warning: Satire. The intellectually challenged and situationally oblivious are strongly cautioned.
Since it's April — another month coopted for "awareness" so as to limit shame on the subject the other eleven months of the year — and a certain type of behavioral challenges are what we're supposed to be aware of this month, I'd like us all to be more aware of, and have greater acceptance for, a behavioral challenge faced every day by a high proportion of the politically prominent. Although this challenge is not presently recognized by the mental health community,1 the subclass of those confronting it merits vastly greater attention.
I refer, of course, to moraldivergence. Those afflicted with moraldivergence are treated with less understanding, and even greater disdain (and disgust), than those afflicted with physical ailments, like leprosy and fully-symptomatic carriers of the human immunodeficiency virus. This lack of acceptance on occasion culminates in profound and permanent social disapproval with extreme consequences resulting from acts that — from the perspective of the moraldivergent — are perfectly normal for those of their responsibilities.2
This overt discrimination is particularly disquieting when applied by persons who do not share the same cultural imperatives as the targeted moraldivergent individual. There is no U.S. Senate Rule XIX in ordinary public discourse, which leads to ugly accusations of "war crimes" and "genocide" against a not-insignificant proportion of politically prominent moraldivergents. This is simply not acceptable; it leads to unclear communication and a shameful failure among the moral-abled to accept that moraldivergents are just acting naturally — particularly, it seems, in disputed, unclear, and unsettled political contexts. A perceived desire for lebensraum on behalf of those whose interests have been entrusted to a moraldivergent surely cannot be an appropriate rationale for overt and intentional discrimination against the moraldivergent,3 regardless of the particular political or historical overtones.4
- It used to be an established recognition and even routine diagnosis in some parts of the world, but that has faded since the early 1990s. See, e.g., Jason Luty's helpful summary and a specific illustration from a less-acclaimed-than-she-should-have-been author who suffered from ghettoization throughout her writing career — rather ironic in itself, as a failure of awareness in the self-identified fully-abled.
- Although well beyond the scope of this short essay, public reactions to moraldivergence frequently implicate free exercise of religion. That the religion in question frequently resembles self-worship to the fully moral-abled is irrelevant — it is fundamentally a free-exercise issue.
That quasireligious conflict and selectivity frequently intersects with the free-exercise aspects of moraldivergence has mostly escaped comment. Compare, e.g., the full record that resulted in Church of Lukumi Babalu Ayé v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), with Justice Stewart's reservations in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964).
- It is not, perhaps, as irrelevant as it might seem to compare the "fair use" aspects of material frequently mischaracterized by mere lawyers as "parody" (a legally-proper parody qualifies as fair use) with other material mischaracterized by lawyers as mere "satire" (does not qualify as fair use). See generally Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994); cf. Dr. Seuss Enters., LP v. Penguin Books USA, Inc., 109 F.3d 1394 (9th Cir. 1997) (lawyers did not force courts to confront the radical change of context and presentation itself as the parody, and thus lost because it was only satire… and about judges, contra Campbell, 510 U.S. at 582–83).
- So as to avoid distracting invocations of 10 U.S.C. § 888 and similar red herrings, there is only a single reference directly to United States persons in the body of this essay, and even that is somewhat indirect. But this is a footnote, so slightly-less-indirectly referencing a few will not cross the line to "contempt" — particularly since, as this note is below the horizontal line, the individuals referred to are beneath contempt.