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The Rhetoric Of Injustice Essay

1795 words - 7 pages

The Rhetoric of Injustice
Throughout history arguments and debate have been used to decide the fate of kingdoms, challenge a ruler’s authority or even decided where homes would be built. Without arguments our world would be bland and nothing like it is today. Being able to form a well built argument and use it properly is known as rhetoric. Ancient Romans and Greeks considered rhetoric to be one of the most important skills for students. Even today rhetoric is considered a great feat for all scholars. Two great men who were able to use rhetoric and excel at using it were Cicero and Machiavelli. They both argued in some of their most famous works that at times injustice was defendable. Cicero did this in his piece called The Defense of Injustice. Machiavelli did this in his work called The Prince. Each of these men was from completely different times in history, yet both were able to use rhetoric to help make people support their argument. Although rhetoric has many rules and many different formats one of the most well know and organized format is known as the Toulmin method. With the two pieces of work and using Toulmin’s method of rhetoric we can evaluate and discover who makes the best argument and why.
Today when we say we are having a guy’s night out we think of grabbing a beer with your buddies and watching the game. However in Cicero’s day a guy’s night consisted of sitting in a circle with some alcohol and contemplating the meaning of the world around you. They would ask each other why and what if, and discuss the universe, politics, nature, and every other topic they could think of. In Cicero’s work The Defense of Injustice they discuss whether or not injustice can ever be justifiable and what the situation must be for it to be right. The way this piece is written is like a short play. A conversation is taking place between two men named Laelius and Philus. Laelius begins with a proposition to Philus that states, “For the purpose of argument, see if you can offer a defense of injustice!” Philus accepts his challenge and begins his side of the argument for injustice. Philus tends to always jump to one main idea which is, “human beings are not just, by nature, at all.” He supports this by saying that humans only follow rules and laws because they are afraid of the consequences that follow. He continues by saying that the best way to go about injustice is to “perform injustice, if you can get away with it.” His reasoning for this is that, “Wisdom, as commonly understood, prompts us to increase our resources, to multiply our riches, to enlarge our frontiers.” If injustice is the only way to do this that therefore it is wise to commit injustice as long as you don’t get caught. He then goes to point out that a roman general by the name of Scipio was able to help bring the roman empire to greatness through his “wisdom, and not by justice.” Philus uses another analogy of a criminal and a man who his kind and just. If the country of which these...

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