April 1 Breaking News: ‘Ethics Disorder’ a Disease

Washington, D.C. – In a stunning announcement on the steps of the Capitol today, scientists from four leading research centers believe they have found a direct link between the ethics scandals of the last five years – perhaps going back as far as five decades – and a chemical imbalance in the brain.

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The new disease, which scientists are calling ‘Involuntary Ethics Disorder,’ affects that portion of the brain where moral, cognitive function takes place.

Now, 6 years to the day of that announcement, word comes from the physicians group behind the notable Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) that the 2017 edition will officially recognize the disorder.

As I reported previously (Apr. 1, 2009), Dr. U.R. Stuck, senior marketing chief at the Public Parody Center for the Advancement of Newly Discovered Dysfunctional Diseases (or P-CANDy, for short) said, “Much like Tourette’s syndrome, I.E.D. concerns a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes hundreds, perhaps even thousands of individuals to lie, cheat, and steal while completely convinced that they have done nothing wrong.”

The study was based on a series of nationwide interviews and blood tests of more than 15,000 CEOs, politicians, athletes and New York lawyers involved in one or more ethics-related transgressions. The research was funded by the group Special Ways of Finding Excuses Today (SWiFFTy), a non-denominational, political/corporate action committee based in the Cayman Islands.

The findings show the little-studied disorder is much more common than previously thought. “It seems to be particularly demonstrative in that segment of society involving money, power and professional sporting events,” Dr. Stuck said. “We have documented an abnormally large percentage of IEDs in and around Washington, D.C., Wall Street and major sporting events around the country.”

Defense attorneys for convicted Enron honcho Jeff Skilling announced, “We never thought of this before. It’s a whole new ball game for us in the appeals process.”

In a similar statement, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, through his attorneys, announced, “We’re rethinking the whole immunity thing right now.”

However, the news is not so good for others. Author and ethics specialist Jim Lichtman is reported to have lost a number of new and potential clients as a direct result of the study.

“Everyone’s cancelled on me! I had contracts with a laundry list of Wall Street types, pro athletes, politicians, lawyers, you name it,” Lichtman cried. “But rather than sign up for much-needed ethics training, they’re all waiting around for some magic pill they can take. I’ve had to return almost $1 million in deposits. It’s disgusting!”

Asked if he was planning on taking any legal action, Lichtman responded, “I’m looking in to it, but I’ve been told, it would be an uphill battle. Look, I’m just trying to make a living, here, and if I can’t make it off the backs of the unethical people in Washington, Wall Street and sports teams, where am I supposed to go, welfare?

In a related story, a small fight broke out shortly after the announcement between the “road rage” people and the “ethics rage” scientists – each one claiming the acronym “I.E.D.” A group of Marines, on leave from Iraq, joined the fracas claiming “I.E.D.” should be exclusive to military usage regarding the deadly “Improvised Explosive Device.”

However, car manufacturer Toyota has weighed in saying those other terms infringe on their right to use “Integrated Electric Drive” for their Prius hybrid electric car.

The study has yet to determine the exact cause of the disorder. “It could be genetic,” Dr. Stuck says, “but there’s strong evidence to suggest that it is transmitted from person to person, much like the Bird Flu. If that’s the case, we could be looking at a whole new pandemic.”

Dr. Stuck advises anyone with a predisposition for prevarication, rationalization, creative accounting or an inflated batting average to avoid all direct contact with individuals who are known liars, cheaters and thieves, at least until all the evidence has been closely examined.

Meanwhile, ethics consultant Lichtman can be seen hitch-hiking the roadsides of America, holding a cardboard sign reading: “Will Ethically Pontificate For Food!”

Followers of this site might recognize this from a post in 2009. In today’s post-fact, post-ethics, post-toasties world (in certain buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue), it seems more relevant than ever.

I’m off on a little research trip; returning Wednesday.

3 comments… add one
  • Gary Lange March 31, 2017, 9:15 am

    Wow Jim, I am doubting that “Involuntary Ethics Disorder” will also show up in the next edition of the American Psychological Disorder’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders!?! Have a great road trip–always help to clear the mind.

    • Jim Lichtman March 31, 2017, 9:40 am

      It just might make it… by Executive Order!

  • Steve Plone April 4, 2017, 9:40 am

    My funny bone was working overtime! Thanks for the laughs, Jim.

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