It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms.--Swift (1729).
A Modest Proposal begins (the quoted sentence above) with an ugly sight; we are not called to sympathize with the beggars in rags--looking at them, even reflecting on them, are downers. Rather it's taken for granted that we side with what we might call the disturbed aesthetics of those that encounter an urban landscape filled with miserably dressed, begging poor. In context it is implied that encountering orderly, working poor would not generate such aesthetic revulsion. Rather than fleeing the urban scene to find the sublime in the wild (as Burke would soon urge), some are moved to propose an aesthetic sanitation project. It's this impulse that is at the root of many noble reform projects and Disneyfication, but also of many modern species of tyranny, grandiose and petty.
It's easy to miss the role such disturbed aesthetics plays in Swift's narrator's argument because when he introduces aesthetic pleasure later in the context of luxury consumption by the landed (and commercial) rich, very different, more familiar notions of beauty operate. Such beauty is all about (to use eighteenth century terms) refinement and delicacy as well as status.
To be clear the narrator, who proposes the project of reform, himself is very careful not to reveal if he, too, is one of those urban walkers disturbed by ugliness. But he knows that is how he can grab his audience's first attention, and he is wise enough to understand that one mention is sufficient.
Swift's tale is, as is well known, the dark prophecy of Neoliberalism: he sees through the complex interaction among the mutually supporting inner logic(s) of markets, technocracy, utilitarianism, patriotism, and commodification. But unlike many later critics and observers who use such jargon, Swift, the poet, understands the source or wellspring of their enduring appeal such that passionate human beings might sacrifice all, and especially others, for such cold logics.
I could end with the previous paragraph. A Modest Proposal is also a tale about the true art of politics. For, Swift implies that if we can recognize the role that disturbed aesthetics plays in driving our politics, we can channel this sanitizing energy into less harmful projects ("other expedients") and social arrangements. This requires not just the shaming of the grossly immoral, but making alternatives attractive to the public by seeming to be responsive to our aesthetic needs. That is to say, politics is also aesthetic prophecy.