What social issues found in Gulliver's travels would be considered important in our present day society? What would Swift say about these present day issues?

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are a number of political issues that Swift satirizes in Gulliver's Travels that are just as relevant today as they were in his time.  Much of the specific things that he was satirizing, King George, the Spanish, etc., have changed, but many of the principles are still the same.

One of the things that Swift examined critically is the government's role in education.  It mirrors much of the debate over the issue today as it centers around supposed equality that results in practice in much greater inequity and barriers to keep the wealthy and the elite as such and prevent anyone from challenging that dominance.

Swift also spends a great deal of time deriding the corruption and greed of leaders and the way that corrupts what might in fact be a viable political system.  This mirrors much of what is beind discussed frequently today in the United States with the overwhelming majority of the citizenry disapproving of Congress but seemingly unable to change the system in a meaningful way.

Swift also satirizes the feelings of British superiority and the idea that many people have that their own culture is somehow superior and should be adopted over native customs, etc.  Gulliver thinks that the British way is the best but when the other cultures ask obvious and pointed questions about its faults he starts to see how he was deluding himself about its superiority.


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