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Eating the Poor and Eating the Rich

There is an on-going problem with the Irish poor that screams to be solved. Jonathan Swift (an Irishman) steps forward with a modest proposal to buy Irish children and slice them up "as we do roasting pigs." Yes. It is the duty of every Irishman to eat the poor... at least the children of the poor. This is satire as much as Gulliver's Travels is. Jonathan Swift uses false argument such as an appeal to authority, "A very knowing American," and he offers his real proposal as if he were Br'er Rabbit begging Br'er Fox not to throw him into the brier patch. Here is a paraphrase (modified so as to make it immediately comprehensible): [1] [2] [3]

Therefore let no man talk to me of other proposals: Of taxing absentee landlords at five shillings a pound: Of buying only clothes and furniture of our country's manufacture: Of utterly rejecting foreign luxury items: Of preaching against pride, vanity, idleness, and gambling: Of promoting savings, wisdom and sobriety: Of learning to love our country and teaching love for the foreigner... even the Swedish: Of letting go of our animosities and factions, [...] Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers (the grasping, cynical opportunists). Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these proposals, until he has at least some sign of hope, that there will ever be a sincere attempt to put them into practice. -- Paraphrased from A Modest Proposal. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Yes. When it comes to government debt, I always say, "Whatever we do, let's not talk about decreasing government spending!" Of course, that is exactly what I want to talk about. It is a rhetorical tactic. In 1729, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (roo-SO) was 16-years-old, but years later he said, "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich." This idea was used in the Occupy Wall Street protests where people carried signs that read "Eat the Rich." It was odd watching celebrities join the protests when I knew they were very rich. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is worth studying as a philosopher but as a human being he was not a pleasant fellow. In fact his wife called him "An interesting madman." I think some of his ideas are wrong, but his influence in American education today is undeniable. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Benjamin Franklin Does NOT Discover Electricity

At this time Benjamin Franklin is busy buying an existing newspaper and renaming it, "The Pennsylvania Gazette." He and his business partner will turn it into the most influential newspaper in New England. His experiments in science will come along soon enough. For now, the English scientist, Stephen Gray, is methodically testing various materials for the conductivity of electricity and finding a number of good insulators. [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The idea that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity is utterly ridiculous. There is a myth that in 1752 he flew a kite with a key tied to the string while in the midst of a summer lightening storm. It is a good story but too dangerous to be true, or at least not survivable. Franklin did propose that lightening was a form of electricity. He also proposed the idea of positive and negative poles of electricity. Electricity had been well known as a phenomenon for centuries. Reading the Bible carefully, an engineer will soon realize that the Ark of the Covenant was a very large (and extremely expensive) capacitor. The very word "electricity" means "of amber" and came into use in the mid-1600s. People had realized that rubbing amber against certain types of material produced static electricity and a shock. They actually used the word electricity, so the idea that somehow Franklin discovered it is just so much rubbish. [14] [15] [16]

Science and Math

  • A Billion is a Thousand Million: A Harvard professor introduces the short scale for numbers in use in the modern day where a billion is a thousand million rather than the long scale where a billion is a million million. [17] [18]
  • The Largest Comet Every Seen: In terms of brightness, the largest comet ever seen from Earth is Comet Sarabat in 1729, but other comets would have seemed brighter if Earth had been closer when the comets approached the Sun. [19] [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1729, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick. gutenberg.org (1729). Retrieved on 11 February 2016.
  2. Br'er Rabbit - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Br'er Rabbit is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, provoking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. The name 'Br'er Rabbit', a syncope of 'Brother Rabbit', has been linked to both African and Cherokee cultures. The Walt Disney Company later adapted this character for its 1946 animated motion picture Song of the South.”
  3. Briar Patch - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “The common name for a thicket formed by any of a number of unrelated thorny plants”
  4. Zealots (Judea) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “The Zealots were originally a political movement in 1st century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66-70). Zealotry was the term used by Josephus for a 'fourth sect' during this period.”
  5. A Modest Proposal - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it. Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.”
  6. History of the French Revolution, The. quod.lib.umich.edu (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Title: The history of the French revolution. By M. A. Thiers. Translated, with notes and illustrations from the most authentic sources, by Frederick Shoberl. Author: Thiers, Adolphe, 1797-1877.”
  7. The Silicon Graybeard: What's All This 'Eat The Rich Stuff', Anyhow?. thesilicongraybeard.blogspot.com (October 18, 2011). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “There's been a recurring theme in all this 'occupy whatever street' going on: 'eat the rich'. Sure, the comment isn't exactly original, and I have no idea where it originally came from, but it keeps coming up. From Occupy Denver this past weekend”
  8. Eat the Rich (1987) - Plot Summary. IMDb (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Alex is a disgruntled waitress at a snobby exclusive restaurant who falls on hard times. Forced to deal with the contempt and disgust of the upper class, Alex & cohorts attempt to go on a rampage. Meanwhile, General Karprov and Spider plot to involve the inept anarchists into their plans to derail the prime-minister-to-be's campaign.”
  9. Johnson, Paul. Intellectuals. Harper & Row. ISBN 0060160500. 
  10. Pennsylvania Gazette - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 February 2016. “The newspaper was first published in 1728 by Samuel Keimer and was the second newspaper to be published in Pennsylvania under the name The Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences: and Pennsylvania Gazette, alluding to Keimer's intention to print out a page of Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences in each copy. On October 2, 1729, Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith bought the paper and shortened its name, as well as dropping Keimer's grandiose plan to print out the Cyclopaedia. Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies.”
  11. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 334-335. 
  12. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 334-335. 
  13. Stephen Gray (scientist) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Stephen Gray (December 1666 – 7 February 1736) was an English dyer and astronomer who was the first to systematically experiment with electrical conduction. Until his work in 1729 the emphasis had been on the simple generation of static charges and investigations of the static phenomena (electric shocks, plasma glows, etc).”
  14. The History of Electricity (Mythbusters, Season 3, Episode 6). youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Clips of the Mythbusters episode 'Cooling a Six Pack'”
  15. Baghdad Battery - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “Archaeologist Ken Feder commented on the show noting that no archaeological evidence has been found either for connections between the jars (which were necessary to produce the required voltage) or for their use for electroplating.”
  16. Etymology of electricity - encyclopedia article by TheFreeDictionary. encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com (2016). Retrieved on 11 February 2016. “The word electric was first used by Francis Bacon to describe materials like amber that attracted other objects. The first usage of the English word electricity is ascribed to Sir Thomas Browne in his 1646 work, Pseudodoxia Epidemica:”
  17. Isaac Greenwood - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 4 January 2016. “During his tenure, he wrote anonymously the first natively-published American book on mathematics – the Greenwood Book, published in 1729. This book made the first published statement of the short scale value for billion in the United States, which eventually became the value used in most English-speaking countries.”
  18. Long and short scales - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 January 2016. “The long and short scales are two of several large-number naming systems for integer powers of ten, that use the same words with different meanings: Long scale - Every new term greater than million is one million times larger than the previous term. Thus, billion means a million millions (1012), trillion means a million billions (1018), and so on. Short scale - Every new term greater than million is one thousand times larger than the previous term. Thus, billion means a thousand millions (109), trillion means a thousand billions (1012), and so on.”
  19. Comet of 1729 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 9 February 2016. “The Comet of 1729, also known as C/1729 P1 or Comet Sarabat, was a non-periodic comet with an absolute magnitude of −3, the brightest ever observed for a comet; it is therefore considered to be potentially the largest comet ever seen.”
  20. Comet Hale-Bopp Light Curve Update. www2.jpl.nasa.gov (April 3, 1997). Retrieved on 9 February 2016. “If Comet Hale-Bopp had passed as close as Comet Hyakutake did last year it would have been around magnitude -7 and perhaps the second or third brightest comet since the 17th century!”

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