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What's the Difference Between Being an Idiot and Having a Mental Disability?

Photo from Kajetan Sumila/Unsplash

I am aware that Non-Monetized Together’s patient approach to online discussion isn’t exactly fashionable. A lot of people on the Internet seem to think “you can’t fix stupid” and use that as a justification to mock, provoke, and troll anybody who doesn’t understand their morals.

But I don’t see why we should treat these people any different than people who have been diagnosed with a mental disability. What’s the difference between idiot and a mentally challenged person? Well, for one thing, the latter has gotten a seal of distinction from a professional. But the second difference is that the words mental disability indicate some level of respect and understanding. When not used in a way that suggests otherwise, those words do not express the contempt that is conveyed by calling someone a moron. They instead suggest that the subject is not to blame for the way their mind works and that neurotypicals have no choice to tolerate the fact that this is the way they are.

These are the only two differences I can think of. One, idiots are not recognized as such by our institutions, and two, they are not respected for who they are. So, I decided to take inspiration from the disability rights movement and understand that maybe Internet morons are not deficient but are differently abled, that they require special needs, that they need patience and understanding. In fact, the terms idiot and moron were originally used to describe those who have a mental disability. If society can outgrow that dismissive, derogatory attitude towards the neurodivergent, I’m sure Non-Monetized Together can do the same with some of its more difficult participants.

#DisabilityRights #Internet #Communication #Respect #Stupidity #Kindness

This article was originally published to Medium on June 27, 2023 (https://medium.com/non-monetized-together/whats-the-difference-between-being-an-idiot-and-having-a-mental-disability-55ac496ed241?source=friends_link&sk=308ed3328e79b572547cd4217168b304)

Medium comments:

great commentary. These labels, informally derogatory or clinical, are often subjective based on personal experience, cultural norms, or fads.

Even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders changes their classifications over time. I say their as it's still a publication by a group of academics from the American Psychiatric Association alleged to be influenced by the very powerful pharmaceutics industry.

In France for example, ASD (Autism) is frequently diagnosed as NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Here in N.America, NPD can only be diagnosed in adolescence. NPD doesn't require medication to my knowledge, but ASD could (Intuniv).

Labels are false reassurance but are inclusive (in their own communities) unlike moron which isolates, socially.

What do you think?


Turi Sue

I think this might be the first comment I received (for articles in this publication) that added something new to the discussion, which is great. That means you're using the community the way it's supposed to be (though, I recently decided I won't clap for comments on my own articles to challenge the idea of “author as authority”).

In the real world, you need a diagnosis to get the treatment you need to function. The treatment can also be expensive. In Non-Monetized Together, my goal is to communicate with people in a way that leads to the best result, every time. Even if it means being more patient with them than elsewhere on the Internet. I want them to be heard!

For those on the losing side in society, labels can sometimes be false reassurance, but I hope Non-Monetized Together will not only be inclusive, but equitable. Then it can fulfill the ideals promised by medical labels but only offered to a few – giving people the support they need to succeed.

Kevin the Nonmonetized

Thank Kevin.

I'm actually new to Medium. I set up my account years ago but have only started using it recently. Right now I'm trying to get a “feel” for what works and what doesn't. I'm not a member yet and haven't applied for any monetization. Is there any benefit to remaining like this other than ideological? If I understand it, you have created a group that resists the money-making incentive for folks to interact.

Is this right?

Turi Sue

Yeah, there are many positives to not monetizing. I wouldn't call them ideology-related, they are more about trying to make the blog operate differently and achieve things that other blogs can't. But there's also personal benefits like not being pressured to earn enough money.

Good luck with your Medium articles.

Kevin the Nonmonetized

I almost forgot to ask you, could you please provide some evidence for the statement you made about how France and North America diagnose people? I have to make sure all posts on Non-Monetized Together back up their claims.

Kevin the Nonmonetized

Kevin, I reached out to Sam Vaknin to get his opinion on your links:


BTW it was him that alerted me to the possible misdiagnosis of ASD as NPD and vica versa, I forgot to mention this to you.

Although Vaknin is a physicist (I believe), he has written numerous books on NPD. He also lists himself as a WHO consultant (?)

Hopefully, he'll answer me, but many times these “experts” don't reply directly, but rather indirectly through a YT lecture.

Stay tuned....


Turi Sue

Thank you for letting me know.

Kevin the Nonmonetized

Hi Kevin. Personal experience and available literature.

My daughter was diagnosed with NPD in France at the age of 6. When we moved to North America, the diagnostic experts at McGill University (Dr Guile) and Dr Klein of the Douglas Institute who are experts in their field, told me that NPD is only diagnosed in adolescence in North America, and that she possibly has Asperger's rather than NPD as her brother was born with Asperger's.




I don't remember the name of the doctor in France that performed the two day evaluation. To find out it has to be officially requested through government medial portals.


Turi Sue

It looks like the ICD no longer lists NPD as a diagnosis, so the French medical industry has likely moved on from that.



Kevin the Nonmonetized

ps. am testing out this membership thing to see if it really makes a difference. I checked my stats as a non-member last week and there were 50 suspicious claps on each of 3 posts. Who or what is putting exactly 50 claps. Not 59 nor 51 but 50. Fishy.

Turi Sue

By the way, I'm a member and I still get very suspicious stats. I had one article get about 100 views in one day and zero reads. This came out of nowhere. Ever since then, the article has gotten exactly one view almost every day.

Kevin the Nonmonetized

hmm. So being a member will not clear that up.

Turi Sue

Tell me if these links work. They should hopefully contain evidence that the stats are wonky.



Kevin the Nonmonetized

Isn't 50 claps the maximum that one person can give?

Kevin the Nonmonetized

a posted poem got 91, so I don't know about that. But you said something interesting.: “that one person can give”

Turi Sue

Were those 91 claps from one person?

Kevin the Nonmonetized

They may not have, Kevin. Moving on may not happen as fast as that.

Cultural biases or tendencies of a country towards a condition or PD diagnosis don't evaporate as soon as the literature is modified esp. by the WHO. It takes a while for the population to catch up incl. the front-line medical practitioners.

I didn't see any reference to the question of age in the links you sent, unless I missed it.

But it appears the WHO dictates the international criteria for the diagnosis regardless of cultural biases. What did come across is the importance of self-perception in the diagnosis of \ PD.

As a 6-year-old's personality is not fully developed, they cannot be given this diagnosis.

Interesting debate although the tip of the iceberg.

Turi Sue

Fair enough. I guess at that point it’s not something that can be proven as much as perceived.

Kevin the Nonmonetized