Cause and Effect


Sometimes AS kids decide they want to do something (e.g., wear clothing considered "inappropriate" for their age or gender) that will make them a target for teasing by their age peers. When the parent of an AS child wrote into an online group about a situation like that, someone responded by saying the child should be taught about consequences: you can do what you want to do, but if you want to do something that will lead to a bad outcome, you may decide not to do it. This was presented as an easily understood case of "cause and effect."

I responded:

Easy for you, maybe. I've known some people (me, at a certain age; my brother most of his life) for whom that cause-and- effect relationship was extremely hard to master/accept.

When I was the age of the boy in question, I thought that rationality was within everyone's reach. It is irrational to penalize someone on the basis of gender for wearing a certain color or for liking jewelry. Therefore, anyone who taunts someone else on that basis simply needs to have his lack of sense pointed out to him. Anyone who continues to behave irrationally after having things sensibly explained is "stupid" and should be resisted. That's how I saw it when I was young, anyway, and your cause and effect argument would have seemed to me to be totally beside the point. I was right (rational) and the others were wrong (irrational), so they should change, not me.



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