A (Modern) Modest Proposal  

Posted by Brock Booher

Please apply the following definition to the blogpost that follows the definition.

satire |ˈsaˌtīrnounthe use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.• a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire: a stinging satire onAmerican politics.• a genre of literature characterized by the use of satire.• (in Latin literature) a literary miscellany, especially a poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.

A Modest Proposal
A modern homage to Jonathan Swift’s original satire

It is lamentable that we live in a time of so much prosperity and yet we as a nation cannot seem to control our debt. It is estimated that by the end of 2015 the national debt will have surpassed eighteen trillion dollars, a staggering sum that seems almost impossible to pay back.

I have often found myself pondering upon a solution for eliminating this onerous burden from the current generation, and from future generations, if at all possible. After much consideration and inward deliberation, I have a proposal to combat the tide of red ink and save future generations from this overwhelming financial burden.

I propose that we legalize murder.

Now I don’t mean that we should legalize the brutal crime of passion or even the premeditated form of eliminating an enemy without warning. We are an advanced society that is capable of a much more sophisticated approach. I propose that we legalize murder in a fashion that fills the public coffers, and provides ample governmental control and regulation to ensure proper decorum and fair treatment of all.

Allow me use an example to explain how we can capitalize on legalized murder.

Let’s say that your boss is making your life miserable and you feel like you would be doing the world a favor by dispatching him or her from this life to the next. First, you must file a motion with the government-run exchange advertising your intent to murder your boss. This of course would require a filing fee set by the legislature and adjusted for inflation from time to time. Once the motion to murder is filed, the potential murder victim will be properly notified of the motion. They in turn have twenty-four hours to file a counter motion, provided they have sufficient funds to pay the appropriate fees. The government-sanctioned motion and counter motion will start the clock towards an amicable murder.

Once the motions are properly filed and annotated with government regulators, a scrip is created in the murder marketplace (similar to crowd sourcing sites) and capitalism takes over from there. You use your influence among family, friends, and coworkers and advise them of your intent to murder your boss. They in turn participate in the exchange by buying shares of your scrip for this legal, and civilized, murder. On the opposite end, your boss likewise solicits support from people within his or her sphere of influence and they in turn buy shares of the scrip supporting the counter motion. The scrip and counter scrip will remain in play for a specified time prescribed by government regulators (appointed of course by honestly elected officials).

At the end of the prescribed time the scrip worth the most money in the exchange wins. If you have solicited more monetary support in the marketplace than your boss, then you have seventy-two hours to carry out the legal and amicable murder of your boss. If your boss manages to rally more monetary support for his or her scrip, then he or she is protected by law, and you cannot legally carry out the murder.

Of course, a person sentenced to murder by the exchange does not have to willfully submit to the event. He or she has the right to evade the exchange-endorsed murder, if he or she can successfully keep from getting murdered during the legally-dictated window of opportunity. No matter what the outcome, all monies remain in the public coffers to pay off the national debt.

Imagine the possibilities and benefits of such a program! First and foremost it would most likely bring in millions of dollars each year that could be used to eliminate the national debt. Over ten thousand people are murdered illegally in the US each year. Under my proposal the exchange would most likely raise an average of one hundred thousand dollars per murder. (I admit that I have no concrete evidence for this number but my presumption is that most people know at least one hundred people that would pay one thousand dollars to keep them alive.) Likewise, since most people want to continue living and avoid being murdered, another hundred thousand could presumably be raised by those opposing the murder.

If my math is correct, that would raise approximately two billion dollars per year to eliminate the national debt! Of course I envision that once the exchange begins the number of legal murders would outpace the current number of illegal murders at least ten to one. Again I have no empirical evidence to support this except for the current number of legal abortions in the US (over one million per year) and my personal experience with raging drivers in rush hour traffic, but I think my calculations are not an over exaggeration.

Second, this would also allow us to unburden society with those too weak to contribute to it. Imagine the resources that could be reallocated if families were allowed to amicably murder disabled children, comatose adults, parents with dementia, family members with chronic addiction, etc. Since these weaker members of society would most likely not be able raise any money for an opposing scrip in the murder marketplace, they could be dispatched with even the most limited of funds by family members seeking personal freedom from the overtasking and heavy burden of caring for someone that can never contribute to the productivity of society. Likewise, government resources currently allocated to care for this burdensome segment of society could then be freed and applied to reducing the national debt. It would be a win-win.

Third, it would provide voters relief from corrupt and inefficient politicians without waiting for the next election cycle. If a politician is not properly performing his or her duties, a concerned voter, preferably trained in the art of murder, can go to the exchange and file a motion to murder said politician on behalf of the constituency. The process could play out as it would for any other citizen, except that politicians are often very good at raising money, particularly when it involves their own safety and well being. This skill at raising money would bring billions into the public coffers and keep the politicians more beholden to their voters, especially those voters with means, motive, and opportunity.

Lastly, a beneficial program of legalized murder would reduce the need for so many homicide detectives and policemen. Granted, some of them would have to be retrained to handle the paperwork, but that clerical job would require much less skill and intelligence than the job of a skilled detective and would not require the same compensation. No doubt many of the former detectives could become freelance advisors helping those who win a bid for murder see it through to a successful end. The overall cost for law enforcement would be greatly reduced.

One other possibility that I am cautious about mentioning because of my limited knowledge with parimutuel gambling, is the revenue that might also be captured by allowing people to bet on winners and losers in the murder marketplace. I think it also has the potential of dramatically increasing revenue, but I leave that subject to someone more versed in the field of gambling and keep my suggestions strictly to those surrounding legalized murder.

So you can clearly see the benefits of legal murder for our society. Imagine the revenue we could bring in to eliminate the national debt! Imagine the Darwin-like effect of trimming our society of those not fit to survive! Imagine the lawlessness it could eliminate from our everyday lives!

You may say that my proposal is preposterous and has no legal precedent since we have never allowed for legal murder, but in the eyes of the law, multiple precedents are available for legalizing murder. The government has a history of legalizing things previously illegal, provided that said government gains control of the activity and benefits monetarily from all future activity in the process. I would refer the reader to previous illegal (or at least controlled) items such as abortion, gambling, lotteries, prostitution, alcohol, and marijuana. These have all become mainstays of governmental involvement and have provided a great deal of revenue for the local, state, and the federal governments directly, not to mention the indirect gains for enterprising politicians or private contractors. My proposal only strives to follow this same precedent and make murder another form of revenue and control for our burgeoning federal government.

When you consider the logic we have used to legalize a number of other behaviors that were previously illegal all in the name of revenue, it is easy to make the same argument for legalizing murder.

For the sake of future generations, it’s time to legalize murder.

For more information about the original work of Jonathan Swift visit  -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal


Posted by Brock Booher

As part of the launch party for The Charity Chip we held a charity auction for The House of Refuge, a local organization that helps the homeless. I auctioned off a personalized short story. Rebecca Harscher won the bid. I interviewed her to find inspiration for the character of the story (only inspiration NOT an exact likeness). Additionally, I chose two cards from The Storymatic deck (a deck of cards used to provide inspiration for stories) — Secret Meeting & Inconvenient Phobia. Based on a few tidbits from our interview and the cards from Storymatic, I put together this short story for Rebecca. Enjoy the story, and if you feel generous, please donate to The House of Refuge — http://houseofrefuge.org.


Beep. Beep. Beep. Becky backed the delivery truck up to the rear entrance of the funeral home and set the parking brake. Just the thought of this delivery made her chest tighten and she squeezed the steering wheel until her knuckles were white as funeral lilies. What is wrong with me today? You would think that after all this time I would get over this. She leaned her forehead against the steering wheel and closed her eyes. Just concentrate on the flowers. After a few moments the aroma of roses, orchids, and lilies calmed her. By mustering all of her willpower, she delivered the floral arrangements to the funeral home.
            When she made it back to the truck, her breathing returned to normal and her hands no longer felt clammy and cold. She told herself that nothing worse could happen today, but before she could drive off, her phone vibrated. It was her ex-husband.
            She stared at the phone for a moment wondering if she should answer. She hadn’t heard from him for over two years. You know he only wants money. But he could be in trouble again. Who’s going to help him if I don’t? A wave of unwarranted guilt washed over her. She sighed, and tapped the phone. “Hello Nate.”
            “Hello Becky,” he replied. His voice seemed strained like he was having difficulty forcing the words from his mouth.
            “I’m not giving you any money.”
            “I’m not calling for money.”
            “Then what do you want?”
            “I need to speak to you in person.”
            Becky took in a deep breath to firm her resolve. “I don’t think so.”
            “It’s a matter of life and death.”
            “Whose life and death?”
            “Mine. But you have to promise that you won’t tell anyone.”
            Becky clenched her teeth. For years she tried to save her ex-husband from himself, even after the divorce, but to no avail. But she still loved him and her heart ached when she thought of how much the man she once loved had suffered. “Okay. What time? Where?”
            “Tonight. At your flower shop.”


            The bell hanging on the front door jingled as the last customer left the store. Becky turned the sign in the door to “Closed” but didn’t lock the door. She looked up and down the street for her ex but didn’t see anyone.
            She worried as she swept up all the dead flowers from the floor. What does he want this time? Matter of life and death? Just mentioning of the word death made her chest tighten and her hands clammy and cold. She frowned and bit her lip as she scooped up the dead petals and tossed them into the trash. When she turned around she was face to face with a man dressed in a black suit. “Whoa! You startled me,” she said as she clutched at her chest. “I didn’t hear you come in. Can I help you?”
            The man gave her a thin, toothless smile. “I’m here to meet someone.”
            “Meet someone? I’m about to lock up.” Becky looked the man over and her stomach crawled up her throat. “Are you a funeral director? A mortician? All you have to do is call our number and we deliver.” She could feel the necrophobia seizing her like some invisible boa constrictor tightening around her chest and making it hard for her to breathe.
            “I prefer to do my work in person.”
            Becky moved behind the counter hoping to regain a sense of security. “When’s the funeral and what would you like? I can show you some samples.” She pulled out a binder and plopped it on the counter.
            The man sauntered around the room with his hands folded behind his back. “Why are you afraid of me?”
            “Afraid?” stammered Becky.
            The man turned to face her and gave her the same thin smile. It was the same smile used by every funeral director she had ever met. “Yes, afraid. Your heart rate is elevated, you have shortness of breath, and your skin is cold and clammy.” He shook his head. “Why have been afraid of me for so many years?”
            Becky swallowed and unstuck her thick tongue from the roof of her mouth. “Look Mister. . . ?”
            “Mister Black. Mister Mort Black.”
            Becky gripped the counter and steadied herself. “Look Mister Black, it’s closing time and I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.” She grabbed a brochure and offered it. “Just call us tomorrow during business hours and we’ll be glad to help you.”
            Mister Black looked at the brochure, but didn’t take it. “I’m not here for you.”
            The bell on the front door jingled and Nate shuffled into the store with the help of a cane. “Hello Becky,” he said with forced breathing. “Hello Mister Black.”
            Becky’s mouth dropped open. She barely recognized her ex-husband. His hair was all gone and his once athletic build was nothing more than ashen skin on brittle bones. “Nate?” She shook her head as if trying to awake from a nightmare. “You know this man?”
            Nate nodded and moved closer to the counter. “He’s here for me,” he whispered. “He’s here to take me home. Deliver me.”
            Becky frowned and shook her head. “Home? Deliver? I don’t understand.”
            Nate leaned on his cane and shook his head. “Pancreatic cancer. It’s ironic really. All the years of drugs and alcohol didn’t kill me, and along comes pancreatic cancer and does the job in just a few short months.”
            “Irony is almost universal in death,” said Mister Black, “as well as fear. But truthfully, neither is necessary.”
            Nate looked at Becky with tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry for all the pain I caused you. You have loved me more than I ever deserved.” He glanced at Mister Black. “He gave me a little extra time so I could see you before I had to go.”
            Becky wanted to rush around the counter and wrap her ex-husband in her arms one last time, but instead she steadied herself on the counter and tried not to pass out. Tears began streaming down her cheeks.
            Nate pulled an envelope from his jacket pocket and placed it on the counter. “This is for you.” He reached out and put his hand on hers. “Goodbye Becky.” He turned and nodded at Mister Black. “Okay, I’m ready.”
            “No!” shouted Becky, but Nate collapsed and fell to the floor. She hurried around the counter and put her cheek next to his face. He wasn’t breathing. She put her finger on his neck and searched for a pulse. Nothing. He was dead. When she looked up at Mister Black she expected to see the cold face of death, but instead she saw kindness in his eyes, and his thin smile had been replaced with the look of satisfaction, like an artist who has finished a great work.
An apparition of Nate appeared beside Mister Black, and smiled at her.
“Becky,” said Mister Black, “I love to see the flowers you deliver to the funeral homes. You always seem to add compassion to the arrangement. When we meet again, you have no need to fear.”
Nate and Mister Black locked arms and walked through the display window in the front of the store and disappeared.
            The anguish on Nate’s face had been replaced with peace, and she felt the phobia that had plagued her for so many years melt away. She knelt beside the body for a moment as her breathing returned to normal, then stood and plucked the envelope from the counter. The papers had a musty smell as she pulled them out and unfolded them. It was the life insurance policy they had taken out on Nate right after they were married. Her name was still listed as the beneficiary.
            Becky arranged the flowers for Nate’s funeral, and delivered them without a panic attack.