Evaluation: On The Arrogance Of Power

766 words - 4 pages

In his article “On the Arrogance of Power,” author William Fulbright argues great nations historically have demonstrated a tendency to over extend the use of their attainment of power. This overreach is due to a perception of the nation viewing its success as being a divine mandate to propagate their virtues, ideologies, and even what is perceived as God’s work. In his second paragraph, Fulbright likens America as, “. . . a great nation [which] is in danger of losing its perspective on what exactly is within the realm of its power and what is beyond it.” He refers to this as “the arrogance of power.” Throughout his article, Fulbright skillfully touches on human emotions, incorporates third party corroboration, and fosters a communal relationship as he establishes America’s potential demise. Failure to heed Fulbright’s warning will dilute America’s standing as the greatest nation on earth.
Fulbright immediately engages the reader’s fear by expressing his concern of America sliding into unfulfillable commitments. Even though Fulbright describes those commitments as “generous and benevolent in intent,” he views them as being beyond America’s capacity to deliver. At the same time, he expresses his hope of America avoiding a repeat of history established by other failed world powers. (Fulbright) His use of the pathos technique fully engages the reader’s emotional range by moving from fear to hope, as he effectively establishes the stakes involved. By concluding his fourth paragraph with “nothing less than the survival of the human race” as the ultimate cost of America continuing on the current course. This dialogue personalizes his article to include consequences and responsibilities for both himself and his reader.
As the article continues, Fulbright effectively transitions into a period of establishing trust with readers. Using the example of one giving unwanted instructions to another, he draws a picture to which most readers can relate. By invoking quotes of world renowned authors Aldous Huxley, and Brock Chisholm, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, he validates himself as a trustworthy source on the subject. He further builds trust by utilizing community pronouns such as our, we, and us in connecting himself with the reader. (Fulbright) This style places himself in the same position as his reader, thus eliminating a perception of an ill-conceived motivation...

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