Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions-Rhetorical Analysis

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Becca Yoder
English 201
21 April 2011

Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions? - Rhetorical Analysis

“How on earth could a society make such an obviously disastrous decisions as to cut down all the trees on which it depended?” was the question that started Jared Diamonds urge to do further research on societal collapses (392). His urge to write about this topic resulted from a conversation he had about the collapse of Easter Island society. In this piece of Diamonds “Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions,” he discusses past and present societies that have fallen due to their inability to handle oncoming disasters.

In general, Diamonds target audience is societies. He uses various strategies to draw the reader’s attention, in hopes to warn and get enough information across for some motivation (393). After being astonished by our societal blindness today, Diamond has proposed different decision-making errors contributing to various societal collapses.

Jared Diamond starts off by describing himself as a teacher for the University of California at Los Angeles who, alike his students, is “highly motivated” and “open-minded” (392). He uses these words in attempt to establish credibility from the reader. Next he draws the reader’s attention in by targeting our concerns using diction. Diamond repeats the questions that his students wondered about after learning about the collapse of Easter Island’s society, “How often did people wreak ecological damage intentionally, or at least while aware of the likely consequences?” “How often did people instead do it without meaning to, or out of ignorance?” and “If there are still people left alive a hundred years from now—those people of the next century will be as astonished about our blindness today as we are about the blindness of the Easter Islanders” (392). As you can see, he uses phrases such as “wreak ecological damage”, “aware of the likely consequences?” “Out of...
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