Advocates for the "disabled," however defined, want them "mainstreamed" and "normalized" while, at the same time, they advocate for special treatment and "accommodations" for the disabilities. How can you have it both ways?
In the UK, the Disabilities Discrimination laws define "disability" as:
‘A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.
Everybody has strengths and serious weaknesses, and deserves respect for their efforts and for their humanity despite their frailities or unappealing characteristics. A nice cheerful young gal with Downs bags my groceries every week at my market. Meanwhile, I have patients with reasonably-controlled bipolar disorder who hire lawyers to help them get on Social Security Disability. (I do not approve of that one bit. I do not approve of "working the system," nor do I think it is good for them: it is terrible for them and for their dignity.)
Anyway, you may read a short essay at Spiked here which addresses these issues.
Dr. Bliss' post leads to a typically-fine post by David Thompson on modern socialistic ideals titled Details, Details. Quoted by Thompson in his post:
Well, I’m not aware of a British political party that wants to abandon the welfare safety net – the “social state” as Bauman prefers to call it – let alone abandon “human solidarity,” and the arguments I’ve heard tend to centre on whether long-term welfare dependency is a desirable state of affairs for any human being. It’s one thing to rail against the “rule of capitalism” in abstract and fanciful terms; it’s something else entirely to address particulars – such as those of a soused, if amiable, woman drinking beer by the road. Is Bauman suggesting that this woman should be steered away from her morning refreshments? These do, after all, affect her employment prospects, finances and health, and thus make her one of society’s “weakest members”. Or does the professor believe that she should be compensated indefinitely by the state for being an unemployable alcoholic and not terribly bright? How, I wonder, is her life to be brought closer into line with mine or yours? Does she have a say in the matter? Do those of us who would have to pick up the tab?
I do not enjoy picking up her tab, but I would never leave her to die in the gutter. I'd be inclined to give her an educational kick in the butt and a few weeks in a drunk tank. Still, such questions keep life interesting, and force us to clarify our thinking.
However, I have yet to be convinced that government is the best agency for human mercy. Small "d" democratic government is about votes, jobs, money, perks and power - regardless of the virtue or venality of its practioners.