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Swift Votes

Responding to "A Modest Proposal." Plus much, much more.

3.24.05

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NO APOLOGY NEEDED
Re: George Neumayr's A Modest Proposal:

This column is delightfully caustic, sarcastic, downright nasty...and "up to the minute" topical.

By the way, wasn't there an old Charlton Heston movie, Soylent Green, where, in the name of the greater good, they processed "useless" old folks into little green bars of soap? The general idea was to reduce the clutter, with a resultant benefit to society.
-- Joseph W. Holmes
Cedar Park, Texas

When people carry out the death of the innocent, it reminds me of Genesis 6:6 -- "And the Lord was sorry that he ever made mankind in the first place, and it grieved him at his heart."
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

Your swift response is timely and well spoken.
-- Robert Casselberry

An excellent twist on Marc Antony. Well done, the Bard would be proud.
-- Mary L. Gilbert
Bristow, Virginia

Regarding "A Modest Proposal," I have another suggestion...that in each state with a death penalty, Republican legislators introduce "Terri's Law," which would make Starvation/ Dehydration the method of execution for all with death sentences. After all it is such a "peaceful and humane" way to die. Can't wait to see the legal yoga positions assumed by the courts over that one.
-- Boris Berejan MD

Thank you for framing the absurd this way, Mr. Neumayr.

But, respectfully, I think a variation on this scheme was tried before in the former Third Reich. Its architects and implementers were people named Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann, Mengele, Hoess, and Stangle. They were assisted by thousands of robotic minions and the silence of millions of Germans. Their work took place at Dachau, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Ravensbruck, Treblinka, Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, and elsewhere. I seem to recall the world recoiled in horror and shock at the results.

Times are different now, though. Euthanasia is becoming fashionable in Europe, especially The Netherlands. Situational ethics and moral relativism grow in popularity globally, but particularly in America. So who knows?
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

I hope the majority of your readers will recognize Jonathon Swift's call to reason.
-- Howard Hughes

As a disabled veteran (70% rating from the VA) I read your article with great interest. Even though my present condition came about from a misguided desire to defend my country, I certainly would never want to be a "burden" on society, my family, or the healthcare system. Euthanizing the disabled or terminally ill would certainly save tons of money, but you fail to see the "big picture." Why not kill everyone who is even slightly ill, injured, or just a little "under the weather"? Even trivial injuries such as paper cuts cost businesses untold lost man-hours of production, so why not simply kill office workers who can't handle typing paper in a safe manner?

My proposal would allow the total elimination of the so-called "healthcare system," eliminate the need to manufacture useless crap like band-aids, aspirin, and ace bandages, and free up all those doctors, nurses, malpractice attorneys, and medical technicians to re-train for more useful careers as concrete finishers, drywall hangers, farm workers, and cable TV installers.

I've been a registered Republican all of my adult life, but your article has really opened my eyes (sadly, I do require reading glasses!) and I'm going to re-register as a Democrat as soon as I can find my cane and hobble over to the post office.

As one who is familiar with more forms of death than the average person, I've never seen a "dignified" death. But, what the heck, we'll all be dead someday and, in the meantime, the ill, the sick, and the injured owe it to the healthy to just disappear.
-- Tillman L. Jeffrey
Manteca, California

I log on to the American Spectator every day, and am always pleased when I discover you have written another article.

I greatly enjoyed reading "A Modest Proposal," especially since I have read Gulliver's Travels perhaps a dozen times over the years, because of Swift's writing style and his insightful analysis of society in his day (and applicable to "modern" society, too- - see a description of judges, lawyers, and European court ministers in Gulliver's fourth voyage to the Houyhnhnms). I am always refreshed after reading Swift's description of the people he meets, but perhaps most of all the people on the third island (Laputa) Gulliver visits.

In case you have not read the book, in Laputa he meets some people that live forever (barring some violent physical shock), and is horrified to discover that, far from becoming wise sages of infinite resource to perplexing issues of the day, they become enfeebled, lose much of their memory, cannot speak with the inhabitants (because dialects have changed), and must be supported by the generosity of the public. In short, they become a burden yet contribute nothing to society, yet for all that they are both tolerated and pitied. Not a direct comparison to all people on life support today, but one could draw some comparisons.

I regret that I cannot find other stories written by Swift, or other books and stories written in Swift's style (until today).
-- Tom Scheffelin

Jonathon Swift was only concerned with the Irish potato famine when he penned his satire. I am happy to see someone of your stature take on a subject which poses a potential threat to our nation's economic well-being. As always, looking forward to your next pithy article.
-- Brad Leonard

A summation to the grisly events that have unfolded during this Holy Week. However, a law was signed in Berlin over 65 years ago captures the intent of our enlightened judiciary succinctly:

TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 630-PS
Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III. USGPO, Washington, 1946/p.451

Fuehrer Euthanasia Authorization
[On letterhead A. Hitler]

Berlin 1 Sept 1939
Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt, M. D. are charged with the responsibility of enlarging the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such a manner that persons who, according to human judgment, are incurable can, upon a most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death.
signed : A. HITLER

(From the Web Genocide Documentation Center -- Dr. Stuart Stein)

Enough said?
-- Ron Pettengill

Whoa!
-- Bruce W. Peek

SCHIAVO INSIGHTS
Re: Doug Bandow's Life and Death in Florida Courts:

I started thinking about this when the "Roper" decision came out and now the actions of the various judges in the Terri Schiavo matter confirm it. No matter what the facts or the law in a case, if the case is getting publicity, the judge will make the decision based on what is best for his or her (and their spouses') social life. Invites to the best parties and acclaim from friends and peers trumps what is right and the law most every time. Lifetime tenure in the legal system and the universities instead of freeing them to do what is right not what is popular now engenders group-think and cowardice. How like the cliques of High School days.
-- Geoff Bowden
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Okay, I'll give my conservative pals who wish Terry Schiavo's feeding tube removed a pass because the media has not given all of the facts regarding Terry's true condition. But the baby-boomer liberals, as usual, end up on the wrong side of the issue.

Am I the only one to notice the arrogance and selfishness of this crowd? It's always about them and how they feel…talk about the "Me Generation."

Political correctness was born because liberals simply cannot tolerate anything offending them. While data proves that minorities live happier, more productive lives through traditional standards and values such as speaking English, not having babies out of wedlock and discipline, liberals are soft on these issues attacking anyone standing up for them as racists and extremists.

Liberals feel good believing they're smarter than us common folks. Remember, the lib teachers in California who wanted to make ebonics acceptable language for black students claiming that it was a cultural matter? In other words, learning proper English is too mentally challenging for blacks. Who wants to be in the air hearing the pilot say, "Yo, wassup? We be chillin' ta-day at sum-in like 30,000 feets?"

If liberals are so superior in compassion and intellect than us red staters, why do they make such weird choices? Saddam tortured, raped and murdered over a hundred thousand of his own people. Upon his capture, libs were offended and saddened that Saddam was put on TV before having an opportunity to shave.

The libs passionate about ending Schiavo's life are the same folks who support partial birth abortion, kids having abortions without parental knowledge, God being banned in public and think it brutal that we cook live lobsters.

This black American is proud to be a member of the red state crowd; and to my liberal friends, "Yo, peace out."
-- Lloyd Marcus
Deltona, Florida

President Bush has been AWOL in this titanic struggle between the legislative and judicial branches. It is his job to "see to it that the laws are faithfully executed."

That means the law passed by Congress mandating a de novo trial for Terri Shiavo, and it means lawful subpoenas issued by congressional committees.

Terri should be put in protective custody while she receives the relief granted by Congress and appears before congressional committees. Instead, the chief executive is standing by while a federal witness is starved to death on national TV.
-- GFK
Arizona

Albeit I am not a lawyer, it occurs to me that issue of "guardianship" of Terri Schiavo could have and should have been settled some considerable time ago. From what I understand, Michael Schiavo has been cohabiting with another woman for several years now, and has produced two children with her, despite the fact that he is still married to Terri. Thus, it seems to me, that he has taken this second woman as a common-law wife, and since he is still legally married to Terri, he has committed bigamy. Arrest him, and gaol him and turn guardianship of Terri over to her parents. End of conflict.

With respect to the four other creatures involved, the shyster, the quack and the two judges, they should all be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for life.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

RATHER REDUX
Re: The Prowler's Dirty Democrat Pool:

Remember the two Dem memos that came to light in 2003 in which the talking points were to stall Bush's judiciary nominations and to use the Senate Select Intelligence Committee to undermine Bush's agenda? As I recall, the Dems essentially admitted they were authentic. Re the memo for the Senate Select Intelligence Committee I remember Sen. Rockefeller making a big deal of how the Republicans got the memos. Basically the MSM covered the threat of legal action by the Dems and not the Dems' using the Intelligence Committee to undermine national security. In the end the MSM made the Republicans look like sneaky tricksters and the Dems as innocent bystanders.
-- Jill Livinston

I am truly shocked and appalled that the advocacy media and Sen. Harry Reid would be parties to such a dirty trick and would be such bumblers in executing their plot. Not.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

I so enjoyed your report on this -- once again -- phony document (Schiavo so called talking points document) nonsense. I think the reference to it as a "political dirty trick" is way to nice. This type of behavior reminds me of a bunch of little whinny immature snots with nothing better to do than to attempt to hurt someone -- anyone, they just may not like: such as my beloved country...the President of the United States...Republicans...all because the perps in this case are from the obvious camp of the "Left-currently-out-of-power-sore losers." Gee, wonder how perhaps this type of low-down behavior contributed to the voters sending them on their way? Mr. Obstructionist Daschle comes to mind -- Harry Reid may want to re-consider being so tempted to repeat Daschle's mistakes!

Cooking up fraudulent documents is akin to childish but dangerous behavior exhibited by teenagers who are in the "wannabe" phase of life and unfortunately choose vandalism for kicks. Shame on whoever these supposed adults are in our main media press and political arena. Such white collar hoodlums are a disgrace and should be exposed for who they are as well as their true agendas -- now that's an exclusive I'd love to see pounded into the airwaves verses the cowardly manner exhibited by CBS when caught with their hand in the cookie jar!
-- Deirdre Givens
Kenner, Louisana

WHO BENEFITS?
Re: David Hogberg's Trust the Trustees:

This line, "One such risk is that you get sick or hurt and can't work anymore; 11.5 % of Social Security benefits go to disabled workers," while true has a quirky thing that I only found out when my wife became disabled and went on disability from her job. The disability insurance company sets benefits according to your working income then subtracts the amount you will receive from Social Security thus in effect the insurance company receives the real benefit from Social Security Disability payments. I know it can be argued that if SSDI wasn't there the insurance would simply be a lower amount or that the employer gets a smaller insurance payment due to the SSDI pay-out, but when every disability check shows the subtraction the same as the subtraction for the IRS it seems like the insurance company is the one really getting the SSDI benefit.
-- Geoff

David Hogberg replies:
I rather doubt that the insurance payment would be less. Sounds like a case of private companies able to push costs off on the government when they can. That's one reason a lot of companies, like the three big American automakers, are in favor of national health insurance.

PRESENT AT THE CREATION
Re: Tom Bethell's The Decline of the Liberal Faith:

If Tom Bethell wishes to make Pat Buchanan's argument that the post 9/11 foreign policy of the "neoconservatives" (is Cheney a neoconservative?) was an empire-building extension of an ideological commitment to big government at home he should be somewhat more up front about its roots or lack of roots in the Reagan years. He could elaborate on Pat's argument that the neos and Ronald Reagan (with some of the same participants) have two radically different approaches notwithstanding Reagan's many (one might say imperialistic to use the paleoconservative parlance) commitments abroad (Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Grenada, Lebanon, etc.) because, well, the commitment to bring democracy to those under communism was defensive, or special, or directed to Christians who are less committed to pre-modern governance than the Arab world.

But he has to either renounce Reagan's great historical achievement or coherently explain how the neoconservatives were somehow noble freedom fighters leading a crusade for democracy against communism for the Gipper back in the day and ignoble, idealist liberals on a fool's mission in the Levant today. That argument may be easy to make, but he hasn't made it yet. And, just vaguely waving around a potted-history condemnation of "liberalism" (maybe the Depression had more to do with FDR's programs than Rousseau or Locke, ya think?) doesn't do it.
-- Paul R. Freedman
Falls Church, Virginia

IT'S GETTING OLD
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Libido in Crisis:

Though you're still a hero, if only on the strength of your last book on the white boned demon lady, Social Security reform as presented by a president, who can only give the affectation of being on a level with the common man, is only a good deal for people who make significant amounts of money. Even using a long term growth figure of 6% over 40 plus years, if the individuals only make between $30m to $40M a year and the plan only allows 4% of the taxes paid, not 4% of your gross there would not be that much money there at retirement even though you would own it! Do the math! The inverted snobbishness of the nouveau dealers who were inveterate Marxists devised these schemes of re-distribution based on an economy of abundance. But economies can be sapped, the value of money can be ruled by Gresham, laws of diminishing returns will prevail in the long run! Politicians have disgustingly demagogued this issue and pandered to the elderly that have the highest net worths by demographic group and are exceedingly greedy! This is reality. You must means test this system, eliminate COLA's (I don't get a raise when inflation rises), eliminate federal spending in areas that are not constitutionally authorized, eliminate the income tax, which is very anti-social, go to a consumption tax and expand 401K's to the max!
-- Edward Del Colle

SMART SELLERS
Re: Eric Peters's RFID Transit:

Eric Peters writes: "It would, arguably, be the end of privacy as we know it."

I seriously doubt it. RFID's will only lead to some entrepreneur selling shielded wallets and purses. I would guess some simple aluminum foil would prevent unknown access to your ID.

Personally I would rather have a "Smart Card" ID like those used in Europe rather than something out of a SciFi movie.
-- Bob Jones
Austin, Texas

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