Imperialistic Attitude Conveyed in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Voltaire’s Candide

Imperialistic Attitude Conveyed in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Voltaire’s Candide

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One must sometimes wonder what an ideal utopian world would be like. The first things to come to mind would probably rather trivial, such as golden roads, chocolate fountains, etc. However, the underlying core of what a utopian society would be like is one that would have an abundance of two seemingly unknown words, morality and humanity. Morality and humanity would be the greatest grace for any society to have, for any government to be driven by. Sadly, this is usually not, nor has it really ever been, the case. Instead, government is run by a largely imperialistic attitude. That is, whatever can satisfy the greed and hunger of a nation is what matters, not the inhumane suffering that follows afterwards. This imperialistic and dehumanized attitude is both explicitly and implicitly shown in two great novels, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Voltaire’s Candide, along with some lesser known but no less important stories. Not only is this corrupt imperialism expressed as a whole in these writings, but also in its more detailed aspects, such as globalization of empire, racism, and slavery in a literal and metaphorical sense.
The first aspect, empirical globalization, is one that has been rampant for all of the past to the present. By globalization, I do not merely mean exploring another country in a peaceful, knowledge-seeking manner- I wish that were the case. In speaking of this, I am speaking of that which is exemplified so well in the Spanish conquistadors in America, the “noble” conqueror and king Alexander the Great, and so many more nations and figureheads to mention. These people were and seemingly still are venerated as heroes for finding knew lands, “taking them”, and becoming incredibly wealthy off those lands res...


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...m going on about such things as dehumanization and apathy in speaking of mass imperialism and globalization, but all of these are tied together. The very simple reason for the “exploitation of man by man for economic gain” is that many people do not care for the lives of anyone but themselves. Others are simply seen as insects that can be used and thrown out. Just property gone bad!
All throughout history, humans have sought to create their own utopias. Doing this, most times, ends up creating mass globalizations, imperialism, and xenophobic ideals. Mark Twain said it best, “I am quite sure that I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being- that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse” (229).

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