Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Which Would You Rather Have? Round Three – Progressive Disability Versus Ignorant Asshole Social Syndrome (IASS)

Picketing in Topeka, 2005
Image via Wikipedia
Last year I posted my first two rounds of the "Which Would You Rather Have" discussions. I compared progressive disability to sudden disability and to cancer.

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). 
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  1. Well said, Mitch. I know way too many people from each group you describe. I think I, too, agree with your preferences!

  2. They may find a cure for PPMS but IASS, never.

  3. Well, the IASS 's might come after us next,eh?
    (Canadian, with SPMS and attitude)
    You rock, Mitch
    Peace to all

  4. Muffie,

    Thanks for dropping by!


    what if they made a pill to cure IASS? How would you get them to take it?


    Some would argue that the IASS's already have come after us!


  5. Great post; I don't think you could pick a more fitting example of IASS than the group you mentioned!

  6. Funny shit. Laughing my ass off or as my kids would say LMAO. You should be a comedy writer for Seinfeld. Oh wait that shows canceled. Maybe for Everybody Loves Raymond? Oh wait that's canceled too. They say laughter is good for the soul. Keep it coming. My name for ignorant assholes...HATERS!

  7. Hey, just found your blog and so far I love it. Very appropriate timing, I am waiting on a possible diagnosis of MS after almost 20 years of lazy doctors "missing" very obvious symptoms.
    after a very tough two weeks of what do I do now if I can't work and contribute and trying to figure out how to start over, I have had to deal with and ignorant asshole the past two days and promptly lost my perspective ! Thanks for giving me my perspective back !
    Onward Ho !!!

    "It's better to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in, sideways, totally worn out, shouting...
    Holy S**t.... what a ride!"

    Take good care

  8. Kat,

    I'm sorry to hear of your health and IASS problems, but I'm glad you've found my little blog. Welcome.

    Love your quote!