It’s a Functional Test, Mr. President
In the realm of physical and intellectual disabilities the trend has been away from diagnosis to that of a “functional test.” The move to look at what a person can do versus not do came about due to the complexities of trying to define the term Disability and then apply it to a person’s specific limitations. The functional test concept was created to both defend a person’s rights and to limit the cost to society for accommodating that person in public places and with services designed to make the highest level of participation in society possible.
An example of applying a functional test is one where a man seeks to be allowed to schedule demand response transportation services to get to work and home. The original “paratransit” services in America were created to provide transport to people who used wheelchairs and could not get up the steps of a transit coach. Bus companies created a parallel system using small vehicles with lifts to accommodate such non-ambulatory riders. Once lifts where a common piece of equipment of transit vehicles, the needs changed.
The man mentioned above now can board the bus so his access to the paratransit service would be eliminated. It may seem straight forward, but some people also have cognitive disabilities which impede their use of lift equipped transit coaches. They may not be able to get from their house to the bus stop when snow covers the ground and the walkways are not cleared. Now the determination is not as definitive.
This is where the functional test comes into play. The rider’s individual abilities and limitations are not what is important. Why he has those abilities and limitations is likewise not relevant. Even the diagnosis of those limitations are not important. What matters is can he get to the bus, board it and ride to his destination, get off the bus and to his destination. If he cannot do that reliably, he remains eligible for the demand response services.
Here is where the parallels begin to show. Being a liar may or may not be a cognitive disability. The liar may be pathological, ie, he cannot help himself and lies continuously. He may lie for an agenda of his own or for the agenda of one or more other people. He may lie because he cannot discern the difference between factual statements and statements which are demonstrable false. He may lie because he derives pleasure in the lie and being rewarded for them.
In the first example, there is a behavioral element which might be considered a disability. The second is intentional, controlled and may be classified as propaganda to deceive the listeners and confuse their understandings. The third example is a disability and may not be treatable. The fourth example is wholly a personality issue. In the functional test all of the secondary factors drop out of the equation leaving the core concern: is the person a reliable source of information?
When the person who is disposed to lying continuously is some ordinary guy working is a warehouse who makes up tales of his romantic exploits and denies being the one who toppled the pallet of canned peas all over the floor, his impact on the functioning of the world is negligible. However, when the liar is the President of the United States, there is a huge problem and people’s lives are adversely impacted by the fact of the lying irrespective of why he does it. The functional test demonstrates the statements are indeed false and the reason is not part of the equation.
When a person continuously lies about nearly everything uttered he either derives some benefit from it, doesn’t realize the lies are indeed lies, can’t stop himself or some combination of the three. Irrespective of why the lies, the man speaking them is not a fit person for the most important position in American government and military circles.
A person with an uncompromised intellect who has found on occasion the need to make false statements he acts to mitigate future incidents. In the case of the 45th President of the United States, there is unequivocal evidence for a massive campaign of lies spanning 3 years of his Administration and exceeding 10,000 in number. When confronted with the reality he first denies he lies, asserts he never lies, accuses his accusers of being the liars, get people to lie for him and proceeds to lie more. Then he repeats the cycle again and again.
If he can’t see that he lies, that is a huge problem. If he lies on purpose, that is an equally huge problem. The functional test doesn’t care which of the reasons the lies are told only that the lies are told and do the damage which is done. The damage which is done either by malice or intellectual limitations amounts to creating US policies which benefit the nation’s long term adversaries. Again the functional test measures the outcome of the lies and policies and whether they benefit our adversaries or hinders them.
One doesn’t have to be asked to help nor agree to help an adversary to be complicit in helping them. The Latin phrase Ipso Facto says it all: The facts speak for themselves.