When curating a piece, writers often use logos, pathos, and ethos to draw the reader in. Together, these devices connect the reader to the piece allowing them to form a deeper understanding of what they are reading. In An Open Letter to Bill Bennett, Milton Friedman uses rhetorical devices to capture the emotions and logic seen throughout the reading. When reading about Milton Friedman, one cannot help but be filled with awe when learning of Friedman’s accomplishments. Being a noble prize winner is an amazing accomplishment, as well as being able to teach classes at Stanford University and the University of Chicago. These two schools are some of the top schools in the nation.
Within An Open Letter to Bill Bennett, Friedman uses diction, as well as logos, pathos, ethos to consistently keep the reader connected and enthralled. In the passage, Friedman is trying to persuade Bennett that his solutions to the drug crisis are not going to be efficient or effective enough to be utilized. He uses the emotions that he feels toward this crisis, as well as statistical evidence and information to further elaborate upon his main points.
Friedman begins by discussing the history of drugs and how they were significant and harmful in places such as Marseilles and Latin America. He believes that the crisis would not have grown as dangerous if a decision had been made to decriminalize drugs when the opportunity arose a few decades ago. Now drug abuse has become such a prominent issue that it is becoming more difficult to find a solution. Friedman starts explaining how beneficial decriminalizing drugs would have been and how “perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent victims would have been saves, and not only in the U.S. The ghettos of our major cities would not be drug-and-crime-infested no-man’s land.” He goes on and on to show how drugs have been detrimental to the community and how these hardships could have been prevented if one simple action had been executed. In this example, Friedman uses a prime example of logos when he builds up a theory about how decriminalization would have fixed the drug crisis if it had been treated early on. He comes to the conclusion that people could have been saved, communities could have been salvaged, and jail-time could have been avoided for many people had drugs had been decriminalized in the first place.
Friedman brings the reader in emotionally and tries to persuade them of how important this crisis has grown to be. By stating, “this plea comes from the bottom of my heart. Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one, must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp,” he stresses the fear about the difficulties the country will face and how the country will be worsened if action is not taken in the very near future. He believes that the United States is focusing too closely on drugs and that they should put more emphasis into focusing on the fact that people are becoming intolerably violent. Due to this violence, proposing more jails and the addition of more police is only going to worsen the situation. It is this specific part in the letter that Friedman is telling Bennet that his proposal to stop the drug war will not be successful. By bringing in his heartfelt emotions and expressing how deeply Bennett’s propositions will affect the country, Friedman is using pathos to have him understand his views on a much deeper level. Connecting with Bennett on a more personal side enhances Friedman’s ability to persuade Bennett that his plans really are not going to help better the situation and that he needs to focus on the issues which Friedman has presented to him. By drawing on emotion, Friedman is able to stress how important the drug issues in our country are. He is also able to show the reader that these issues need to be dealt with in a different manner than the one proposed.
Friedman uses ethos to further his view which opposed the plans of action which Bennett had devised. Friedman also uses valid credibility, pathos, to prove his points. He brings up 1972, which was a very difficult time in history due to the state of the drug crisis at this point. He uses this evidence to further his point that decriminalized drugs should have been under consideration a very long time ago. He reasons that, “postponing decriminalization will only make matters worse, and make the problem appear even more intractable. Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs.” Friedman also uses the statistic that alcohol and tobacco are more fatal than drugs, which contributes valid evidence that helps to support his case. Bennett and President Bush are pushing too much to realize their plans for aiding the drug crisis, and in doing so, they are not focusing on other more prominent issues such as alcohol and tobacco, which are more deadly than the drugs they are choosing to focus on.