An article said Greta Thunberg's 'autistic identity raises worrying issues' and people weren't having it

Andy Gregory
Wednesday 15 May 2019 13:15
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(Leon Neal/Getty Images/Twitter)

As architect of the school strikes, Greta Thunberg has helped to push climate breakdown to top of the agenda - a success that seemed laughable just a few months ago.

While most people were busy talking about her courageous acts, whether it be speaking truth to the powerful at Davos or going against the wishes of her parents to start a solo strike outside the Swedish parliament aged 15, one British doctor decided to pen an article discussing the "worrying issues" raised by the Nobel Peace Prize nominee's "autistic identity".

Needless to say people were not impressed.

And upon delving warily into the article, one realises the content isn't much better than the caption.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, whose son has asperger's syndrome, has written the article in response to Spiked editor Brendan O'Neill's spectacularly misjudged article calling her "a millenarian weirdo".

While Dr Fitzpatrick says the editor's comment on her appearance was "inappropriate", he proceeds to delve into the problems around her "Asperger identity".

He takes issue with Miss Thunberg's statement that her autism allows her to "see things from outside the box" and with journalist Ian Birrell's view that "Thunberg’s insistence that ‘being different is a gift’ is a message ‘so pertinent to our troubled age, arguably as important as her bold stand on climate change’."

Dr Fitzpatrick argues that as the father of a son with the condition, he "struggles to regard autism as a gift".

However he then decries any attempt to celebrate "difference" as indulging identity politics that encourages "fragmentation and isolation".

Things take a further bizarre turn as Dr Fitpatrick likens his stance to that of murdered MP Jo Cox when suggesting we shouldn't celebrate that which makes us different.

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Things gets stranger as Mr Fitzpatrick goes on to say:

Like that other precocious teenager, Shamima Begumm, Thunberg has been radicalised by an older generation...

Yup, really. He likened Miss Thunberg's climate activism to Shamima Begum's involvement with ISIS. Here's the end of that sentence:

...radicalised by an older generation which ought to be more careful about exploiting childhood innocence in pursuit of their political agenda, and ought to teach children to think for themselves.

If deciding to start a solo protest against the wishes of your own parents and then following it through once it goes global isn’t an example of thinking for oneself then it’s difficult to imagine what would impress Dr Fitzpatrick.

Miss Thunberg has previously stated that she convinced her parents to become vegetarian and talked them around to the idea of fighting against climate change.

Strangely enough, people didn't react well.

These Twitter users nailed it.

While many felt the article was really missing the point.

More: Six times protest teen Greta Thunberg was brutally honest about climate change

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