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

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. 


7 thoughts

  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?

  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…

  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?

  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.

Click here and talk to us