Diction Analysis-Impromptupalooza 4/26/13

Walter Lippmann uses various rhetorical strategies to argue that freedom of speech is more than simply speaking your mind say in this excerpt from “The Indispensable Opposition”.  Lippmann writes with great confidence as he uses strong diction and factual information to portray his argument.

Lippman uses pathos to bring this strongly-spoken passage down to a level that allows readers to connect more.  His words are powerfully backed behind a passion for this topic that translates to the audience of this piece.  He repeatedly states how it is absurd that people believe that their freedom of speech stops at simply being able to voice what you want to voice.  Freedom of speech also includes the ability to freely contradict what others have to say, while at the same time being able to tolerate opinions that you do not wholly agree with.  Lippman explains how a man shows weakness if he does not have capability to take or give a blunt rebuttal.  He uses the word “we” frequently, as to make the audience feel as if they are a part of his movement.  The use of “we” intrigues readers and makes them feel of importance.  Lippman writes as if he is arguing with the audience, not spitting facts and positions at them.

Lippman also incorporates an important historical approach in this passage.  He quotes Voltaire, a famous French writer, as he says “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it…” (Voltaire). Lippman then goes on to say that men should start to follow what Voltaire was trying to say.  Instead of removing the people who voice controversial opinions, why not let them speak and truly exercise our freedom of speech?  Men are afraid; afraid to speak out and afraid to let others speak out. 

Lippman also uses ethos as he references the Constitution in his passage.  This shows that he is using a credible source as the origin of his claims.  Lippman makes a very interesting point in this passage, and does a superb job of getting his argument across to the audience.



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