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In Irish political discourse, "an Irish solution to an Irish problem" is any official response to a controversial issue which is timid, half-baked, or expedient, which is. A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution.
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Edmund Wilson argues that statistically "the logic of the 'Modest proposal' can be compared with defence of crime arrogated to Marx in which he argues that crime takes care of the superfluous population". Smith argues that Swift's rhetorical style persuades the reader to detest the speaker and pity the Irish. Swift's specific strategy is twofold, using a "trap"  to create sympathy for the Irish and a dislike of the narrator who, in the span of one sentence, "details vividly and with rhetorical emphasis the grinding poverty" but feels emotion solely for members of his own class.
Swift has his proposer further degrade the Irish by using language ordinarily reserved for animals. Lewis argues that the speaker uses "the vocabulary of animal husbandry"  to describe the Irish.
Once the children have been commodified, Swift's rhetoric can easily turn "people into animals, then meat, and from meat, logically, into tonnage worth a price per pound". Swift uses the proposer's serious tone to highlight the absurdity of his proposal. In making his argument, the speaker uses the conventional, textbook-approved order of argument from Swift's time which was derived from the Latin rhetorician Quintilian. Scholars have speculated about which earlier works Swift may have had in mind when he wrote A Modest Proposal. James William Johnson believes that Swift saw major similarities between the two situations.
Baker points out the similarity between both authors' tones and use of irony. Baker notes the uncanny way that both authors imply an ironic "justification by ownership" over the subject of sacrificing children—Tertullian while attacking pagan parents, and Swift while attacking the English mistreatment of the Irish poor. Bernard Mandeville 's Modest Defence of Publick Stews asked to introduce public and state controlled bordellos. Let it be, that they exposed them; Add to it, if you please, for this is still greater Power, that they begat them for their Tables to fat and eat them: If this proves a right to do so, we may, by the same Argument, justifie Adultery, Incest and Sodomy, for there are examples of these too, both Ancient and Modern; Sins, which I suppose, have the Principle Aggravation from this, that they cross the main intention of Nature, which willeth the increase of Mankind, and the continuation of the Species in the highest perfection, and the distinction of Families, with the Security of the Marriage Bed, as necessary thereunto".
Robert Phiddian's article "Have you eaten yet? Phiddian stresses that a reader of the pamphlet must learn to distinguish between the satirical voice of Jonathan Swift and the apparent economic projections of the Proposer. He reminds readers that "there is a gap between the narrator's meaning and the text's, and that a moral-political argument is being carried out by means of parody". While Swift's proposal is obviously not a serious economic proposal, George Wittkowsky, author of "Swift's Modest Proposal: Wittowsky argues that not enough critics have taken the time to focus directly on the mercantilism and theories of labour in 18th century England.
At the start of a new industrial age in the 18th century, it was believed that "people are the riches of the nation", and there was a general faith in an economy that paid its workers low wages because high wages meant workers would work less. In those times, the "somewhat more humane attitudes of an earlier day had all but disappeared and the laborer had come to be regarded as a commodity". This opportunity may have included giving the farmers more coin to work for, diversifying their professions, or even consider enslaving their people to lower coin usage and build up financial stock in Ireland.
Landa wrote that, "Swift is maintaining that the maxim—people are the riches of a nation—applies to Ireland only if Ireland is permitted slavery or cannibalism" . Landa presents Swift's A Modest Proposal as a critique of the popular and unjustified maxim of mercantilism in the 18th century that "people are the riches of a nation". Swift's writings created a backlash within the community after its publication.
The work was aimed at the aristocracy, and they responded in turn. Several members of society wrote to Swift regarding the work. Lord Bathurst 's letter intimated that he certainly understood the message, and interpreted it as a work of comedy:. You know women in passion never mind what they say; but, as she is a very reasonable woman, I have almost brought her over now to your opinion; and having convinced her, that as matters stood, we could not possibly maintain all the nine, she does begin to think it reasonable the youngest should raise fortunes for the eldest: Or if, by any accident, while his wife lies in with one child, he should get a second upon the body of another woman, he might dispose of the fattest of the two, and that would help to breed up the other.
The more I think upon this scheme, the more reasonable it appears to me; and it ought by no means to be confined to Ireland; for, in all probability, we shall, in a very little time, be altogether as poor here as you are there.
I believe, indeed, we shall carry it farther, and not confine our luxury only to the eating of children; for I happened to peep the other day into a large assembly [Parliament] not far from Westminster-hall, and I found them roasting a great fat fellow, [Walpole again] For my own part, I had not the least inclination to a slice of him; but, if I guessed right, four or five of the company had a devilish mind to be at him.
Well, adieu, you begin now to wish I had ended, when I might have done it so conveniently". A Modest Proposal is included in many literature courses as an example of early modern western satire. It also serves as an exceptional introduction to the concept and use of argumentative language, lending itself well to secondary and post-secondary essay courses. Outside of the realm of English studies, A Modest Proposal is included in many comparative and global literature and history courses, as well as those of numerous other disciplines in the arts, humanities, and even the social sciences.
The essay's approach has been copied many times.
In his book A Modest Proposal , the evangelical author Frank Schaeffer emulated Swift's work in a social conservative polemic against abortion and euthanasia , imagining a future dystopia that advocates recycling of aborted embryos , fetuses , and some disabled infants with compound intellectual, physical and physiological difficulties. Such Baby Doe Rules cases were then a major concern of the US pro-life movement of the early s, which viewed selective treatment of those infants as disability discrimination. In his book A Modest Proposal for America , statistician Howard Friedman opens with a satirical reflection of the extreme drive to fiscal stability by ultra-conservatives.
He proposed that someone should "create, manufacture, distribute, and sell a video game" that would allow players to act out a scenario in which the game character kills video game developers. Thompson 's Fear and Loathing in America: Thompson writes a letter to a local Aspen newspaper informing them that, on Christmas Eve, he was going to use napalm to burn a number of dogs and hopefully any humans they find. The letter protests against the burning of Vietnamese people occurring overseas.