Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Academy of Lagado

As blizzards are expected in Scotland, with icy gales forecast for the rest of the country, with unseasonable snow falling in North America and Arctic ice on the rampage, our illustrious MPs are settling down in their centrally heated debating chamber – the doors guarded by machine-gun toting policemen – to discuss … climate change.

Meanwhile, in the Academy of Lagado, the best scientific brains are working on a solution:

There was a most Ingenious Doctor who seemed to be perfectly versed in the whole Nature and System of Government. This illustrious Person had very usefully employed his Studies in finding out effectual Remedys for all Diseases and Corruptions, to which the several kinds of publick Administration are subject by the Vices or Infirmities of those who govern, as well as by the Licentiousness of those who are to obey.

For instance; whereas all Writers and Reasoners have agreed, that there is a strict universal Resemblance between the Natural and the Political Body; can there be anything more evident, than that the Health of both must be preserved, and the Diseases cured by the same Prescriptions?

It is allowed that Senates and great Councils are often troubled with redundant, ebullient, and other peccant Humours, with many Diseases of the Head, and more of the Heart; with strong Convulsions, with grievous Contractions of the Nerves and Sinews in both Hands, but especially the Right: With Spleen, Flatus, Vertigos, and Deliriums; with Scrophulous Tumours full of fætid purulent Matter; with sower frothy Ructations, with Canine Appetites and crudeness of Digestion, besides many others needless to mention.

This Doctor therefore proposed, that upon the Meeting of a Senate, certain Physicians should attend at the three first Days of their sitting, and at the Close of each day's Debate, feel the Pulses of every Senator; after which having maturely considered, and consulted upon the Nature of the several Maladies, and the Methods of Cure, they should on the fourth Day return to the Senate House, attended by their Apothecaries stored with proper Medicines, and before the Members sate, administer to each of them Lenitives, Aperitives, Abstersives, Currosives, Restringents, Palliatives, Laxatives, Cephalalgicks, Ictericks, Apophlegmaticks, Acousticks, as their several Cases required, and according as these Medicines should operate, repeat, alter, or omit them at the next Meeting.

This Project could not be of any great Expense to the Publick, and would in my poor Opinion, be of much Use for the Dispatch of Business in those Countries where Senates have any share in the Legislative Power; beget Unanimity, shorten Debates, open a few Mouths which are now closed, and close many more which are now open; curb the Petulancy of the Young, and correct the Positiveness of the Old; rouze the Stupid, and damp the Pert.

Again, Because it is a general Complaint that the Favourites of Princes are troubled with short and weak Memories; the same Doctor proposed, that whoever attended a First Minister, after having told his business with the utmost Brevity, and in the plainest Words; should at his Departure give the said Minister a Tweak by the Nose, or a kick in the Belly, or tread on his Corns, or lug him thrice by both Ears, or run a Pin into his Breech, or pinch his Arm black and blew, to prevent Forgetfulness: and at every Levee Day repeat the same Operation, till the Business were done or absolutely refused.

He likewise directed, that every Senator in the great Council of a Nation, after he had delivered his Opinion, and argued in the Defence of it, should be obliged to give his Vote directly contrary; because if that were done, the Result would infallibly terminate in the Good of the Publick.
Jonathan Swift, thou shouldst livest now. What would he make of "Dave"?