[This spilled onto the page during a routine ponderment of the current state of SSI/disability benefits; the fact that the only remaining reason I have not yet been awarded them is an alleged “noncompliance” with controversial and inhumane “treatments” aimed at changing core aspects of who I am and how I function, in ways that are neither medically dangerous nor anyones fucking business to dictate; my refusal to change my actual personality and my adherence to my core human values and morals being directly stated as the reason I do not have or deserve the right to even be safely housed and fed. Then I tripped and added statistics and citations.]
The United States government forces its mentally disabled and otherwise neurodivergent citizens to choose which to forsake, among their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; it structurally forces them to abandon their liberty and their right to a pursuit of happiness under their own terms, in order to be treated as deserving the right to live. This is a completely unconstitutional and unethical form of eugenics. It creates a system where you either retain your human autonomy and your right to live as disabled, and are left for dead, or, you compromise your rights to identity, self-directed medical care, and the value of living ones true experience, in order to receive the same permission and opportunity to survive and thrive while being genuine to one’s inner self that an abled citizen does. That you must either make your goal to be as abled as possible (and you must succeed, to an extent monetarily measurable), or else accept an impoverished death directly due to a lack of basic necessities, even while being a lifetime legal resident of a self-proclaimed first world country, is a perfectly functional way to enforce eugenic ideals upon the population. It refuses equal rights to the disabled and effectively culls the population of undesirables, no matter what quality and length of life they might have enjoyed if their rights and needs had been equally (and constitutionally) met.
Notably, if a disabled individual is unable to keep themselves alive without this help that is denied, it logically follows that they would likely not survive long enough to reproduce and successfully raise a child to adulthood, a child who might be born with or later experience the onset of similar socially-undesired traits, and a learned respect for the disabled experience. This furthers the eugenic majority and control exponentially with each generation, ensuring that governmental laws directly dictate the genetics and abilities of its living population, while patriotic [and able-bodied] citizens loudly boast about a vague sense of “freedom” apparently awarded by the same government.
Some may argue that you can still choose to be disabled “against your best interests,” but a choice between death, and submission of your human autonomy, is a false choice, both in the sense that it is a false dichotomy (with the unrevealed third option being for the larger population to systematically support the rights and lives of the disabled), but also that this is not an ethical choice to force people into making, despite the system being set up to force exactly that choice. If you tell someone subjected to chattel slavery that they have the “choice” of either living as a slave or being executed as a free man, that is not a genuine choice. Telling disabled people that they can “choose” to die homeless and starving, while being blamed, stigmatized, further disenfranchised, and even punished by law, for such circumstances, or, to submit to the system’s impossible demand for conformity (and the imperfect, unpleasant, and often dangerous or even tortuous medical treatments, for conditions that endanger no one, that any other human being has the right to refuse without sacrificing their right to life and happiness), in exchange for their life, is not a genuine choice, and blatantly flies in the face of every US citizen’s right to simultaneous life and liberty. This could be described as a Morton’s Fork; two apparent options that inevitably lead to the same end. “Live under our definition of being worth the air you breathe, a life without agency or dignity, your daily experiences and very self altered and dictated by someone else’s rules, until you die, struggling to maintain yourself as a person you may not even recognize,” or, “just die, but at least the choice to do so was your own.” A disabled person is allowed no choice that leaves them living with dignity, with the right to stay alive exactly as they are, as being seen as worth their feed and care, unless they become a different person. Either way, the person they truly are, warts, disabilities, and all, must perish.
This is not a mistake, this is not a case of “falling through the cracks” or oblivious lawmaking; the system is functioning exactly as intended. It is also not an exaggeration; between this system of refusing the rights of disabled individuals, and the inadequate healthcare accessible primarily to the wealthy (who, inherently, are typically not disabled), this is an actual life or death situation for the disabled, and in fact, primarily a death situation.
In the US alone, an average of almost 10,000 people die each year while waiting for disability benefits (WApost). This does not count people who were unable or discouraged to apply in the first place, or who died after, and possibly because, their claim was denied. Compare that to the UK, where recent statistics cite over 17,000 people who died waiting for their benefits (again not counting those who saw it pointless to apply, or died after a denial)– but that was over a period of six years, not the one year and eight months it would take for that many to die in the US (Independent UK). Their average time for approval is also 14 weeks, which UK citizens outcry as cruel indifference– compared to the US average wait time of two years or more. And yet, with their disabled death rate less than a third of ours and an approval speed an eighth of ours, UK citizens are calling their system “cruel and callous,” “lengthy and traumatic,” and “a hostile environment for disabled people.” That’s also while those UK citizens have access to the NHS, socialized healthcare for all citizens, with even things like cancer treatment or organ replacement coming to near-no out of pocket cost. Here in the US, citizens who can’t afford expensive insurance premiums, don’t qualify for “free”/”low cost” healthcare, or find the incredibly limited coverage of such plans inadequate, will find that no option actually allows them affordable access to the healthcare they need; many people in this position are paying hundreds of dollars a month just for maintenance prescriptions. Many find themselves landed with even costlier medical conditions that could have been avoided or caught in more treatable stages had preventative care been affordable and accessible, and many others end up faced with the compounding trauma of homelessness (and often joblessness, trapping them in a self-defeating cycle) after they or a loved one suffer an already catastrophic accident, medical emergency, or just an expensive[-in-the-US] medical condition.
One might think this to be the unthinkably Orwellian kind of paranoid-persecution-fantasy found in speculative fiction, or an invention born from the popular and stigmatized tropes of unmedicated schizophrenics and conspiracy theorists, but horrifyingly, this is the state of our current, extant government; this genetic control and intentional thinning of the disabled and poor populations is in fact written into law, in the "free country” of the United States of America in the modern year 2020.