Thursday, 22 December 2011
Creating a level playing field for the disabled.
In the House of Commons the issue of giving disabled children an advantage in exams was raised. To give a simple example: a dyslexic person may be given 25% extra time to complete an exam. That all seems very reasonable on the surface. But I am shocked. I am shocked that these people, apparently clear headed thoughtful rational people, are discussing this issue and assuming it makes sense. But it doesn't.
Underlying the discussion are certain assumptions that block out reality. Of course it seems nice and equitable for a benevolent society to give support to disadvantaged people. If we assume the system is fair in the first place it makes sense that someone who takes longer to read the questions and who finds it harder to actually write the answer than the "average" child should be given a more level playing field.
But consider this for a moment. Dyslexic children are subnormal dunces. They are lazy and deserve what they get. It's a sort of Darwinian "survival of the fittest" thing. I don't want to get into a moral discussion because looking after disabled people is an affront to the very process of the evolution of a fit, healthy and happy society. By looking after disabled people and the old and infirm we are wasting resources and damaging the long term survival of the human race.
Does that sound a little eugenic? The science of eugenics originated at the beginning of the 20th century and has always been controversial. The Nazis made it politically undesirable using it as justification for their policies of racial hygiene.
The point is that the whole education system and the actual practical purpose of the schooling system and the exam system is precisely to give moral justification to a few people having significant advantage over the rest of the population. If you need to give people you perceive as being subnormal in some way (of course through no fault of their own) an advantage who are you actually serving? Not them. You are maintaining a false perception that some humans are naturally superior to others and that entitles them to social advantage. It doesn't. If you actually apply the assumed morals then people with natural advantage should work harder for society with equal benefits and facility to survive. The morality is that if one person naturally has twice the energy of another then they should do twice the work for the same return. But our culture has this on its head. The consequence (revealed in a recent poll) is that 55% of the English population consider that poor people deserve what they get because they are lazy. This is so immoral that it beggars belief.
It is one thing to believe that being better (physically or mentally) gives one a natural advantage but to wrap the justification for abuse in a tissue of moral claptrap is a heinous duplicity and perhaps one of the worst human crimes.
Making yourself feel benign for your own satisfaction by giving a patronizing advantage to people you perceive as less fortunate is also very anti-Christian. It is part of the cancerous self consumption that is devouring and destroying this culture.
The answer is to provide an education which encompasses all the varied talents that humans exhibit. Rarely, if ever, is there a human who does not "deserve" to live from the outset. The exam system, if such a thing should exist at all, should find the talents that exist not define them and class people on a hierarchical scale.
Say I naturally like driving. I am good at it. If there is someone who doesn't like driving much it makes sense that I should do the driving. I get to enjoy it. But the person in the passenger seat is not me. If I were in the passenger seat I would be less happy. But the passenger is a more intellectual person and loves map reading. They get to enjoy themselves doing the map reading. I wouldn't enjoy that. They wouldn't enjoy driving. So the right people are doing the right things and the system works well. If, however, you judge the situation from the assumed position of a driver and that 'driving' was more 'valuable' than map reading you might be tempted to award more privilege to 'drivers'. The consequence would be that drivers get rewarded more than map-readers. This becomes ridiculous when you consider that the drivers are now getting disproportionate advantage because they love driving AND get paid more. This can (and does) lead to a lot of miserable and resentful map-readers. It also leads to mixed motives and aspirations. People who are naturally good at map reading forgo their natural talents and try to do well at 'driving' for the privileges it affords them. What you get is manipulative competition and a whole lot of crap drivers. This may all sound a little topsy-turvy but that is the ridiculous nature of our culture.
Bankers do not really 'deserve' the advantages they get. The only reason people accept the way things are is because they feel they are disadvantaged and their only hope is to conform and maybe they will win. Humanity has simply got to stop this perverted crap. Humanity, you and me, have got to stop supporting the 'benign' oppressive paradigms of our culture.
The "Occupy" movement is fundamentally about this; Even if a lot of people involved can't quite get it sorted in their heads. We cannot carry on with the escalating inequality because it is destroying life and the planet. We have to get away from this primitive judgemental attitude.