“A Modest Proposal: The Original 1729 Edition” by Jonathan Swift

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Jonathan Swift thought that England’s anti-poverty proposals were so outrageously evil that nothing short of an absurd parody of them would suffice. His “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” is presented with a completely straight face. The irony is this: in the three centuries since, humanity has made it increasingly difficult to find evils so absurd that no one would actually attempt them, leaving modern-day Swifts with little material to work with anymore.

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