There’s a saying in the ASD community that if you’ve met someone with Asperger’s, you know one person with Asperger’s. The point is to emphasize how, although we share many common general traits, because of the nature of the wide spectrum we are all on, our condition manifests in different ways and thus we are all unique individuals as well.
When it comes to politics, we are all over the map as well. But I think I can reasonably say that all Aspies are idealists on some level. We are motivated by a simple,strong (if naive) inner sense of justice. John Elder Robison’s son, Cubby, is a self-declared Libertarian (and I think a devotee of Ron Paul but I could be mistaken). In High School, I used to be a self-described moderate Republican who was hawkish on defense issues (and gun rights and pretty pro-death penalty–among the “hot button” issues of the 1980s of my youth). I probably viewed Ronald Reagan as a kind, grandfatherly figure–a stand-in, of sorts, for my own grandfathers who had both passed away when I was very young. But I was always an atheist, and always firmly pro-choice and pro-State/Church separation. Because I remain that way today on those particular stances, I have evolved in my own political views out of necessity and out of a commitment to personal intellectual honesty.
My co-author, Ankh O. Infinitus, strongly declares himself to be an Anarchist. While we do agree on some aspects of social analysis, I profoundly disagree with Ankh’s conclusions. But that’s okay. I do understand where his idealistic impulses come from and had my educational experiences and the books I was exposed to been different, I very well could have been standing in his shoes today.
My co-author resoman517 is kind-hearted and a gentle human being. Because of his hairstyle and facial hair when I first met him, he struck me as bearing an uncanny resemblance to Western European iconic representations of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. His personal demeanor is still very gentle and, if he will forgive me, still “Christ-like”, in the idealized concept of that term. Resoman517 will have to speak for himself as to his political outlook, but what I gather in my reading of his views is that he seems to fall somewhere in between Ankh and myself. And by “myself”, I mean the myself of 2012, of me today.
A little personal history, for sake of clarification, is perhaps in order, as I alluded to the evolution of my views earlier. For me, one thing that has always motivated change in me is when I notice rhetoric not living up to reality. As a young, naive teenage Republican of the 1980s, nothing was more devastating to my ideals than the revelations of the Iran-Contra scandal, which shook me to my core. I was angry with Oliver North for violating his officer’s oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. I was angry with President Reagan for letting such activity occur on his watch. I also started to have doubts about the conservative perspective of the Vietnam War and the legacy of the 1960s. I read a factual, balanced Associated Press History of the Vietnam War my junior year of High School and was utterly shocked at how badly I’d been lied to about that war and the U.S. role in it, especially how we subverted the popular will of the people in Vietnam by not supporting an election in 1954 because Ho Chi Minh would most likely have won it. That galled me to no end. While I still supported George H.W. Bush in 1988 and sneered at Michael Dukakis, I did have a best friend in High School NJROTC who was a Democrat from Ohio. It’s sort of like when you have a gay friend it tends to shatter your homophobia (which also actually happened to me but more on that later)…my friend who was a Democrat made it harder for me to demonize them and made me re-think a lot of my views. But when I went to college, I was already starting to shift. I was lukewarm on Gulf War 1…I wasn’t knee-jerk anti-war, but I wasn’t rah-rah wave the flag blind patriot idiot either. I felt it was a grim, dirty business that just needed to get done, that Saddam Hussein cold not be allowed to legitimize his conquest of Kuwait and could not be allowed to threaten the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is only years later that I learned that a lot of the hype for that war was based on a pack of lies (Saddam’s troops were NOT massed on the border with Saudi Arabia, which conventional civilian weather satellite operators in the mainstream media knew perfectly well but chose to keep silent and keep this from the American people at the request of the administration).
More important than the problematic nature of Gulf War 1, however, was the RNC of 1992 in my own hometown of Houston, Texas, where Pat Buchanan took to the rostrum and declared Kulturkampf or a “Cultural War”, and where the sitting President himself openly embraced the Religious Right of the day. As a long time atheist, I felt completely shut out of my own party and recall saying something to the effect of “fuck me, I guess I’m a Democrat now”, and proceeded to vote for William Jefferson Clinton both times; I sat out in 2000, partly due to laziness, partly because I could not decide between Gore & Nader, then resumed voting for Kerry/Edwards in 2004. I voted for Mr. Obama in the Texas Democratic Primary, but I voted Green Party in the national election. I voted Obama for re-election in 2012.
But personally I am much further to the political Left these days than most mainstream Democrats. If we had Instant Runoff Voting, I’d much rather vote for the Socialist Party and the Green Party. I have lived in Europe (Germany) as an exchange student and I tend to think of myself as more a European Social Democrat (or Democratic Socialist). Here too, another example of Aspies feeling like they’re from another Planet. I definitely at times felt more “at home” in Germany, among the Germans, than I ever have back here in the USA since returning from abroad in 1993. Indeed, I wonder if my Asperger’s would even be identifiable or diagnosable had I been born in Germany instead. Hans Asperger might not have been able to differentiate me from the general population around him at the time.
I suspect that in the firearms hobby community (target competition shooters, hunters, general gun enthusiasts) there are many, many undiagnosed Aspies, especially individuals who obsess over the workings of firearms and have impassioned debates online about particular manufacturer’s wares–and I’d wager the majority of those Aspies are probably politically rightward leaning because a large chunk of that sub-cuture (which I have dallied with myself) tends to be. But in an case my point has been that Aspies, regardless of their political orientation, tend to be motivated by high-minded ideals and a desire to see justice done.
In closing, however, I will opine that if one is somewhere on the Autism spectrum, it is probably against one’s self-interest and against the interests of the ASD community to vote for any Right-of-center parties generally. Such parties will tend to reduce or slash any benefits to disabled people, and that includes ASD people. Asperger’s is sometimes called an “invisible” disability because one can seldom tell just by looking who is Aspie and who is not.