Rhetorical Analysis Final [Bose]

Should drugs be illegal? To some people drugs are evil and cause people to do bad things as well as cause terror and chaos. However, to Milton Friedman, he stands by the opinion that decriminalizing drugs will lead to a better society. In his letter “An Open Letter to Bill Bennett,” Friedman argues for lessening the penalties of using drugs. According to Friedman, it is the illegality of drugs and other controversial items that lead to the downfall in society, not the substances themselves. To make his argument persuasive and intriguing, Friedman utilizes logos, pathos, and arrangement (dispositio).

In an effort to get his stance across, Friedman uses facts and logic to persuade the audience that drugs should not to be banned. He explains that crack aroused due to “the high cost of illegal drugs” (Friedman). Due to this, addicts emerged, and the ghettos became known as “drug-and-crime-infested no-man’s land” (Friedman). Friedman utilizes these facts to argue that if had drugs been decriminalized, society as a whole would be a ¬†better place. He implies that banning something has an opposite affect: it causes rebellion and an increase in crime, it doesn’t decrease it. Friedman also argues that the world as well would be a better place with the decriminalization of drugs. He mentions that “Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru would not be suffering from nacro-terror” (Friedman). Through lessening drug prohibition, there would be more peace in the world. Logically, this seems simple: to improve harmony, decriminalize drugs. As a final effort to prove his point with logic, Friedman brings it back full circle to America in general. He mentions that if we use the money that is spent on drug prohibition instead on treatment and rehabilitation, drug usage will go down. To him, this would be a more effective strategy, and logically it makes sense. Put the money to good use, and good will come out of it.

Additionally, Friedman uses pathos to help further the effectiveness of his argument. At the center of this is his usage of perspective and assertiveness. At the beginning of his letter, Friedman uses “you” frequently in an effort to reach out directly to the reader. The effect this has on the reader is that it causes them to feel like they’re part of the problem. And if the problem is an urgent matter, then they become motivated to try to fix it. On top of this, Friedman asserts that “this plea comes from the bottom of my heart” (Friedman). After showing the audience his opinion, he attempts to humanize himself. He comes across sincere when he states this, which in turn makes the reader feel sympathy for him. On top of that, it causes the audience to agree with him because he seems passionate about the topic. He even says, “Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one,” (Friedman) in order to cause the audience to think about their core values as well as the core values of the country. “What would be right for the country? For the world?” is what Friedman has people thinking about after reading his letter.

Finally, Friedman’s organization of his letter creates a flow that is easy for the reader to follow, thus causing his overall argument to be effective. To begin with, Friedman opens up with a quote in order to reel in the readers right away. Next, he utilizes second person to directly address the reader and make his letter more interactive. This leads the readers to feel that this problem affects them in some way, making them want to continue to read to understand what the problem is, and how they can help solve it. All of this build up leads to Friedman’s main event: the facts and references. By putting the facts in the middle of his letter and not the beginning is a beneficial strategy he imposes so he doesn’t bore the audience right off the bat. Instead it is only after he has interested the readers and got their attention that he lists the logic and facts behind his argument. Additionally, it makes for a much stronger argument since he has evidence to back him up. Finally, to end his letter, Friedman comes full circle to first and second person. This leaves the audience with a connotation that this is a universal problem. As well as that, he summarizes his claim so that the audience understands and has no unanswered questions.

Overall, Friedman effectively persuades the audience that drugs need to be decriminalized, as it will benefit our country as well as the world. He does this through utilizing logos, pathos, and dispositio.


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