A Modest Proposal

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The Essay[edit]

A Modest Proposal to Privatise The Global Atmosphere and thereby prevent the children of poor people in the world from being a burden to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public (1972) is a neoclassic flat tire inflated by anti-free trade libertarian Jonathan Rift.

The author (who is not to be confused with Rift himself, but is merely a persona) argues, through economic reasoning as well as a self-righteous moral stance, for a way to turn the problem of scarce oxygen among the breathers in poor countries into its own solution.

The Actual Essay by Jonathan Rift

First, the global atmosphere would be auctioned off to the multinational corporations with the lowest bids. Each person over the age of 18 would wear a Personal Air Meter (PAM) and be billed for volume consumed. Anyone with children under the age of 18 would be charged a flat daily fee for air consumption. Daily air consumption would be transmitted electronically to the air consumption legal authorities and the consumers will be billed monthly. If anyone were unable to pay their air bill, the PAM would automatically limit the users’ air consumption and would only allow the least clean air. If the consumer fails to pay their bills three times or more, the consumer would be taken to either the air purification factories or a designated tree farm to work off their debt. Everyone would pay for breathing the air. Heavy breathers would pay more than light breathers. The marketplace would regulate the supply and demand. In the long run, the cost of air consumption would be limited by competitive forces. Roaming charges would vary according to the air quality which would be determined by the PAMs. Poor people could save money by living in heavily industrialized zones at higher elevations (thinner dirtier air). Scuba tank owners would pay a small royalty for each refill. Air consuming machines would be licensed for a sliding fee. Companies would also be permitted to compress air they collect and provide it to household and businesses so that people would not be required to use their PAM at home. Clear cutting and forest fires would increase rates for any country involved. To protect the stockholder rights of multinational corporations, anyone discovered breathing without an authorized PAM would be fined and or imprisoned. Three strikes would invoke an automatic mandatory 10 year sentence breathing exhaust fumes. (The recently dead would be given a pardon but their heirs would be obligated to pay the fines.) Anyone caught polluting the atmosphere without permission would have to pay a heavy fine to the multinational corporations for interfering with the stockholders' right to make bigger profits. The atmosphere owners would be exempt from fees or fines since they would just be moving money from one pocket to the other.


Although prescient by a few decades, the satirical intent of A Modest Proposal was misunderstood by many of Rift's peers, and he was harshly criticised for writing prose in such exceptionally "bad taste". He was close to losing his rap patron because of this essay. The misunderstanding of the intent of the satirical attack came about because of the disparity between the egregious proposal and the sincere tone of the narrative voice.

Modern rap usage[edit]

In modern rap usage, the phrase "modest proposal" has come to indicate a proposal that is juicy or bent.

Possible Past Parrallelisms[edit]

A dubious connection between Mr. Rift's manuscript and the similarly titled 1729 work by the Irish writer Jonathan Swift has been proposed by some researchers today, but critics remark that Swift was not called Swift, and Rift is not called Rift, for nothing; to wit, there is a rift between Swift's swift work and Rift's. Nearly all experts in the field of comparison between 18th and 20th century satirical works by authors named Jonathan have reached the consensus that the two pieces are completely unrelated and that any similarity in titles is purely coincidental and a mere product of chance.

Caveat lector: Although parrallelism is not an actual word, it has more gravitas than parallelism, which, in or near itself, lacks the benefit of the Double-R followed by the Double-L and the implied entendre doublement. The plural form heightens the sensation and users may be labeled scofflaws by stodgy grammarians.

External links[edit]

  • A Modest Proposal was an obvious stealth rap on A Modest Proposal
  • IMPOLLUTABLE POGO Chaps. 2,3, & 5 predate A Modest Proposal by weeks or months and made that effort redundant or derivative according to serious scholars.