An Alternative Proposal

An Alternative Proposal to the excessive amount of poor in Ireland and the burden their children have upon the public.

By Sir Ellis Butterfield

Liaison to His Majesty.



Poverty is a terrible thing. Dare I have to repeat myself later in this essay, Poverty is the awful abhorrence of the human condition. For those who have not read the Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public by Jonathan Swift, I present to you a condensed text to which I hope you will understand the points I make and how the validity of Swift’s proposal could be brought into question. My solution has similar goals as Swift’s: to eradicate the excess of poverty, to increase the wealth of the nation, and finally, set a precedent that shall be imitated not only by the country, but by foreign nations everywhere. I believe I offer a preferable solution for the management of such societal weight, and an improvement not only for the current generation but all generations expected to come.

Most would agree with Swift that it is truly a melancholy object to those who walk through Dublin to see the somber faces of the young, dressed in the most destitute of ways, attempting to procure alms by means of begging. Those of the female sex, and sometimes their better halves, are left to employ the full extent of their waking hours to provide these dependent infants with what meager sustenance they are able to muster. Much like an illness, the excess of poverty must be expunged from society like an excess of a bodily humor.

To quickly examine Swift’s position would do him a disservice, but for the sake of time I shall do my best to lessen the blow upon his integrity. Swift proposes a solution to the issue of poverty by providing women, or their lovers too, if they remain, a financial subsidy if you will, for keeping or maintaining children till their first year of life. A child at one year of existence is presumed to be worth more than the cost of the initial year of care and, if used for consumption, will either provide enough nutrition for the childbearing family or the necessary compensation as a boutique commodity within the Kingdom so as to garner a great amount for each sale.

The reality of the affair extends farther than the poor and rather to a problem with the society of Ireland; fundamentally it is due to the disparate classes of wealth in existence within this great country. The approach that Swift proposes is that the people of Ireland take an honorable attempt to say the very least. I too have thought much regarding the topic for a great deal of time as it is one that affects not only Ireland but all nations where Poverty exists; and which implies that any solution would provide more for the world and would benefit societies at every corner of the Earth.  However, before I propose my own solution, it would do you, the reader, well to understand the major flaws within Swift’s work.

To begin, one must examine the role of the mother during the time in which she is harboring the child within her womb as a soon to be food source. During this time, the woman is unable to work to her fullest capacity in the area of physical labor. The mothers who Swift’s proposal would most likely befit are those of the poor, often farming class, of Ireland. During the nine months of pregnancy, the woman prevents herself from contributing to work and if calculations in The Modest Proposal be correct, then we have lost 200,000 possible working members of society. If one is to consider that the women are essentially using their bodies as a service to Ireland then one can assume that they, in a less debilitating manner, can provide many other services including prostitution and acting as foot rests.  If the woman were in fact to work hard during her time of pregnancy she only increases her chances of causing a miscarriage, and if the child were to be born without problems it would likely be in a state of terrible malnutrition. The sickly babe beget by the dame would be much too frail for consumption by the general public but, by nature of its existence, would become a burden upon the bearer.

Another problem herein lies with the use of breeders and the notion that women will allow themselves the use of their children to be used as food. It is commonly known that women will develop a bond to the children they are intent on selling and the psychological effects on the poor souls may destroy the child consumption industry before it ever truly becomes a self-sustaining project allowed and respected by the English who graciously moderate Irish trade. It is often said that the bond between a mother and her child is one like no other found in this world or the next; and thus it is reasonable to assume that these mothers would be readily willing to sacrifice themselves in order to provide for the loved babes they have engendered.

With these potential limiters in mind, I believe that the solution I propose will solve the issue of Poverty without encountering the problems found in Swift’s proposal. In the simplest terms the key to ending Poverty, and all of the vices and terrible sorrows associated with it, is to completely rid ourselves of the poor class. Ireland is a predominantly Catholic nation, full of a proud and dignified race. Being of the Catholic intent, many of the Irish would be very much aware of the concept of sacrifice as taught to them by their lord and savior Jesus Christ. With this in mind, I think it is not terribly difficult to think that the poor would be willing to, for the betterment of all of Ireland, decide to no longer produce further generations of Poverty.

It goes without saying that Jesus’s sacrifice was to better society; those who have learned his teachings shall know that holiness is to follow in the footsteps of the Lord. Even God’s son was not on this Earth, just as the children of the poor shall no longer be. However, this request is not one of death. To kill one’s self is a sin unforgivable and I do not ask nor imply this horrible act upon man and God. I merely ask that for the remainder of their lives on Earth, the members of Poverty refrain from the sins of lust. This practiced discipline helps to alleviate Poverty but it also has the wonderful side effect of properly preparing the masses for their ascension to the Heavenly Father.

It is my understanding that those who exist in Poverty are often miserable and wretched, and as stated by Swift, would have otherwise wished that at their own first year of life they had been offered as a value asset to their country. With the lack of work, the starvation, and the general horrors of reality on the filth ridden streets, the poor would be more than partial to ending their life if it weren’t for the fear of committing the mortal sin of suicide. It is a well-known fact there is an excess of people in Ireland which is likely a contributor to the excess of Poverty. I therefore humbly propose a second solution. This solution is to be thought more of as a method of ending such excess at a faster and more efficient rate than my initial proposal would allow. As Catholics understand, the killing of a man by one’s own hand is far worse a crime than that by another. In this way, I believe that those in Poverty can reach the heavenly gates without having to wait till time has taken its torturous toll, slowly breaking apart their earthly presence. Without any applied force, it is a fact that the human body is surprisingly resilient. I think that by the same hand that we planned on converting the human flesh of babes to food, we should end the plight of Poverty. If a fellow poor man is to end the life of another, he is doing the man a favor; what other action can the logical man take to reach our final destination? We need not think that the killing of a poor man by another is a mortal sin. This action is not one that condemns but rather seeks mere repentance by ending the illness of all humanity. Indeed one can say that it is a small sacrifice to end the curse of Poverty and all the treacherous pains that it incurs.

            I state these claims with the utmost sincerity and love for all mankind. Much like my fellow man and scholar Jonathan Swift, I would like to point out I have no stake in these claims I make other than my genuine desire to create a better world for everyone in the past, the present, and most hopefully in the lives of those to come. 


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