Rhetorical Analysis Final [McIntosh]

In “An Open Letter to Bill Bennet”, the author, Milton Friedman, argues in support of decriminalizing drugs. By utilizing rhetorical devices such as pathos, logos, and ethos, Friedman successfully strengthens the effectiveness of his argument to his readers. He is able to appeal to his audience through emotion, logic, and credibility. By using pathos he is able to find his way to the reader’s heart. Using logos, allows him to make logical sense of the situation and how it will affect society. Also, with his valuable background that represents his notability, his words have a deeper reaction to his readers.

In order to establish an emotional connection to the audience Friedman utilizes pathos in a variety of ways. For instance, he demonstrates an idea of utilizing the money that is spent on the effort to enforce drug prohibition for something different. He instead promotes an idea for that money to support funds for citizens in which will allow them to obtain treatment and attend rehab. Instead of punishing drug users he displays a sense of pity on them by urging for them to receive the help that they need to get sober. He tries to make aware that addicts are human beings and we should not look at them as anything less than human just because they struggle with an addiction. If they were able to receive support and care from those around them they would have a better chance at becoming clean. In doing so, Friedman is exhibiting compassion towards the drug users. This sense of compassion Friedman expresses is in an effort to find a soft spot in the reader’s heart making them more susceptible to helping those in need of it. If Friedman is able to make the readers feel bad for the addicts he can convince them to do anything in their power to make a change and show support for them.

Friedman also utilizes logos, or logic. Most people are in favor of laws that decriminalize drugs, including Friedman himself. Although he is in support of this he does mention and identify that there can be problems that accompany this illegalization. By illegalizing drugs, he believes that it will lead to higher profits that will finance murderous tactics committed by drug lords. This means that because drugs will be illegal drug lords will be able to charge more for the drugs that they sell, making their profit size much larger. Furthermore, it could lead to the corruption of law enforcement officials and even a struggle in the future in fighting against smaller crimes such as robbery and assault. Since law enforcement will be focusing more on the ban of drugs their attention will be drawn away from these smaller crimes being committed. He then goes on to further explain that if drugs would have been decriminalized seventeen years ago, such problems would not exist today. By being logical he makes the argument that if this was the case crack would have never been invented. This would result in an overall smaller size of addicts. With one less drug existing in the world, less people would be participating in such acts.

Involving concerning issues, such as the major problem of drug use around the world, when seeking information people are more likely to respond to a higher ranking official. In this case, Friedman utilizes his credibility. Friedman is an economist who won a Nobel Memorial Prize. He also wrote a column in 1972 titled “Prohibition and Drugs”. Due to his notable knowledge on drugs, money, and the economy he has more credibility with this situation. He knows more about these issues, so people give him the credibility that he understands what he is talking about. In other words, people are more likely to agree with and support his stance on the situation then if this letter was written by a teacher for instance. By utilizing this power, he can effectively reach out to a larger amount of people. This makes his argument more valuable to people.

All in all, this letter successfully achieves Friedman’s purpose. He wrote this in order to explain his ideas and stance on drugs, an issue that raises much disagreement between people. Friedman is in support of decriminalizing drugs and with his use of pathos, logos, and ethos included throughout his letter he successfully argues his position. He is able to convince people to look at the problem in another perspective and helps them to understand why he thinks the way that he does. By offering alternatives to these issues, while also raising question to why there has not been any action taken that could have prevented what exists today Friedman exhibits many rhetorical devices that strengthen his argument.

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