All to often, the things I find complicated and rather irritating, I also find boring, which is convenient – it usually means I have to pay little or no interest in them. However, inevitably, politics is something that affects all our lives and sooner or later, you have to sit up and pay attention – so it was for me in my mid twenties.
I am a natural liberal and I have read a about the proclivity of Aspies to be woolly minded liberals like myself, but that isn’t strictly true. I don’t think you can pigeon hole anyone in such a way; I think Aspies are affected by their backgrounds and upbringing as much as anyone. For me, I grew up in a very working class environment in a heavily left wing environment and over the years I have observed the obvious flaws in an entirely leftist standpoint.
As an Aspie, the world around you is completely alien. That being the case, two truths tent to emerge. Firstly, you tend to spend a lot of time thinking about your own problems, it is perfectly natural – I believe a lot of neurotypical people do the same. Secondly, you embrace others who are struggling too – you soon become aware that life is an uphill struggle. You see other people and wonder why they put obstacles in each others way, such as sexism, racism or religious differences. After all, we all have to cope with pretty much the same thing and ultimately we want similar things out of life. I will go into this in more depth in a future post, but for now, suffice to say, for me, liberalism comes closest to addressing those truths. Others are more practical thinkers, focusing on the mechanics of society, its nuts & bolts if you will; yet still share similar views on the way people treat each other.
In the past ten years or so I have come to find politics and different forms of governance fascinating. On the other hand I find all politicians without exception, incredibly infuriating.
I think it is fair to say (hopefully most of you reading this will agree), that nobody has gotten it right so far. From party politics, to different types of government, in one way or another there are inherent flaws in these systems and those flaws tend to be the human element. One of my favourite authors, Douglas Adams, once said:
“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
I think Douglas had a very good point. From my point of view politicians make promises with very little information on the practicalities of delivering on that promise, and then some years later, when asked about that promise, they string words together which individually are easily understood and sound right, but which collectively completely fail to answer the question. It is quite an art form really and must take years to perfect.
Perhaps what really confuses me most about the issue of politics is just how blindly people follow the agenda of the media. Newspapers first priority is to sell newspapers; TV Stations need viewers to see their advertisements and product placements. It would seem obvious to be that controversy and pushing a specific political or social agenda is the ideal way of achieving those goals.
As an Aspie, it is in my nature to think about things I am exposed to. I subconsciously look for patterns in everything and I follow what I see to their natural logical conclusions – in short I tend to question things I read and see. I try to apply, what I like to call the “Common Sense” filter to the things I exposed to. Unfortunately for me, this often leads me to some very unfashionable and unpopular views, some of which admittedly are complete nonsense.
When I hear people talking about the evils of immigration or how all unemployed people are lazy time wasting layabouts or when I hear subtle racism, casual sexism or religious intolerance, I quietly seethe inside. I am ashamed to admit that all too often I keep my moth shut. That part of myself, who finds it difficult enough to fit in to this alien world around me already, screams at me to keep quiet. It reminds me of exhausting arguments in my past where I have failed to change intolerant views. Whereas the rational part of me quietly whispers in my ear, telling me what a coward I am and at times rages about the injustice of it all. It is a shameful internal struggle, but one I feel I must admit to.
I would like to point out here, that I am equally aware that my own views are flawed. I view the world in very logical terms, and tend to ignore the human element myself. Perhaps people need controversy and society may well rely on political juxtapositions. It could well be that those very things keep the political world turning and help make the best of a bad situation. All I know is that as an Aspie, I struggle to come to terms with politics that treat one set of people differently from another based on age, sex, race, disability, socio-economics or religion. Fundamentally I believe we are all of equal value. Is that part of Autism? Perhaps, but I hope it isn’t an exclusive trait.
I would be fascinated to hear from fellow Aspies and what views they have on the world of politics.