Sunday, 10 June 2012

The normality of ableist Social Darwinism

I'll get straight to the point: in Britain there exists of culture of mass hatred and scapegoating against disabled people. Which frankly, any reasonable person would think to have been confined as existing within the fascist states of the 1940s. It is clear violation of international law, and should be far more a scandal than it currently is. To a degree I despair of the fact that so many will comply with it; or even agree with it. Granted, people with physical and mental disabilities are not euthanised en masse by the UK state. They are at least not directly killed. But they certainly are, in my opinion, by a proxy which is slightly more than coincidental. And it is probably quietly smug about its consequences.

At least 1,100 people have killed themselves as a consequence of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government's cuts to welfare. That will have undoubtedly included disabled people denied Disability Living Allowance (DLA); many of them by "fitness for work" assessments by the corporation Atos, condemned as pseudoscientific, damaging and abusive by the British Medical Association (whose objections are surely to be as respected and acknowledged as much as they on healthcare privatisation). The primary motive of these policies are of course to save money: £2.24 billion a year will be saved by withdrawing DLA from 500,000 disabled people (including the severely disabled, and maimed veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars). This is when, for example, the cost of tax evasion and avoidance schemes by corporations and grouping wealthy individuals is £95 billion per year. According to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith, too many concerned and angry disabled people are "festering" social liabilities, needing to be "cleansed" from the benefit system.

This enthusiastic and institutionalised priority to victimise the disabled, the vulnerable and their carers, under the deceptive and disingenuous auspices of the austerity doctrine, perfectly illustrate the use of constructed economics narratives to alleviate ideological means.

The perpetually bleated justification by David Cameron and his government ministers, is of course, that there is no alternative to such policies; or some other modified equivalent to Margaret Thatcher's favourite phrase. TINA itself was not coined by Thatcher however; she herself adopted it from 19th century theorist Herbert Spencer, who uncoincidentally invented the ideological philosophy of Social Darwinism, and the phrase "survival of the fittest". In this application of Dickensian values, the strife of the dying and handicapped receives not much sympathy from the Social Darwinist state.

Social Darwinism is one of the primary characteristics of the mentality of fascism: or the "authoritarian personality" as defined by Theodor Adorno (and his colleagues) in 1950. As described by Kellner, one of the main motives of the fascist pathology is 'Destruction and Cynicism', marked "Generalised hostility [and] vilification of the human." The Cameron government's treatment of the disabled and vulnerable, is not necessarily fascist in intention, but easily identifiable in its language and nature. Identifying the state-enforced bullying and financial manipulation of those who cannot defend themselves as one of the imperative conditions for the worst society and culture imaginable is something far beyond hyperbole.

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