Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The following was inspired by Johnathan Smith's A Modest Proposal, and the general format follows the original. However, this is completely serious satire--I didn't write it just because I wanted to emulate Smith, I wrote it because I had something to say, as well.

In recent years, it has become abundantly clear that the planet is dying, due to deforestation, pollution, and the steady development of free land. Species have gone extinct, climate change is causing the seasons themselves to shift and contort, and the ever-growing brightness of our cities at night is making it difficult for all living creatures to function normally. And the root of these problems, of course, is humans: we build the factories, chop the trees, turn on the lights, etc. Therefore, I propose a simple solution to these problems—and, in fact, all of the problems of the human race: eliminate humanity.
Without humans, the planet would be able to recover. Life would be preserved—perhaps all life, as it is yet unknown whether there are other inhabited planets—and many species near extinction would have free reign to build up their numbers once more, no longer hunted by poachers or driven out of their lands. In time, enough plants would grow to clear the atmosphere of carbon dioxide, and any toxins we left behind would slowly decompose and return to their natural states. The weather would likewise sort itself out, and as all our buildings crumbled away, a natural paradise would take our place.
Getting rid of humans wouldn’t be too hard, either. If we stopped trying to prevent suicide and murder, and instead provided everyone with the means and rewarded those who eliminated some numbers, there would be a dramatic population drop. Further, we could bring back the death penalty in all those countries without it, and simply get rid of all our troublemakers. Rapists, as they would be contributing to an increase in population, would be first among these, and all charges of rape brought against anyone would be taken seriously and responded to appropriately. (For that matter, putting sexual assaulters on death row would be a good preventative measure to stop things before they begin.)
But what about the others? Not everyone is a criminal, and there surely wouldn’t be enough murderers in the world to eliminate everyone. Well, that is also easy to fix: as we spay and neuter pets, so we could spay and neuter humans. At their next visit to the doctor, people would undergo a simple surgery to prevent them from having children. New babies would also undergo this procedure, and the population would stop growing within a year or two. Then, it would rapidly start to shrink.
To ensure the elimination of humans with all due haste, illness and injury would no longer be treated. Jobs would also start to collapse, as grade by grade, teachers would no longer be needed, and those out of employment (if the world’s governments would be so kind as to stop sending benefits to the unemployed) would quickly starve or be killed by one of the murderers. The elderly are on their way out anyway, so even if they could support themselves financially without the government’s help, it wouldn’t be long before they dropped off. Many others, such as those in the fire service, would also no longer be needed—when fire can kill off so many, they would be a hindrance to the cause.
However, humanity would not disappear overnight. While we still lived, our destruction of the world around us would continue to increase. Therefore, it would be essential to shut down all the big businesses that were causing pollution and waste, so that the world could start to recover while we quietly stepped out of the way. This, of course, would result in even more unemployed people who would quickly drop off. And as for those who are perfectly self-sufficient, people could be employed to eliminate them. Farmers would be at the top of this list; as they produce food, they would be able to survive the purge unless they were specifically targeted.
Once most people have been eliminated, the murderers—presumably the last ones left—will turn on each other. Those who survive will either starve to death, die of disease, become injured, or simply live until they die of natural causes. At this point, it will hardly matter how—they will die eventually, and provided they have all been neutered or spayed, humanity will cease to exist before long.
My proposal will work for the following reasons:
First, people hate each other and themselves enough that, if everyone is given the means to kill (especially with weapons such as guns, which can be employed on impulse), they will do so quickly and willingly. If there is any guilt or sorrow over having killed, they will either commit suicide or harden themselves to those feelings and continue to murder, perhaps even finding joy in the act. Such systems to protect ourselves from uncomfortable emotions are built into us; they are human nature.
Secondly, when all of these measures are taken to collapse our society, the whole thing will quite literally crash and burn. I’m certain that there are other laws that could be repealed, such as “don’t text while driving” or “always wear a seatbelt” or “don’t go over the speed limit” that would quickly arise as people found more ways that humans die, and removed the preventative measures around them. All it would take is a few laws removed and the means to kill given to everyone, and then the human world would crumble into nothingness.
Thirdly, those who (for whatever reason) would oppose this proposal would contribute to it, as police violence would be rewarded and there are so many people who would love to be assassins that the leaders of those groups would not last long. Gathering people together to stand against the purge would give an excellent opportunity to try some mass-effect weapons, and if protests turned to riots, the results could wipe out cities in one fell blow.
Fourthly, all of humankind would benefit from this purge: nobody would have to solve a problem again, for nobody would have problems to solve. Everyone would get to express their characters fully, and in this state of emergency, they would be relieved of all burdens. For many, after expressing their long-hidden hatred or rage, they would finally welcome sweet oblivion, and it would all be for a good cause. For others, they would finally reconcile with any enemies, and reach out to shunned family, having a chance to become whole because of the terror surrounding. Many people would die happy, and those who didn’t would be free from their pain before long.
Fifthly, it is absolutely certain that the world would benefit from a lack of humanity. Nature would begin to restore itself with the first abandoned houses, as previously-trimmed lawns and hedges became living, growing sanctuaries for the smallest of creatures: the rodents, insects, and birds. This surplus of prey would cause the predators’ numbers to grow, and a cycle of hunting and evolving through natural selection would be set in place. Even in the first deaths, even as it began, the Earth would begin claiming her rightful place.
Let no one come to me, saying that this purge would be barbaric or horrific. Let no one argue that humans can change and restore the planet, or that overpopulation could be cured through other measures. Let no one say that energy is becoming cleaner, when energy produced is fueling a different, growing kind of pollution: that of light. Let no one speak of the misery and horror that people would undergo, for as it stands, so few people care about that which is already occurring. Let no one argue that we only each have one life, or that love can still win over hatred, or that some species are beginning to recover.
Let no one come to me saying that humans can improve, when throughout history, we have only gotten worse. When America’s latest presidential election showed just how hateful the country is, when people are already engaged in bloody, miserable wars, when there are already people starving and dying, when we could so easily wipe ourselves out through nuclear war, let no one say that this proposal would not be an easier, kinder, more empathetic way of eliminating the most selfish, uncaring, ignorant, egotistical, hateful, destructive, parasitic, dangerous species on the planet.
It is not too late. The Earth can still make a full (or nearly full) recovery, but it cannot do so with us here. We act too slowly to eliminate the greed that causes a farmer to use pesticides or a factory to burn fossil fuels—it will be too late by the time we do, too late for the bees and the air. Only radical, fast-acting change will solve this problem, and given the violent nature of humankind, if this proposal is implemented even partially (which it likely will be regardless of whether anyone reads this, at least in America, considering who’s president), humanity will collapse anyway. This purge would be fast and cause as little destruction as possible to the rest of the planet.
Do not worry that I do this for an excuse to kill people. I’m sure that I would be among the first to die, if this was implemented.