which seems a bit like an incomplete argument and people that say some mentally ill people behave in a way that could be called "evil" seem to have a better (if still incomplete) argument there.

The definition of "evil" is intentionally vague and open-ended because what is evil largely depends on context and how to define it is largely irrelevant.

Regarding some mentally ill people doing evil things, that's correct. To argue that mentally ill people never do evil things would itself be sanist. As I said, mentally ill people are people; they're not monsters, and they're not angels either. This is exactly the same as with any other demographic. Some mentally ill people being evil does not justify sanism any more than the fact that some queer people are evil would justify queermisia.

The only way you could justify discrimination against any sort of demographic, trait, or feature is if you can prove that it always, 100% of the time directly causes uncontested and measurable harm no matter what is done. If there is any scientific doubt of causation, or if any person with said demographic, trait, or feature does not cause uncontested and measurable harm, no amount of discrimination against the demographic, trait, or feature can ever be justified. In the case of mental illness, even the burden of proving causation of uncontested and measurable harm has not been met; some mental illness may contribute to harm if untreated, but there is no evidence that any mental illness guarantees anything that anyone would consider to be harmful or evil.

Most mental illnesses aren't even clear-cut on this. Neither NPD nor ASPD necessarily have to contribute to abuse or other social harm, despite societal views. But even if, for example, someone is prone to abusiveness because of NPD, that person with NPD should be offered treatment (and have that treatment paid for by a single-payer healthcare system so that accepting that offer isn't penalized), not demonized as an irredeemable monster.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 07 Oct 2020, 23:35

onpon4 {l Wrote}:The problem is you're thinking of problems that can potentially be caused by someone with ASPD as specific to ASPD, when they aren't. How to deal with bad behavior is an interesting question, but discrimination against people with ASPD cannot be the answer to it because people with ASPD are not uniquely responsible for bad behavior. Any attempt to prevent bad behavior needs to apply to all people, not just people who can be demonstrated to be mentally ill. If it doesn't, then innocent neurodivergent people will be attacked unjustly, and guilty neurotypical people will be allowed to continue bad behavior.

Hmm :| Maybe I am not fully up to date with neurophysiological research (nor am I by any means an expert on it), but my understanding so far was that having ASPD or being neuro-typical isn't a clear cut border but rather a quite large grey area of some people more and some people less effected by the symptoms and it is only a question of definition when this is diagnosed as ASPD (although there also seem to be cases of sociopathy with a clear neurological damage to certain parts of the brain).
So while there are a wide range of reasons why people commit crimes etc., I would say that being higher on the ASPD gradient has a significant correlation with one's tendency to do things that are considered bad in our society, and when looking at calculated crime (the ones that are typically regarded as the most "evil"), I am pretty sure it is the main driver. So yes, in a sense I think these problems are specific to ASPD. But hard to proof of course and feel free to disagree ;)

onpon4 {l Wrote}:The only way you could justify discrimination against any sort of demographic, trait, or feature is if you can prove that it always, 100% of the time directly causes uncontested and measurable harm no matter what is done. If there is any scientific doubt of causation, or if any person with said demographic, trait, or feature does not cause uncontested and measurable harm, no amount of discrimination against the demographic, trait, or feature can ever be justified. In the case of mental illness, even the burden of proving causation of uncontested and measurable harm has not been met; some mental illness may contribute to harm if untreated, but there is no evidence that any mental illness guarantees anything that anyone would consider to be harmful or evil.


Here I actually also have to disagree. Let me explain why: society does not work like the legal system and even the legal system is full of gray areas. Discrimination is also not a clear cut thing, but rather a reaction on the (perceived) likelihood that a certain person will cause harm to society. Some mental illnesses have a demonstrable effect to make it more likely that a person does harm. Of course as you say this doesn't mean that the person *will* cause harm, but that doesn't matter for a reaction like discrimination that aims to prevent such harm before it actually happens. Of course this is not a nice, laudable and for sure not just reaction, but it is one that has been proven by our cultural evolution to be effective. And while legal protections for minorities etc. are a good way to reign in this reaction, it is the balance between the two that makes our modern society function.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 08 Oct 2020, 00:03

my understanding so far was that having ASPD or being neuro-typical isn't a clear cut border but rather a quite large grey area of some people more and some people less effected by the symptoms

Yes, it's a spectrum.

I would say that being higher on the ASPD gradient has a significant correlation with one's tendency to do things that are considered bad in our society

Do you have a source for this claim?

So yes, in a sense I think these problems are specific to ASPD. But hard to proof of course and feel free to disagree

Would you say the same about Jewish people?

No, really, these things you're saying about people with ASPD would not be out of place in Nazi propaganda about Jewish people. They're certainly vague enough and seem to be based in a "gut feeling". You may want to think of the implications of your claims, and check to see if there's evidence for them (and cite your sources).

Some mental illnesses have a demonstrable effect to make it more likely that a person does harm. Of course as you say this doesn't mean that the person *will* cause harm, but that doesn't matter for a reaction like discrimination that aims to prevent such harm before it actually happens. Of course this is not a nice, laudable and for sure not just reaction, but it is one that has been proven by our cultural evolution to be effective. And while legal protections for minorities etc. are a good way to reign in this reaction, it is the balance between the two that makes our modern society function.

What is the source for your claim that discrimination is "proven by our cultural evolution to be effective"?
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 08 Oct 2020, 00:22

Sigh :oops: I feared this would become a somewhat heated debate :(

No I don't have a scientific study on it, but as you said your self further up, some studies estimate up to 50% of the prison population could be diagnosed with ASPD. Please note that I didn't say that they do things that *are* bad, but rather that they are *considered* bad, hence the result that people get punished for them and put into prison. No moral judgment or righteousness implied by myself here.

The comparison with Nazi propaganda about the Jewish is a punch below the belt, sorry.
And it does not make a lot of sense, as being Jewish isn't anywhere close to a gradient of mental illness often causing certain types of behavior (although certain generally anti-religious people might diagree :lol: ).
And besides, there is a rich body of scientific studies about sociopathy and the effects it has, it is not something I just now invented out of a gut feeling. Of course one might argue that many of these studies come with an inherent bias, but that doesn't automatically invalidate them.

As for the effectiveness of cultural evolution, well this is the fun part about evolution, if proves itself :? If something consistently and widely exists in society, then it must at some point have proven its effectiveness in the evolutionary sense. Again no moral judgment implied by myself here.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 08 Oct 2020, 01:24

Please note that I didn't say that they do things that *are* bad, but rather that they are *considered* bad, hence the result that people get punished for them and put into prison.

Remember, the only reason we're talking about this at all is because you questioned what "evil" means. As I explained, "evil" is intentionally vague because what is evil and what is not isn't the subject of the article. The only reason evil is mentioned at all is because mentally ill people are often used as a scapegoat for society's problems. After I explained this, you then sided with said scapegoating when you said: "But what do you think would happen if people with certain types of ASPD would not be discriminated against? I have strong doubts that some of them are not a real danger to society..."

This is not neutral language. It's violently sanist language.

The comparison with Nazi propaganda about the Jewish is a punch below the belt, sorry.

Do you not think that calling those with ASPD "a real danger to society" is a punch below the belt?

Honestly, if I was using rhetoric that sounds eerily similar to American eugenicists or the KKK, I'd want someone to tell me right away.

And it does not make a lot of sense, as being Jewish isn't anywhere close to a gradient of mental illness often causing certain types of behavior

It isn't, but the Nazis sure seemed to think it was. Remember, the Nazis' genocide was a eugenics program. They were trying to eliminate "weak genes", of which they thought Jewishness was one. They also thought that queer people, trans people, romani people, disabled people, and yes, mentally ill people had "bad genes" that were a detriment to society. All of these groups were targets of the Holocaust, and it was motivated by a belief in the superiority of the Aryan race.

So, I don't see why the comparison doesn't make sense. You may not be advocating eugenics, but you are actively supporting discrimination against people with ASPD based on a belief that they are a "danger to society". I could have used any number of bigoted groups in a comparison; the KKK and American eugenicists come to mind. But I assume you're probably most familiar with the Nazis, given that you're a german yourself, as you have mentioned. I'm sure you already knew everything I talked about in the paragraph above.

The point is, what you're expressing is violently sanist rhetoric. You keep saying it's your "opinion" and that we should "agree to disagree", but violent sanism has real consequences and affects me personally as I am mentally ill. Anyone can say bigoted things and claim that they're "just an opinion". It doesn't excuse the bigotry. The NSDAP's belief in the genetic superiority of the Aryan race was "just an opinion", and it led to the deaths of over 11 million people. Belief in Manifest Destiny was "just an opinion", and it led to the genocide of indigenous people. American eugenics was "just an opinion", and it led to the forced sterilization of thousands of people. Opinions, and what their implications are, matter.

And besides, there is a rich body of scientific studies about sociopathy and the effects it has

Great, so which one shows that "I would say that being higher on the ASPD gradient has a significant correlation with one's tendency to do things that are considered bad in our society... So yes, in a sense I think these problems are specific to ASPD"?

As for the effectiveness of cultural evolution, well this is the fun part about evolution, if proves itself :? If something consistently and widely exists in society, then it must at some point have proven its effectiveness in the evolutionary sense.

Eugenics consistently and widely existed in American society in the early 20th century. Slavery consistently and widely existed in the United States up until the 19th century, and still exists worldwide to this day. Genocide has consistently and widely existed for essentially the entirety of human history.

You didn't actually say that "cultural evolution", whatever that means, is effective. You said:

"Of course as you say this doesn't mean that the person *will* cause harm, but that doesn't matter for a reaction like discrimination that aims to prevent such harm before it actually happens. Of course this is not a nice, laudable and for sure not just reaction, but it is one that has been proven by our cultural evolution to be effective."

In other words, you said that cultural evolution proves discrimination "that aims to prevent such harm before it actually happens" to be effective. I contest this, and you have not presented any evidence for it, only said that "evolution... proves itself". This kind of circular reasoning can be used to justify any atrocity that has ever happened (as I've demonstrated above), so I'm afraid I cannot accept it as evidence.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 08 Oct 2020, 09:57

I am intentionally stressing the fact that it is my opinion to make you aware that there are different ways to interpret the given evidence and yours is only one, and a rather extremist at that.

And yes, I am aware that I am what you call "sanist" in the specific case of ASPD, but inventing a term and claiming it is something deplorable is just a rethoric tecnique and not a sound argument between civilized individuals.

And while I fully agree on all the things you mentioned about the Nazis, I still think that it is a false analogy.
Yes the Nazis claimed a lot of things with rather dubious scientific evidence, but what I am talking about is something else entirely.

I am basically wondering aloud what to do with people that have ASPD, who do have severe mental health issues and very often end up doing harm to society. In a sense this is similar to pedophiles, but I so far didn't bring this up as it is a similarly emotionally loaded topic as Nazi genocide.

I am open to all suggestions what to do with people with ASPD, but claiming that ASPD isn't highly correlated with problematic behaviour and thus trying to ignore the problem isn't a solution. And just saying that other people also have problematic behaviour is just "what aboutism".

On the topic of discrimination, well yes that is a really bad practise, but it is the one that has developed over time in our society as the response to mental health issues. Just claiming it is totally unjustified and so on is again ignoring the reality.

So please don't take this the wrong way. I am not advocating anything bad regarding people with ASPD. But they are human beings that are ill and very often show behaviour that is dangerous to people around them. Lets please not ignore this, as it doesn't help society and also those gravely effected by ASPD.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 08 Oct 2020, 12:36

Thinking about it a bit more, maybe this analogy will make you understand my argument better:
Drunk driving is causing a lot of accidents and harm to both the person doing it and other people. It is strongly discriminated against because of that. Alcoholics are ill and their specific condition is strongly correlated with drunk driving. Should society ignore this effect of the illness, or rather acknoledge it and find suitable ways to deal with it?
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 08 Oct 2020, 16:02

And yes, I am aware that I am what you call "sanist" in the specific case of ASPD, but inventing a term and claiming it is something deplorable is just a rethoric tecnique and not a sound argument between civilized individuals.

What term did I invent? If you're talking about the term "sanism", it's talked about here: https://simmons.libguides.com/anti-oppr ... nti-sanism

And if you think that some bigotry is okay, then it doesn't matter what you call it. So if sanism is the "invented term" that we are "claiming is something deplorable", then why don't you just come out and say that you don't think bigotry is deplorable?

Yes the Nazis claimed a lot of things with rather dubious scientific evidence, but what I am talking about is something else entirely.

I'm not talking about their "dubious scientific evidence". I'm talking about bigotry, as I explicitly said.

I am basically wondering aloud what to do with people that have ASPD, who do have severe mental health issues and very often end up doing harm to society.

A claim that you still fail to cite any sources for. What you are doing here is not noble or even neutral. It's bigoted. You're talking about the lives of people as if their rights are a philosophical exercise, or like they're wild animals that need to be kept at bay.

I am open to all suggestions what to do with people with ASPD, but claiming that ASPD isn't highly correlated with problematic behaviour and thus trying to ignore the problem isn't a solution.

Replace "people with ASPD" with "Jews" and replace "ASPD" with "Jewry" and you've got something that works just as well as a defense of antisemitism. Your rhetoric is violently sanist and makes extraordinary claims about people being a "problem". Complain all you want about the comparison, but when a spade paints itself so clearly as a spade, it simply becomes impossible to not call it a spade.

On the topic of discrimination, well yes that is a really bad practise, but it is the one that has developed over time in our society as the response to mental health issues. Just claiming it is totally unjustified and so on is again ignoring the reality.

In its current form, it developed because of the rise of eugenics. If you say that sanist discrimination is justified because our society does it, then eugenics must be justified because that, too, is something that society continues to do (and in fact, forced sterilization is one of the ways mentally ill people are oppressed).

I am not advocating anything bad regarding people with ASPD. But they are human beings that are ill and very often show behaviour that is dangerous to people around them.

"I'm not racist, but..."

Once again, what is your source for your claim that people with ASPD are dangerous? You say you're "not advocating anything bad", but you're specifically defending sanist discrimination.

Drunk driving is causing a lot of accidents and harm to both the person doing it and other people. It is strongly discriminated against because of that. Alcoholics are ill and their specific condition is strongly correlated with drunk driving.

Drunk driving is not a demographic, or a trait, or a feature of a person. It's an action which any person can take or not take. Incidentally, I happen to know someone who's a recovered alcoholic and drunk driving is not something they ever did.

Here's an interesting document about the problem of drunk driving:

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_saf ... lcohol.pdf

Take a look at the measures they recommend. You'll notice that "discriminate against alcoholics" is not on the list, and there's a good reason for that: all kinds of people drive drunk.

I'm sorry, but extending your bigotry to drug addicts as well as mentally ill people doesn't change the fact that it's still bigotry.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 08 Oct 2020, 23:48

Sorry, but I refuse to argue on that level. You have come down to name calling and totally distort any argument I try to make. At the very least try to look up what "correlation" means.

If you want scientific evidence, do one search on "sociopathy" or "ASPD" on Pubmed and you will get hundreds if not thousands of studies (as biased as they might be).

And in the name of justice to people with ASPD, you are quite clearly willing to ignore the harm many of them do to themselves and other people on a regular basis. I don't know what else to call *that* but bigotry.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 09 Oct 2020, 01:31

Sorry, but I refuse to argue on that level. You have come down to name calling and totally distort any argument I try to make.

You're not making arguments. You're giving excuses for sanism.

Regarding "name calling", I don't believe I called you any names. I wasn't even willing to call out rhetoric that was already obviously sanist with your third post, since I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

At the very least try to look up what "correlation" means.

I'm well aware of what correlation is, and unless you're arguing that a correlation between a demographic and something you consider to be bad is just grounds for discrimination (which, I would note, is the justification used by racists to support discrimination against people of color), I fail to see the relevance to anything you're saying.

If you want scientific evidence, do one search

"Google it" isn't a source. But if there are so many studies which support the conclusion that people with ASPD should be discriminated against, why don't you just link to one? I'd be happy to discuss the findings of a scientific study with you, but I can't discuss a study that I can't read.

And in the name of justice to people with ASPD, you are quite clearly willing to ignore the harm many of them do to themselves and other people on a regular basis. I don't know what else to call *that* but bigotry.

That's not what "bigotry" means, but I'm not "ignoring" harm. You have, again, provided no evidence for any of your claims of harm, let alone your belief that discrimination stops whatever harm that is. If you want me to engage with this claim, you need to show me your source so I can check it.

Anyone can make vague claims. I could claim right now that being German is correlated with "bad things" without evidence and that therefore Germans should be discriminated against, and what would you do? Would you accept my bigoted premise at face-value and start talking about what to "do about" Germans? I seriously doubt you would. You would probably either ban me for obvious xenomisia, or at least demand that I evidence my claim with a source. At least, I would hope that you would do one of these two.

I've been asking as politely as I possibly can for your source. This is now the fourth time I've asked, and you've provided nothing beyond "look it up". You can throw accusations at me all you want, but you chose this. You chose to bring up that you think "sociopaths" are the cause of evil, in response to an article that you knew is against sanism. So if you really, truly believe that sanism against people with ASPD is in the interest of the public good, please cite your sources and stop demanding that I just accept your premise without evidence. And if you don't, then why are you discussing this?
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 09 Oct 2020, 07:54

You are again back at cheap rethorical tricks (asking for a source also is) and distorting what I said.

As for scientific evidence, it is rather you that is challenging well established scientific consensus. You basically say ASPD as an illnes doesn't exist (or at the very least doesn't correlate with certain behavior all that much) and people that say that it does are doing so out of some bigoted belief to continue discriminating what is just another random character trait.

My argument on the other hand is that it does exist and very often has a negative impact on the individuals themselves and those around them. This is well established scientifically, but feel free to show me a credible scientific source that proofs the opposite.
Now, on the topic of discrimination, I am not saying that it is something that society should do, but rather something that exists and which in its own twisted way is efficient in reducing percieved harm done by many persons with ASPD. And unless we as a society come up with a better way to deal with it (that isn't just "trying to ignore" it), we should rather stay with the status quo. In a sense it is also the lesser of two evils, as the alternative the current society could likely agree on is probably even worse for people with ASPD (locking them up in mental health wards and prisons).
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 09 Oct 2020, 15:41

cheap rethorical tricks (asking for a source also is)

Asking for a source is a "cheap rhetorical trick"? Right, and I suppose intelligent design is true and asking creationists to provide a source for such a claim is a "cheap rhetorical trick". Asking for a source on antisemitic claims is a "cheap rhetorical trick". Asking for a source on racist claims is a "cheap rhetorical trick". Right? This is the implication of what you're saying.

If there's any cheap rhetorical trick here, it's you making sanist claims that are so vague they cannot be arguing against, then calling shenanigans when someone else doesn't accept those claims at face value and merely asks you to give a source so they can check it.

As for scientific evidence, it is rather you that is challenging well established scientific consensus. You basically say ASPD as an illnes doesn't exist (or at the very least doesn't correlate with certain behavior all that much) and people that say that it does are doing so out of some bigoted belief to continue discriminating what is just another random character trait.

No, I've made no such claim. The only person here who's made a claim is you. You made the claim that: "Of course this [discrimination] is not a nice, laudable and for sure not just reaction, but it is one that has been proven by our cultural evolution to be effective." You have supplied no evidence for this claim. This is now the fifth time I'm asking you.

When you are actively speaking in favor of sanist policies which literally take away nearly all the rights of a person and treat them like an animal, you've got a very strong burden of proof here, as I already outlined several posts ago. This isn't a simple curiosity. This is something that is affecting the human rights of real people. Your vague claims about people with ASPD are no better and yet less vague than racists' claim that black people making up a disproportionate number of offenders in the United States proves that black people are inherently violent or inferior (which is easily disproved on the basis that the very statistics they are using are of how often they are prosecuted by the criminal justice system, an institution which has been proven to have a racial bias). Unlike those racist claims, I can't argue against your sanist claims because yours are vague. They're meaningless. If I say "but X is actually because of Y", you'll say "well that's not what I'm talking about, obviously I meant Z", which wouldn't be true.

So again, despite what you said, you are using "cheap rhetorical tricks". You're using rhetoric that is designed to make people think on sanist terms without any reasonable justification or evidence.

My argument on the other hand is that it does exist and very often has a negative impact on the individuals themselves and those around them. This is well established scientifically, but feel free to show me a credible scientific source that proofs the opposite.

As I said, the burden of proof is on you. I'm not attacking the human rights of people. You are. And it's not logically possible to disprove that any group "very often has a negative impact on the individuals themselves and those around them". Your claims are also so vague that proving the opposite wouldn't be possible if I had the burden of proof.

I've already said this: you could easily make the same statement about any other group. Germans. Jewish people. Russians. Americans. It doesn't matter what group you pick, it could be done. I seriously doubt you could provide "a credible scientific source that proofs (sic)" that Germans do not "very often have a negative impact on the individuals themselves and those around them".

Now, on the topic of discrimination, I am not saying that it is something that society should do, but rather something that exists and which in its own twisted way is efficient in reducing percieved harm done by many persons with ASPD. And unless we as a society come up with a better way to deal with it (that isn't just "trying to ignore" it), we should rather stay with the status quo. In a sense it is also the lesser of two evils

So... you're saying that discrimination against people with ASPD is something that society should do. In other words, the first sentence quoted here ("I am not saying that it is something society should do") is an outright lie. This isn't a conclusion I'm coming to. You literally said two statements that are the opposite of each other back-to-back. But please, accuse me of "distorting what you said" because the facts just aren't on your side and you managed to say two things one after that are not only contradictory, but polar opposites.

In a sense it is also the lesser of two evils, as the alternative the current society could likely agree on is probably even worse for people with ASPD (locking them up in mental health wards and prisons).

That's a very strange view of what the alternative is. That's rather like saying that the alternative to Jim Crow laws is slavery. It's as if your violent sanism runs so deep that you can't possibly imagine a person with ASPD as anything other than a monster that needs to be "kept at bay". How else could you possibly believe that eliminating discrimination against them will lead to "locking them up in mental health wards and prisons"?

Mental health wards that people are forced to go to and/or not free to leave, by the way, are also a form of discrimination, fundamentally similar to concentration camps in the sense that they imprison a population of people based on who they are to separate them from society.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 09 Oct 2020, 16:21

You are putting things in my mouth which I never claimed (or even thought) and to which I in fact strongly object, because it seems to fit your nice black and white story of evil discrimination of people with mental illnesses. I am not the evil secret Nazi you by now seem to think I am. I just refuse to ignore reality because it doesn't fit with my world-view of how the world should be. My claims are not vague, but yes they reflect a messy and not always clear cut reality of various factors and probabilities that shape our common society.

And yes I did try to turn the same cheap rhetorical tricks back on you, so that you can see how that feels like. Should I start calling you a secret supporter of child abuse? Because that is very much what you are doing to me here with your continued distortions. Asking for providing a scientific source is just a cheap way to deflect from actually engaging with an argument you can not refute on its merits alone.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby onpon4 » 09 Oct 2020, 18:10

My claims are not vague

You have a strange definition of "vague", I think. Considering that you're being non-specific as to how people with ASPD supposedly cause societal harm, and vagueness is a lack of specificity... yes, you're being vague.

And yes I did try to turn the same cheap rhetorical tricks back on you, so that you can see how that feels like.

Vague sanist claims are what started this, and it was you who started this. This isn't "turning the same cheap rhetorical tricks back". That is, unless this entire thing has been a cold-hearted academic exercise to try to use psychological manipulation to pick apart the fact that the definition of "evil" in our article is intentionally vague, but since the whole point of said vagueness is to avoid making judgments on what is good and what is evil part of the article, this makes no sense to me. So which is it? Was this entire thing such an exercise to you, and therefore an attempt to "turn the same cheap rhetorical tricks back", or did you say the things you said about ASPD because it's what you actually believe and therefore started out using what you now say are "cheap rhetorical tricks"?

I know, I know, you're going to accuse me of "twisting what you said".

Should I start calling you a secret supporter of child abuse? Because that is very much what you are doing to me here with your continued distortions.

This statement implies one of three things:

1. That you are a child;
2. That taking away the human rights of mentally ill children, often for the rest of their lives, is good and that not doing so is abusive;
3. That discriminating against people with ASPD protects children from abuse.

If #1 (which I don't believe is the case), I think you're a little young to be a moderator.

If #2, then I disagree on moral grounds because human rights are rights. In fact, it's the taking away of their human rights which is abusive, and it can be used by abusive parents to prevent their victims from escaping.

If #3, then please provide a source for this claim. This is now the sixth time I'm asking.

Asking for providing a scientific source is just a cheap way to deflect from actually engaging with an argument you can not refute on its merits alone.

Great, so the universe was intelligently designed, 9/11 was an inside job, the Earth is flat, and Elvis is still alive. Asking for sources for these claims is just a cheap way to deflect from actually engaging with an argument you cannot refute on its merits alone. Right?

The fact of the matter is that evidence does matter, and the claim that discrimination against people with ASPD helps society is not a self-evident or obvious fact like the color of the sky. It's a claim that may be correct or incorrect, and it is also so vague that it could mean just about anything. For all I know, it could mean that discrimination against ASPD keeps capitalism alive, or that discrimination against ASPD maintains the superiority of neurotypical people. I don't know your values or how you think discrimination against people with ASPD helps society.

So again, all I'm asking for is a source for your claim. I didn't say "scientific source". If your source is a blog post, cite it. If your source is a fictional TV show, be honest and cite it. I just want to know what the source of your belief that discrimination against people with ASPD helps society is. This isn't a hard question to answer.
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Re: Sanism in Media and Discourse

Postby Julius » 09 Oct 2020, 19:29

This thing started with an honest attempt by me to help you improve your article's weakest point (the vagueness of "evil") even though I didn't fully agree with the main premise of it from the start (because it is too black and white and fails to account for nuances in approach due to the complex reality of the matter at hand).

You completely misunderstood what I was trying to say about "supporting child abuse". What I meant was that I could easily distort your arguments in this very thread as well as your article to imply that you are a supporter of a laissez faire approach to pedophiles (or worse). In the 1970s (in Germany) very similar arguments were made to defend actual child abusing pedophiles in court and in public space. But I didn't and don't because that is not a proper way to have an argument about a matter of different opinion. Now before you try to distort that again: I personally think pedophiles are also human beings that deserve our empathy (and a compassionate way to deal with the problem to society they pose) and of course not all pedophiles are actual child abusers (it's correlated though).

Last but not least, of course evidence is important. But just claiming something isn't even worth considering because it doesn't fit in one's world view and trying to force the other person in an argument to search through hundreds of somewhat related scientific studies just to then likely nitpick on some specific caveat of that specific scientific study is just a lazy rhetoric technique to silence the other person. Arguments can stand on their own even if not immediately supported by some scientific study or some apparent authority to back them up. And besides, I still think scientific consensus is rather on my side of this argument and thus the person questioning this should have the burden of proof.
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