Rhetorical Analysis Final [Amoura]

The War on Drugs in America has been a controversial issue since its issuing by President George H W Bush. It implements American forces to bring the fight to various cartels and terror organizations attempting to flood the fine cities of America with destructive drugs. During the Bush era of 1985, Bill Bennett, the “Director of the office of national drug control policy”(Notable Biographies), insisted on increasing the damage that can be done to these drug providing groups by increasing funding for the war on drugs and mainly by enforcing stricter policies that allow drug users longer jail sentencing and harsher punishments.  Milton Friedman, a Nobel prize winning American economist opposed these changes immensely. In fact, Milton wrote a “Open Letter to Bill Bennett” in the Wall Street Journal. Milton uses Ethos, Logos and The greater good to persuade Bennett to change his mind and not implement these citizen damaging changes.

Milton Friedman uses ethos, or his credibility to convince Bennett to retract on his planned law changes. As I have mentioned, Friedman is a Nobel Prize economist. This alone allows the readers of the letter including Bennett himself to take Friedman’s advice seriously as his achievements allows his words and thoughts to have a key and influential meaning. Milton also further builds his ethos by stating in the second paragraph that “You are not mistaken” (Paragraph 2). This initial interactions can show Bennett that Friedman understands the other side of the argument and explains why one might think the way he does before Milton undermines his way of thought by stating in the beginning of the third paragraph by pointing out that ” Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore. Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, It is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels” (Paragraph 3). Friedman expresses to Bennett a different perspective on this issue by pointing out that the demand for such drugs is not the only issue but the fact that because of drugs illegality status, there is a increasing pressure to use a underground far more dangerous and unregulated market while also reassuring that Bennett is not entirely false.

Continuing to Friedman’s third paragraph, Milton uses logos to reason with Bennett. Logos is the use of logic and facts to persuade the reader to understand your point.  Milton emphasizes that taking away something makes the desire for it stronger. The demand for drugs is not the only issue as Friedman states, “Illegality creates obscene profits, Illegality leads to corrupt law enforcement and  Illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law”(Paragraph 3).. The lasting effects of drugs does not only affect the user but it also creates illegal business practices and unlawful enforcement. Another example of logos is when Friedman statistically states that “Alcohol and Tobacco cause more deaths in users than drugs”(Paragraph 7). Using this fact as the start of his seventh paragraph, helps emphasize to his audience and Bennett, that changing his opinion is a necessity as he can help prevent further damage that illegality of these drugs cause. Also, It allows Friedman to express to Bennett that alcohol and tobacco can be directly comparable to other drugs like “crack” and show that in the same way as alcohol, these drugs can be enforced if legalized. This enforcement is the goal of the entire War on Drugs furthering Friedman’s use of attentive logos.

To finalize his point, Friedman emphasizes the great good of re-legalizing drugs during his conclusion.The author pleas to Bill Bennett, ” A country in which shooting down an unidentified plane on ‘suspicion’ can be seriously considered as a drug war tactic is not the kind of United States that you or i want to hand on to future generations”(Paragraph 11). Friedman emphasizes that the US is in jeopardy of being a significantly torn and secretive place for the future generations if it is still committed to be harsher on drug users. This rhetorical device allows Friedman to reveal to Bennett that this drug issue is far more bigger than himself and his current generation but affects the lives of those that come after him.

Friedman’s use of Ethos Logos and the greater good allows him to respectively alter Bennett’s decision. Ethos allowed Friedman to act as a equal while logos allows him to demonstrate his intellectual thoughts and perspective. Lastly, The greater good allows Friedman to nudge Bennett to reflect on his decision not just for himself but also for every individual who comes in the days after.




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