- Tanner Eastman
What defines ethical treatment? Justice?
How we treat our disabled in many ways reflects the kind of people, the kind of society, we are.
I am disabled. Although I strongly dislike that word *disabled*, Its telling of our history as a human society. We are judged on the basis of what we have to offer. Very rarely, and certainly not as standard protocol, do we judge someones worth by more existential, or moral qualities; and when we do, to what end? Are we saying that we will allow that person a job? Friendship?
I have to be honest, before becoming disabled I too unjustly treated my fellow man. I attributed my success to an inborn quality of superiority. I too entertained my own dissonance. I thought: if someone doesn't have a job, isn't a financial 'success', it must be due to laziness. They simply must not be motivated. Why did I think this way? Well, for me, I extrapolated. I looked into the reasons why I was the way I was, and attributed that to everyone I encountered. If I was facing cognitive dissonance I would cathartically release by infecting others with my own vices. In this way I was able to rationalize. I could face my own fears because they weren't just my own, they were everyone's.
What does this mean? What will bringing these things up cause?
I once had a psychology professor who said: only the most sick individual would mock the disabled. If only that were true. I'm not suggesting some romantic paradigm shift towards a more ecological society where everyone loves each-other and paints and signs and holds hands. I think its high-time the disabled receive the respect they deserve. They ought not be looked on as disabled, reverently dismissed. But held up and honored for the storm they've navigated; for the trials they've passed. A person with cancer gets far more respect than a person in a wheel-chair.
With this in mind, what can we do to make the lives of the disabled easier? How can we actualize our moral potential and treat man as man ought to be treated: fairly, lovingly?