Sunday, June 24, 2018

Edit Sheffer's "Asperger's Children": Nazi ideas about socialization

I wanted to note a shocking book review in the New York Times review, Sunday, June 24, 2018, p. 12, “A Deadly Spectrum” A history of autism rooted in Nazi Germany and its program of child euthanasia”, or more startling online, “Was autism a Nazi invention?” 

The book is “Asperger’s Children: The Origin of Autism in Nazi Vienna”, by Edith Sheffer, from W.W. Norton and Company.

The work as based in part on a German psychiatrist, Lorna Wing, after Asperger’s death.  Asperger probably was complicit with Nazi euthanasia of children who showed poor social bonding skills, of lack of “Gemut, the ability to form deep (social) bonds with other people”, for the sake of the Volk – populism indeed.

Today, Asperger’s is rolled into the autism spectrum disorder – and yet people with it sometimes are very brilliant and make great contributions to science.
Michael Burry, a former doctor, may be an example.  Not liking to follow the crowd, he founded a hedge fund that anticipated the flaws in the system that brought about the “Black Swan” of the 2008 financial crisis.  People with this sort of disposition often see dangers to the “crowd” before others do, part of the whole “skin in the game” issue.

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