AHA News |  

A Modest Proposal (With apologies to Jonathan Swift)

Author’s note: In 1729, Jonathan Swift published "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick."  In the satirical piece, Swift made the modest proposal that the problem of poverty could be alleviated through a simple solution: cannibalism. If the poor would sell their children to the rich as food, Swift argued, various economic problems would be solved. The fictional piece below, while not advocating cannibalism, nevertheless applies Swift’s brand of disciplined rationalism to the economic challenges of modern society, showing that solutions are attainable if we are only willing to follow a path of logic.

A Modest Proposal

True epiphanies are extremely rare, especially for secular humanists. Yet, like Paul on the road to Damascus, I was recently confronted with a life-changing truth that has shattered my previous views of the world. It happened suddenly and without warning, at the New Hampshire vacation home of Antonin Roberts, a wealthy venture capitalist from suburban Boston who is considering running for public office. Antonin and his wife, Ayn, are members of what many today would call the “one percent,” but their immense wealth has done nothing to diminish their natural charm and good manners.

Antonin and Ayn knew that I, as a humanist with strong progressive leanings, was averse to their political and economic views, and perhaps because of this they seemed especially eager to engage in discussion. I never expected to be persuaded by their arguments but, as one who appreciates well-grounded logic and rational analysis, I must say that I found myself in awe of Antonin’s flawless reasoning.

To read the rest of the Psychology Today article by American Association President David Niose, click here.

 

American Humanist Association

Applied Sentience, a next generation humanist thinkblog, is Launching Nationally...

30 minutes ago

American Humanist Association

This is a 5-minute video of students and parents gathered on the football field...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Caption this photo taken at the 2014 World Humanist Congress in Oxford, England...

20 hours ago

American Humanist Association

This video shows how some religious people react to homosexuality. When you put...

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The newest issue of the Humanist Magazine is out! Take a look! Clay Farris Naff...

22 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The Jackson Public School District has agreed to cease including religious activ...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Dave Niose, Legal Director of the AHLC, has been featured on CBS46 in Atlanta, G...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Humanist Hour Podcast #113 out now! Jeremy Chappell talks about the “spiritu...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

This morning, the American Humanist Association issued a press release regarding...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why are some of the poorest regions in America also the most religious? A new st...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Listen up D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Humanists! Want to meet local free-thinke...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

While vandalism may not be the technique I would use to express my views, some...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

In his new Huffington Post article, Roy Speckhardt discusses prejudice and the k...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Sonja Eggerickx, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

We just got a nice donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation thanks to people lik...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association stands up for the rights of teachers of minori...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA Legislative Associate Matthew Bulger responds to some recent comments by U.S...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

We need more nontheistic politicians in the United States!

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday!! Here is a wonderful poem from Dan Moran. Check It Out!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well, I am not so sure how common this dilemma is, but it is interesting anyway!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hooray! Florida's same-sex marriage ban struck down! Check it out! http://hmn.s...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

New evidence supporting the theory of evolution has been found in parasite ants...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is the newest episode of The Cartoon History of Humanism. Enjoy! Get TheH...

8 days ago