How to Promote Civility

Is civility really the answer? And if it is, how do you get all those terrible people out there to be civil? I bring this up because the president of the American Bar Association, Judy Perry Martinez, last week published a letter titled, “Make 2020 the year of civility.”

OK, I’m in favor of that. But how does this happen? There aren’t any clues in the letter — it’s more of a description of incivility and how that’s bad. I hope I’m not being uncivil by pointing out that this is unhelpful. Incivility is definitely a problem these days but no one seems to be trying very hard to stop it.

Consider the president of the United States.

I think I’ve made my point.

Fortunately, I’m here to offer some useful advice.

Universal basic income. The Andrew Yang proposal is a good one, I guess, but it clearly doesn’t go far enough. Who’s going to be happy — and thus more likely to be civil — on a mere $1,000 per month? What we need is a universal basic income of at least $10,000 per month.

Who’s going to be grumpy about that? Even rich people are going to like this. They’ll get even more money, and millions of people will have disposable income to spend on whatever junk the 1 percent are selling. The economy will take off like a rocket.

You may now be having some uncivil thoughts about how to pay for this. Worry not. There are multiple sources of financing. The value-added tax will cover a little of this. And since we’re not feeling uncivil toward anyone, we can shift most or all of the military budget over to covering payments. A few generals might complain — but only until they get their first checks.

And if that doesn’t cover all of it, we just print more money. That’s what the mint is for.

Porn stars for everyone! I realize this is a controversial proposal but consider the benefits. First off, you take care of the incel problem immediately. No more dangerous, depressed potential maniacs. You also provide gainful, full employment for millions of sex workers who contribute to the economy.

This, of course, is not for everyone. For those who object, there are a variety of alternative options, including personal priests, psychiatrists, and comedians who will follow you around and do something hilarious whenever you look the slightest bit uncivil.

There won’t be much incivility while everyone is smiling.

Candy. Congress should immediately enact legislation requiring the delivery of weekly boxes of chocolates to all Americans. This will cheer people up and provide much-needed excitement because you never know what you’re gonna get.

For the few who dislike or are allergic to chocolate, alternatives could include boxes of assorted liquor and fruit baskets.

Ignorance is bliss. Yes, what you don’t know can hurt you. But if you’re blissfully unaware, it’s a lot easier to be civil.

Global warming? Never heard of it. It’s a nice sunny day.

Income inequality? If you have no idea what anyone makes, there’s no reason to be mad.

We need our schoolteachers to encourage students’ natural disposition toward non-learning. Ignorance starts at an early age.

Stop caring. This approach differs from ignorance in that you are informed about the issues of the day, but you don’t react to them. It’s so much easier to be civil if you don’t give a crap.

Dress nicely. If you’re looking and feeling fabulous, it’s hard to be uncivil. Catty, maybe, but not uncivil. If everyone looks good, the cattiness should be held to a minimum.

Communities should be required to host annual runway shows.

Bad sign. On the same web page that the ABA president’s civility letter appeared the other day, the “most read” box listed five stories. Three of them were about a stabbing death, a lawyer who created digital porn, and Harvey Weinstein.

The year of civility is off to a bad start.


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