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Analysis of Noam Chomsky’s Use of Persuasive Methods

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Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, social critic, and political activist; he is also a professor at MIT that wrote many books on different topics that he mastered; according to Wikipedia. The setting in Chomsky’s argument is the world and more specifically the US, it is also the same for the audience as he is speaking and complaining to the world and the US. He is complaining about how we humans are running the world through politics and dumb actions we take. As he says, “human intelligence has created a perfect storm. If it continues to rage, the human experiment is unlikely to survive very long”. Chomsky’s argument focuses on moral responsibility, contrasting stories, and the main question, is intelligence lethal? These three main topics are relevant in the argument as he goes in depth for each topic. There are three persuasion methods Chomsky uses in his argument to persuade his audience and these three strategies are ethos, pathos, and logos. He is persuading his audience about how citizens, in their country, are morally reasonable for their actions and efforts for their own government which can be either great or terrible depending on the citizens; and that is the main topic of this argument that he backed up with evidence and logic which logos, he also provided emotions so that he could make you feel the way he feels about the situation and this is called pathos, the last one is ethos which is about ethics and credibility of the author in the argument. These persuasive methods are important to Chomsky as he is trying to tell a message through this argument.

Starting with Chomsky’s argument about being morally responsible is really important as there can be people that make good actions and are responsible, or there can be people that make a bad action that effect the world in a negative way. Chomsky is arguing about how humans created nuclear weapons and ICBMs and are using these weapons against each other on our planet as he says, “The end of World War II was one of the most important moments in human history. It was a time of joy, and also of horror, with the dawn of the nuclear age, an age overshadowed by the dark realization that human intelligence had created the means for terminal destruction”. He mentions that the united states have done nothing to control to what might be destruction of mankind by a nuclear war that might happen due to all the nuclear weapons and ICBMs that we have created; is it like we are digging our own grave. Chomsky mentions climate change In the argument where again humans caused this problem and this has led to climate change being uncontrollable and irreversible where he says, “The reasons in 2015–16 were the mounting threat of nuclear war and the failure to deal with climate change, which had not been considered before”. Coming back to the question about Chomsky stating that “It is better to be smart than to be stupid” and being intelligence can be a lethal mutation; he mentions the word lethal which is said to be deadly, this shows fear in the author as well as worried and trying to speak out and let the world know. USA and Russia had a huge relationship in Chomsky’s point where the US has a foreign policy to keep the Americans safe, but these have the opposite action and a negative effect.

Chomsky uses ethos, pathos, and logos in his argument so he can give evidence, facts, emotions, logic, and credibility to back up his statements so he can persuade his audience. Pathos is the emotional appeal and to persuade the audience by using emotions; in this argument Chomsky expresses many emotions like fear, anger, betrayal, empathy, and hope. The feeling of anger in this argument also makes him feel betrayal, he is angry about how humans have gained technology and intelligence which is being used against us; Chomsky is terrified and angry how our own intelligence might put an end to mankind as he says, “Modern humans emerged about two hundred thousand years ago. They now appear to be engaged in a dedicated effort to confirm Mayr’s thesis — to show that we have perhaps outlived our allotted time on Earth”. Chomsky still has somewhat of hope left in him that the world still can be saved and not destroyed by mankind; where he states, “There is also no guarantee that functioning democracy, with an informed and engaged population, would lead to policies that address human needs and concerns, including the concern for survival. But that remains our only hope”.

Logos is the use of logic and evidence to support and back up a statement to show that is it relevant in an argument. Chomsky uses logos a lot as he backed up most of his statements with historical facts and logic to make the reader think and agree with him; he used logos when mentioning biological and historical facts as well as knowledge about nuclear weapons where he says, “Though the United States was indeed remarkably secure, there was one potential threat: ICBMs with nuclear warheads. They did not yet exist, but surely would”. Another use of logos is when he stated biological facts to back up his statement when he says, “Mayr observes that we have one sample: Earth. There have been, he estimates, about fifty billion species on Earth, so we have fairly good evidence on biological success”. The last one is ethos which can be the most important idea to Chomsky as his argument is all about the ethics and morality; ethos is the credibility of the author, is it also the habit, moral character, ethics. Chomsky wants the people who have power to be morally responsible and ethically great because it will benefit in society and decrease danger in the world, and this makes him worry less about the destruction of mankind. Chomsky uses ethos the most as he sees this will mostly help his audience in understanding the danger we are in, so he gives ethical advice and the elements of being morally responsible as he says, “Social justice measures also deteriorated through this period — the United States, in fact, ranks at the very bottom of the developed countries of the OECD in such measures, alongside of Greece, Mexico, and Turkey. But profits are booming, particularly in the largely predatory financial industry, which exploded during the neoliberal period, accounting for 40 percent of corporate profit right before the crash (for which they were, once again, largely responsible)”.

In the end, Chomsky wants his audience to know that the world is in danger because of our own actions; Chomsky wants us to know how being morally responsible affects the world in a positive way. He approached this argument with facts, feelings, emotions, anger, and hope, so he can make the readers feel worried and actually realizing that this is a major problem we need to solve and progress throughout the years. 

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Analysis Of Noam Chomsky’s Use Of Persuasive Methods. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from
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