• Jonathan Swift. A Modest Proposal (1729)

    Ce texte précède de 69 ans An Essay on the Principle of Population par l’ignoble pasteur Malthus. Il est rare que la parodie d’une oevre précède son soi-disant original. Il fallut le génie de Swift pour réaliser ce prodige. Je ne peux qu’en conclure que déjà à l’époque de Swift le traitement inhumain des peuples par l’empire britannique avait atteint un degré insupportable.

    Les dirigeants de cet empire ne cessent de nous impressionner par leur crueauté qui donne l’impression de sortir sans détour du monde satirique de Jonanthan Swift. Dans une interview soigneusement conservées par l’association qui porte son nom, Margaret Thatcher « The Witch » y prononce l’expression célèbre there is no such thing as society . Par cette phrase elle refute la responsabilité de la société pour pour l’irresponsabilité des pauvres qui osent pondre des enfants.


    Swift écrit dans son traité Modeste proposition pour empêcher les enfants des pauvres d’être à la charge de leurs parents ou de leur pays et pour les rendre utiles au public :

    A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
    Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for Infant’s Flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses, and the rest of the Kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.

    I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the Kingdom.

    This I freely own, and ’twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or I think, ever can be upon Earth.


    An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)

    Malthus regarded ideals of future improvement in the lot of humanity with scepticism, considering that throughout history a segment of every human population seemed relegated to poverty. He explained this phenomenon by arguing that population growth generally expanded in times and in regions of plenty until a relatively large size of population, relative to a more modest supply of primary resources, caused distress:

    “Yet in all societies, even those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment [i.e., marriage] is so strong, that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition”.
    Proposed solutions

    Malthus argued that two types of checks hold population within resource limits: The first, or preventive check to lower birth rates and The second, or positive check to permit higher mortality rates. This second check “represses an increase which is already begun” but by being “confined chiefly, though not perhaps solely, to the lowest orders of society”. The preventive checks could involve birth control, postponement of marriage, and celibacy while the positive checks could involve hunger, disease and war.

    Enfin les Dead Kennedys ont traté le sujet avec délicatesse :

    Kill The Poor

    #histoire #impérialisme #euthanasie #démographie