Rhetorical Analysis Final [Churness]

Drugs in today’s society have a negative connotation. Most people look at people who do drugs or have done it in their life in a bad way. Drugs can ruin people’s lives and can possibly even end it. Most drugs are illegal and users have major consequences when caught. With drugs being illegal, it leads to major profits for drug lords, illegal smuggling of drugs, and people’s addiction never getting better. But according to Milton Friedman, decriminalizing drugs will eliminate all problems that come with drugs, leading to a better society. In his letter “An Open Letter to Bill Bennett”, Friedman argues for the decriminalization of drugs as it will eliminate all the problems that drugs creates. He argues that the criminalization of drugs is what creates these problems, and that they could be spending their money more wisely. To argue for the decriminalization of drugs, Friedman utilizes anaphoras, logos, and diction.

Friedman use of an anaphora emphasizes that he understands what drugs currently cause. In the second paragraph, he begins every sentence with “You are not mistaken […]” to show the audience all of the things that drugs do. The repetition at the beginning of each sentence eliminates the arguments that the audience could have against Friedman. He states all of the the damages early in his letter so the reader understands that Friedman is informed of both sides. It also informs the reader of the problems that drugs create just in case a reader wasn’t properly informed before reading the letter. Informing the reader and showing that he is knowledgeable on the topic of drugs helps persuades the reader to believe what he is saying by giving himself credibility.

Friedman also utilizes facts and logic to persuade the reader to support his belief of decriminalizing drugs. Friedman describes that crack was only invented because “the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version” (Friedman). Crack is one of the most used drugs and many people are addicted to it because of drugs being illegal. Friedman depicts that this awful drug wouldn’t have ever been invented if it wasn’t for drugs being illegal. Friedman utilizes facts to support his argument that the world would be much better if drugs weren’t illegal. He includes how “Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru would not be suffering from narco-terror, and we would not be distorting our foreign policy because of narco-terror” (Friedman). With the elimination of drugs being illegal, these foreign countries wouldn’t be suffering as much. The drug traffickers won’t be able to try to influence the government or the society because the drugs wouldn’t be criminalized. His final use of logic comes when he states that if the money that goes to “trying to enforce drug prohibition were devoted to treatment and rehabilitation[…]” (Friedman), then the changes that could occur would be dramatic. So much money is used for enforcing drug laws, and it could be used in a smarter way, like preventing it or helping people get over their addictions.

Another way that Friedman attempts to persuade the reader is with his word choice. This begins with his first two words when he starts his letter with “Dear Bill” (Friedman). Friedman refers to Bill Bennett by Bill instead of Mr. Bennett or something more formal. The utilization of his first name shows that it is a heartfelt and personal letter instead of a business letter. This instantly shows Bill and the reader that he wants to connect with him and get his attention right from the start of the letter. He also utilizes diction at the very end of the letter where he states that he doesn’t want the criminalization of drugs to continue on for “future generations” (Friedman). With the use of the word “future” and “generations”, Friedman emphasizes that this will continue on for our kids and their kids if nothing is changed. He wants the world to become a better place instead of staying the same as it currently is. With his specific word choice, he also appeals to any readers who want to follow Friedman’s beliefs and help him make the change of decriminalizing drugs.

Friedman believes that the problems that drugs cause only happen because they are illegal. He argues that if drugs were decriminalized, then these problems would go away with time. To get his argument across, he utilizes diction, appeals to logic and facts, and repetition at the beginning of multiple sentences. He informs the reader about how decriminalizing drugs would benefit society and make a positive change for future generations. 

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