Monday, July 9, 2007

Offsetting Your Liberal Guilt

A few months ago, Charles Krauthammer coined the phrase "limousine liberal hypocrisy" for those who claim to neutralize their excessive carbon emissions by funding green projects elsewhere. The process works by buying credits from a "carbon broker," who promises to reduce emissions somewhere on the planet equivalent to what you've spewed into the atmosphere while jet-setting on your private plane or electrifying your McMansion.

But this much liberal guilt is too much for even Tom Friedman, whose credentials include a proposal to rev up the tax on gas to 50 cents a gallon and who is now challenging his fellow Prius owners to

offset their real sins, not just their carbon excesses. . . . Imagine if you could offset the whole Ten Commandments. . . .

Imagine if there were a Web site—I'd call it—where every time you thought you had violated one of the Ten Commandments, or you wanted to violate one of them but did not want to feel guilty about it, you could buy carbon credits to offset your sins.

Here's how it would work: One day, you're out in the backyard mowing the lawn and suddenly you covet your neighbor's wife. Hey, it happens—that's why "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" is one of the Ten Commandments. No problem. You just go to and buy 100 trees in the Amazon or fund a project to capture methane from cow dung in India—and, presto, you're free and clear.

So, Laurie, Leo and Al, whaddya say? Are you ready to put your money where your morals are?