Does no one else find this weird? I can’t speak to Simon Barnes’ childhood. Maybe Down Syndrome children were treated like freaks back in the day. Maybe. But was it really the nightmare landscape he’s describing? I honestly don’t know. Some of what he’s saying seems implausible to me. As if no one had ever heard of Down Syndrome kids, or ever met them.
Who were the people going into conniptions when they were shown a child who’d been born with some problems? People certainly had kids with birth defects – and far more often than now, in fact, what with abortion and all that – back in the day. In what social group was it unacceptable to acknowledge that you had a child with birth defects? I suspect that that was actually reasonably routine.
Notice how Barnes’ ideological position is entirely dependent upon his personal issues. Of course he writes for The Spectator. I suppose you could see The Spectator as a sort of British National Review: officially conservative but in reality Give Me A Break.