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A feature of Asperger's syndrome that can be advantageous to society is a concern with social justice and discrimination against minority groups. This can sometimes be strikingly developed in Asperger's cases, often because of their characteristic impatience with conventional hypocrisy and publicly-accepted double standards (not to mention the fact that they sometimes feel the victims of discrimination themselves). Modern societies have canonized such concerns in law and public attitudes, and a number of famous campaigners for equal rights and social justice have been posthumously proposed as Asperger's cases. Among these are John Howard (c.1726-1790), the social reformer and founder of the Howard League for Penal Reform; and Simone Weil (1901-43), who has been described as having "an almost pathological receptiveness to the sufferings of others." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third President of the USA, 1801-9, and author of A Summary View of the Rights of America (1774) is another case.
Modern authorities on autism have described autistics as "truth-tellers" and, thanks to their bottom-up, devil-in-the-detail style of cognition, are often the first to see that the emperor has no clothes or that the great idol has feet of clay. Furthermore, thanks to their deficits where mentalism is concerned, they are also likely to be the ones to blurt out the truth, and draw attention to the inconvenient fact, irrespective of what others may think.
Here too, modern societies bear a striking comparison with such Asperger's cases because it is with the Enlightenment and age of science that a new objectivity and detachment emerged among intellectuals, politicians, and writers that encouraged public criticism, whistle-blowing, and open debate of issues that previously would either have been totally taboo (like the existence of the deity) or actively suppressed (like criticism of the ruling elite or questioning of social conventions). With modern industrial societies, however, such "autistic" honesty and objective criticism have become institutionalized in two-party, adversarial political and legal systems, in journalism and the media, and in philosophy and the social sciences. The result is that whistle-blowers, truth-tellers, and critics of all kinds are routinely applauded and rewarded as often as they are castigated and punished—and sometimes experience both fates simultaneously!