Whoa! This conversation went way off the rails! To be honest, I just skimmed it because it seemed a little too fraught to examine closely.
I've been an unlicensed architect for almost 20 years and I now no longer give a damn about what people want to do with their buildings, even though it's my job to get designs to code and get them permitted. I've learned to let some things go. And let people be responsible for their own health, happiness, and safety. I've totally lost interest in arguing a position on anything as well. I think age has something to do with that, and I love it. I'm also an Aspie. Quite similar to Bonnie:
I smile, make small talk, look in the eyes, ask pertinent personal questions and respond with empathy. On first meeting, people like me-----problem is, I really don't relate to them internally----I never learn their name----I don't recall the last conversation. To me, what sticks are ideas, principles, patterns, and solutions to problems. Try as I can to attach the people to the abstract, my brain doesn't care! I don't reciprocate gifts or phone calls; I get in trouble when I see person again and I have no idea what went on before. I'm the person in the photo with his back to the others, I'm happy by myself! I work alone just fine--sorry if it makes you uncomfortable. But if you ask for help to fix something and I'll be right beside you; so please don't hesitate to ask.
Well, except for the smiling, small talk, and looking in the eyes part Bonnie and I could be twins.
Anyway, it's been my experience that I get along okay in communities. It's not the community I butt heads with. In fact, be it job or intentional community or co-workers or social groups, people usually like me because my observations just.make.sense and I clearly care a great deal and they appreciate my perspective and different approach to things. I come value-added and I have something to offer. It's typically whoever is in charge and - despite the structure, no matter how egalitarian or anarchic or progressive or whatever they say they are - there is ALWAYS someone in charge, who has more of a share, or more power, or more money, or thinks they have more knowledge, that is the problem; that I butt heads with. I tend to look at systems. I notice when things aren't running smoothly and how they could be improved. I never claim to know it all, but I can identify problems and suggest group brainstorms of fixes. This is appreciated by everyone oppressed by the problems, but not by whoever set up the flawed system to begin with, because it doesn't reflect well on them. I seem to be able to get along with other neurotypes, just not narcissists/egoists and sociopaths. They regard me as a threat.
You know, the world is often discussing how to deal with autistic people but not realizing that, outnumbered, we have to deal with "normal" people to a greater degree just as a function of math! We are stretching to meet social norms each and every day. And it is not easy. But nobody stretches to meet us. What would that require? Maybe slowing down a second and listening? Maybe being a little patient? Maybe looking for positives instead of flaws?
I also don't know how power-hungry controlling ego-centric narcissistic exploitative people came to be thought of us "normal" (and yes, those types exist in the alternative and activist and ecological and organic and permaculture world as well) and we on the autism spectrum came to be thought of us lesser. The world is often an upside-down place.
I have found recently, meeting other autistics regularly - ones all over the spectrum, from severely disabled to so high-functioning you might question their being different at all - and I find them VERY easy to get along with. Thoughtful, tolerant, intelligent, respectful, gentle, kind.
I worked with another Aspie one time - and he was overbearing and everyone was annoyed by his superior air. He was making the slightly dense guy who worked under him's life miserable. I finally pointed out that the guy really needed some thoughtful training and that he would be good at training him since he had such a wealth of knowledge, and maybe he could find a way to explain some common sense to the guy as well as the more technical knowledge he needed to learn - to give him a strong foundation. The Aspie was inspired. He became a really good teacher. It was rewarding. He started just giving away helpful tips to people and smiling more. He was still a little overbearing, but everyone was benefiting from it and nobody minded anymore. Like all people, autistic people just need to have a role that utilizes their talents and then society recognizes their value more. And then we have a reason to communicate as well.
I would ask, does the larger "normal" (neurotypical) world bother to try to understand the autistic world? Can they learn to respect private space, and listen more? The phrase, "still waters run deep" comes to mind. It is easy to rush past and miss something beautiful.
Me personally, I find the neurotypical world far too political and stressful and exhausting. Reaching consensus with more aggressive types might be the death of me - both figuratively and literally. I'm attracted to homesteading primarily to get away from social stress and wouldn't want to recreate it on a smaller scale. I feel like the world could learn a lot from us and needs us more than we need it, actually.