Rhetorical Analysis of Theodore Dalrymple’s Don’t Legalize Drugs

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Christina Mathis English 1020

Section 001

Rhetorical Analysis of Theodore Dalrymple’s Don’t Legalize Drugs
The annual medical cost of drug abuse by the National Center of Health statistics to be nearly 60 billion and more than 60% of teens said drugs were sold, used or kept at their school. Resultantly law enforcement has been fighting a seemingly unbeatable and endless war against drugs. This dilemma has everyone in search of a new solution, to legalize or not to legalize? Many people feel legalizing drugs will solve the problem while others think it will only make it worse. Subsequently, Theodore Dalrymple uses a strong logical argument that is supported by his credibility, practical reasoning, and relevant reference and examples to effectively refute the position of Gore Vidal and many others to legalize drugs.

Theodore Dalrymple uses a lot of sources in his essay; however, he uses his own credibility as a source to support his argument as well. Dalrymple is a distinguished British writer and prison physician and psychiatrist. He is known for writing political, cultural, and social issues in society and his essays have a very influential voice in societies around the world. Throughout his essay he uses his own scholarly identity to validate some contradictory points he made in his essay. He also uses scholarly language throughout the article to reinforce his scholarly identity.

In the article Dalrymple states “ But price and availability, I need hardly say, exert a profound effect on consumption: the cheaper alcohol becomes, for example, the more of it is consumed, at least quite within whole limits.” He then attempts to support this statement by mentioning he has person experience of this point and, in the next paragraph gives an account of his “personal account concerning the statement he made. He gives an example although it doesn’t effectively provide support for his argument. In his example he talks about an instance in which construction workers working on a road were given inexpensive liquor and stay drunk every moment there after. He then contradicts his whole example by saying “construction workers are notoriously liable to drink more anyway”, invalidating his whole statement and effective use of this example but still expects the reader to take is experience and still apply it as support for his argument. However, his identity still granted him that favor, in part, because the people accepted his work as both brilliant and influential, his best work yet.

Throughout the article the author is very wordy and uses “scholarly” to support his scholarly identity and therefore boost his own credibility upon the subject. For the average reader his rhetoric is quite confusing. Dalrymple’s article is very long and drawn out, making it appear as if he is very knowledgeable upon the subject. From these observations it is safe to conclude that this article was not written merely for the common man, like Gore Vidal, its complexity reveal its was written for a more scholarly audience deeming it necessary to include such language.

Dalrymple uses practical and logical reasoning to rebut the use of philosophic views of John Stuart Mill to support legalizing drugs. Mill’s principle says in a free society adults should be allowed to do whatever they please, always provided that they take the consequences for their own actions and that they cause no direct harm to others. Dalrymple refutes this by revealing the holes in this view. According to Dalrymple this view can’t be applied because it is difficult to get people to take the consequences of their own actions without restriction law enforcement and the fact that no man stand as his own island. Anything someone does has either a direct or indirect affect on someone or something else. Therefore it is impossible for this principle to work in reality.

Dalrymple also shows that even the man who came up with this principle, Mill, acknowledged the inconsistency with just applying this principle as is. There are certain stipulations regarding it. All pleasure is not of equal significance for human existence: meaning that some goals are more worthier of pursuit than others and that we should consider those freedoms more than others. If some freedoms are greater than others then there is room for restriction of the less suitable freedoms.

This article used boundless examples to explore the circumstance and give effective reasoning as why not to legalize drugs. In the article Dalrymple uses cities that have legalized drugs as a great support for his argument not to legalize drugs. The cities he mentioned are Amsterdam and Liverpool. In Liverpool, a once thriving and prosperous city, drugs related crime became so bad that Liverpool is the world capital of drug-motivated burglary, according to police and independent researchers. In addition Amsterdam has become one of the most squalid and violent cities in Europe. By showing the negative and terminal effects of legalizing drugs, he showed how harmful to society it is and invalidated the opposing view that there would be less crime and therefore less harm done to society as a whole.

In conclusion, a strong logical argument that is supported by his credibility, practical reasoning, and relevant reference and examples Dalrymple successfully disproved and dismantled the base and foundation of the opposing view’s argument he has proved that not legalizing drugs is best for the society.

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