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Progressive disability is what I have. My particular version is called Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). I was diagnosed 9 years ago with the slightest limp. Now I spend all day in a wheelchair. I know some advanced MS patients who long for the days when they could sit in a wheelchair for hours on end.
There are ignorant people. We can argue about how much is due to nature, and how much to nurture, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. Ignorant people can’t comprehend how the world works, and have trouble grasping complex notions. They adopt overly simplistic or purely erroneous models, and they don’t seem to mind. But many ignorant people overcome their impairment by being decent. They may not appreciate the difference between circumference and radius, but they know good from bad, and strive to improve the lives of those around them. I am often frustrated by these people, but that speaks more to a deficiency (of patience and understanding) in me rather than in them. All things considered, I think I’d rather be a decent, ignorant person than have a progressive disability.
And there are assholes. These people simply don’t treat others with respect. They can be demeaning, dismissive, and rude. But not all assholes are necessarily bad people. Many are driven individuals who contribute to the greater good. Most CEO’s, countless brilliant scientists, and more than a few physicians I know are productive assholes. So I guess I’d rather be a productive asshole than have a progressive disability.
Then there are the ignorant assholes. They are the worst. The combination is synergistic. Ignorant assholes are wrong about things, and are obnoxious about being wrong. They do not contribute to society. In fact, the rest of us spend much of our time and resources undoing the damage inflicted by ignorant assholes. So, if I was magically starting over, and was given the choice of living a life that would include progressive disability or living a life as an ignorant, healthy asshole, then for the benefit of both society and my personal well-being, I’d say, “I’ll take the MS please.”
I must have some specific ignorant assholes in mind, right? There are so many to choose from, but it’s hard to find a more appropriate example of IASS than the pastor and congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, pictured above. I challenge you to top that one, without choosing a politician (that’s just too easy).