“Your species doesn’t use the concept of “lootaquicksteria++” do you?” he said, using a phrase from his home planet of Falloonia.
“Uh,” I said. “I don’t know. What is it?”
“A simple concept really,” he said. “It provides a stricture forbidding, and a penalty for, an elder who participates in a vote involving the general populace, from which vote the elder may profit.”
I thought. “We do,” I said. “We call it ‘conflict of interest’ and frown down upon it when our leaders fall prey to the temptation.”
“Frown down upon it?”
“We deplore it. Why do you ask?”
“I am preparing a report on this latest crisis in the middle eastern portion of your planet.”
“Several of your congressmen who are urging entry into war are guilty.”
“Guilty? Of what?”
“Of lootaquicksteria++, or, as you call it ‘conflict of interest.’ Ours is a much prettier word, don’t you think?”
“I think we would have a problem pronouncing those clicks,” I said. I was intrigued, though. “In what way are they guilty of whatever you call it?”
“They represent states or areas in which weaponry is manufactured for use in wars.”
He looked at me as if I had just failed to guess the day of the week. “So, they stand to profit if a war commences.”
“Oh,” I said. “You don’t understand. They don’t profit personally.”
“No? Won’t it please their voters and contributors if their economy flourishes with the onset of war?”
“Well, yes. I suppose,” I said.
“There you have it.”
“No,” I said. “Wait. See it is not a conflict of interest if they simply seek political support by voting in favor of an action that would benefit their constituents.”
“If you will pardon the observation,” he said. “That sounds a lot like ‘replitocartawao.’ Or hadn’t you noticed?”
“Replitocartawao. It literally means the obfuscation of economic flow by transferring worth from one personal holding compartment to another.”
A light began to shine. “Taking money out of one pocket and putting in the other,” I said.
“Precisely.” He smiled at me as if I had just given the right answer in class.
|Your writer Shakespeare once said:|
"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
I'm finally beginning to understand it. - C.W.
“You have a lot to learn about our country,” I said.
“I imagine I do. Now … “ he began.
I groaned. “What now?”
“Let’s consider the opposite transgression.”
“Yes, It’s called ‘putricastoglia’ and it refers to the sin of an elder making a rule for segments of the populace from which the elder will not be affected or inconvenienced.”
“Well we would agree with you on making that a sin.”
“Really,” I said, but somewhat less confident than before.
“Then,” he said, pulling a large bundle of papers from his backpack. “Would you like to read some laws that your male-dominated elder groups have enacted recently, laws that affect, condemn, or punish only the female of your species?” He waved them in my face.
“Don’t you have some homework to do?” I said.