Special People vs Lazy People

February 17th, 2010

By Larry Ennis

I recently posted an article about the way our language gets constant modifications so that no one is offended by a wayward word.

The Washington Post has an article by Timothy Shriver concerning “the language of bigotry.” After reading his opinion and concerns I’m confronted with mixed emotions. As much as I sympathize with the “special” people he champions, I wonder about his choice of words in this politically correct word game. He uses the term “intellectual disability,” a phrase that seems even more out of place than “retarded.” Many people I have met during my life are intellectually deficient but not disabled. Shriver, though well-meaning, is creating a whole new class of people when in reality he is trying to protect those who through no fault of their own cannot function normally in society.

To my way of thinking, “intellectual disability” should be used to describe someone unable to grasp concepts and social demands that he or she will face in life. These are social graces such as being well-read, proper behavior, scholastic ability, and all other experiences that go together to create what I believe would be considered intellect.

Next comes the intellectually devoid. No disability with these people. Most are, for lack of a better description, lazy. They seldom make any effort to broaden their horizons. There is no genetic flaw in play here. Maybe the lack of education could explain the deficiency of intellect in this otherwise normal person. Let’s be truthful — there is little validity in the education excuse. Beyond a doubt the education system in the country has suffered in its effort to stay in tune with the times, but grades K through 9 are still pretty much the “three R’s.” Students other than those who are true special education pupils should have a pretty good handle on their lives and what they are going to do with it after completing grade 9. The law in almost every state requires students to remain in school until they’ve reached the age of 16. All reach high school, but not all stay. Some are more than happy to leave school behind and jump into the job market with nothing to offer but their youth and their willingness to work for minimum wage.

They’ll continue to live with mom and dad without offering to pay any rent. Mom will worry that her baby is working himself or herself to death, so she encourages him or her to quit their dead-end jobs. Poor mom winds up doing all the laundry and cooking for this kid. Pop gives up dreams of retiring early; instead, he has to work any overtime he can get because junior/sissy keeps the refrigerator empty and the hot water heater running at maximum output with three showers a day. The kid, in the meantime, watches MTV and spends his or her leisure hanging out with friends.

It would be nice if the above scenario was the entire story, but it’s not.

So the parents beg and plead with junior or sissy not to drop out. Stay in school and make something of yourself, they say. The failures in our education system start to manifest themselves in grades 10 through 12. Students who don’t try are promoted anyway. No one wants to fail a near-grown adult who has a lazy streak. Nope — they give that kid a “social” promotion and hope they are done with him or her.

A few will actually get to college, where they will learn about socialism, liberalism, and sloppy housekeeping and suddenly drop from three showers a day to one shower ever three weeks. These young men and women will eventually graduate and come out full of notions about what a terrible country they live in. Most of their college-influenced intellect is seriously slanted to the left, thereby leaving them intellectually deficient but less so than their friends back in high school.

So, Timothy, please be more specific. The notion of “intellectually disabled” creates an excuse for the intellectually deficient or lazy. Maybe you can narrow it down, or better yet, come up with a definition that better expresses what you’re trying to get across. There is a great difference between those who cannot and those who are just too damn lazy to try.

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16 Responses to “Special People vs Lazy People”

  1. d |

    Their intellect is seriously slanted to the left,thereby leaving them intellectually deficient? At the risk of sounding intellectually deficient,I seriously doubt that not being slanted to the right makes you intellectually deficient. I really don’t see how people get through their life, thinking everyone on the other side of their beliefs,is not an intellect or not equal or even possibly, greater than they,in intelligence. How one sided your thinking must be and closed minded,to think all leftist,or those slanted that way, are not intelligent,that statement almost proves the opposite,except,for the fact that there are great intellect on both sides and even in the middle. Seriously man,you couldn’t have meant it to sound the way it did? Maybe,my interpretation,proves I am intellectually deficient.Duh?

  2. Tom |

    Great comment. One of the real problems we have in the U.S. today is extremism on both the far right and the far left. One of the symptoms of that condition is the belief that everyone who disagrees with you is stupid, ignorant, evil, or fearful.

    I can agree that some academics are biased toward the left and spend more time teaching their biases than they should, but that doesn’t mean that they or their students lack intellect or intelligence. Students are free to disagree with their professors and often do.

    Having said that, I have to note that I’ve dealt with people at both ends of the political spectrum, from right-wing gun-nut conspiracy theorists to card-carrying members of the old Soviet Communist Party, and I’ve found intelligent people at both extremes, mixed in with a goodly number of idiots.

  3. larry |

    Most colleges and universities in this country are biased in favor of the left. Students coming out of these school have enriched their intellect in an environment/atmosphere that will encourages liberal /leftist veiws. That makes them neither worse nor better. Regardless of their political take on life they have not wasted their minds by doing nothing to expand their intellect. You should have picked up on my meaning. In fact I bet you did.
    If you really want to draw a lot of flack try being a perceived right winger. Your opinions are always tainted because its assumed your a card carrying extremist and a NRA member.

  4. Tom |

    “Most of their college-influenced intellect is seriously slanted to the left, thereby leaving them intellectually deficient….”

    Geez, Larry, those are your words. If you’re on the political left, you’re “intellectually deficient.” What other meaning can be drawn from that statement?

  5. larry |

    Yes Sir
    I mis-spoke. Got d upset. It happens sometimes.

  6. d |

    No harm,no fowl.Not upset,just wanted to clarify your intention. I am no leftist,but I tend to swing closer to left than right. I am no great intellect,but if I were,you would have gotten me upset. I would not have been so nice about it.:] Both sides are right sometimes, and you should be open to see their side. Just every once in a blue moon,they may enlighten you,or me.

  7. d |

    Thanks,Tom,geeze that was a hard earned acknowledgement.

  8. Brianna |

    Seventy to 90 percent of people with intellectual disabilities in the United States are estimated to be unemployed.

    > Yes, because even minimum wage jobs require a certain amount of brains. Retarded people (the term being used in the medical sense), by definition, do not have them.

    Special Olympics studies reveal that more than 60 percent of Americans don’t believe that children with intellectual disabilities should be educated in their child’s school.

    > I have no problem with them attending the same school. But they should definitely be in separate classes, or at least receiving separate instruction if your school is too small to make separate classrooms feasible. Again, retarded people, by definition, are not capable of following a lesson plan designed for children with standard intellectual abilities.

    Sadly, it seems that many assume that poor health care, poor living conditions and underemployment are inevitable.

    > Poor health care and living conditions? Not necessarily. Underemployment, yes. See Point 1.

    As one health insurance agent told a parent of a child with Down syndrome seeking health care, “Ma’am. We’re not paying for services. Your child is retarded!”

    > Well, he is. Since when did stating the facts become discriminatory?

    Look, if you want to argue that we should be nicer to people with mental problems, good for you. I’m all for it. But to go from there to saying it’s discriminatory to point out that people with Down’s Syndrome have higher health care costs, or that they are highly unlikely to be able to hold down any kind of regular job… sorry, but no. Stating the truth may be unpleasant, but the usual alternative of trying to ignore reality inevitably turns out much worse… and I’m including the fates of the retarded people in that assessment.

  9. Tom |

    You’re talking hard reality, and we need to do that sometimes. Everything can’t be sugar-coated, even if someone gets offended. The point about not trying to mainstream children who have mental disabilities is key — it doesn’t help them, and it hurts other children because it slows down the process and takes more time from teachers. Special education programs are key, especially because of teachers who are trained to deal with such children.

  10. d |

    The only person,other than one cute boy,I remember from my high school,was a retarded boy. He looked retarded,sounded retarded,and everyone made fun of him. He was mainstreamed. Guess what? He worked harder,tried more and participated in all class discussions,even helping others with their work.We barely understood him,but he was smarter than most of us. In a society where the retarded ones are not mainstreamed,he would have been elsewhere. He taught me a lot. Compassion,patience,and kindness,he was very kind to the hateful bullies. I remember his name,and always will,he was not my friend,I was ashamed to like him in public. I do not remember the others names or faces,but his smiling,happy face,holding his whole arm stretched up for every question the teacher asks,still shines in my mind. He was the only truly happy person,who showed enthusiam in every aspect of his life,that I have ever known. Maybe,mainstreaming isn’t so bad.

  11. Tom |

    The boy you’re talking about obviously wasn’t retarded (or, if you wish, pick a more PC term). According to DSM-IV, mental retardation requires that a person have an IQ of 75 or lower. If he was smarter than most of you and helped others with their work, his IQ was obviously much higher. Based on your description, it would have been over 100 (“smarter than most of us”). He obviously had some form of disability, probably physical, but it likely wasn’t something that would have justified a special education program.

  12. d |

    He was retarded,if you read carefully,you will see he studied harder,he worked harder and he paid attention,while we flirted,played,tormented others[not me,that last one],played sports. He proved you can learn and help,even if you have a low I.Q. He was smarter because he devoted his time there to his schoolwork. He was the classic looking retarded person.He could barely walk or talk,but I listened hard. Do you mean to tell me you think a low I.Q. would make it impossible to learn or excell? Well, I don’t believe that. I gauge my opinion of smartness,by your actions and accomplishments,not your ability to do well on one test. The human mind is capable of so much more than any intelligence test can tell. He was smarter than me,because he tried so much harder. I studied little and did well. He studied constantly and had great parents and made good grades. He was so much smarter than we, in social acceptance,good nature and tolerance,and love for fellow man,that I deem him smarter than we. No,he did not do well at all on his I.Q.test,which you cannot study for. What is the correct word for retarded? Mentally challenged? He was.

  13. Brianna |

    “Do you mean to tell me you think a low I.Q. would make it impossible to learn or excell?”

    > An IQ sufficient to call someone mentally retarded? Make it impossible to learn or excel at the same rate as a child with normal IQ levels? Yes.

    “No,he did not do well at all on his I.Q.test,which you cannot study for”

    > That’s the point. You’re not supposed to be able to study for it, because it’s supposed to test your ability to learn, not your learning.

    “He was so much smarter than we, in social acceptance,good nature and tolerance,and love for fellow man,that I deem him smarter than we.”

    > I care a heck of a lot more about my doctor’s IQ score than I do about his love for his fellow man. Ditto with every other important profession.

  14. d |

    Ahhh,yes,but do you care if your doctor cares about you? All I meant was he could study real hard and do passable work,not that he could be a brain surgeon. A high I.Q. does not make a better doctor,than a lower I.Q. if the lower one studies and cares,and the higher one parties and does not really care if he squeaks by. Maybe being absent the day they told him how to do your particular surgery,in great detail,while the dumber,try harder guy soaked it all up. Best of both would be good,but I have known some bad doctors who appeared to be smart. I did not mean he was literally smarter in I.Q. than we,golly geez. You guys took that way too seriously,just that he taught all of us regular smart guys a lot.O.K.?

  15. Brianna |

    “Ahhh,yes,but do you care if your doctor cares about you?”

    > It’s a consideration, but not the primary one.

    “A high I.Q. does not make a better doctor,than a lower I.Q. if the lower one studies and cares”

    > Depends on the difference. If we’re talking the difference between 130 and 140, you’re right. If we’re talking about the difference between 140 and 100, you’re wrong.

    “Maybe being absent the day they told him how to do your particular surgery,in great detail”

    > Fortunately, people with this work ethic do not make it through medical school no matter how high their IQ is.

    “You guys took that way too seriously,just that he taught all of us regular smart guys a lot.O.K.?”

    > “Don’t set out to raze all shrines; you’ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity, and the shrines are razed.” I know you mean well Doris, but the fact remains that discriminating against someone because of an “intellectual disability” is not in quite the same category as discriminating against them because they are black or Unitarian. Discrimination, i.e. picking the better of two possibilities, far from being evil, is actually essential to survival and growth. That’s something the PC mentality all too often fails to comprehend.

  16. larry |

    My intent with the original post was an effort to help protect those people with mental disabilities without creating a sanctuary for people that are not impaired other than the fact that they wont help themselves. Intellectual disability is a very broad stroke of the social paint brush making the effort far to inclusive.

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