Group 1 Essays

Sending Grandma to the Ovens
By: Colin Cohen

As our nation gets older and older, we will soon face a major dilemma: what will we do when the vast majority of our citizenry is composed of non-productive senior citizens, who instead of contributing to our country’s wealth are draining it of its very sustenance? The answer lies in providing these people a special form of early retirement: extermination. While this may seem a bit harsh, it will create unmatched economic prosperity and will relieve the heavy emotional burden carried by families who must support — and even occasionally visit — their elderly members.

Natural law, a law clearly inspired by God that preceded and should supersede all man-made laws, has a special method for dealing with the elderly, a method that applies to all species: either they are to be eaten by younger, stronger, and faster members of other species; or, realizing their innate uselessness, they leave the tribe and go off alone where they can peacefully starve to death and be eaten by vultures. In the beginning, this law applied to humans as well — it only deviated when man adopted Confucian and Judeo-Christian philosophy, which mistakenly taught reverence for the old.

Still, up until the past century, the burden of this reverence was placed solely on the family; and even then, it was purely voluntary. If a family couldn’t afford (or couldn’t be troubled) to take care of their elderly, the hardship didn’t fall on society. In fact, as these people were forced to work up until their deaths in workhouses or on the street (and ate many tins of cat food), they actually contributed to society, albeit in a small and somewhat unsightly way.

This symbiotic system unfortunately ended with the Marxian-laced policies of the New Deal. Just because of a little depression and a few million hungry old people, Franklin Roosevelt autocratically encumbered future generations with an evil program called Social Security. With Social Security, society was now legally bound to financially support the elderly. And while, in theory, the costs were to be financed by individual contributions, by linking payments made by Social Security — however small — to the cost of living, they created the possibility of an endless pit.

Things got much worse in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson and his Great Society gave us Medicare, which guaranteed medical insurance for the elderly. It was no longer sufficient to help them pay for their cat food, now we would have to pay for some of their medical expenses too. This program, in combination with Social Security, also had the undesirable effect of raising life expectancy dramatically, raising costs even higher.

The situation was even further exasperated with the formation of the American Association of Retired People (AARP), a political action committee created to protect and enhance government-sponsored handouts to the elderly. This group is now one of the strongest and most influential PACs — all due to the insignificant fact that old people, because they have nothing better to do, actually vote.

The economic consequences of abandoning God’s natural law is enormous and will only worsen exponentially. Currently, the cost for Medicare is 220 billion dollars per year. By 2011, this cost is estimated to increase to 491 billion dollars, or 19 percent of the federal budget. The cost will then soon double when the Baby Boom generation begins to retire.

As a much larger percent of the population will be elderly — the US Census estimates that by 2025 the population over 65 will increase 80 percent while the number of working Americans will increase only 15 percent — payroll and other federal taxes will have to increase dramatically to meet the costs. And the Congressional Budget Office says that by 2030, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will consume 75 percent of the federal budget. In the worse case, we could be facing the insolvency of the entire government; and in the very best scenario, it will mean far less money for much more needed government programs, such as building weapons of mass destruction.

Additionally, these costs do not include the many long-term care costs that are not covered by the federal government, such as lengthy nursing homes stays, which in general are paid mostly by families. Today, a year of nursing home costs on average $50,000. In future, as these costs double, triple, or even quadruple, many families will face certain ruin. At the very least, they will be unable to afford satellite television.

The elderly problem has also created a hidden cost: the cost of health care insurance in general. The ever-rising cost of health insurance, which has become unaffordable for many working people, is directly related to the ever-rising cost of providing health care, which the elderly receive at an extremely disproportional rate to the public at large.

Of course, money isn’t everything. The care of the elderly carries many emotional costs. For families that can afford external care, they must give up part of their hard-earned weekends and holidays to visit elderly members. Men must forgo time on the golf course, women time at the salon, and children time in front of the TV watching cartoons or playing video games — all to visit depressing, urine-soaked institutions of impending death. And how many of these old people truly appreciate the minutes their families sacrifice when they come and visit?

An even worse situation is when families can’t afford external care or when their elderly relatives selfishly refuse such care. They must then suffer and patronize them in their own homes, cook and clean for them, and listen to their useless babble. And the old people, as they become more and more incoherent with age, soon become an embarrassment — a consequence of which is that families must curtail dinner and cocktail parties, which could have a major effect on their social standing within the community.

Of course, identifying problems is sometimes much simpler than identifying solutions. One method for determining solutions to problems facing our society, though, is to look toward corporate America. Often solutions developed by large businesses can be applied to government. When companies become bloated and need to reduce costs — so as to ensure shareholder profits and executive bonuses — a relatively painless solution is to implement an early retirement program, where employees are encouraged to retire prematurely by offering them financial incentives.

Based on this model, I propose we develop a special early retirement program as a final solution to the problem of the elderly. The program will offer the elderly and their families certain financial incentives in exchange for their extermination. Unlike most corporate early retirement programs, though, this program will not be voluntary.

The program will work as follows: everyone 65 or older will report — or will be brought forcibly if necessary — to their local termination center, which will be conveniently located across the country in local shopping malls. At this time — if they report on their own volition — they will receive one-half of their total contribution to the Social Security system, which is still far more than what they would have received through the current system. They can either leave this money to their descendants or donate it to charity. The choice is theirs. After completing their paperwork, the elderly will be transported to crematories for further processing.

Undoubtedly, this program will be a little controversial. Some seniors, acting purely out of self-interest, might complain; and as the AARP has a stranglehold on many politicians, it might be difficult to get Congress to approve it. Fortunately, Section 501 of the Defense Security Enhancement Act, also known as Patriot II, provides the executive branch the much needed ability to presumptively denationalize American citizens who support the activities of any organization that it has deemed terrorist. As “terrorism” can be defined as the “systematic use of intimidation to coerce governments,” the AARP could easily be branded a terrorist organization by the president; and hence all of its members — which include almost the entire elderly population — could be legally expatriated. And if the Supreme Court attempts to overrule this interpretation, it too can be deemed “terrorist.”

The families of seniors may also protest, as many mistakenly believe that they actually love their elder members. This can be resolved through a concerted plan of reeducation in combination with television and billboard advertising. If we get a few sport stars and entertainers onboard, the nation’s undeniably pliable will will soon change. Especially when the checks for dead relatives start coming in the mail.

Once the early retirement program is in place, the direct economic benefits of it will be staggering. Firstly, those entering the workforce will no longer have to donate a large chunk of their paycheck to Social Security — allowing them to use the money far more wisely on such things as booze, drugs, sex, and lottery tickets. Secondly, as the federal government will no longer have to prop up Social Security and Medicare, it can channel all these funds to the military, who can then implement early retirement programs across the world. Thirdly, health care costs will plummet, allowing hospitals, physicians, and insurance companies to earn far more money. Fourthly, families will no longer have to bear the economic and emotional costs of long-term care, freeing both disposable income and the opportunity to waste it. Additionally, by ending long-term care, we could convert all the nursing homes into luxury condominiums. Finally, this program will provide thousands of minimum wage jobs to those undereducated minorities who will work in the crematories.

The program can also produce an important indirect economic benefit. As the human body is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the ashes of our seniors will make excellent fertilizer, which we can provide to our farmers at low cost, who in turn will use it to grow tasty grains, fruits, and vegetables for us to enjoy. We can also export the fertilizer to poor Third World nations, through loans provided by the IMF at marginally usurious interest rates, so they too can enjoy our dead elderly. And through USAID and the Peace Corps, we can even teach these wretches how to make their own fertilizer.

Early retirement will also provide a host of side benefits. The roads and supermarket lines will move quicker, children will no longer be indoctrinated with old-fashioned morals and values, and there will be no more Dick Clark specials on TV. We will also need far fewer election workers; for by eliminating senior citizens, we will eliminate the majority of voters. Who knows, perhaps we could even eliminate voting all together.

The extermination of the elderly, true to both natural law and economic order, will provide a plethora of benefits, without any discernible drawbacks. America, send your grandfathers and grandmothers to the ovens — if not for your greed, than for the greed of the nation.

Endangered English:  The Lost Art of Grammar

By Meredith Litt

Years ago, back when Al Gore invented the Internet, grammar began to ebb with the tide of changing times.  One foot inside the grave, in imminent danger of falling into the same hole as Latin and Yiddish, our beloved friend suddenly found itself subdued by the forces of a society gone mad with newfound possibilities of convenience.  The Internet was a godsend, an answer to the war cries of a billion frustrated telephone users and letter-writers.  Phone calls were too expensive; writing a letter was too time-consuming.  Our people needed an answer.  They needed a miracle.

Enter the Internet, a savior for a collective consumer appetite already whet by the invention of vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, and countless other conveniences.  As with any profound social movement, language evolved and argots emerged.  The English language as we knew it was never again to be seen, having ceded its remaining shreds of purity in favor of cyberspeak and shortcuts.


HI DIS IS JESYKA, OMG, i Am So HaPpEy 4 U wRiT mE bAk l8eR I <3 U LOL BYE 😉

No, this is not Esperanto.  In fact, it only fits into the realm of English discourse by a mere technicality, one-hundredth of a point on the ratings board.  At first glance, this unintelligible amalgam of letters, acronyms, and symbols registers as code.  Logical enough, considering that friends have spoken in code for eons.  However, this is no esoteric jargon between friends.  No, this borderline illiteracy is pandemic in the English-speaking world at large, especially within the adolescent population.  Enter any online journal community, and a majority of the 13-18 demographic there will have employed this same literary “style” (if lack of style qualifies as “style”).  Call it sticky-typing, call it spelling deficiency, but, for God’s sake, don’t call it writing.  For the purposes of this argument, we’ll call it “trendy anti-grammar.”

Let’s face it.  Some are born good spellers, with an intuitive sense as to how a word should look on paper.  Others struggle, weighing each syllable carefully and sounding out a word phonetically until arriving at a logical conclusion.  However, when spelling deficiency reduces a junior in high school to the reading level of his five-year-old counterparts, we must ask ourselves how much of a godsend this thing, the Internet, truly is?

It is a bizarre universe, one devoid of copyright laws or editors.  A website emerges boasting daily news articles, but there is no one to mandate its contents.  Dangling participles sway in the cyber-breeze and people misspell rudimentary words “alot.”  Academic discourse broadens in scope to those capable of employing polysyllables correctly.  Those who adhere to the dictates of classical grammar are dismissed as “purists” or “fusty.”  Or, in the spirit of today’s linguistic trends, grammarians are “whack” and “uptight.”  Who needs rules?  Throw the word “closure” or “paradigm” into a sentence and one is hailed by the masses as the second coming of Shakespeare.  When confronted by a professor or editor with the news that his writing is riddled with faulty diction and split infinitives, a writer dismisses the advice as antediluvian.  Then again, since that word is almost as archaic as Latin itself, he would be more likely to exclaim, “Nobody conversates like that anymore!”  Hell hath no fury like an ignoramus scorned.  Still, the editor (if he is worth his weight in paper) gets the last laugh at the impassioned emphasis on the nonexistent verb.

The Internet is not entirely to blame for this rapid descent into functional illiteracy.  No, we must blame our educators, whose grading standards have shifted from technically inclined to “constructively” inclined.  College writing curricula everywhere have adapted the new-fangled constructivist theory, which focuses upon inventing knowledge and takes the spotlight away from technical flaws.  Professors must not be oppressive in their quest to produce technically masterful writers at the end of each semester, but, instead, must allow students to create their own knowledge in writing and support it with personal anecdotes (thus introducing the taboo “I” pronoun into formal writing).  Students rejoice and spell-checkers everywhere go into hibernation as this mode of writing renders technical execution obsolete in favor of rhetorical expediency.

What follows is an introductory paragraph from a college essay yet to be written:

I really liked The Grapes of Wrath.  John Stainback is really good at expressing his ideas in writting and also making sure we understand his main ideas.  Even though I didn’t live during the Dusty Bowl, I was really suprised at how similar I am to Tom Joad.  First of all I love the song “Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen and think its really awesome that they made a song based on an old book.  Anyway, he’s a man who is ruled by his desire to get away from the poor life.  I think we can all relate to wanting to run away, which Stineback really gets across effectively in this book.  This paper will talk about how we all want to run away and how this book is a primary example of why running away is a bad idea.

Granted, this writer (who chooses to remain anonymous) has composed a paragraph that adheres to the traditional structure of an introduction.  It moves from the general to specific, but reads more like an eighth-grade book report than a college essay.  This is not hyperbole, folks.  This is the level at which many college freshmen write, and the constructivist theory congratulates such an admirable (yet technically appalling) attempt at thesis construction.  How can grammar thrive when college writers no longer concern themselves with typographical errors (“typos”) and tense inconsistency?

The answer is simple, my friends.  We must take a stand against this rampant apathy and spark a revivalist movement.  Start small.  Proofread E-mails and instant messages from your friends.  Chide others with an obligatory “LOL” (for good measure) when they fall into the chasm between a split infinitive.  Rearrange their sentences for them if they close with a preposition.  At the beginning, you will be a virtual pariah, shunned for your efforts to revive something left for dead.  This is how all revolutions begin, and that is what you will be:  a revolutionary.  However, centuries from now, when a misplaced modifier warrants capital punishment, your efforts will not have been for naught.

Proofread an E-mail today.  Someday, the world will be a better place because you had the courage to challenge the institution of trendy anti-grammar.  Let the renaissance begin!