Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rest easy – autists are in control: powerful and political people who may be or may have been on the autistic spectrum
(updated February 2008)

Daisy Bates (1863-1951, real name Daisy May (O'Dwyer) Bates, Irish-Australian journalist, welfare worker and amateur anthropologist involved with the Australian Aboriginal people, briefly married to “Breaker” Morant (both of her husbands were breakers of wild horses), applied for position Protector of Aborigines in the Northern Territory in 1912, rejected due to being female, appointed Honorary Protector of Aborigines at Eucla, her welfare work financed by sale of her cattle station, in later years she advised the federal government on Aboriginal affairs, made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1934, wore Edwardian fashions including boots, gloves and veil her whole life, is believed to have worn pistols even in old age and was prepared to use them, identified as possibly having had Asperger syndrome (AS) in the book Unstoppable brilliance: Irish geniuses and Asperger’s syndrome by Prof. M. Fitzgerald and A. Walker)

Gordon Brown (b. 1951, full name James Gordon Brown, born in Scotland, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, former Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK, leader of the Labour Party in the UK, an academic high achiever in high school, accepted into university at the age of 16, completed a doctorate, “dour and often awkward in public”, Brown has been accused by various political enemies of being autistic, a control freak, uncollegiate and psychologically flawed, recently described as “tough as steel” regarding national security issues but compassionate)

King Charles XII of Sweden (1682-1718, displayed talent as a tactician from a young age by defeating invading nations, Sweden reached it’s height of power under Charles’s reign but his decision to attack Russia lead to the end of the Swedish Empire, Charles abstained from alcohol and women, displayed a high tolerance for pain, and was thought to lack emotion, he was interested in mathematics and is thought to have invented an octal numeral system, identified as possibly on the autistic spectrum by Swedish Asperger syndrome expert Professor C. Gillberg, Charles XII has been described as "pretty hardcore")

Bram Cohen (b.1975, author of the BitTorrent computer downloading program, co-founder and CEO of the BitTorrent company, the first words that he learned to read were computer programming commands, displayed precocious talent in computer programming, dropped out of college, self-diagnosed with Asperger syndrome)

Robert Emmet (1778-1803, Irish nationalist leader who was captured, tried and executed after leading an unsuccessful rebellion against British rule, a heroic figure in Irish history, identified as possibly having had AS in the book Unstoppable brilliance: Irish geniuses and Asperger’s syndrome by Prof M. Fitzgerald and A. Walker)

Tim Fischer AC (b. 1946, Australian ex-politician, a railway enthusiast since childhood, drafted into the army and led a platoon in Vietnam, married at age of 46, was the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Trade Minister and leader of the National Party of Australia, resigned as party leader and minister in 1999, left politics to spend time with family including a son diagnosed with autism, Fischer quoted in 1999: “…to some extent I had a very mild form of autism in my early years.”, has a reputation for being inarticulate but is a well-respected public figure, M)

Bill Gates (b.1955, real name William Gates III, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation and has been the chief software architect and CEO of Microsoft, has been the richest person in the world for many years and still is, a global philanthropist, dropped out of Harvard, is reputed to have a very high IQ and an extraordinary memory, is reputed to have a bad temper and a tendency towards arrogance, rudeness and absent-mindedness, at least in his younger years, according to Rivlin Gates read an encyclopaedia through when he was a child and Gates' mother took him to see a psychiatrist at the age of 11 because she was concerned at his shyness and remoteness, the outcome being that the psychiatrist considered Gates to be unchangeable, at least one sequence of images exists of Gates rocking in an autistic manner, Gates has been the subject of speculation about being autistic from a number of different sources over many years)

John Howard (1726–1790, English philanthropist and prison reformer, NOT the Australian P.M., described in the book Asperger syndrome and high achievement by Prof. I. James and also identified as having had AS by psychiatrist Philip Lucas)

Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863, real name Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, confederate general in the American Civil War, identified as having had AS in an academic paper by Asperger syndrome expert Prof. Michael Fitzgerald)

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826, US President, identified as having had AS in the book Asperger syndrome and high achievement by Prof. I. James and also in two books by Norman Ledgin)

Sir Keith Joseph (CH, PC) (1918-1994, British conservative politician, has been described as “the founder of modern conservatism in Britain” and “one of the most influential politicians of the late twentieth century.”, identified as autistic in the book Autism and creativity: is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability? by AS expert Prof. Michael Fitzgerald)

Patrick Pearse (1879- 1916, also known as Pádraig Pearse, Irish nationalist rebel and political activist, also a teacher, barrister, poet and writer, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916, may have been declared the President of the Provisional Government but this is unclear, was executed, was the subject of speculation during his life and after his death that he may have been homosexual despite there apparently being no evidence that he engaged in hetero or homo-sexual activity, identified as possibly having had AS in the book Unstoppable brilliance: geniuses and Asperger’s syndrome by Prof. M. Fitzgerald and A. Walker)

King Philip II of Spain (1527–1598, under Philip II Spain reached the peak of it’s power, Philip organized a Holy League between Spain and other states and assembled a fleet of ships which were used to destroy most of the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the decisive Battle of Lepanto, in 1588 Philip sent the Spanish Armada in an attempt at a Catholic invasion of England, Philip was a “fervent Roman Catholic” who made a substantial contribution to opposing Protestantism in Europe, he showed consideration of some of his most humble subjects but had a bad relationship with his eldest son, identified as possibly having been on the autistic spectrum in the book Asperger syndrome and high achievement by Prof. I. James, who also claims that the co-authors of a medical history of Philip published in the 1950s identified his personality as “autistic or schizotypal”)

Enoch Powell (MBE) (1912-1998, real name John Enoch Powell, controversial right-wing British politician, identified as having had AS in the book Asperger Syndrome - A Gift or a Curse? by Viktoria Lyons and Prof Fitzgerald)

Paul Robeson (1898-1976, American singer, civil rights activist, actor, athlete and writer, qualified as a lawyer, of African-American heritage, was the only black student during his time at Rutgers University, condemned racism, segregation and lynching in the US, defended Stalin’s policies and won a Stalin Peace Prize in 1952, had a powerful bass-baritone singing voice, fluent in around 12 languages and studied other languages)

Richard Stallman (b.1953, software engineer, founder of the free software movement, inventor of the “copyleft” concept, awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1990, leads an unconventional spartan lifestyle based at a university, speaks a number of languages, in an interview Stallman described a difficult and rebellious childhood in which he was sent to a private school in which most students “were either insane or stupid”, and according to another source “Stallman considers himself afflicted, to some degree, by autism, a condition that, he says, makes it difficult for him to interact with people.”)

Screaming Lord Sutch (1940-1999, born David Edward Sutch, changed his name to Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow even though he had no such title, British eccentric, rock musician, co-founder of a successful protest party, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party which had the election slogan "Vote for insanity: you know it makes sense.", an LP of Sutch's was voted the worst album of all time, he combined horror themes with rock music in stage shows years before glam rock or Alice Cooper, disliked illicit drugs but drank a lot of tea, closet dyslexic and a poor speller but a fan of George Orwell, memorized the political satire novel Animal Farm, a house-clutterer, used note-taking for organization but had a reputation for being late, one ex-girlfriend reported in a biography to have claimed that she and Sutch knew he had Asperger syndrome, irregular sleeper, suffered from severe headaches, reported as diagnosed with depression, committed suicide late in life reportedly with depression and bipolar disorder drugs Prozac and Lithium in his system, never married but survived by a son)

Eamon de Valera (1882-1975, Irish president, author of Ireland’s constitution, professor of mathematics, identified as having AS or autistic features in the book Autism and creativity: is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability? by AS expert Prof. Michael Fitzgerald and also in the book Unstoppable brilliance: Irish geniuses and Asperger’s syndrome by Prof. M. Fitzgerald and A. Walker and also in an academic paper by Prof. M. Fitzgerald)


Bezroukov, Nikolai (1996-2006) Portraits of open source pioneers: chapter 3 Prince Kropotkin of software: Richard Stallman and the war of the software clones.
[Richard Stallman]

Bill Gates. (1998) You Tube. (recorded September 2nd 1998).
[video of Bill Gates rocking]

Caplan, Arthur (2005) Would you have allowed Bill Gates to be born?: advances in prenatal genetic testing pose tough questions. May 31 2005.
[Bill Gates]

Elmer-DeWitt, Philip and Farley, Christopher Joh (1994) Diagnosing Bill Gates. Time. Vol. 142 Issue 4:p 25.
[Bill Gates]

Fischer `mildly autistic' as child (1999) The Newcastle Herald (includes the Central Coast Herald). Dec 14, 1999. Edition: Late, Section: News, pg. 5
[Tim Fischer]

Fitzgerald, Michael (2004) Autism and creativity: is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability? Brunner-Routledge.
[Wittgenstein, Sir Keith Joseph, Eamon de Valera, W. B. Yeats, Lewis Carroll, Ramanujan, Socrates, this book is partially available to read through Google Book Search]

Fitzgerald M. (2003) Did ‘Stonewall’ Jackson have Asperger’s syndrome? Society of Clinical Psychiatrists
[Stonewall Jackson]

Fitzgerald, Michael (2001) Did President Eamon De Valera have a developmental disorder? Journal of Medical Biography. Vol. 9, no. 4 (Nov. 2001).
[Eamon De Valera]

Gillberg, C. (2002) [Charles XII seems to have fulfilled all the criteria of Asperger syndrome] (article in Swedish) Lakartidningen. 2002 Nov. 28;99 (48):4837-8.
[Charles XII of Sweden]

Grandin, Temple (1995) Thinking in pictures: and other reports from my life with autism. 1st edition. Doubleday. 1995.
[Einstein, Wittgenstein, van Gogh, Bill Gates]

Gross, Michael (accessed 2007) Richard Stallman, high school misfit, symbol of free software, MacArthur-certified genius. The More Things Change.
[Richard Stallman]

Harris, Robert (2006) “Autistic” Brown loses the plot. The Sunday Times. TimesOnline. September 10, 2006.,,2087-2350740.html
[Gordon Brown]

James, Ioan (2005) Asperger syndrome and high achievement: some very remarkable people. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
[Michelangelo, Philip of Spain, Newton, Swift, John Howard, Cavendish, Jefferson, van Gogh, Satie, Russell, Einstein, Bartók, Ramanujan, Wittgenstein, Kinsey, Weil, Turing, Highsmith, Warhol, Glenn Gould]

Lagerkvist, B. (2002) [Charles XII had all symptoms of Asperger syndrome: stubbornness, a stereotyped existence and lack of compassion] (article in Swedish) Lakartidningen. 2002 Nov. 28;99(48):4874-8.
[Charles XII of Sweden]

Ledgin, Norman (2002) Asperger’s and self-esteem: insight and hope through famous role models. Future Horizons, 2002.
[Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Orson Welles, Marie Curie, Carl Sagan, Glenn Gould, Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Bela Bartok, Paul Robeson, Gregor Mendel, Oscar Levant, John Hartford, Temple Grandin, a book that is supposed to be an esteem-builder that appears to be loaded with negative and antiquated language]

Ledgin, Norman (2000) Diagnosing Jefferson: evidence of a condition that guided his beliefs, behavior and personal associations. Future Horizons, 2000.
[Thomas Jefferson, this entire book appears to be available to read through Google Book Search]

Lee, Ellen (2006) Founder of BitTorrent unlocks the secrets of online file sharing. San Francisco Chronicle. August 8th 2006 Edition: final, Section: business, p. F1.
[Bram Cohen]

Lucas, Philip (2001) John Howard and Asperger's Syndrome: psychopathology and philanthropy. History of Psychiatry. 2001 12: p.73-101.
[John Howard (1726-1790)]

Lucas, Philip and Anne Sheeran (2006) Asperger’s syndrome and the eccentricity and genius of Jeremy Bentham. Journal of Bentham Studies. Number 8
[Jeremy Bentham]

Lyons, Viktoria and Fitzgerald, Michael (2005) Asperger Syndrome - A Gift or a Curse? Nova Science Publishers Inc.
[Kinsey, Kubrick, Patricia Highsmith, Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Robert Walser, Joy Adamson, Enoch Powell, William James Sidis, Kurt Goedel]

On the brink 1 – Tim Fischer. Life Matters. ABC Radio National. 13th December 1999.
[“The first of our series 'On the Brink', about the teenage years…” Fischer claimed to have had a degree of autism]

Rivlin, Gary (1999) The plot to get Bill Gates: an irreverent investigation of the world's richest man and the people who hate him. Random House.
[Bill Gates]

Roth, Daniel (2006) Torrential reign. In: The best American science and nature writing 2006. editor; Brian Greene, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, p. 201-209.
[Bram Cohen]

Roth, Daniel (2005) Torrential reign. Fortune. October 31 2005.
[Bram Cohen]

Royal College of Psychiatrists (2006) Royal College of Psychiatrists Annual Meeting 2006 Glasgow: Thatcherism founder had Asperger's Syndrome. (press release) The Royal College of Psychiatrists. 11th July 2006.
[Sir Keith Joseph, Enoch Powell, Eamon de Valera, W. B. Yeats, Sir Isaac Newton]

Sharpe, Graham (2005) The man who was Screaming Lord Sutch. Aurum Press. 2005.
[David (Screaming Lord) Sutch]

Thompson, Ben (accessed 2007) Badass of the week: Charles XII of Sweden. Ben Thompson: my stupid website.
[an amusing piece about Charles XII of Sweden]

Walker, Antionette and Fitzgerald, Michael (2006) Unstoppable brilliance: Irish geniuses and Asperger’s syndrome. Liberties Press. 2006.
[Robert Emmet, Pádraig Pearse, Éamon de Valera, Robert Boyle, William Rowan Hamilton, Daisy Bates, WB Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett]

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation.

Wright, Tony and Gray, Darren (1999) Fischer claims autistic links with his child. The Age (Melbourne). December 14th 1999. Edition: National, Section: News, pg. 3.
[Tim Fischer] (2005) Bram Cohen: creator of BitTorrent.
[Bram Cohen]

Copyright Lili Marlene 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.


nitro2k01 said...

Just a comment about Gordon Brown. The quote about him, “Brown’s alleged psychopathology … bears little relation to autism” should, according to me, be interpreted as a negative, ie the quote tells us that he probably isn't on the spectrum.

Lili Marlene said...

That's the way I interpreted Fitzgerald's comment too. I put the comment in because Fitzgerald could be regarded as an expert on the "famous aspies" thing, and the comment is relevant to the subject.

I'm trying to be fairly objective in writing this list, giving information relevant to deciding if some famous person is on the spectrum or not. There is one person in my main list who I personally doubt is on the spectrum, but who has been written about in one of Prof. Fitzgerald's books.

I personally believe Brown is on the spectrum. There's a very interesting bit of information about Brown in the biographical Wikipedia article about him, the significance of which one would only suspect if they had a good knowledge of autistic stims.

Another thing, what about this rather unkind quote about Brown; "... the alarming smile which seems to appear from nowhere as if a button marked “smile” has been pressed in his head,..." Do you know what other famous person does the exact same thing? Nobel Prize winning biologist James Watson, who has an autistic son and who I believe has very strong autistic traits or is an aspie. I've written about Watson a long time ago at the AFF (Watson wants to decode the genes for autism and eliminate autism), and I even described Watson's peculiar fake smiling behaviour on the AFF forum. I saw Watson doing this odd smiling on the "DNA" TV documentary series. I believe both Watson and Brown are aspies who are "passing for normal" and this "reminding yourself to smile" thing is a classic example of the kind of things aspies do when trying hard to create an inauthentic neurotypical persona. In my everyday life I am constantly reminding myself to smile just at the right moment in social situations. I've been reminding myself for so many years that it is almost automatic now, but it will never be natural behaviour for me.

Lili Marlene said...

What a silly goose I am. I didn't notice the difference between "Dr Michael Fitzgerald" and "Dr Michael Fitzpatrick". I've fixed everything now. My excuse is that I am not used to these Irish names.