Response To A Modest Proposal By Jonathan Swift

750 words - 3 pages

Desperate times often call for desperate measures, and proposals of desperate measures are often met with swift criticism if they are found to be without rational thought and merit. It is unlikely that anyone in their right mind would consider, for any amount of time, the proposal of rearing children, or properly raising them, as food to help alleviate poverty-stricken Ireland in 1729. Yet, Jonathan Swift’s suggestion was satirical brilliance, and it was a modest proposal for illuminating the cause of Ireland’s woes. The proposal was not actually eating children but placing a mirror for the reader to reflect upon. The target audience of landlords, gentlemen, and other people of stature were more than accustomed to stepping on the poor on their way to the top. The solution was tailored to appeal to those who he implied are the responsible parties for perpetuating the disadvantages of the Irish people.
Jonathan Swift was born to an affluent Irish family; he was well educated and became increasingly involved with politics in England and his homeland. Ireland’s long history of invaders and repression culminated with England’s draconian rule by imposing tariffs and oppressing any religion beside the Church of England, mainly the Catholic Church. The continual ill-treatment of his homeland became Swift’s fodder. He wrote pointed satirical works, calling out social issues and promoting Irish home rule. The overall tone of a modest proposal is that of an economic advantage for those of wealth and power, marginalizing the basic rights of life for those who were to become the food for the rich, the means of the poor to lessen their melancholy, and a call to the Irish people to unite and fight for their rights.
The purely economic rationalization of this proposal floored me. Living in a capitalistic age, the sacrifice of human rights for economic advantages has blighted humanity before the dawn of agriculture. In extreme circumstances, it is frowned upon, but in lesser degrees, it is accepted as part of the cost of doing business. Profit margins are continuously rewarded, while countries that have abysmal human right records are producing goods for countries that ban such practices. Just recently, a company that produces touch...

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