Using People with Disabilities for Political Gain: The Radical Left’s Ultimate Malevolence

Brett Alan Williams
7 min readMar 7, 2023
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In the past, we looked at the early evolution of postmodernist philosophy and the birth of subdisciplines made from it in our university humanities departments. A central feature of these subdisciplines is “a call to identity politics, which requires adopting an identity as part of some marginalized group or being assigned to a relatively privileged one.” Like a call to prayer, this feature is both carrot and stick. Embrace your status as a particular victimized group or risk the oppressor label.

We looked at various subdisciplines of the movement, including African American studies inclusion of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which like the Klan, seeks segregation from whites who are said to be always racist, all the time. Queer Theory (QT) in gender studies, with its “peculiar fascination [with sexual and gender identities], while ‘normal’ identities are problematized” and its surprisingly Trumpian goal of destroying all norms; and Feminist Theory (FT) in women’s studies, where aside from the expulsion of men from science, the “intersectionality” of victim identities creates multi-victim hybrids that invite dissertations till the end of time. All these postmodern subdisciplines of the radical academic left seek to fragment Enlightenment notions of the universal (universal human nature, universal human rights, universal laws of physics) and of the individual (individual rights, individual talent, individual achievement) for the primacy of oppressed groups, real or invented.

The notoriously unsubstantiated, chronically self-contradictory, and conspicuously defensive disciples of this pious movement have nonetheless been potent soldiers in their battle against the West with no bottom so far found to how low they will go to debase it. Now, with the birth of disability studies and fat studies, we see postmoderns manipulating the physically and mentally disabled for political gain. The same tools used by CRT, QT, and FT are employed here: disabilities, even disease, are said to be mere “social constructs” — products of our imagination — no more the result of biology than gender and sexuality. Among many of our new scholastics, disabilities aren’t real, but their victim identity is. Somehow, able-bodied people assign disabilities to victims of their assignment with no correlation to anything other than a “privileged” desire for oppression. How able-bodied people know they are able-bodied and how they know who to label “disabled” when there is no such thing as a disability is part of the magic of identity politics. If no one is disabled, then all are able-bodied.

Referring to “ableists” — those who discriminate in favor of able-bodied people — University of Sheffield Professor of Disability Studies Dan Goodley claims that diagnosing, treating, and curing disabilities are “cynical practices, dependent upon corrupt ableist assumptions and upheld by a ‘neoliberal system,’ in which people are forced to be fully autonomous, high-functioning individuals so they can contribute their labor to capitalist markets.” (The Marxist gripe is intentional as a tribal identifier.) Consider the self-contradictions in this statement: aid for the disabled is bigotry based on false assumptions about problems that aren’t problems, and yet, there are those who are “autonomous” and “high-functioning,” thus there are those who are not. Imitating Foucault’s evaluation of the mentally insane, aid for the disabled out of a sense of universal empathy is “reframed as wishing disabled people (rather than their disabilities) did not exist…” Only a postmodern academic could make autonomy, independence, and compassion a matter of cruelty.

Cross-breeding disability studies with Queer Theory’s rejection of norms, Goodley goes on to say, a disability is “an identity that might be celebrated as it disrupts norms and subverts values of society.” Hence, revealing the motive behind his pseudo-intellectualizing. As Pluckrose and Lindsay put it in their Cynical Theories, “This idea that disabled people have a responsibility to use their disabilities to subvert social norms — and even to refuse any attempts at treatment or cure — in the service of the postmodern disruption of categories is yet another alarming feature of disability studies…” To postmodern leftists, disabilities and disease are to be celebrated for their value in disrupting norms that upend Western society — like Putin, Xi, Trump, and asocial media.

Even more inexplicable, for many postmoderns, disabled people deserve blame for playing along with imposed labels. Mimicking Berkeley’s queer theorist, Judith Butler, instructor of Disability Studies at Griffith University, Australia, and (get this) on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell says disabilities are, like gender, mere performance with no basis in biological reality. Shaming the disabled for their performance, Kumari Campbell writes, “By unwittingly performing ableism, disabled people become complicit in their own demise, reinforcing impairment as an undesirable state.” Reading this line again, it’s not clear if disabled people are disabled or actors.

Like CRT’s indictment of whites, able-bodied people are all and always bigots against the disabled. According to NPR correspondent Joseph P. Shapiro, if an able-bodied person doesn’t notice a disabled person’s disability, treating them as they would anyone else, this is “as if someone had tried to compliment a black man by saying ‘You’re the least black person I ever met,’ as false as telling a Jew, ‘I never think of you as Jewish,’ as clumsy as seeking to flatter a woman with ‘You don’t act like a woman.’” Imagine stating the converse. “You act just like a black/Jewish/woman.” Sounds like a winning line.

Who are the bigots here, people who treat others the same in keeping with Enlightenment’s universal humanism or those who focus on victim identity and its demands for segregated politics and consequent polarization?

Now, disability studies have entered an even more bizarre phase, where suicidal thoughts can be championed as one’s identity and where obesity with its consequences of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer are lauded for their currency in the victimology trade. In keeping with postmodernism’s self-contradictory nature, obesity is to be celebrated and simultaneously denied as imposed on fat people by the physically fit. Charlotte Cooper’s Fat Activism encourages “fat activists to resist the pull of access and assimilation [and to] consider queer strategies to reinvigorate the movement… Obesity discourse is totalitarian….” Cooper says “fat hatred” is fueled by capitalism because it profits from products “making fat people skinny.” Apparently, portly people notice their condition and wish to change it with such products. But what about the capitalist sugar/corn-syrup/hyper-processed foods industrial complex expanding the world’s most lethally obese population? (That would be the U.S.) Do they fuel “fat love”?

In the Fat Studies Reader, Kathleen LeBesco equates “obesity to homosexuality… as a naturally occurring phenomenon that does not need a cure, so too must obesity be similarly recognized. Despite the ample evidence that obesity increases the risk of serious diseases and early death, while homosexuality in itself does not…” Notice that 78-percent of all U.S. covid-19 victims were also overweight or obese. LeBesco writes, “That fat and queer people would heartily embrace science and medicine as a solution to their socially constructed problems is redolent of Stockholm syndrome….”

“That they would embrace science and medicine…”

Hmm…

Medical treatment of obesity is now called healthism, like racism and sexism, a great evil.

Sounding like the New Right’s opposition to truth and science — from their denials of manmade global warming to Trump aide Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s “truth isn’t true” — the postmodernist undergraduate text, Critical Dietetics, chimes in. “Although we do not wholly reject the scientific method as a means of creating knowledge… a critical orientation rejects the notion that it is even possible to produce knowledge that is objective, value-free, and untouched by human bias. [Including in Critical Dietetics?] A critical orientation similarly rejects the idea that any one way of creating knowledge about the world is superior to another or is even sufficient…. As such, [Critical Dietetics] draws on poststructuralism and feminist ‘science’ that hold that there is not one truth that can be generated about any single thing, that multiple truths are possible depending on who is asking and for what purpose, and that knowledge is not apolitical even if it is considered positivist (i.e., value neutral or unbiased).” Even dietitians (and some quacks) are jumping on the gravy train. More than influence, there’s money to be made. And what, by the way, is “feminist science”? Forty years after feminist theorist Sandra Harding dreamed up the idea, still it has no practitioners, no theories of nature, no explanations of any phenomena, no discoveries, no technology built from it.

So, who’s victimizing who here? Who are the bigots? Who are the liars? Our postmodern academic left has stooped so low as to make people with disabilities and disease cannon fodder for their culture war against the West. And their violence is preached from the humanities pulpit, sanctioned under the protection of academic freedom at taxpayer expense.

References:

Paragraph 1: “a call to identity…” Pluckrose & Lindsay, Cynical Theories, p. 159

Paragraph 2: “peculiar fascination…” Ibid., p. 159

Paragraph 4: “cynical practices…” Dan Goodley, Dis/ability Studies: Theorising Disablism and Ableism, Routledge, 2014, p. 3, italics added. “reframed as…” Pluckrose & Lindsay, p. 166

Paragraph 5" “an identity…” Goodley, 2014, p. 8. “This idea…”, Pluckrose & Lindsay, p. 165

Paragraph 6: “By unwittingly…”, Pluckrose & Lindsay, p. 167

Paragraph 7, “as if someone…” Joseph P. Shapiro, No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement, Times Books, 1994, p. 3

Paragraph 9: suicidal thoughts: Andrew Sullivan, The Hard Questions About Young People and Gender Transitions, New York Magazine, November 1, 2019, “It became part of my identity to be suicidal… even though I knew I wasn’t going to kill myself.” “fat activists to…”, Charlotte Cooper, Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, HammerOn Press, 2016, pp. 4, 24. “making fat…” Cooper, pp. 175

Paragraph 10: “obesity to…”, Pluckrose & Lindsay, p. 176. “That fat…” Esther D. Rothblum and Sondra Solovay Ed., The Fat Studies Reader, New York University Press, 2009, p.70

Paragraph 14: “Although we…”, John Coveney and Sue Booth, Critical Dietetics and Critical Nutrition Studies, Springer, 2019, p. 18, italics added, inner quotes added.

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Brett Alan Williams

Physicist / artist / author writes about science & religion, art & culture, philosophy & politics with an edge. On Medium, Goodreads and TheFatherTrilogy.com