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That Retarded Political Correctness!

Harry Reid is a few bricks shy of a load.

By Petrarch  |  February 17, 2010

It's always entertaining to see liberals hoist by their own petards and we've recently seen two classic examples from the realm of political correctness.

First, a new tell-all book revealed that Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) referred to Barack Obama as (shock!) a Negro.  That this elementary observation is objectively and scientifically true availed the Senator not at all; he was forced into the usual abject bowing and scraping before the usual suspects.

No sooner had that contretemps blown over when Obama's famously foul-mouthed Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was overheard calling anti-Obamacare conservative Democrats "f***ing retarded."  No, it wasn't the "f***ing" that stood people's hair on end - thanks to Hollywood, we're all used to that.  It was the "retarded" - an unforgivable insult to such luminaries as Special Olympians who had already extracted an apology from President Obama himself over a similar slur.

Emanuel immediately followed the same Very Sorry Trail as so many have before him, but this time with a twist.  It wasn't just the usual guardians of political correctness hollering for his hide.  It was none other than Gov. Sarah Palin, arch-enemy of the politically correct, and mother herself of a child who is - how else to say it? - retarded.

Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the "N-word" or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities - and the people who love them - is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking.

It is uncouth and unworthy of high office to use playground insults.  By calling for words to be banned, whether they be the N-word, the R-word, the G-word, or words denoted by any of the other 23 alphabetical letters, we aren't helping things; we're only making them worse.

All the more so because the mentally retarded are under a far worse threat than mere words.

Humans All - Except for Some

What is it about the N-word (the real N-word, not the one Harry Reid used) that makes it such an appalling slur?  There's a simple answer: historically, it was used to refer to black people specifically to demean them.

By calling someone a "n****r," a racist was saying that they were inherently of low worth, undeserving of equality before the law or in any other way.  Really, they were saying, a black person was not fully human - why else was slavery such a right and natural institution?

Of course, we all know and recognize what should have been obvious all along: one's skin color does not affect one's humanity.  To say that because someone is black they are worth less than someone who is white (or the reverse) is bigotry of the vilest sort, no matter what word you use to express it.  There is no inherent reason why a black person should not have the same rights, opportunities, and responsibilities as anyone else.

That is not true for the mentally retarded.

There is no rational reason why any qualified black man should not be a brain surgeon, military general, airline pilot, or President of the United States.

There is, however, every rational reason why you would not want to find a mentally retarded person holding any of those jobs.  Is this bigotry?  No - it's common sense, though our Justice Department seems to have forgotten this: they are actively recruiting mentally retarded lawyers for the Civil Rights department.

In point of fact, it is simply not possible for most of the mentally retarded to profitably contribute to society in any meaningful way.

Many must spend their entire lives institutionalized at great expense.  Others can perform such essential and vital roles as Wal-Mart shopping cart collector or greeter, while residing at group homes in the company of trained professionals able to guide them through the complexities of brushing their teeth.  Aside from the occasional "idiot savant" who is a genius at one superlatively useful thing but dysfunctional at everything else, the meager pay earned by their efforts doesn't come close to covering the cost of their care.

Why does this matter?  It doesn't, and shouldn't - precisely because the mentally retarded are human beings.  Simply by virtue of being human, each individual person "is endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights."  This is why conservatives are so strongly opposed to euthanasia and abortion: both involve the willful murder of an individual, innocent human being.

It's all too tempting to make comparisons with Nazis; but how can you not?  It is a matter of historical record that Nazi Germany, with the eager support of most of the mainstream German medical establishment and no little agreement from America, encouraged the abortion and infanticide of mentally and physically disabled infants based on the absolutely accurate fact that they could not contribute to the economy of the Reich.

Then, the insane asylums and homes for the feeble-minded were emptied out, using the same unassailable rationale.  Then, the Nazis cast their eyes on the old folks' homes - and there they met resistance, as ordinary Germans weren't quite so willing to bump off Großvater and Großmutter.  The principle had been established, however, and once Hitler's propaganda had convinced most Germans that Jews were a negative to the Reich, the Final Solution was obvious and logical.

"Retarded" is not a slur, not in the same way that "n****r" is, any more than calling a person of Hebraic ethnicity a Jew is inherently a slur.  It's an observation, which if based on fact, is nothing more nor less than truth.

Yes, a retarded person has no control over their condition any more than black people can change their skin color.  But unlike blackness, mental capacity really is relevant to a person's usefulness in society and in the economy.  Mental capacity is highly pertinent to what jobs can be held and what level of education is sensible.  "No Child Left Behind" can spend all the money in the world, and the mentally retarded will still be left behind.

The Lord God Made Them All

Which is precisely why it is so frightening to see people's worth as human beings judged on the basis of their economic value as individuals.  In a nation where abortion rights are the law of the land, the overwhelming majority of handicapped pregnancies are terminated.  If the "fetus" is not a person, such an action is nothing less than logical and rational.

But an unborn baby is still a baby.  If not a human being, what is it?  A dog?  A pig?

Glad you asked!  PETA has an answer for you:

A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.

- PETA President Ingrid Newkirk

If you are sitting in your chair nodding in agreement, there's not much anyone can do for you.  If, however, you are as horrified and offended in total disagreement as we are, then we share an important truth: Human beings are not like animals.  They are different in nature and in kind.  The smartest dog can never rank above the most severely retarded human being.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of deep-thinkers don't feel this way.  We all know the nuts at PETA want to remove the benefits which humankind has received by testing medicines on laboratory animals before trying them out on people.  The Spanish government has now granted rights to apes.  It's silly, disturbing, and harmful, all at the same time.

But the worst effect of granting "rights" to animals who have no capacity to understand, appreciate, or reciprocate them, is that by exalting beasts above their natural state we cannot help but deprive less-advantaged human beings of the rights that should naturally be theirs.

Once upon a time, Western culture believed strongly that, unlike any other creature, mankind was made in the image of God.  This made all men brothers in a somewhat nebulous but philosophically very real way.

Modern, rational, scientific liberal man doesn't believe anything of the sort anymore, so we feel free to off the "useless eaters."  A well-trained dog is more useful than a human vegetable; so, expensively-trained K9 Fido should get a doggie-sized bulletproof vest, but pull the plug on Terry Schiavo to save taxpayer dollars!

It's natural for Sarah Palin to defend her beloved child just as it's natural for Rahm Emanuel to demean those whom he holds in contempt.  The true problem isn't those who use a descriptive word for those blessed with less brains than the norm.

The real threat is the ever-increasing power and influence of those who find nothing wrong with terminating the lives of human beings that they, in their august wisdom, deem to be inferior.

Who's the barbarian now?  Or, not to put too fine a point on it, who is truly retarded in every sense of the word?