What comes after cap & trade?

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
Now that we're flirting with the Cap & Trade scheme proposed in the pending Climate Security Act before Congress, how about resurrecting the selling of indulgences and applying it to speech perceived as dissing another?  Call it Dis & Trade.

Seems like this silly season we've heard a myriad of apologies for things people said.  Hillary apologized for saying something historical about Robert Kennedy.  Obama apologized for calling a reporter "sweetie."  McCain apologized for remarks that a conservative talk-show guy made when warming up a McCain crowd.  Chris Matthews said he was sorry for a comment he made about Mrs. Clinton. The list of apologies for regrettable, unfortunate, ill-advised, unacceptable and downright dumb comments goes on.  No doubt with more to come.

These apologies soak up a lot of time and energy.  But in today's PC climate no sane person is going to take seriously John Wayne's advice when he said, in character, "Don't apologize - it's a sign of weakness."  So we need a Dis & Trade program that works something like Cap & Trade.

First, we categorize and catalogue all the conventional dis comments.  Of course their level of egregiousness varies widely.  You can't put, say, Don Imus' comment about a girls' college basketball team is the same dis category with Obama's "sweetie." And, for that matter, you can't equate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disparaging statements about Israel with what Don Imus said.

So there has to be a reasoned and impartial Delineated Calibration of Dissation - a DCD Table.  And who better to authenticate and adjudicate that than a U.N. High Commissioner for Dis & Trade? 

Why involve the U.N., you ask?  Well, because dissing knows no boundaries.  Remember when former French President Jacques Chirac insulted some eastern European countries that were hoping to join the European Union by saying they should "shut up" - or the French equivalent thereof?  That was a bonafided international dissing that screamed for a redress of grievance.  But without a Dis & Trade program, what could be done about it?  Boycott French brie?  Nothing could be done.  And that's how ill will festers between nations.

So we clearly see the international value of Dis & Trade.  It holds the promise of World Peace as world leaders buy the right to say insulting things about others, forgiven by DisChits purchased from world leaders who wouldn't think of saying anything offensive about anyone.  For example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could buy all the DisChits allotted to the Dalai Lama for when Mahmoud knows he's gone beyond the dis cap placed on offensive speech by the U.N.  Everybody wins. Mahmoud buys his way out of the international dog house while the Dalai Lama picks up extra spending money for his life in exile.  

A conglomeration of leaders of several smaller countries -- like Tokelau, Belize, Liechtenstein and Nauru -- could consolidate their DisChits in order to sell dispensation to Hugo Chavez, rendering him immune from criticism. 

There's no reason why this scheme wouldn't also work for intra-national politicians, as well as everyday plain folks.  If someone feels offended by what another says, he or she simply registers a dis-complaint with their regional Dis & Trade Authority, who adjudicates the infraction and imposes a dis-tax.  If the offender can't cover it with their own allotment of DisChits, they need only buy what's lacking from those who will never say anything that offends anyone - like monks in a monastery where all have taken a vow of silence.  (That is unless Father Michael Pfleger already bought them out.)

This could work.  At least as well as the Cap & Trade thing would.
Now that we're flirting with the Cap & Trade scheme proposed in the pending Climate Security Act before Congress, how about resurrecting the selling of indulgences and applying it to speech perceived as dissing another?  Call it Dis & Trade.

Seems like this silly season we've heard a myriad of apologies for things people said.  Hillary apologized for saying something historical about Robert Kennedy.  Obama apologized for calling a reporter "sweetie."  McCain apologized for remarks that a conservative talk-show guy made when warming up a McCain crowd.  Chris Matthews said he was sorry for a comment he made about Mrs. Clinton. The list of apologies for regrettable, unfortunate, ill-advised, unacceptable and downright dumb comments goes on.  No doubt with more to come.

These apologies soak up a lot of time and energy.  But in today's PC climate no sane person is going to take seriously John Wayne's advice when he said, in character, "Don't apologize - it's a sign of weakness."  So we need a Dis & Trade program that works something like Cap & Trade.

First, we categorize and catalogue all the conventional dis comments.  Of course their level of egregiousness varies widely.  You can't put, say, Don Imus' comment about a girls' college basketball team is the same dis category with Obama's "sweetie." And, for that matter, you can't equate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disparaging statements about Israel with what Don Imus said.

So there has to be a reasoned and impartial Delineated Calibration of Dissation - a DCD Table.  And who better to authenticate and adjudicate that than a U.N. High Commissioner for Dis & Trade? 

Why involve the U.N., you ask?  Well, because dissing knows no boundaries.  Remember when former French President Jacques Chirac insulted some eastern European countries that were hoping to join the European Union by saying they should "shut up" - or the French equivalent thereof?  That was a bonafided international dissing that screamed for a redress of grievance.  But without a Dis & Trade program, what could be done about it?  Boycott French brie?  Nothing could be done.  And that's how ill will festers between nations.

So we clearly see the international value of Dis & Trade.  It holds the promise of World Peace as world leaders buy the right to say insulting things about others, forgiven by DisChits purchased from world leaders who wouldn't think of saying anything offensive about anyone.  For example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could buy all the DisChits allotted to the Dalai Lama for when Mahmoud knows he's gone beyond the dis cap placed on offensive speech by the U.N.  Everybody wins. Mahmoud buys his way out of the international dog house while the Dalai Lama picks up extra spending money for his life in exile.  

A conglomeration of leaders of several smaller countries -- like Tokelau, Belize, Liechtenstein and Nauru -- could consolidate their DisChits in order to sell dispensation to Hugo Chavez, rendering him immune from criticism. 

There's no reason why this scheme wouldn't also work for intra-national politicians, as well as everyday plain folks.  If someone feels offended by what another says, he or she simply registers a dis-complaint with their regional Dis & Trade Authority, who adjudicates the infraction and imposes a dis-tax.  If the offender can't cover it with their own allotment of DisChits, they need only buy what's lacking from those who will never say anything that offends anyone - like monks in a monastery where all have taken a vow of silence.  (That is unless Father Michael Pfleger already bought them out.)

This could work.  At least as well as the Cap & Trade thing would.