August 31, 2008

"If people with Down syndrome ruled the world."

From the National Association for Down Syndrome:
Affection, hugging and caring for others would make a big comeback....

All people would be encouraged to develop and use their gifts for helping others....

People would be refreshingly honest and genuine....

We believe, too, that a stuffy high society would probably not do well in the world of Down syndrome.

However, we believe that BIG dress up dances would flourish. People with Down syndrome love dressing up and dancing at big shindigs. They have a ball, and ...can they dance!...

People engaged in self talk would be considered thoughtful and creative. Self talk rooms would be reserved in offices and libraries to encourage this practice.....

Order and Structure would rule...

IN THE COMMENTS: hokiepundit writes:
Um...let's not forget that adults with Down Syndrome aren't just perpetually-innocent children in big-people bodies. They still have things like libidos and the capacity to act hatefully. They're just as human as the rest of us and it's unspeakable that people will abort their Down Syndrome babies, but these aren't supermen but simply men.

Man, I feel like I just harshed some mellow. I'll just go back to my legal reading now.
I respond:
Hokie, sure, we know that. This is just an effort to encourage respect for people who are part of the diversity of humanity.

I'm getting a vibe from some of the anti-Palin writings on the web that it's irresponsible to give birth to a Down's child unless you are planning to give up all your other aspirations in life. To me, this is thinly veiled abortion-encouragement, and it's quite horrifying.
I don't really want people with Down syndrome to rule the world. "Order and Structure would rule"... I think we know how things like that work out in practice.

ADDED: Rule-the-world fantasies are interesting and crazy and, at bottom, scary.

If I ruled the world/Every day would be the first day of spring/Every heart would have a new song to sing/And we'd sing of the joy every morning would bring/Every man would be as free as a bird/Every voice would be a voice to be heard/Take my word we would treasure each day that occurred/My world would be a beautiful place/Where we would weave such wonderful dreams/My world would wear a smile on its face/Like the man in the moon has when the moon beams/Every man would say the world was his friend/There'd be happiness that no man could end/No my friend, not if I ruled the world.

Hey, I can picture Barack Obama singing that, but here's the great original recording by Tony Bennett.

42 comments:

HokiePundit said...

Um...let's not forget that adults with Down Syndrome aren't just perpetually-innocent children in big-people bodies. They still have things like libidos and the capacity to act hatefully. They're just as human as the rest of us and it's unspeakable that people will abort their Down Syndrome babies, but these aren't supermen but simply men.

Man, I feel like I just harshed some mellow. I'll just go back to my legal reading now.

Ann Althouse said...

Hokie, sure, we know that. This is just an effort to encourage respect for people who are part of the diversity of humanity.

I'm getting a vibe from some of the anti-Palin writings on the web that it's irresponsible to give birth to a Down's child unless you are planning to give up all your other aspirations in life. To me, this is thinly veiled abortion-encouragement, and it's quite horrifying.

vbspurs said...

Palin on being a mother of a Down Syndrome baby, via this very good wrap-up in the The Times (UK):

She needs it. They “wanted enough kids for a basketball team”, she once said, but Trig was born this year with Down’s syndrome. Palin knew there were complications while she was pregnant but never considered an abortion. When he was born, she said, “I’m looking at him right now and I see perfection. Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking: in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?” Undaunted, she held a meeting as governor three days after giving birth. “I just put down the BlackBerrys and pick up the breast pump,” she said of her life as a working mother.

(LOL! She's awesome)

I confess, this situation of hers made me ask my boyfriend (it's serious) if we should have a child with Down Syndrome, would he press me to abort the child? I mean, it is a LOT of work, and a considerable moral decision to make for both of us.

What Palin has done for parents with Down Syndrome babies I think will be considerable in the national discourse.

The only other time I've seen this sudden attention on the national level to Down Syndrome, was when Chris Burke was acting in Life Goes On.

I wonder what George Will has to say about Palin (mum on the topic so far), since his son also has Down Syndrome.

vbspurs said...

To me, this is thinly veiled abortion-encouragement, and it's quite horrifying.

Now you know what the pro-Life community experience, where we've seen this inhuman attitude in action for years.

This will sound horrific and I don't mean it literally, but I'm just waiting for Michelle Duggar (42) to have a Down Syndrome baby.

She's expecting her 18th this January.

The reason I say this is the criticism of Palin reminds me of Mark Moford's cruel, awful criticism of Duggar's decision to have so many kids.

...But Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people.

When I wrote about her "Now That's a Family", a lot of people in the comments were vile beyond words about her possibility to bear a Down Syndrome child.

You know that people who think like Moford, already have that strike against Palin for her 5 kids. Add to that the complexity of a Down Syndrome child not having been aborted...well, it transforms them into nothing more than eugenicists.

And I hate and fear eugenicists with a passion.

rhhardin said...

Things would not be better if they happened as little boys wished.

Waxine Meiss said...

Now ...if only it were truly her child, that, would be wonderful !!!

Lem said...

Now ...if only it were truly her child, that, would be wonderful.

When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became waxinne meiss I still did not put away childish things.

Host with the Most said...

Rule-the-world fantasies are interesting and crazy and, at bottom, scary.

I KNOW!

So glad Margaret Sanger, the negative eugenicist who founded what became Planned Parenthood, and her kind aren't around to try and make this a more "flawless" and "perfect" human race . . .

Uh, oh! Wait a minute!

John Lynch said...

Well, of course they shouldn't rule the world. Paraplegics shouldn't be playing major league baseball, either. Why? Because they can't.

Why is that so hard to say?

Why does everyone have to be equally good at everything to be acknowledged as human? Some people are better at some things. Some people are worse at some things. And some people are worse at almost everything.

So what? They're still people. Our worth as human beings, at a basic level, is more than the sum of our intelligence, appearance, and accomplishments. Why not just say that instead of asserting things that aren't true?

I'm extremely creeped out by the idea that strange people should be aborted. With the proliferation of mental disorders all kinds of people could just be snuffed out, never living at all.

That doesn't mean we need to lie about the kind of life that a Down's baby is likely to lead. I don't think it's that bad, but let's be honest. They aren't going to be ruling the world or curing cancer. They might have a menial job someday. But how's that the defining essence of humanity?

vbspurs said...

That doesn't mean we need to lie about the kind of life that a Down's baby is likely to lead. I don't think it's that bad, but let's be honest. They aren't going to be ruling the world or curing cancer. They might have a menial job someday. But how's that the defining essence of humanity?

Despite the menial job wording (which sounds cold, even though it's quite often true), I agree with what you say, John.

No one is truly suggesting the world should be ruled by those Down Syndrome, just what would happen if by some miracle, it were.

I think people are also fed up with having to step on eggshells around the topic.

The recent Ben Stiller film, "Tropic Thunder" actively makes fun of retardation (there I said it) and the audience felt liberated to laugh to their heart's content...

I'm guessing it won't be on the Palin Family DVD Christmas list.

Dogwood said...

Rule-the-world fantasies are interesting and crazy and, at bottom, scary.

Have to disagree, I always thought the Pinky and The Brain rule-the-world fantasies were hysterical, not scary.

LarsPorsena said...

"The recent Ben Stiller film, "Tropic Thunder" actively makes fun of retardation (there I said it) and the audience felt liberated to laugh to their heart's content..."

It doesn't make fun of retardation so much as Hollywood's depiction of it.
Saw it this afternoon..ROTFLMAO;-)

Bob R said...

I'm the father of a mentally and physically handicapped son. I am personally put off by the romantic BS that many advocates for the handicapped put out, but it's living with and caring for a handicapped person is hard, sad work (with a lot of joy thrown in). If a little BS helps them get through the day they are entitled to it.

If you take anything that a politician (or anyone else) says about their family seriously you are making a huge mistake. Look at her actions. Her words about this are just rationalizations that can't begin to express the emotions she has gone through. If she could really put her feelings into words she would be a great artist and would not need a crappy job like Vice President.

Lem said...

Paraplegics shouldn't be playing major league baseball, either. Why? Because they can't.

Jim Abbot threw a no-hitter despite the fact that he only had one hand.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Abbott

Palin is really pro-choice when it comes right down to it.

I mean, Isn't choosing to have a baby... also a choice?

Host with the Most said...

`

But Ann, of course the people who want to abort Down's babies want to tell others what to do.

Their great grandmother in the pro-choice cause, Margaret Sanger set the tone when she said

"The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind.


Democrats are all about "Ruling everyone else's world" through government mandates:

1- They want to not only tell you how many children you can have, they also want to control the quality of children you have - thus the Down's arguments.


2.-They want the government to decide whether you can or cannot eat certain things (like meat), and control your weight. "But it's for your own good, sweetie"

3.- They want to control what transportation you can use. The Democrats don't really don't want to develop alternative forms of energy for you to use in your car; Democrats want you out of your cars. They want the government to mandate most personal forms of transportation away. They want to mandate how much of a "Carbon-footprint" you can have.

4.- Democrats want you to eventually move back to the cities - keepin' it URBAN! (Wonder why all the major coastal urban areas are Democrat?) It's just not fair that you own a home and a piece of land that's your own - (unless you're Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, or Jackson Browne). Out of the suburbs, where you aren't so easy to control!


5.-Democrats want to, but the time just isn't yet quite right, to start the conversation about "is it really right to have grandma and grandpa hang around and just be a drain on everyone when they can't really be "productive" anymore? Didn't they just live a good life? Isn't it time to use the resoiurces that they are taking up for a "more beneficial to others" purpose?

I'm Barack Obama, and I wholeheartedly approve this message.

Lem said...

I'm Barack Obama

Hey Babama, that's not you told pastor Warren on Fox the other night.

“…whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity… is above my pay grade.”

McMurray said...

This is just an effort to encourage respect for people who are part of the diversity of humanity.

Unless you're gay. Then Republicans want you to have no civil rights and they feel free, like many commenters here, to call you names and made jokes.

vbspurs said...

Saw it this afternoon..ROTFLMAO;-)

Booty sweat!

TmjUtah said...

"... thinly veiled..."

I thought you got out more.

My mistake.

Cedarford said...

If people with Down's Syndrome ruled the world - they'd be dead of starvation in days..

Like it or not, 80% of fetuses with the Down's defect are now aborted. Abortion rates for far more horrific genetic defects now confirmed in early testing -approach a 100% rate.

Even people that very much WANT to have a baby and are generally anti-abortion, opt to terminate on severe defect and set about trying again to have a healthy, viable normal child.

And support the right of others to terminate a pregnancy in the cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal genetic defect.

Of course science doesn't care about PC or Fundie tenents, so it gives new insights that piss off both sides:

1. Rather than just have to accept a microencephalitic child as "Gods special child" pregnant women are now getting better, more reliable tests many months before birth to check if a myriad of defects exist. Which gives them both the freedom of choice, and the burden of weighing a "defective" but still living fetus against family adversity, their careers, and possibly having normal children in the future.

2. Research shows either God or evolution made reproduction a wasteful, sloppy process. Even in mammals, their is considerable wastage of fertilized eggs that happens in mammals too, including half of human conceptions where the embryo is just flushed out over half the time w/o implantation. Not even Right to Life Fanatics are able to get worked up over the fact that have the "life begins at conception" events are ending up in toilets or garbage cans because of an uncaring God or uncaring evolution that appear to consider such high wastage as nothing to worry about...

3. Research from genetic testing of miscarried fetuses also shows that low birth number, long gestation mammals have developed an internal abortion mechanism that somehow detects, and aborts by miscarriage, unfit offspring.

Which makes evolutionary sense. It is no big deal for a frog to dump out 300 zygotes and have 70-80 defectives. It is a big deal for mammalian reproductive survival to tie up womb time for long lengths of time on offspring that are unfit to survive and reproduce - so natural abortion mechanisms are a great natural selection advantage. Better even than mammalian mothers detecting the unfit after birth and eating them or leaving them to die. (Humans traditionally left the unfit to die of exposure, and before modern medicine, even in Catholic, Muslim, & Fundie Christian societies - it was rare that any mourning ceremonies, even naming -happened to infants that died early.)

4. Then scientists whopped up on the side of feminists who might be cheering the above three discoveries, by researching why rape tends to cause more pregnancies to happen than an act of consenting, voluntary sex.

It turns out the female mammal brain may not want aggressive dominant males taking their bodies unwillingly as a reproductive prize, but that all the bodies hormones respond to violent sex and say "Yes! Time to fire up the uterus!" to aggressive alpha males (vs. sensitive, caring, meek males that want the ewe, the cow, the lioness to be happy and like them) - that defeat rivals, pursue them, pin them down in submission, and pound the bitch in estrus hard.

Which is now part of the lore and rituals of many couples that waited too long to try and have kids and are desperate to try anything. Must make for great conversations between Mr. Milquetoast and careerist wifey - "You have to wrestle me down, slap me around, spank my ass, and pound it home hard if you want a kid!"
"Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear."

5. And if the value of rape and female submission to the aggressive male didn't set feminist teeth gritting - you have research suggesting females wanting children avoid strenuous work & athletic activity and put on enough fat to get them to "normal body fat" ratios - to boost their chances.
Though they also add that that doesn't mean a female power lawyer triathlete CANNOT get pregnant, or a women that keeps herself "very slim" by fanatic dieting CANNOT..
Just that the odds change.

Bob R said...

...Of course science doesn't care about PC or Fundie tenents, so it gives new insights that piss off both sides

Don't actually know many scientists, do you?

Mrs. Blythe Flexner said...

Any woman who gets pregnant over 30risks giving birth to a Mongoloid.

There has always been a place for these Mongoloids and retarded children. The Circus, and County Fairs etc.. And, they earned good money, too.

I'm much more concerned with illegitimate children. The illegitimate child faces far more of a schoolyard stigma than the retarded ones.

Bob R said...

I'm sure there is a place for you too!

Synova said...

"Unless you're gay. Then Republicans want you to have no civil rights and they feel free, like many commenters here, to call you names and made jokes."

Identify the "gay gene" and pro-abortionists will take care of that problem, too.

Actually, seriously... there isn't any (non-kook fringe bigot survivalist) Republican that wants gays to have "no civil rights." The statement is a bald faced lie. And when the Democrats almost exactly mirror the Republicans when it comes to the issue of same sex marriages a person has to wonder what the purpose of this Big Lie really is.

It would be equally true (and equally a lie) to say that Democrats want gays to have no civil rights. Obama does not support gay marriage... is someone thinking that he does?

So if we take gay marriage (which is most certainly not the definition of "civil rights") out of the picture... which civil rights are Republicans all after taking away from gay Americans?

At least they don't want them aborted, hum?

Peter V. Bella said...

I'm getting a vibe from some of the anti-Palin writings on the web that it's irresponsible to give birth to a Down's child unless you are planning to give up all your other aspirations in life.


That clap trap started on the day of the annoucnement. Even oneor two of the comments here had that garbage.

Abortion is about choice. It is not about some ideological concept of social responsibility. It is choice. She had a choice and she made the choice appropriate to her. There is the rub. To some of the political whackos she made the wrong choice; inappropriate to them.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember when people with Down Syndrome were called "mongoloid idiots." It was the technical term.

I remember being taught in school that there were categories of people called: imbeciles, morons, and idiots. These were proper terms when correlated to IQ scores.

Mrs. Blythe Flexner said...

Mongoloids:

'imbeciles, dotards, idoits, drunkards, simpletons, fools,' and 'the aged, the vagabond, the helpless.'

I put illegal aliens as part of that list too.

But I still think the illegitimate child has the most problems in society !

vbspurs said...

mongoloid idiots

I wonder. Are really smart people called Caucasian savants in Mongolia?

Synova said...

Why the visceral anger toward people who have large families?

Mark Morford proves his own self a liar when he says, "...But Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people."

I'm glad that there are people who want large families and women who don't find pregnancy awful, or who even feel good during pregnancy, and want to do it many times. We need those people, because these days no one *has* to have children. Fertility levels in a whole lot of places is negatives these days. We won't get wiped out by nuclear war, we'll just... quit.

I think that the anger really is visceral... it's right down there in the unreasoning genes of people who recognize, and hate, the fact of their own genetic end.

PWS said...

I am 39 years old and have a younger brother with Down syndrome. He is relatively high functioning: he reads at a 3rd or 4th level and has held simple janitorial jobs. He is 38 now and lives in a semi-independent arrangment with other developmentally disabled adults.

I have also worked with developmentally disabled adults in a residential setting.

I am pro-choice and I think a woman's decision whether to have an abortion is a personal matter that she hopefully would give careful thought to and discuss with the father. I think I would want most mothers to keep their child, but it should not be mandated by the government either way.

As far as thinking about the DS factor when considering an abortion, it is true that a DS baby will require a much greater commitment. For one thing, when the kid turns 18 s/he almost certainly will still be a dependent for the rest of his or her life.

As far as raising a DS child, it depends greatly. Some are severely disabled and never learn to talk. That's probably more than most people can handle. Others, like my brother, require somewhat more care and learn more slowly, but the effort is mostly greater because it lasts longer not necessarily because it is more intense. (E.g., my brother was in diapers much longer than a "normal" child.)

I don't think it is any more horrible to abort a disabled fetus based on disability versus for the reasons that I imagine most women choose which have to do with life circumstances, economics, age, etc.

MadisonMan said...

I am also one of those with a family member with Down Syndrome. In my niece's case, she is very hard to understand and will never hold a job. Very headstrong and prone to wander. She's had several heart surgeries to fix her once-perforated heart and has burned through several pacemakers -- one of the (many) health problems that are common (maybe that's too strong a characterization) with DS babies.

I've no idea what level of mental and physical setbacks Trig Palin is facing. I do know that if he is like my niece then his siblings will be watching out for him for their (or his) entire lives. That is what is facing my nephews (different family than the award-winning nephew).

Characterizing DS people as able to rule the world: I think of rose-colored glasses.

Peter V. Bella said...

Ann Althouse said...
I remember when people with Down Syndrome were called "mongoloid idiots." It was the technical term.

I remember being taught in school that there were categories of people called: imbeciles, morons, and idiots. These were proper terms when correlated to IQ scores.



Somewhere in my home I have the Chicago Police Department policies and procedures from the 1920s. I remember that there is a section on Illinois law. Illinois actually codified the definitions of idiots, cretins, and morons.

blake said...

It's the Magic Negro for the brain injured.

One Down's Syndrome kid I know is bilingual--fluent in English and French. Our ability to measure IQ is severely limited.

That said, they have all the expected human emotions, combined with huge levels of frustrations. And their emotional reactions are easily misunderstood. I've seen brain-injured kids laugh out of fear, grief and anger--all misperceived by the normal people around them.

It's as wrong to pretend it's a magical, happy state of being as it is to say they have no worth.

blake said...

vbspurs said...I'm guessing it won't be on the Palin Family DVD Christmas list.

Don't be too sure. Maybe not this year, but eventually. To quote my own review:

Almost weirdly, it's only comedy that actually respects the brain-injured, by being willing to treat them like everyone else (e.g. South Park's Timmy or the Farrely Brothers movies, like Stuck On You.

It's not all that weird: Great comedians are, to borrow a phrase, cruelly neutral.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If I ruled the world, I'd choose a naughty librarian to be my assistant.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

"I can't stand this indecision
Married to a lack of vision
Everybody wants to rule the world..."

Torn ligament said...

The article is great and accurate.

However, my friends with Down syndrome would correct you toot sweet if you called any one of them retarded.

In Canada, People First a self advocacy organization for ppl with developmental disabilities has spent the past 20 years educating the public about what they consider disrespectful labels. Among it's many accomplishments the organization has been very successful in having public documents written in plain language. The latter is huge help to everyone.

bearbee said...

Hey, I can picture Barack Obama singing that, but here's the great original recording by Tony Bennett.

I suspect he'd change the words to "WHEN I rule the world."

bearbee said...

Ann Althouse said...
I remember when people with Down Syndrome were called "mongoloid idiots." It was the technical term.

I remember being taught in school that there were categories of people called: imbeciles, morons, and idiots. These were proper terms when correlated to IQ scores.


Still fashionably when referring to Bush.

Mental deficiency used to be more finely classified using the following technical terms that later began to be abused by the rest of society (5):

IQ Range Classification
70-80 Borderline deficiency
50-69 Moron
20-49 Imbecile
below 20 Idiot">

babydoc said...

It is a miserable horrible place for a mother or father to be in, to have to make a decision, not knowing what problems to expect. I would never wish it on anyone. Heart defects can keep a Down syndrome baby in the hospital for months with multiple surgeries, blood draws for tests, breathing through an endotracheal tube- it all equals unrelenting pain, some people don't even let the family pet go through that. I wish the pro-life side would spend more time really considering the life of the CHILD not everyone else. I guess I wish prospective parents would too.

Sarah said...

As someone who truly desires that women (and men) have as many choices as possible I would love it if we could wait till any age to have children, however the facts strongly suggest there are risks in such a mindset. We read about celebrities having babies late in life but statistically, a woman's chance of conceiving a Down's baby increases significantly with age:

25 to 29 years 1 out of 1250
35 years 1 out of 378
40 years 1 out of 100
45 (and older) 1 out of 30

Given this drastic increase, I do question whether it is responsible for women above a certain age to become pregnant and carry a child to term. When a 44 year old woman gives birth to a Down's baby, she is bringing a person into the world that will be dependent on her and the baby's father for its entire life. At age 20, many individuals with Down's still have the mental capabilities of small children. A 64 year old woman taking care of grown man with the mind of a 6 year old is something to think very strongly about.
I would encourage all women but especally older women, wishing to be become mothers to consider adoption before becoming pregnant. It seems that many pro-lifers ignore the second half of the conception equation which is raising the life you have decided to create. If you take an anti-abortion stance, strong encouragement of adoption should be your second favorite cause.
Finally, the most important issue to remember in all the talk of Palin and her child is that currently abortion is a choice. She chose not to abort her child, which is, despite the fact that I think it was a bit irresponsible of her to become pregnant in the first place, her choice. Why I will never support Sarah Palin is because, given the chance, she would not allow me that same choice. Were I do become pregnant with a Down's baby tomorrow, she would wish to force be to carry that child to term, despite the devastating effect it would have on my life and the life of that child.

gene doc said...

First of all, I have a 2 year old son with Down syndrome and I am a younger mother. Whenever you see statistics on something (i.e. older mothers have a higher chance of having babies with DS) you should always question this, simply because people distort statistics.

Actually, out of the total population, older mothers have fewer babies; about 75% of babies with DS are born to younger women because more younger women than older women have babies. Only about 9% of total pregnancies occur in women 35 years or older each year, however, 25% of babies with DS are born to women in this age group. As you can see, the statistics can be skewed to make it look like older women have more babies with DS.

I also believe that some people take "If people with DS ruled the world" too literally. It has been proven that individuals with DS do not do harm to others like so- called normal people do, they are very innocent. Also, perhaps some of you are confusing regular mental retardation with DS, and are being a little on the ethnocentric side. People really do need to have an open mind and accept people for who they are.

Best Wishes

Dr. Aymee' Sells