What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Lineage Index

As you may know the underprivileged are very important to me. Those who have a rougher lot in life or just can't make it for themselves need others to step up for them and I have devoted great swathes of satirical and song writing toward victim's advocacy. The victims of persecution need to be comforted and protected by society. The descendants of victims should receive similar compensation, to make them whole again and repay the ancestral debt their fathers incurred.

One of the policy objectives that, if enacted, might help achieve lineage equality is the Lineage Index. The Lineage Index allows society to determine the victim-hood of particular individuals (while including calculations of parental suffering) and deliver compensation in the most American way possible: hard cash.

An index should have a way to punish (or give a disincentive for particular behavior) and reward (give reparations). But more on that later...

We can divide up the world's current population and the history of human beings into four broad categories, broken down below for your convenience:

  1. Those who have contributed mightily to the advancement of their species.

Examples: Thomas Edison, Gertrude Stein, Moses, John Hancock, Alfred Kinsey, Isaac Newton and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Rule of Thumb: They are “good guys” who can be described accurately with one name (Edison, Newton, Beethoven, etc).

Verdict: The descendants of these men can be proud of their heritage and may bear their name proudly.

  1. Those who have proven themselves utter scoundrels, undeserving of societal recognition and praise.

Examples: Adolf Hitler, Hissène Habré, Charles Taylor, Charles Manson and Michael “Cosmo Kramer” Richards.

Rule of Thumb: They are “bad guys” who can be described accurately with one name (Hitler, Mansen, Kramer, etc).

Verdict: The descendants of these people deserve to live, but the law should recognize the total social depravity of their ancestors and make life hard for them.

  1. Those who have shown their virtue in the midst of adversity and have endured persecution from some of the mightiest oppressors.

Examples: Oliver Brown, Dred Scott, Rosa Parks, Oliver Twist, Martin Luther King Jr. and Tupac Shakur.

Rule of Thumb: “Good guys” whose deeds are even more amazing in light of the circumstances in which they were performed.

Verdict: This category is highly subjective and its determination is best left to the experts.

  1. Life was too easy

Examples: John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, George Soros, Warren Buffet and Martha Stewart.

Rule of Thumb: CEOs of the biggest companies and those who inherited their wealth.

Verdict: If they make Fortune's list of richest people, they are so filthy rich anyway that their children won't need any help from the Lineage Index.

Lineage experts will, no doubt, create many smaller, more specific, divisions that better represent the complexity of human decision making. Some probable categories include “should have known better, but didn't,” “welfare king/queen,” “tried hard,” “didn't try hard,” “rough draw,” “single mother,” and “wanted to do better, really tried to do better, but freak circumstances turned person into total victim.”

The Lineage Index will be calculated by social, economic, religious, historical and cultural experts who will be charged with evaluating the merit of individual candidates. These experts will be placed on a committee where they can work full-time conducting historical research and making value judgments of others. These factors will all contribute to a person's Legacy Rating.

Rather than making toothless decisions, the committee's index will be linked to national tax rates and those with greater redeeming social value (a higher number on the index) will be given preferential treatment. For example, a single black mother of fifteen who is a direct descendant of Rosa Parks and who watches Oprah on TV will not only not pay taxes, but will probably be eligible for an Earned Tax Credit (ETC), which will compliment her income. By the same token, a married white male with an SEB goatee and shaved head who a distant cousin of Stalin and whose grandfather is was a Klan member will not only pay the normal tax rate, but have to pay the taxes of the single mother in the first example as well.

The ETC would function as a great social equalizer, providing an incentive for appropriate behavior. Not only will an offender's descendants be taxed heavily if the patriarch misbehaves, but they will lose the opportunity to access a wealth of funding in the ETC. This system has the added benefit of promoting morality. People would need to think of the impact of their actions because their decisions will impact not only on themselves, but all of posterity. Imagine: If Adolf Hitler had had children and he knew that the invasion of Poland would have turned his offspring into social outcasts, would he have signed the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Would Hissène Habré have committed the atrocities against the Hadjerai and the Zaghawa? I thought not.

Punishments for ancestral sins will become less severe as the generations propagate and the impact of misdeeds will be lessoned as more time goes on, if those that follow can demonstrate a change. For example, Cosmo Kramer's children will be hurt more by his racist rant than his grandchildren.

The Lineage Index would be exclusively responsible for determining tax and subsidy rates. No political tinkering or kickback allowances would be permitted and the system would be based solely on ancestral, family and personal benefits to society.

This balanced system could even be used in personal interactions between people. Boyfriend and girlfriend could analyze the socio-economic and moral implications of their union prior to marriage and thereby choose only the mate that is best for society as a whole. Business dealings could be simplified by having all parties announce their lineage rating prior to a major deal to reduce the risk of anything underhanded. Even law enforcement could be made more effective if, instead of profiling suspects based on race and economic demographics, a more holistic measure were deployed. By weighing their interactions with others by the lineage rating, true social homeostasis would be maintained.

Another key benefit to the lineage index is the assurance that people with moral genes will have money. Rather than depending on derelicts for financial donations, charities will be ensured of financial stability as philanthropic humans who give generously will probably have a better lineage rating. The system could even be set up to encourage donations, by allowing for rating improvement through charity giving. The scale would, of course, have to be adjusted to give greater preference to minorities, but that's a problem for the lineage committee.

If effective on the national level, the index might even be implemented globally. New experts with diverse opinions could be invited to the lineage committee and the entire index could be updated to reflect world-wide standards of ethics and decency.

The Lineage Index has the potential to radically change the way governments and societies function. Rather than assuming all rich are socially destructive miscreants whose very financial existence must be punished, the Index taxes and rewards based on meaningful factors like parental morality. And, if implemented fairly, it has the potential to significantly reduce the number of victims worldwide.

1 comment:

Christopher Yerziklewski said...

That has to be one of the worst ideas I've ever heard. If it were created you would definately get a very low rating for thinking up the idea. Other then that it was great!