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The doublethink of the disability sector just astounds me. 

In case you don't know about that book...there is a book by George Orwell called 'Nineteen Eighty Four'.  Lots of people will have read it. It's a book that was written almost 70 years ago. 

The book was about this society which was run by 'the Party' - this grey, awful, brainwashed society where everything you did was watched by the government (the Party), where everything was strictly rationed, where your thoughts were controlled by propaganda, where independent thought and action or a perceived lack of loyalty was swiftly and brutally punished. 

And then there was double-think. 

Doublethink was a word that Orwell invented. The characters in the book had to learn doublethink to be regarded as a 'good Party member' - if you ever deviated from what the government was saying, it was akin to blasphemy. People who disagreed with the 'party line' were shunned.

Doublethink was about holding two contradictory beliefs in your mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. Forgetting any fact that was inconvenient, but 'bringing it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed'. It's about tampering with reality, rejecting morality while laying claim to it, consciously inducting unconsciousness.

That is what we do in the disability sector.

If you are a person who believes in SRV (social role valorisation, nobody believes in Stevie Ray Vaughan) then you believe that disabled people deserve valued social roles. But if you are a proponent of SRV, you're really likely to be a white, non disabled person (generally trotting round a country somewhere talking to other non disabled people and singing kumbaya) and you will almost never invite an intellectually disabled person over for dinner or out for a coffee and you will think this is fine and dandy. 


If you are a disability support worker or a NDIS planner or the CEO of a service provision agency you believe that all disabled people have the right to 'access the community'. But at the same time you have no problems with running a segregated congregate service or day program where you take all the disabled people for an outing on a white bus or get them to glue string on bottles or decoupage pictures of cats on kraftwood boxes and you will think that this is important because they are with their friends, even if they have never had the opportunity to meet any other friends. 


If you are a non disabled person who talks about getting disabled people into work but then directs them to a sheltered workshop because they don't want to 'set them up for failure' in open employment but are happy to set them up for failure in life trying to eke out a half way decent existence on a sheltered workshop wage, then you are doublethinking your non disabled ass off.

And they are praised and rewarded for doing this, those people - there's a bit of a nod to their cognitive dissonance when they invite a disabled person up to speak at a conference (never as the keynote speaker, unless they are the 'right' kind of disabled) or do something slightly 'innovative' (advertise their segregated event as inclusive). But mostly, they're doing what Orwell suggested - being completely unconscious of the act of self-hypnosis they just performed. Or the unpalatable alternative - that you're Napoleon rather than Snowball and that 'all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others'. You didn't know there's a reason we say that some people commodifying disabled people are known as 'pigs at the trough'? Consider yourself informed.

Those people who will argue and say 'there are shades of grey' or 'but *insert bullshit argument here*' - there is only one truth, ever, no matter how much they are doublethinking, no matter who perceives what. There are only absolutes. We either have unassailable rights that must be upheld and fought for and defended at any cost, or we don't. 

Thought for today, humans and pigs. Who taught you that two and two make five?

And in the absence of rats and a cage attached to your face - who is forcing you to keep thinking that way?

Image description: A brick word with the word 'doublethink' stencilled on it.


  1. I'm disabled and guilty of 'doublethink' and now confused.


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