Michael Moore’s essay “Idiot Nation” focuses on the steadily declining intelligence of America due to the insufficient education being provided, and the politicians who are more than a little to blame for it. In Moore’s writing he discusses the leaders of America who set an embarrassing example for our society, and are essentially teaching our students that you don’t need to be smart to be successful anymore. The essay touches base on the mediocre materials and facilities that are provided for our students due to budget cuts by our country’s government, such as text books printed in the 1980’s or earlier and the buildings that are leaking from the ceilings and really are not fit to be housing our children for 7 hours a day. However aside from the politicians such as George W. Bush telling our students that a C average can make them president too, Moore is also shedding light on the undesirable wages and treatment of school faculty too. In the essay there are several quotes from sources such as the New York Times that bash our teachers for the mediocre education that our children receive, while in Moore’s eyes our teachers do not receive half of the credit they deserve for dedicating so much of their lives sculpting and teaching our children, and their salary is less than what their students earn selling drugs.
In his essay “Idiot Nation,” Michael more discusses undeniable facts about the decline of public education in the United States; however his attitude and political opinions towards the matter are highly controversial. Regardless of Moore’s attitude and opinions being controversial though, his essay successfully sheds light on the problems surrounding education today. Moore’s essay primarily appeals to Aristotle’s Logos, he is able to provide facts and use logic to outline the wrong turns that our education system has taken, and to even provide ideas that could be acted on to restore schooling to what it should be. Moore discusses a multiple choice test that was given to seniors at some of the country’s most prestigious colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, that was considered to be a high school material test.
The test was made up of only thirty four questions and these top students could only answer fifty three percent of the questions correctly, there was only one student who could answer every question correctly. Of the students who tested, only forty percent of them could answer when the civil war took place, but ninety nine percent of them knew who the cartoon characters Beavis and Butt-Head were. Moore is also not afraid to shed light on the fact that our government and politicians are greatly responsible for the failure of American education, because even though it is a widely controversial topic, it is also fact. In his essay Moore exposes that our political leaders who blame the teachers and the media for the downfall of public educations are the same political leaders who vote to instead of properly fund our schools to buy up to date text books, cut school funding and use the funds to build new bombers. Aside from appealing to Logos, Moore’s essay also appeals minimally to Pathos. He discusses how the treatment of public school teachers in America is outrageously inappropriate in not only their minimum wage salaries, but how they are treated as people who are responsible for educating and shaping our children into functional adults. The very valid point is brought up of how for seven hours each day parents entrust the most valuable person in their lives to the teachers of America. While the teachers should be receiving gratitude and even reward, they instead receive nasty remarks on how all they care about is their wages and they are incompetent to be teaching students at all. Through these statements and facts Moore is able to successfully appeal to his readers emotions concerning their own children’s education and the way their teachers are treated. The last of Aristotle’s means of appeals, Ethos, is virtually absent in Moore’s essay.
The absence of Moore’s credibility is not due to his lack of facts or logic, but it is due to the fact that he admits to himself not successfully making it through college. When Moore writes about dropping out of college because one day he could not find a parking spot on campus it leads his audience to wonder how he can write an essay about insufficiently educated students in America when he himself did not make it all the way through the education system. The readers of Moore’s essay would be inclined to believe that he is a hypocrite for blaming American politicians and media for our students not being properly educated when there are students who do not take their educations more seriously than they do a parking spot. In “Idiot Nation” Moore successfully outlines America’s faulty education system while mainly relying on Logos to appeal to his audience. He uses clear logic and stone cold facts to prove that politicians and media have negatively impacted our students’ education and are responsible for seniors in college failing high school level tests. By means of Pathos he is also able to appeal to the emotions of parents of these students to convince them that the way their children’s teachers are treated is unacceptable and also impacts how their children are educated during the seven hours each day that they are left in the responsibility of the teachers. So in conclusion, regardless of the absence of Ethos in Moore’s essay, he is still able to make a solid argument as to who exactly is responsible for the plummet of American education, and why.