Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Modest Proposal

With Apologies to Johnathan Swift
 (Note: If you haven't read this: http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html, do it now or you won't get it.)

Our great nation is beset by several crises: joblessness, soaring entitlements, violent crime. If one believes our national leaders, these can only be resolved by vast tax increases on the richest sectors of society, transferring their ill-gotten wealth to the deserving masses while providing employment to thousands of selfless public servants. Those who wish to be our national leaders claim, in contrast, that paying people not to work, paying others to have children they cannot support, and dispensing cash to political favorites for schemes of dubious validity is hardly a solution. However, when these aspirants to power were our national leaders the problems were hardly better addressed.

Both groups, wrapped in their ideological security blankets, miss an obvious point. If the unemployment rate is too high one may reduce it either by adding jobs or removing the jobless. If there is crime, one may remove criminals. If entitlements are too costly, one may remove the entitled.

This idea may be shocking and repulsive to those with antiquated humanitarian sentiments. However, the basic concept is supported by the very most moral, humanitarian, intellectually advanced thinkers of modern society, the "progressive humanists." Their superiority is established by virtually every credible news source, major university and freethinking religious institution in America. One only needs to ask them.

The program I propose is a simple extension of current pro-choice policies. Its goal is to reduce the number of dependent, violent and otherwise harmful individuals, thus benefiting our nation in three ways:
One, it expands not only women's but all parent's rights.
Two, it reduces the expenditures for entitlements and law enforcement, including incarceration.
Three, it controls population, which many activists believe to be the major cause of environmental degradation.

Consider that Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics showed that the increase in abortion following Rowe v. Wade resulted in lower crime rates years later because potential criminals weren't being born. More recent data shows that the offspring of single (never-married) mothers are far more likely to become criminals regardless of race or ethnicity. Single motherhood has vastly increased in the last 50 years. The conclusion is obvious: more abortion, less crime.

However, thanks to socially regressive elements of the population, abortions are often restricted to early pregnancy, while many impressionable women are convinced not to exercise this fundamental right at all, a decision they may later regret. The answer to this problem has been provided by two eminent philosophers, Guibilini and Minerva, writing in the prestigious Journal of Medical Ethics. They point out that  "personhood" is an arbitrary judgement, since cognitive/neurological development continues long after birth. Because only "persons" have a right to life, "post-birth abortion" is both feasible and moral. Prior to the arbitrary designation of personhood there exists only a "bundle of cells" (hereafter referred to as a BoC to promote objective discussion) deserving of no special consideration.
A BoC may, morally, be terminated at any time and for any reason, including the convenience of the mother (hereafter referred to as the Female Generative Unit, or FGU. Fathers are denoted the Male Generative Unit, or MGU.)

The threshold for personhood, the moment when a BoC becomes an individual, is problematic. I propose modifying a traditional criterion, and declaring the BoC a person when it becomes capable of independent life. By this is meant the moment when the BoC is dependent neither on the FGU nor the MGU nor any other agency for any aspect of its sustenance, whether food, shelter, clothing, medical care, rent, tuition, car payments or past-due credit card bills. Until that point in BoC development it is not a "person" and may be freely aborted by any convenient means, the cost to be paid by health insurance.

Furthermore, there is no reason to limit abortion rights to FGUs. MGUs, always assuming they can be identified by the FGUs in question, may be burdened by BoCs as well. Like FGUs, MGUs' ineffable personhoods may be threatened by incessant demands for food, shelter, attention, dry diapers or a turn on the XBox by annoying, ungrateful BoCs. True, FGUs must carry the BoC internally for 3/4 of a year but once delivered the BoC is equally burdensome to both (again, assuming the MGU can be identified and is present at least part of the time.)

Importantly, personhood is not to be considered  permanent. Persons may regress to BoC status at any time by becoming dependent on others for support, or by interfering with other's enjoyment of their lifestyle choices. In cases of person-to-BoC regression in which M- or FGUs  are unavailable, the State in its wisdom may assume their role, acting (as the archaic Latin phrase puts it) "In loco parentis." * This would greatly reduce dependency and in fact create a new income source, as organs from aborted BoCs could be sold on the open market. The long-civilized and ethically advanced Chinese have instituted a similar system.

The social benefits of this simple change in philosophy would be immense. Not only would public expenditures and the jobless/homeless rate decline dramatically, but persons, freed from the life-sapping demands of BoCs, could actualize their true selves, whether in art, literature, music or late-night bacchanals at their favorite clubs. Crime would decline since imprisonment, a form of dependency caused by unpleasant interpersonal behavior, would create BoC status and engage "in loco parentis" abortion. All of this ethically advanced policy would certainly be easier to enact than reversing longstanding programs which subsidize lifelong dependence and the creation of future dependence, with little if any concept of social or moral obligation. The United States could then legitimately claim to have achieved the Great Society.

* In place of parents.

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