Thursday, 1 January 2015

How to Measure Civilization Quotient

(From the archives: February 15th, 2004)

There are two ways to judge an individual's value to humanity. There is an accurate, painstaking way. And there is a less accurate, but quick and cheap, way.

The accurate, painstaking way is hard to do. But it is quite easy to state. Simply add up, on the one hand, all the wealth the individual has created. Include, not just economic wealth created through honest business and work, but other forms of wealth too. Include their contributions to human knowledge, to technological progress, to innovation. Include their efforts to improve themselves and others. Include the love and support they have given to other wealth-creating people. Include their efforts to help make people happy. Include their contributions to making life for civilized human beings better and more enjoyable.

Then add up, on the other hand, all the damage they have caused to others through uncivilized acts. Include the damage they caused through violence or theft. Include the damage they caused by lazily sponging on people. Include the damage they caused by violating fundamental human rights and freedoms. Include the damage they caused through taking part in religious, racist or any other kind of persecution. Include the damage they caused through lies, spin or fraud. Include the damage they caused by denying people their pleasures. Include the damage they caused by promoting or supporting political policies to harm or inconvenience civilized human beings. Make special, extra allowance for any damage they did, which was motivated by malice against good people.

Having done these two sums, now divide the good by the bad. Divide the wealth they have created by the damage they have caused, to give their Humanity Ratio (HR).

For an average civilized human being, the Humanity Ratio should, I reckon, be somewhere between 50 and 500. That is, between 50 and 500 times as much wealth created as damage caused. The best people, of course, will have much higher Humanity Ratios. They will score in the thousands, or perhaps even the millions.

But there are those, that do more bad than good. They have Humanity Ratios less than 1. They are worse than merely uncivilized; their value to humanity is less than nothing. They deserve, at the very best, just one chance, one opportunity to compensate those they harmed. In full, with 100 per cent damages on top for any acts that were malicious.

Actually doing these sums, however, is not easy. It needs much information, time and effort. I can only foresee this measurement being put into practice as part of a large-scale scheme of common-sense justice, financed by a percentage of the restitution. And that is not going to happen while the world remains ruled by politicians. So, today, I will concentrate on the quick and cheap way. I will introduce you to Civilization Quotient (CQ).

To measure Civilization Quotient, you need three things. First, you need a moral code, a touchstone of civilized behaviour. Second, you need a way to judge the reasons why individuals, on the occasions when they fail to measure up to the moral code, fall short. I call this the Motive Factor. And third, you need a scoring system.

Now, it just so happens that I have a moral code handy. I call it my twelve commandments. But I stress that my own code is not the only one you could use to measure CQ. You could use, for example, the last six of the biblical Ten Commandments if you really wanted to. (Though you would have to adjust the scoring system). Or you could write your own. However, I'll use what I have available. So here are my twelve laws:

  1. Be your own proud, independent self.
  2. Don't use, call for or condone violence or threat of violence against any civilized human being.
  3. Create wealth through energetic co-operation and honest competition.
  4. Treat others at least as well as they treat you.
  5. Keep your freely made promises and agreements.
  6. Don't obstruct any civilized human being's progress, opportunity, wealth creation, trade or pursuit of happiness.
  7. Don't bully or persecute civilized human beings, or invade their lives; always respect their persons, property and privacy, and their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
  8. Don't use or sanction lies, deception, fraud, dishonest rationalizations or mental manipulation against any civilized human being.
  9. Take responsibility for your actions; compensate anyone you may harm through malicious, irresponsible or negligent acts.
  10. If you have children, protect, sustain and educate them until they have become civilized human beings.
  11. Desire individual, common-sense justice for everyone. That is, the condition in which each individual, over the long term, is treated as he or she treats others.
  12. Practise what you preach.
That's part one. Now for the Motive Factor. Some people – a very few – may be able to live up to civilized standards all the time, without any blemish. But most of us are not perfect.

There are certain standards, however, which each of us considers important. We always try hard to keep to these particular standards – for example, not lying, or being non-violent. If on occasions we fall short, it is not for want of trying.

Most of us, though, suffer occasional more serious lapses. We may be irresponsible, for example by exaggerating a story for effect. Or we may be negligent, or lazy, or forgetful, or not entirely honest. Sometimes, individuals may behave in a way that is not merely irresponsible, but persistently so. Perhaps, for example, they do uncivilized things again and again, because they do not understand that what they are doing is wrong.

But some are worse still. They fail to live up to civilized standards, and they do it maliciously. Religious persecution and promotion of bad political policies designed to harm people, for example, are uncivilized acts fuelled by malice. And there are those, that are not only malicious, but persistently so. For them, malice is a way of life.

That's the Motive Factor. Now for the scoring system. You write the twelve commandments down the left-hand side of a page. Against each, you put three columns. One for the basic score, one for the Motive Factor and one for the total. You may choose also to leave space to the right of these three columns, to record any comments you have. You can make the whole thing into a spreadsheet, if you like.

For each of the laws, you judge the individual you are testing on how well they keep to it, on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being perfection. You put this number in the basic score column. You also judge the individual's Motive Factor on keeping to that law. In the Motive Factor column, you put 6 for perfection, 5 for always trying hard, 4 for occasional irresponsibility, 3 for persistent irresponsibility, 2 for malice, and 1 for persistent malice. Then, you multiply the 1 to 10 basic score by the 1 to 6 motive factor, and put the result in the third column. For example, if the basic score is 7 out of 10 and the Motive Factor is occasional irresponsibility (4), the number you put in the third column is 7x4 = 28.

There is one wrinkle, concerning the tenth law. This particular standard applies only to people who have children. If the individual you are testing has no children, you should award half the maximum possible 60 points. In effect, they should score 5x6 = 30.

Having done this for each of the twelve commandments, you add up all the twelve scores in the third column. You then divide this total by 3, and round to the nearest whole number. That gives the Civilization Quotient, CQ, for the individual you are testing.

What does CQ tell us? The maximum possible score is in theory 240, but in practice this is not achievable. The highest believable score is 180, for someone who scores 9x5 = 45 on each of the twelve laws. Good people will usually score in the range 120 to 140. I have not done enough examples yet to be sure, but my guess is that a score less than about 100 is uncivilized, and less than 50 is sub-human.

I have space here to give you just one worked example. It is fitting, I think, to use myself as a guinea-pig. So I will show you how I calculated my own CQ.

Number one, individuality – I'm strong on this one. I wouldn't be writing this if I wasn't! Score 9x5 = 45. Number two – I'm non-violent, but I have been known to get angry occasionally. Score 8x4 = 32. Number three, creating wealth – when going, I am very productive indeed. But I do go through, sometimes long, periods of laziness. Score 9x3 = 27. Number four – I'm generally OK on this one, but I do get it wrong occasionally. Score 7x4 = 28. Number five, keeping promises – same as number four, 7x4 = 28. Number six, non-impedance – I try very hard to keep to this one. Score 8x5 = 40.

Number seven, non-encroachment – I try hard here too. Score 8x5 = 40. Number eight, honesty – I am now and again guilty of the odd exaggeration. Score 8x4 = 32. Number nine, restitution – is like numbers four and five. Score 7x4 = 28. Number ten – I have no children, so score 5x6 = 30. Number eleven, wanting justice – this is one of my strong points. Score 9x5 = 45. And number twelve and last, practising what I preach – I think a fair score would be 7x4 = 28 again.

Adding up these twelve numbers gives 403. Dividing by 3 and rounding gives 134, which is my CQ. I'm civilized! (But by no means perfect).

Who can you use the Civilization Test on? You can use it on yourself. You can use it on people around you. You can use it on pop stars. You can use it on politicians. In fact, you can use it on any individual you like. You can also use it to make a broad judgement on groups of people, for example honest scientists, or tax bureaucrats.

And what might we use it for? First, I think it can be an educational tool. For those who are not put off by sums, it can be very instructive. And even those who dislike sums may feel better for knowing that there is an at least partly objective test, in which good people score high, and uncivilized scum score low.

Second, I think it has the potential to be honed into a psychological weapon. I wonder how our rivals, the lovers of tyranny, might feel if good people started testing them, and sending them the results? (Or publishing them on the Internet?) How would they feel when they found out what good people really think of them? How would they feel when they are shown up as uncivilized or even sub-human? Might it help to prick their bubbles of false self-esteem? Might it help to start cutting them down to size?

You, dear reader, can be the judge. Happy testing!

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