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    Critique Ideas of Chuck Colson's Geneva Speech

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    Hello: I am wondering if I can get help with this assignment.

    I need to analyze the speech by Charles Colson and find the logical fallacies used in his persuasive speech. I need to include any instances of ethos, pathos, and logos.

    I am attaching the speech.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 10, 2019, 8:28 am ad1c9bdddf
    https://brainmass.com/psychology/language-and-cognition/critique-ideas-chuck-colsons-geneva-speech-628003

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    Hello. I have read the speech by Colson and marked in red on the document areas in which there are logical fallacies as well as instances of ethos, pathos, and logos. Let me know if I can assist you further. Best of luck!

    I've come to you this morning with a topic that probably in an earlier age would have sounded a little bit absurd. And that's the question of whether character matters, whether it has anything to do with public service.
    Now even as recently as a generation ago, probably no one would give a commencement talk on that address to educated people -- people getting their degree -- because education was considered to be not only the acquisition of knowledge, but the formation of moral character. That's what education was all about.
    As a matter of fact, the president of Harvard University, until the middle of the last century, personally taught the courses in ethics. Every college in America before the twentieth century was started by Christians, with one exception, the University of South Carolina. Even when I was at Brown in the 1950's, chapel was mandatory.
    Can you imagine in that liberal bastion today? How dramatically things have changed. And so, we have taken the moral component out of culture. Teddy Roosevelt, President Teddy Roosevelt, understood exactly where that would lead us. He said, "To educate a man in the mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."
    Thank God for institutions like Geneva, where you still care about educating people not only in the mind but in the conscience and in the moral education and formation as well.
    Here the appeal to common practice fallacy is committed. Colson makes the case for a discussion about character and why it matters by giving examples from Harvard University, "every college in America before the twentieth century" and Teddy Roosevelt. In short, character was a part of the fabric of society before the twentieth century (common practice) and that is part evidence to support the claim that character matters. The fallacy is in the idea that because most people do something does not necessarily make it moral or justified. In this case, however, good character is always moral and justified.
    Even in our country we've gone through a dramatic and rapid change. Remember the ethical malaise of the 80's with everybody concerned about all of the Wall Street scandals and Boesky and Milken and all of those names which are now legend? We went after them with a vengeance because we knew something was wrong in American life, and there was an ethical concern. The Washington Post said, "We've reached the point where 'common decency' can no longer be described as common." Time Magazine: "Hypocrisy, betrayal, greed unsettle a nation's soul."
    And we were deeply concerned in the 80's with the question of ethics and moral behavior -- so concerned that we took Clarence Thomas when he went for his confirmation hearing and tore him apart on the issue of character, and whether his personal character had anything to do with what kind of a Supreme Court Justice he would be. And actually, that was a valid question -- whether the questioning of Thomas was valid or not -- that was a valid question. Senator John Tower happened to be a friend of mine, was nominated to be Secretary of Defense. He was denied the nomination to be Secretary of Defense because of womanizing and drinking allegations, perhaps rightly so. Bob Packwood was driven from the Senate for, who had a long and distinguished career in the United States Senate, for unseemly behavior with women, rightly so in my opinion.
    Colson attempts to establish his moral position with the previous statements. His position is that character matters "rightly so in my opinion". The fact that Tower and Packwood were sent packing for unseemly behavior is quite effective for the listening audience to understand if they behave similarly, they may get the same boot from their jobs and their reputation will suffer.
    But what has happened just a decade later in the 90's? In the 90's, to follow the polls -- and what I am going to say has no partisan overtones of any kind, because I would say this if there was a Republican in the Whitehouse or a Democrat in the Whitehouse. It makes absolutely no difference. But if the charges that have been made are correct, if there's any validity whatsoever -- and I underline the if, and I tell you I pray daily for the President and for our leaders because my God commands me to do so, and every one of you should do the same thing.
    But two thirds of the American people say that, if indeed the President of the United States committed perjury, subornation of perjury, tampering with witnesses, and committed a series of sexual indiscretions that it should make no difference because the country is doing so well.
    With this introduction, Colson is making a sharp appeal to the ethos of the audience. He is attempting to get them to think about whether character matters in government and even in their daily lives. You might recall in the 1970s, Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal and he served 7 months in federal prison for it. When he got it, he turned his life around and began a faith-based non-profit ministry with teaching backed by a Christian worldview. He gave this speech many years later in 1998 because he saw how dishonesty and a lack of ethics destroyed lives. Ethos refers in part to the trustworthiness of the speaker or writer. In this instance, the audience is challenged to think about character because of the speaker's personal experience. The speaker's experience and subsequent change causes the audience to believe in the ethics of his question and speech.
    Even at the same time, 97% of the American people say that they believe their own moral behavior is superior to the President. I can only describe it as if a spaceship has suddenly flown over America and dropped some de-sensitizing nerve gas upon it, so that everybody's moral nerve endings have been totally numbed. And it's as if we don't care -- that character means nothing -- that it's okay -- anything you want to do.
    If you want to go back and do some summer reading, go back and get Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, written in the late 30's, ...

    Solution Summary

    This document points out areas in which logical fallacies are committed and instances of ethos, pathos, and logos used. The speech by Charles Colson is analyzed.

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