I spend hours engaged in online discussion, but there are certain topics I avoid. Here’s why.
There are few things in this world I enjoy more than rigorous discussion of the many topics that interest me. As an Aspie, I’m fascinated by a range of topics; anything from true crime to politics, from history to science and when something catches my attention I’ll often spend many hours lost in research and boring my family to death with lengthy monologues. Like many others on the autism spectrum, I struggle socially but I come alive on the Internet. I’m the member of a ton of Facebook groups and have met amazing people from all around the globe with whom I spend many happy hours setting the world to rights.
That being said, I think it’s fair to note that the Internet and rational debate do not always go hand in hand. Even a conversation about the most innocuous of subjects can quickly descend into scathing personal attacks and the discussion of weightier matters frequently descends into outright abuse. If, in a moment of tedium (which many of us are experiencing regularly in the present circumstances) one ventures into the comment section of any news article posted on social media, you’re likely to find numerous misspelled rants peppered with four letter words that demonstrate the commenter’s tenuous grasp on reality. Unedifying of course, but entertaining nonetheless.
I like to think of myself as a good debater. I can articulate my thoughts and feelings with skill, and I can always support any argument I make with credible sources. However, there are certain topics I simply will not entertain. I have strong feelings regarding these topics, and my views have solidified over the years. I’ve heard the arguments of my opponents many, many times and frankly have no desire to hear them again. Below, I shall outline my views on two of those topics, and some of my frustrations with the other side.
I am vehemently pro-choice. Without bodily autonomy, people assigned female at birth (AFAB) cannot be considered free. Reproductive rights are human rights, end of. But not according to the ‘pro-life’ brigade, who I simply refer to as ‘forced birthers.’ This is because, despite their protests to the contrary, these people do not really care about life. They care about controlling women’s bodies and wish to punish those whose sexual behaviour they disapprove of by forcing them to carry and give birth to unwanted babies. Such people will wave placards smeared with fake blood outside abortion clinics and scream ‘murderer’ in the face of innocent women who are simply exercising their right to access healthcare. They have welcomed Jake Eakin into their folds with open arms; a man who at the age of twelve brutally murdered a disabled thirteen year old named Craig Sorger. Here lies the hypocrisy of forced-birthers, some of whom call for women who have abortions to be executed. They are often virulently rightwing, opposing things such as the welfare state, universal healthcare and a living wage. Obviously without such support systems, the children they so desperately want to be born are frequently condemned to live in poverty but apparently that is of no concern to them. To conclude; fuck misogynistic, hypocritical, logically-impaired forced birthers.
THE CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN
There are absolutely no excuses for hitting children. It is morally repugnant to strike a person who is much smaller and weaker than you, and is reliant on you for their every need. There is a wealth of research on the effects corporal punishment has on children, and the scientific consensus is that such punishment is both psychologically damaging and ultimately ineffective. That should be enough for any parent to commit to raising their child without violence. Please note I’m a parent myself, I have a wonderful four year old son. He’s boisterous and cheeky, as all children are, and naturally he’s a handful at times. I’ve never raised a hand to him, in fact the mere idea of doing so horrifies me. There is nothing that distresses me more than seeing my little boy experience pain or fear, and the thought of causing him to feel either of those things myself is completely alien to me. Yet even now, in 2020, parents hit their children. They insist that without violence, children grow into wild, ungovernable reprobates and that they themselves were hit as children with no ill effects. Personally I’d argue being ideologically welded to striking vulnerable humans is hardly indicative of a healthy psyche, but that’s just me. However, I firmly believe they must recognise, at least at some level, that they’re wrong simply because of their reaction to the word ‘hit.’ Ask them why they believe hitting children is acceptable, and they will respond with utter outrage. They will tell you that they do not hit their children, they simply ‘smack,’ ‘spank’ or ‘pop’ them and that these actions are completely different to ‘hitting.’ They are deluding themselves, their child’s brain registers the same hurt and fear regardless of what word is used, and quibbling over semantics is a mere sop to the parent’s conscious. We use euphemisms for a reason, and if you find it necessary to employ one in order to justify your treatment of your child you’re doing something wrong.
There are other subjects I avoid, but I decided I’d rather cover two in depth than write a few lines about several. As an aside, I don’t believe that you should shy away from debate with people who hold different views. The civilised exchange of ideas and opinions is natural and healthy; indeed it is how we progress as a society. Yet there are only so many times I can both hear and repeat the same arguments around certain topics without losing my mind and when I reach that point I struggle to remain civil. I don’t have to be part of every conversation and I can think of more pleasant diversions than pointless arguing with strangers when neither side is likely to change their mind. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but we’re not always oblige to exchange them.