In a letter to Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, in refering to his spectacularly subverted Gulliver's Travels, made this characteristic, almost signal declaration of misanthropy and general frustration with the human race. Swift is a welcome relief to the postmodern reader among Restoration-era poets and writers, many of whom, including Pope, are often interpreted as having been champions of the "rational, objective Right" - the touching notion that there is a right answer, a right way to live, a right way to organize a society, a right way even to write poetry, and with science, wit, piety and luck, the English are certainly not far off it.

"I have Materials Towards a Treatis proving the falsity of that Definition animal reationale; and to show it should be only rationis capax. Upon this great foundation of Misanthropy (though not Timons manner) The whole building of my Travels is erected..."

The comparison between animal rationale and rationis capax is basically the comparison between that which is reasonable, and that which is "capable of reason."