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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is a film critic for The New York Post and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

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    Living with Down Syndrome Kids

    By Kyle | April 1, 2013

    In my Sunday column (extra bonus this week), I ask: If Down Syndrome children aren’t suffering, and they aren’t, then why are we so afraid to allow them to come into existence?

    Topics: Philosophy, Uncategorized | 56 Comments »

    56 Responses to “Living with Down Syndrome Kids”

    1. Obama bin Biden Says:
      April 2nd, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Many people with DS have become superb waiters and waitresses.

    2. yankeefan Says:
      April 2nd, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Really nice piece, Kyle. Got promoted on realclear, btw.

    3. sherm Says:
      April 2nd, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      KS – I am going presume that you are not a parent who has raised a kid(s) to adulthood and independence. I would posit that for the 90+% of parents given the choice of trying again, it isn’t at all about status or stigma or ego or a college sticker on the rear window of the Volvo. It is a lot about having a chance to bring the healthiest kid that you can into the world. Your column conveniently seems to forgets that not all DS are healthy, high functioning. That stat would be interesting to see. Many will require lifelong parental, state/federal/social services, support, etc. Sounds crass, I know, but many parents feel that why bring a defective human into the world when you can abort and roll the dice again. I guess the follow-up column might be one that explores why parent/hospitals routinely spend over a million dollars saving a 12 week preemie that grows up to be severely handicapped….

    4. kishke Says:
      April 2nd, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Most children with Down syndrome are not going to become doctors.

      Most?

    5. kishke Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 8:14 am

      @Sherm: It is a lot about having a chance to bring the healthiest kid that you can into the world.

      Why? What’s the point? Why is a healthy kid better for the world than a non-healthy one?

    6. Kyle Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Sherm is short for shermeugenics.

    7. Union Jack Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 11:18 am

      shermanator

      your comment reads better in the original deutsch

      youre right we don’t want ‘defective human beings’

      we only want hi-functioning of the species

      like the war criminals crony capitalist moneychangers who isssue immaculately from the womb & then from our finest institutions, harvard etc

      only hi-functioning perfect specimens can destroy countries economies ways of life

    8. Zach Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      @kishke Having a child with Down Syndrome often results in suffering for the child and for the family. My brother’s a lawyer who’s currently dealing with a case involving a 17 year-old girl who has DS. Her lower-middle class parents have spent the last 17 years of their lives being 100% devoted to their daughter. Their younger son has been largely neglected because of this. When she turns 18, they are sending her to live in a home with other DS children, but since they can’t afford a nice facility, she’s not going to a nice place at all. It makes no sense to talk about what they “add to the world”. All this girl has resulted in is suffering, for herself and her family.

      Plus, aren’t you a conservative, Kishke? Doesn’t capitalism say that non-healthy people are of no economic value? So who covers the very expensive care of these people from age 1 to death, when there’s no return on the benefactor’s investment?

    9. Kyle Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Liberal rhetoric: “Don’t you conservatives believe [insert ridiculous thing no one believes]? And if so, how can you disparage my ridiculous beliefs?”

    10. yankeefan Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      @Zach: Kyle has a point. I think you could’ve left off the 2nd paragraph and had a stronger argument.

      Plus, I don’t think capitalism “says” anything. Economic systems don’t generally talk. But if capitalism could talk, it would probably say that non-healthy people can, and do, contribute things of economic value.

      Now, I happen to believe in both capitalism and universal health coverage, and find that they’re not only not contradictory, but potentially complementary, as basic health coverage would allow businesses to be more competitive, allow people to move from job to job according to their ambitions and talents — not based on the vagaries of employer-based health coverage — and, yes, create a safety net for those non-healthy people of “no economic value.”

    11. SK Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      “Plus, I don’t think capitalism ‘says’ anything. Economic systems don’t generally talk.”

      Oh, please. Haven’t you ever heard of a figure of speech?

    12. JimmyC Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Zach: so we’re going to decide who is worthy of being born, based on how much potential economic contribution they can make to society? And if there’s a chance their life will have lots of suffering in it, we should deny them the chance to experience life at all?

      Here’s a crazy thought: maybe we should consider all life equal and leave it at that.

    13. Zach Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Yeah, thank you SK. Isn’t that middle school English?

      Plus I don’t oppose capitalism. I was trying to make my point using a conservative rationale that is very popular on this blog.

      And Kyle, I wouldn’t say no conservative wants less funding to the mentally disabled through Social Security. Don’t you guys want to privatize it? And even if you don’t, would you say that conservatives, on the whole, favor more government money to the disabled or less?

      JimmyC, again, I was attempting to make my argument using the conservative reasoning of “everyone’s a future worker and therefore everyone has a price tag on them.” And all life is not equal. Equal in opportunity? Certainly not. Equal in ability? Certainly not. So, then, equal in what?

    14. Obama bin Biden Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      It’s also safe to say that anyone who voted for Obama…twice- is mentally disabled.

    15. kishke Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      Plus, aren’t you a conservative, Kishke? Doesn’t capitalism say that non-healthy people are of no economic value?

      So now you decide what I believe, and then refute it? I’m a religious person, and as such, I place value on human life. Unlike atheists like you, for whom a human being is just another animal.

      Not to mention that I’ve never heard such nonsense espoused by conservatives. It’s liberals who believe in killing babies for the sake of convenience.

      As for the difficulty of raising Down’s children, who said otherwise? Don’t put words in my mouth.

    16. JimmyC Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      “I was attempting to make my argument using the conservative reasoning of “everyone’s a future worker and therefore everyone has a price tag on them.””

      My, that’s a lovely straw man you’ve got there. Anytime you want to discuss an argument that a conservative has actually made on this planet, let me know.

    17. angi Says:
      April 3rd, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Wonderful opinion piece with which I completely agree (ok, maybe not that “most” won’t become doctors). We absolutely cannot continue placing human worth on some sort of sliding scale, where those who land on a perceived lower end don’t receive care or even the ability to live.

    18. Lichenstein Says:
      April 4th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Electing to abort a child for its “defects” is the natural outcome of a society that commodifies human relationships and assigns value to all people in market terms.

      It’s wholly predictable and socially conditioned behavior in a society in which traditions, non-material values, and competing interests and inclinations are subordinate to, if not crushed by, the demands of the marketplace.

      DS children, and other “defectives,” are essentially “useless” in such a context.

    19. kishke Says:
      April 4th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Electing to abort a child for its “defects” is the natural outcome of a society that commodifies human relationships and assigns value to all people in market terms.

      And of a society that condones and even celebrates the killing of unborn babies for a woman’s convenience.

    20. Zach Says:
      April 5th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Kishke, you’re absolutely right. Unlike other pu**y liberals, who have to dance around the abortion issue, for me it is absolutely an issue of the woman’s convenience. Children are burdens. The abortion issue is for a lot of people, yes, about the unborn life. But for many others, it’s about returning to the age of the subservient wife who shoots out 12 kids, and about the idea that sex cannot be for pleasure.

      In the words of Ayn Rand, children are a parasite on the woman until they are born, and the woman should be allowed to decide if the parasite should be allowed to stay in her or not. (Parasite is kind of a harsh word to use, but the technical definition of parasite is applicable.)

    21. Lichenstein Says:
      April 5th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      That women should legally make this decision is uncontroversial and accepted as a right by the majority of Americans.

      What’s less discussed is why religious people in the US are becoming more adamant about their beliefs, and fearful of an eroding way of life.

      Who can blame them? The “right wing” offers nothing but rapacious crony capitalism that enriches and empowers the already rich and powerful, while leaving everyone else behind. The “liberals” offer essentially the same, but with food stamps and some shred of a safety net.

      Is is any wonder, in the midst of a corrupt and soulless political and economic system that caters only to the well-off, that disenfranchised people would find strength and solace in religious traditions not yet trampled by the workings of global finance capitalism? Any wonder that people want to preserve and value life in some form?

      It is also any wonder why more than half of the population doesn’t vote? People do not want to participate in a sham, and consent to their own marginalization.

      I am an atheist and think religion is the opiate Marx said it was. But if you have a conscience and even a passing understanding of the workings of neoliberal politics and economics, you must feel sympathetic toward people holding fast to their beliefs.

    22. kishke Says:
      April 5th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Kishke, you’re absolutely right.

      I know. And I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t try to saddle me with your amoral, utilitarian position on the value of human life.

      But for many others, it’s about returning to the age of the subservient wife who shoots out 12 kids, and about the idea that sex cannot be for pleasure.

      This is more of your boogey-monstering of conservative viewpoints. Do you buy your straw men in bulk?

    23. yankeefan Says:
      April 5th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      “Unlike other pu**y liberals, who have to dance around the abortion issue,”

      Count me among those pu**y liberals, but I don’t presume to know why women get abortions and it’s really none of my business.

      “for me it is absolutely an issue of the woman’s convenience.”

      Or, for you it is, is it? And you know this, how? Did the Good Lord bless you with clairvoyance?

      The reaction to Kyle’s column demonstrates why this is and should be a private decision.

    24. SK Says:
      April 5th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      “. . . I don’t presume to know why women get abortions and it’s really none of my business.”

      Women who had abortions have been surveyed as to the reason(s) why they did so. For instance, the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, has collected such data. Look it up. I don’t know why one would be so arrogant about not knowing why women have abortions.

      As for women having abortions for convenience, most probably would not put it that way. But I think that a woman having an abortion because she wants to finish college before she has a baby is in that category. It’s inconvenient to care for a baby while you are trying to attend classes, study, write papers, take exams, etc. A majority of women who had abortions said that having a baby would interfere with work, school, and other responsibilities.

      Isn’t it stupid to ask an atheist about the Good Lord blessing him?

    25. kishke Says:
      April 6th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I don’t presume to know why women get abortions and it’s really none of my business.

      I think that when killing fetuses is so very widespread in our society, and is condoned and even celebrated by many, it very much is our business to know why it’s being done.

    26. Zach Says:
      April 6th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      If you don’t want an abortion….don’t get one. Don’t have your wife get one. But mistakes happen, and a poor, inner-city girl shouldn’t have to go through with the expensive ordeal of pregnancy and prenatal care. And then what if she grows attached to the baby and can’t bring herself to give it up for adoption, and ends up bearing the EXTRAORDINARILY expensive cost of raising a child? It’s unfair to the girl. Abort the parasite.

    27. kishke Says:
      April 6th, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      and ends up bearing the EXTRAORDINARILY expensive cost of raising a child

      Weren’t you just saying that it’s the conservatives who are all about cost and money?

      If you don’t want an abortion….don’t get one.

      In other words, it’s none of my business, right? But it is, b/c I consider it immoral to kill babies.

    28. Zach Says:
      April 6th, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Puritans in the ’20s thought it was immoral to drink liquor. It wasn’t their business.

      I said it’s the conservatives who are all about cutting welfare. You’re being very, very broad and you know it, kishke.

    29. kishke Says:
      April 7th, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Puritans also thought murder was immoral, and it was their business. As abortion is today.

      You said conservatives would want to abort Down’s Syndrome kids to save money. Now you’re the one talking about aborting kids to save money.

    30. JimmyC Says:
      April 7th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      If you don’t want an abortion….don’t get one.

      In other words, if you disagree with abortion, shut up, your opinion doesn’t count. How about this: if you don’t agree with a war, don’t enlist. Thus people who are anti-war shouldn’t express their opinions about that issue. Sound good to you, Zach?

    31. Zach Says:
      April 10th, 2013 at 11:31 am

      War kills actual people.

    32. JimmyC Says:
      April 10th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      So unborn babies aren’t “actual people”. Thanks for being honest about your position, Zach.

    33. kishke Says:
      April 10th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      War kills actual people.

      A silly response. His point was that one is allowed to have and express an opinion on a moral issue even if one is not affected on a personal level. War was the example, but it could have been anything. Instead of engaging with the argument, you divert attention with this non-seqitur. If this is the best you can do, you ought not bother.

    34. Zach Says:
      April 10th, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      JimmyC, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic, but that seriously is my position. I don’t consider something to be alive until it’s outside the womb. I don’t pussyfoot around like a lot of liberals on this issue.

    35. SK Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 11:33 am

      “I don’t consider something to be alive until it’s outside the womb.”

      Location, location, location.

      So if the baby travels seven inches down the birth canal, she is suddenly “alive”?

    36. Kyle Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      You sure don’t “pussyfoot around,” Zach. Real tough guy! Nine month old fetus=medical waste.

    37. kishke Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Amazing, isn’t it, how atheists suddenly get faith when it comes to abortion? They just know (i.e. believe) that life doesn’t begin until birth.

    38. SK Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      That is a different issue, kishke. Everyone has faith in something. But there are pro-life atheists and Nat Hentoff is an example.

    39. kishke Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Pro-life is for an atheist a principled stand. If you don’t know for sure when life begins, you don’t take a chance on killing the fetus, do you?

      Pro-choice is based on what cannot be known for certain, i.e. the precise moment that life begins. In other words, it’s a position based on faith. But the atheists proclaim the worthlessness of faith. They reject God and religion because there is, they claim, no evidence. Yet, when it comes to abortion, they find faith and belief perfectly acceptable. It is thoroughly unprincipled.

    40. kishke Says:
      April 11th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      SK: I amend: “many of” them find faith and belief perfectly acceptable …

    41. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 8:58 am

      At the risk of offending Father Kishke, not to mention Zach the bold baby killer, you’re both revealing why Roe was such a sensible decision: It gives the mother control over the decision for the first trimester, then leaves it up to the states to decide in the second and third. Essentially, it recognizes the complexity of the matter, and while protecting the mother’s rights, it also acknowledges there are different views on when life begins, and permits varying regulation on that.

      Of course, it’s possible to be anti abortion and pro-Roe — I know many people who are. And as a devout Christian, I think abortions should be safe, legal, and accessible.

    42. kishke Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Father Kishke? Religious I am, Catholic I most definitely am not.

    43. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Rebbe? Imam?

    44. SK Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am

      How is Zach a baby killer, yankeefan? Or should I call you counselor?

    45. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Zach said, “I don’t consider something to be alive until it’s outside the womb.”

      Sounds to me like he’d kill ’em right up till birth.

    46. kishke Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Who knows? He might be the squeamish type who calls his wife to step on a bug.

    47. kishke Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Just ordinary kishke, but of the Jewish persuasion.

    48. kishke Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Anyhow, “sensible” is not to kill something that might be a living human being.

    49. SK Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 11:22 am

      So Zach is a baby killer (or a “bold baby killer”) because it sounds to yankeefan “like he’d kill ’em right up till birth.”

      So expressing intellectual support for a late-term abortion makes one a baby killer? If I intellectually support torture in certain circumstances, am I a torturer?

    50. Yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Yes, SK. I think Zach kills babies with his own bare hands. He doesn’t pussyfoot around—except about spelling out pussyfoot.

      Allow me to introduce you to my little friend: hyperbole.

    51. SK Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Oh, you’re in favor of hyperbole, but you object to figures of speech? Got it.

    52. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Well, you’re in favor of figures of speech but object to hyperbole. Jump ball.

    53. SK Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I suppose I do object to calling someone a bold baby killer when it’s just hyperbole and it’s unamusing as well.

      “. . . I think abortions should be safe, legal, and accessible.”

      They aren’t safe for the unborn, Mr. Devout Christian. But you meant for the mother, I know. I may call you yankeefan Gosnell. : )

    54. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I think at this point, we’re beating a dead baby.

    55. SK Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Lovely.

    56. yankeefan Says:
      April 12th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      BTW, I just looked up Gosnell. Now that sh*t’s cold!

    Comments