Rhetorical Analysis Final [McCormick]

In the Open Letter to Bill Bennett, Milton Friedman appeals to the three persuasions: logos, pathos, and ethos. As an analyzing audience it is clear the passion of desire that he obtains in regards to drug decriminalization. The author emphasizes his concerns about making a difference in the country’s well being and provides immediate solutions for the issues that have been going on for years but have increasingly become worse.

The drug cartel is an issue in which most of the population would care to resolve. As a majority, people want health and happiness. In those beliefs the absence of drugs will guide the mass in achieving those goals. Friedman aims in the perseverance of the American society today, as well as in the future. He makes his view on the matter strong as well as helps convince the audience towards how he thinks.

When an individual is persuading a law that benefits society as a whole, that person would want credibility established before anything else. Ethos (also known as the establishment of credibility) becomes identified in Milton Friedman’s accomplishment of a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. A source of reason and rationality is created through the trust that the individual has worked on similar topics in the past. The evidence comes from sources of his own work, “I append excerpts from a column I wrote in 1972 on ‘Prohibition and Drugs’”(Friedman, 30). This shows how he has already make valuable judgements on the situation at hand and now simply is reiterating his point in depth to make the conversation even more of a serious matter.

Friedman accomplishes logos by holding the title of an economist. He speaks with a purpose using evidence and rationality to back up his claims. He speaks about the time frame of the issue “the major problem then was heroin from Marseilles; today, it is cocaine from Latin America. Today, also, the problem is far more serious than it was 17 years ago: more addicts, more innocent victims; more serious than it was 17 years ago” (Friedman 30). What he means is that it is an issue now more than it ever was before. In the past there was the same issue but it has only grown with the actions taken to prevent the issue. In his eyes, you must not stop rebellion by placing laws, as that will create more problems. Decriminalizing drugs is like the rebellious teenager analogy. The less freedom there is, the more likely the adolescent will rebel. If people hold more freedom, they are less likely to break the law. 

Pathos is the most prominent mode of persuasion in the letter. During the end a powerful voice states, “This plea comes from the bottom of my heart,” (Friedman, 30). The emotions conveyed show how passionate Friedman feels towards the subject regarding drug decriminalization. When using your heart as a mode of convincing, it shows how deep the matter goes. The heart is far beyond the surface of the human body. For Friedman, this issue is essentially deeper than that, as the bottom of the heart is farther than just where the heart lays. That reveals the importance for this change to occur and how much pain it is causing without it. 

The diction in the piece is another technique reveals how detrimental he believes the current policy truly is and he knows there is a solution. The solution described hold a strong connotation and contains words that make others understand how he thinks. This strengthens the argument and makes it more of a serious manner with the use of words like: obscene, corruption, monopolizes, and murderousIt shows that this is a topic that shouldn’t be taking lightly but rather acted upon rapidly. 

Repetition is another common device that is used when emphasizing the point at hand. In the third paragraph Friedman states, “illegality creates… illegality leads to… illegality mobilizes…” (Friedman, 30). This creates the sense that by making all of these drugs illegal would create more harm than the benefits that would come about from the process. This is not the only phrase repeated more than once, which helps show how he has multiple points he wants the audience responding to.

Not only does the pathos, ethos, and logos play large roles in effecting how the audience reacts to the strong perceptions of Friedman’s take on the social issue, but the repetition also takes on a very important role in ensuring that the stance is properly emphasized. The essence results in a goal of changing the criminalization of drugs to the decriminalization in order to stop rebellions.

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