Gulliver's Travels (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (B&N Classics) - Jonathan Swift
Here my master, interposing, said it was a pity, that creatures endowed with such prodigious abilities of mind as these lawyers, by the description I gave of them, must certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors of others in wisdom and knowledge. In answer which I assured his Honour, that in all points out of their own trade they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation, avowed enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally disposed to pervert the general reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse, as in that of their own profession. Pg. 264
So that’s an easy target, but Swift doesn’t content himself with just the lay-up. He takes plenty of shots. The Whigs, the Tories, well… actually all the English, the French, the Church (and the Protestants), the Schoolmen, the natural scientists (and the unnatural scientists) and, by the time he’s done with the Houyhnhnms, everyone else. Swift and satire are pretty much synonymous nowadays. He uses Gulliver’s travels in Lilliput (the land of the small people), Brobdingnag (the land of the big people), Laputa and Balnibarbu (the land of the booksmart people) and the country of the Houhynhnms (the source of the famous Mr. Ed, of course, of course) to provide cover for the domestic issues he attacks and the people he ridicules. Best to read in conjunction with the endnotes and probably some Cliffnotes to catch all the references unless you have catalogued 18th century European social conditions in your head. Clever and increasingly harsh on the mess which we proudly proclaim as civilization.