Leonid Fridman's general argument in his work "America Needs Its Nerds" is that the United States' emphasis on social and physical prowess over academic achievement is wrong. Fridman uses connotative diction, a disappointed tone, and the use of a rhetorical questions to develop his argument.
Fridman uses negative connotative diction as he discusses how the United States focuses more on social skills and physical abilities rather than academics. Fridman states, "In many parts of the world, university professorships are the prestigious and materially rewarding positions. But not in America, where average professional ballplayers are much more respected and better paid that faculty members of the best universities." The use of the word "But" right after he discusses what is rewarding in other parts of the world gives America a negative image of how the country praises "average ballplayers" over the academically achieved. This use of negative diction strengthens his assertion that the United States is wrongfully emphasizing other aspects over academics because it negatively portrays how America is making the wrong choices on what aspects to honor.
Throughout the piece, Fridman conveyed a disappointed tone towards the nation's choice of brawns over brains. He conveyed a disappointed tone in his question, "How can a country... be expected to compete in the technology race with Japan or remain a leading political and cultural force in Europe?" This question doesn't just force an answer from its readers, it also shows that Fridman is so disappointed that he thinks that America will be surpassed by Japan or other European nations if they continue to praise athletes over academically intellectually acclaimed and curious scientists that might discover something beneficial to many. Asking this question reinforces his argument because it presents a disappointed tone which makes his argument have a more impelling assertion.