Prejudice is an issue that has been around for hundreds of years. It has become a part of natural human behavior. Two sides divide prejudice at the present: one fighting to eradicate prejudice and the other in defending it and claiming it can be socially productive. Most people choose the side of eradicating prejudice from society, but Jonathan Rauch has chosen the side with less support.
In his article, In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected, he supports the intellectual pluralism opinion of how to make best of prejudice and rejects the purism view of trying to eradicate prejudice by using the rhetorical techniques of ethos, logos, and pathos rhetoric. Rauch explains that intellectual pluralism is the idea that society can make the best of prejudice if intellectual freedom, the progress of knowledge, the advancement of science, and all those good things are the goals of society.
Purism is the antipluralsitic idea that “society cannot be just until the last trace of invidious prejudice is scrubbed away” (Rauch 3). Throughout the article, Rauch gets his thoughts across to the reader clearly by using rhetoric to capture his readers. Logos rhetoric appeals to reason, rationality, and logic. Rauch’s use of logos is true to its definition. An example of logos in his article appears in the quote from David L. Hull, a philosopher of science; “One strength of science, is that it does not require that scientists be unbiased, only that different scientists have different biases”(Rauch 2).
Rauch uses this quote to explain that the common belief that science stands for reason against prejudice is completely wrong, because although science is an unbiased area of academia, scientist themselves as individuals are biased, driven by personal desire and gains. Another prime example of the use of logos in support of Rauch’s thesis is the quote from philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, which talks about how in historical societies when a complete agreement could not be reached, the solution was the elimination of all who disagree with the majority as an effective means of settling conflict.
The result is scaring people into representing one belief and keeping quite about other beliefs. Rauch uses the quotation to prove the irrationality of how past conflicts have been settled and how it is and unreasonable because it does not allow room to challenge orthodoxy, think out of the box, and experiment fearlessly. One final way logos is applied to Rauch’s article is the quote about the Auschwitz gas chambers. “Yet, the deniers’ claims that the Auschwitz gas chambers could not have worked led to closer study and, in 1993, research showing at last, how they did actually work.
Thanks to prejudice and stupidity another opening for doubt has been shut” (Rauch 1). This is used to show to the reader why Rauch supports intellectual pluralism and to combat purism belief of for a system to be unbiased, the individuals in the system must also be unbiased by providing evidence, the research of Auschwitz gas chambers motivated to prove the deniers wrong, to support his claim, intellectual pluralism is better then purism, aka logos.
Logos appears in all parts of In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected and Rauch exploits it to the fullest as a powerful persuasion tool. Jonathan Rauch not only uses ethos as a tactic as well as support his opinion, but he also use ethos to show his credibility and reliability as a source. In his article he shares with the reader some personal information, such as the fact that he is a homosexual Jewish man. He does this in order to give the reader a deeper understanding of where he is coming from.
He uses the fact that he is a homosexual and is Jewish to show that he is someone with contradicting views and, and someone who has starred down the barrel of racism. Thus showing he is a reliable source. An example of ethos Rauch uses to support his opinion in his explanation of human behavior. He states “Homo sapiens are tribal species for whom ‘us versus them’ comes naturally and must be continuously pushed back” (Rauch 1). This means that prejudice natural behavior of humans.
The explanation of prejudice being natural behavior is an example of why trying to eliminate prejudice is pointless. In large chunk of the article, Rauch applies ethos to guide the reader into seeing his point. Rauch exploits ethos to explain and provide examples of causes and effects by prejudice in universities, in school curricula, in criminal law, and in the workplace by dividing each area into its own paragraph. In each paragraph he shows that purism views and values have become so widespread and how ridiculous the views and value are in each area.
The exercise of ethos this in way allowed Rauch to best portrait his opinion to the audience. The ethos Rauch employs in his article is varied in its use; not only does he use it as a tactic for persuasion and support, but also as a tool to bring creditability to himself as a reliable source. The last type of Rhetoric that Jonathan Rauch uses to support his opinion is pathos. Pathos appeals to ones emotion to sway personal opinion, which Rauch uses well.
One example of Rauch’s pathos is his anecdote near the end of the article, Rauch talks about an experience he had on a subway in Washington when some kids were talking and they called Farragut North “Faggot North” (Rauch 7). Rauch explains the fact that he did not react or take offensive to what was said prevented violence and protected him, the minority. Rauch also uses pathos at the beginning of the article. “At the University of Michigan, a student said in a classroom discussion that he considered homosexuality a disease treatable with therapy” (Rauch 1).
After the student was issued a formal disciplinary hearing for violating school policy. Rauch ask the question was the statement prejudice or misguided belief to appeal to people’s zeitgeist. Furthermore, pathos is applied to the article by bring the reader in on more personal level by calling reader out. “No matter who you are, no matter what the color of your skin, no matter what your gender or sexual orientation, no matter what you believe, no matter how you behave, there is somebody out there who doesn’t like people of your kind” (Rauch 6).
Rauch uses this quote to call out the readers to start having the readers think and question themselves about how this applies to them, which in turns plays to their emotions in hopes of making the reader side with Rauch. The rhetorical technique of pathos that Rauch brought into play was a great means to support and persuade the reader into believing in intellectual pluralism over purism. Prejudice is apart of everyone’s daily lives whether people like it or not. It has existed for hundreds and thousands of years; so long that it is a natural part of human behavior.
Out of the two sides that exist, most choose the side of eradicating prejudice from society, the purist side, because it seems the obvious choice. Jonathan Rauch thought about prejudice critically and choose the opposite, intellectual pluralism side. Through his skillful employment of the rhetorical techniques of ethos, logos, and pathos rhetoric he created a compelling argument in his article In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected for the support of intellectual pluralism.