The geniuses at Harvard Medical School, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, studied 9,000 people and have come up with a new name for what is commonly known as road rage -- intermittent explosive disorder or IED. They estimate that 16 million people nationwide are afflicted with IED, or what our mothers used to call rudeness or bad temper. On average, those afflicted with IED can expect to fly into a rage 43 times in their lifetime (usually beginning around age 14) and will cause $1,300 damage to other people's personal property.

IED is simply the latest in a series of bad personal decisions and poor behaviors that are now deemed involuntary conditions or official diseases. Are you too fat, too skinny, a pedophile, sleeping around, or beating your spouse? Not to worry. Somewhere in America, right now, a group of people is working on your behalf, relieving you of responsibility for your actions and placing it on "society."

It starts with a group of researchers identifying a trait in a group of people that many of us find undesirable. Researchers apply for a grant (the dollars begin) from the government or a group like the National Institute of Mental Health. They study thousands of people and determine, yep, some folks get a little pissy on the freeways and some go further than that. Not content with passé (and unprofitable) terms, such as "bad behavior" or "character flaw," they attach a medical name to the acts. Now we really have some traction.

There is a radical cure for disorder avoidance syndrome: personal responsibility. It's not recognized by the ADA, understood by the government, administered by doctors, cured by drugs, supported by the ACLU, allowed as a defense by judges, or taught in public schools. However, if you have a chance, take a dose.

- Scott Harris, of Thousand Oaks, is executive director of Golden Again, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded to bring accountability to Sacramento. He can be reached at scott@goldenagain.com . His blog can be seen at blogs.venturacountystar.com/vcs/scottharris/ and, starting July 29, you can also hear him every Saturday at 3 p.m. on KVTA 1520 AM and KKZZ 1590 AM.

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