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August 19, 2006

A Modest Proposal – 277 Years Later

I’m going to come right out and say it: I am in support of the 15-year ban on the conception and birth of new children. This may sound a bit radical, but I’ve always been an early adopter.

We won’t have to deal with increasing the minimum wage. Supply and demand will take care of it. Wal-Mart workers and family farmers alike will feel valued, as will capitalists in general. Before too long we will achieve near-100% employment.

The need for war will be lessened as we won’t be pounding out more cannon fodder and people who actually pay taxes certainly aren’t going to fight. Moreover, if we skip the better part of a generation we will have reduced the need for war: religious and tribal concerns that have been handed down from parent to child for over a millennium will be curtailed. By the time the first crop of new babies gets old enough to strap a bomb on their backs, somebody just might ask “wait a minute – exactly why are we doing this?”

Crime will decrease; we always blame crime on the kids anyway. Alcohol prices will drop a bit, and drivers will have more room on the highway where they can drift. It’ll be easier to get a quiet seat at a restaurant. You won’t have to be “this” high in order to get on the roller coaster; almost everybody will be “this” high. Besides, the lines will be shorter.

The money we save from our education budgets and from the condoization of schools can be moved over to rebuild our infrastructure. The money we save from our defense budget can be used to reduce our taxes. See? There’s something here for everybody.

We can hit the reboot button on our so-called natural resources. The demand for energy will drop, the need for clean water and food will drop, and America will be able to feed the world in order to maintain its GNP. And, finally, at long last, the Republicans will be right about Social Security!

Land values will freeze for a while, but I have faith in the human psyche: people will want more land with more trees and grass and flowers and stuff. This, in turn, will help clean up the air and the overall environment, and more people will be inspired to become poets.

Of course, there are negatives. There must be. I just can’t think of any. Well, I haven’t figured out who will deliver the pizza within 30 minutes, but it sounds like we can deal with that. Our cultural product will not change; it’s been geared to 12 year olds for the past five generations. Perhaps pop music will become more listenable if we have a shrinking market for hopeless, whinny tunes. Jerry Lee Lewis and the Richards – Keith and Little – will always be there to entertain us. As well as the cockroaches that ultimately succeed us.

This plan will only work if it is done on a global basis, but that’s okay as well: it’ll give Dick Cheney something to do. However, once we get back into the birthing business we will need to do so slowly in order to make appropriate adjustments.

Couples should be limited to one child every five years (I’m not heartless; they can sell twins to childless families), and – this is critical – they should have to pass a thorough written test in order to get a conception permit. No longer would the qualifications for parenthood be the ability for men to produce ejaculate and women to spread their legs twice. No longer will we produce a generation of self-righteous spoiled brats who are demonstrably dumber than the preceding generation.

The 15-year ban on the conception and birth of new children will be a win / win for everybody. Write your congressperson today!

Better still, send ‘em a card. Hallmark will need the business.

Posted by Mike Gold at August 19, 2006 02:08 PM

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I'm curious as to why you wrote this. Any clues, Mike?

Posted by: Marilyn at August 20, 2006 01:06 PM

Just a suggestion. It didn't occur to me I might piss off the Swift absolutists.

Posted by: Mike Gold at August 20, 2006 02:38 PM

Well, even if you had proposed that we simply eat our young for the next 15 years, even the Swift absolutists might ask if there was some particular reason for your modest proposal.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at August 20, 2006 03:44 PM

The purpose was in paragraphs two through five. Since we're incapable of thinning out the herd -- look at all the shit Red China's gone through -- we should simply pull the plug for a while. Clean things up. Sort things out.

Swift's suggestion that the poor Irish eat their own babies would be considered somewhat bigoted today. Poor taste, if you'll forgive the pun.

Posted by: Mike Gold at August 20, 2006 03:54 PM

re: "Since we're incapable of thinning out the herd..."

Where are those "Malthusian limits" when you really need them? But don't lose hope. Malthus noted that war is one of the more effective checks on unfettered population growth; so all we need is a really big war, preferrably global in scale. Luckily, we have just the president to lead us there!

Posted by: Rick Oliver at August 20, 2006 04:33 PM

I think we are headed for a thinning of the herd. I imagine we will have ethnic cleansing among the fascist coalition of the willing.

Posted by: Marilyn at August 21, 2006 10:04 AM

Who do you think will get cleaned, Marilyn?

Posted by: Mike Gold at August 21, 2006 10:06 AM

Since my kid is grown up, I think this is a fine idea. I got mine, everybody else can twist in the wind. Isn't that the defining philosophy of our leaders?

Posted by: Martha Thomases at August 21, 2006 10:15 AM

I take it you're not looking forward to the joys of grandmotherhood?

Posted by: Mike Gold at August 21, 2006 10:18 AM

Well, they're working on Ay-rabs at Guantanamo. I'm sure other detention facilities will be opened for this purpose. Also, police will double up on shooting young black men who are undoubtedly drug dealers. Jews are always a good target; that's why Lieberman is sucking up. Of course, Mexicans are already being put behind a wall. It's only a matter of time until those walls go around their barrios.

Posted by: Marilyn at August 21, 2006 11:12 AM

we could just start feeding our children to impoverished animals in places near demolished wildlife... it's not unethical if it's not cannibalism!

Posted by: mirror at August 30, 2006 08:47 PM

Posted by: thomson at October 16, 2006 12:39 PM

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