A Modest Proposal

A satirical piece written for my English class based off of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."

A Modest Proposal

For Rearing a More Equal American Society in which All May Reap the Benefits of Life Without the Need of Strenuous Labor, and the Explanation of the New Social Darwinism


          A rather revolting revelation has revealed itself to me over the course of the past few years after a series of outings with my parents and their friends. On one particular excursion, my parental units and I arrived at the stately home of the family of my father’s co-worker ─ a good-natured businessman well into his middle-years; his charming, industrious wife; and their three children, a young man nearing the peak of his life and the end of his high school career, a dainty girl graced with the privilege of staying under her parents’ roof for another four years until college, and an adolescent lad who had just commenced in his first year of middle school. I found it peculiar that the juveniles did not present themselves to greet us and be introduced when we appeared at the door, as I had been taught in my younger days to do when guests came to visit, especially since one of them was my junior by only a few years; rather, our hosts’ younglings hid themselves in secret corners of the house to be undiscovered by well-mannered, un-snooping guests, only coming out when the nightly meal was served and disappearing as quick as they came with their scrumptious sustenance in tow.

Later in the evening, the girl, who seemed, before my eyes had been opened to the truth I have now discovered, to me to be the most troubled of the bunch, strode out of her bedroom from which the eardrum-bursting cacophony of secular music could be heard, to alert her parents that she, a child not old enough to even have a driver’s permit, would be going out with her friends in a few hours and refused to tell them to where they would be venturing, and they accepted her notification without a word. Though I had observed situations like this many a time among the children of plenty of my parents’ other colleagues, I was still quite astonished by the teenager’s impetuous boldness and her progenitors’ reaction. It was then that I realized, with much remorse at the time, that in our American culture, people of my caliber were a dying breed.

However, on the drive home, I pondered the multiple instances in which I’d beheld spoiled children and their doting parents, and came to a revolutionary conclusion. People of my caliber, those with character and virtue, are a dying breed because it is meant to be! Similar to Darwin’s natural selection, in which the weaker animals of a population eventually cease to exist and only the strongest remain, and the Social Darwinism of the early 1900’s, in which elephantine business monopolized industries by preying on the smaller, deficient businesses, a new Social Darwinism has now begun within the borders of our First-World country without anyone noticing, as such inevitable processes of life do. It has become obvious to me, and I’m sure that all will agree, that living a life of integrity is far less profitable than that of a coddled child.

Forcing our infants into a lifestyle of morality, with all of its tedious, never-ending drudgery, now seems to me an unfair and completely inconsiderate act, when a much easier option is available for them. To live in a way that one need not care for another’s feelings or well-being and only look after oneself is a life of freedom. To know within the deepest portion of one’s shallow heart that rules do not apply to oneself gives such a sense of liberation that it would be selfish to prevent our children from experiencing it.

So, here is my most adequate suggestion on how to bring about the end of this injustice. We must coddle our sons and daughters from their births to the very ends of our lives, rearing them to be dependent individuals who will hopefully never discover the meaning of hard work. We must push them into the spotlight at an early age so they know of nothing else, and always expect our undivided attention to be on them, save for when they misbehave, to which we should turn a blind eye; this will help them maintain a high popular status in the future. Fountains of whines and complaints should be encouraged to flow from their mouths until the object of their longing is in their ever-grasping hands, which will teach them the true meaning of “no” (“yes, of course”), except for when they tell us “no” when it really does mean “no.” Responsibility should not be in our children’s vocabulary, unless it is used to say that they have none, for if we give them tasks that must be accomplished, and they do not accomplish them, what can we do? On this topic I should point out that physical punishment must never be used, and any other form of discipline, for example, screaming at them till our throats are hoarse, should conclude with us presenting our little angels with gifts of atonement, so as to alert them that we are aware our penalties hurt them and are truly sorry for it. A compilation of other maneuvers we ought to take include protecting our children by criticizing and cutting down the authority figures in their lives in front of them, giving them everything and anything they ask for, allowing them to treat their possessions as if we didn’t pay an arm and a leg to buy them, always trusting them to abstain from dangerous activities such as drugs or alcohol, permitting them to shove their messes onto us in the same manner that they scrape the mud on their feet onto a doormat so we can deal with it for them, and, above all, never teaching them the ethical principles that were painfully drilled into us when we were their age.

          Raising our children in this way will teach them a very significant lesson, more important than anything they could learn in schools; it will teach them how to use others to their own advantage. With this knowledge, our offspring will inherently teach themselves how to cheat,  to lurk about and find the shortcuts that will save them much time and effort in achieving their goals, which will mainly focus around gaining the material things we have fixated them upon since their beginnings. They will be able to climb their way to the top in record time, all because of our parental choices, and, of course, they will nurture our grandchildren in the same fashion because it is all they are accustomed to, which will initiate a cycle of living life to the fullest while expending the least possible amount of energy, transforming the world into an evenhanded place where hard work means nothing and true freedom is felt by all. However, I must confess that I, myself, being not quite of age for marriage nor having I found a mate of my liking, will not be partaking in this endeavor.

The End

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