The Need of Liberal Arts in America

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Fareed Zakarias articles intended audience is people that think liberal arts education isn’t as important as STEM education. His purpose in writing this article is to simply convince people that liberal arts are just as important as STEM. Zakaria wants people to support the liberal arts because a “broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity” (Zakaria). Synergy and cross fertilization is produced by exposure to a variety of fields (Zakaria). This means that he thinks English and philosophy are just as important as science and technology. Zakaria’s references to business, tech, and political figures as well as technology suit his purpose and audience very well. Zakaria uses Steve Jobs, who is a big influential figures quote “ it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough- that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing” to help his case and its very effective. Zakaria’s use of rhetoric and the compositional techniques logos, pathos, and ethos is prevalent throughout his article and he’s successful in writing a rhetorically effective essay because he uses them to convince the reader that liberal arts education is just as important as STEM education.

“Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous” is an article written by Fareed Zakaria who is a columnist for The Washington Post, and is the host of “Fareed Zakaria on GPS” on CNN and the author of “In Defense of a Liberal Education”. His article is all about how liberal arts are just as important as STEM education. Zakaria uses tactics such as pathos, logos, and ethos to change the readers mind on liberal education. Throughout his article he also uses the quotes of many influential figures in society such as, Apples Steve Jobs, Harvard’s Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, and Jeff Bezos. He uses these figures because he knows they are well respected and credible figures that people listen to and admire. However, Zakaria’s use of numerical data and statistics is what really helps his argument because throughout the article Zakaria uses statistics such as test scores from the OECD test rankings to show how far behind America is in liberal education. He’ll also use statistics such as surveys to really push his point, for example, Zakaria says out of a survey of 100 business leaders, 84 of would rather hire smart, passionate people, even if they didn’t have the exact skills their companies need. Zakaria uses this tactic because it effects many people due to the fact that they are in the workforce and are directly impacted by how a business leader feels about what he values most about people he is hiring. Zakaria really tries to push the narrative that liberal arts education is needed in America and he uses all these tactics I’ve mentioned to help his case. (Zakaria)

Zakaria uses word choices that appeal to pathos throughout the essay to pull at your heart strings, which in turn makes the reader more interested in the article. In the sentence “America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings”(Zakaria) Zakaria uses the word “dominate” to instill fear in the reader. The only way to protect American jobs in the end is to think critically(Zakaria). The use of pathos is evident in this with the use of words “in the end”. These words portray signs of despair and once again, fear. The emotions fear and despair are used by Zakaria because he knows how powerful they can be and how effective they are at getting peoples attention. While pathos is used numerous times, ethos is used widely throughout as well.

Zakaria applies ethos in this article in a couple of ways. According to Harvard’s Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, Britain, France, and Germany put people through programs to relay skills crucial to their profession (Zakaria). As shown in this sentence, Zakaria tends to use reputable and respected people to get his point across. “This country is a lot better at teaching self-esteem than it is at teaching math” (William Bennett). William Bennett was the secretary of education at one point which gives him serious credibility especially in this article. Zakaria uses ethos before the article even starts. Right above the introduction it says he is the host of “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN and a columnist for The Washington Post (Zakaria). He states his own credibility right away, so the reader feels more confident in reading and believing the article. While ethos is used to establish credibility, logos is used to appeal to logic by using statistics and numerical data or simply using logic and reasoning which Zakaria does extensively to make his points.

I think Zakaria created a reasonable, logically structured argument, but he also said some things without providing evidence. The world leader in entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic dynamism is the USA(Zakaria). Zakaria doesn’t provide any evidence when he says this which somewhat hurts his credibility. According to Zakaria, Israel ranks first in the world in venture-capital investments as a percentage of GDP; The United States ranks second, and Sweden is sixth, ,but ranks at 28th and 29th in the OECD test rankings(Zakaria). Zakaria uses this data to portray the fact that the US does well by most measures of innovation, but lacks in the field of liberal arts and these stats are prevalent throughout the article and they really help his argument. While Zakaria uses logos, pathos, and ethos correctly, he does unfortunately have some logical fallacies in his article.

Zakaria has several logical fallacies that appear throughout his article, that somewhat hurt his credibility. Japan has well-trained workers, but lacks many factors that produce constant innovation, while America, with its less-technically-trained workforce has advantages such critical thinking, creativity, and an optimistic outlook (Zakaria). This is an obvious example of an ad hominem because Zakaria puts down Japan to make America seem better and that seems a bit unprofessional. It doesn’t however hurt his credibility in my opinion because he isn’t saying anything technically wrong.

As I said in the introduction, Zakaria’s use of rhetoric is prevalent throughout his article and he uses it to convince the reader that liberal arts education is just as important as STEM education. I think he is very successful and effective in his use of rhetoric. His use of logos, pathos, and ethos is excellent, and he uses them constantly to keep you interested. His use of credible, influential and respected people is great because he knows people will listen to what they have to say. His greatest use of rhetoric however is the use of statistics and data. They are the most important parts of a persuasive article because at the end of the day statistics are what people really want to see. Even though some logical fallacies do appear throughout his article, they don’t really hurt his credibility because they don’t change the facts he has provided. Zakaria’s use of rhetoric is excellent because he uses many tactics of persuasive writing such as logos, ethos, pathos, the use of credible and important figures in society, and numeral and statistical data. Overall, the larger significance of Zakarias article is to help his readers believe that liberal arts education is just as important as STEM education.

Works Cited Page

  1. “Why Americas obsession with STEM education is dangerous” Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, 2015

Cite this paper

The Need of Liberal Arts in America. (2022, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-need-of-liberal-arts-in-america/

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