Although the former Vice President uses more energy at home in a month than the average American household uses in a year — and more than the average village in the developing world uses in a year, his handlers want us to know that he “walks the walk” and “practices what he preaches” about energy conservation.
If you want to be a lion of righteousness like he, here is how you do it. First, identify something you have done which reduced energy consumption. Ignore anything that increased energy consumption; only talk about your virtuous actions. You can proclaim “We all do our part! My energy use would be much worse if I had not moved a smaller TV into the poker room!”
Next, buy virtue from someone else. Spend just as much money as you need to “offset” your carbon usage. It’s like one of those wonderful old Catholic indulgences. When you are “cabon neutral”, you can run around preaching to the 99.99% of the world who use less energy than you.
Maybe the point isn’t about being virtuous, after all. The American economy has some serious problems, not least of which is the fact that our national debt is underwritten by the Chinese. When the growth slows, it’s going to hurt to have all of those American dollars sitting in Chinese banks.
But all is not lost. China is now the biggest carbon source on the planet, and the carbon debt equation between our two countries is quickly changing. We are working hard to make sure that Chinese people can get beef and milk domestically, rather than import it. Cows generate a lot of carbon, and we would rather have that carbon count against their debt. Same with cars, heavy industry, and power generation. I bet that by the time we figure out the proper formula for “carbon credits”, it will magically work out so that all of the money they lent us was just a down payment on their carbon debt. They are very fortunate there is a cleansy nation like us around to help erase the putrid pollution.
But why stop at “carbon neutral”? The idea of indulgences is profound. No more hiding the right hand from the left — let the right hand wash the left, and the left wash the right!
I propose that we strive to be “vice neutral”. If you beat your wife, just contribute to the abused children fund. The guy who beats his kids will contribute to the battered wives fund, and it all balances out! Do you use bookies who murder people? No problem! Just donate some money to build a playground in your neighborhood!
The more the money flows, the more washing is going on, and the better off we all are. In fact, we could have whole markets to hedge and speculate on major moves in the vice-cleansing indices. You could make a career simply managing the flows of cleansing cash between the left and the right. The leaders of the nations could monitor the indices to ensure that all of the vices stayed truly balanced in harmony.
And, of course, such a system inherently favors the virtuous west. It may be true that Seattle is the world’s biggest port for human trafficking, and Europe and America are great purveyors of depravity. But they have slave labor and beat their women. By the time their women make it over here in a shipping container, it’s almost like the streets are paved with gold compared to where they came from. Yes, vice-neutrality will work out very well for us.