Jeff Jacoby, a columnist for the Boston Globe, is the author of an article called “Bring Back Flogging” that suggests the reinstatement of flogging as a criminal punishment. Jacoby argues that the use of flogging is a better form of punishment for criminals because it would not only help save money, but also provide a better form of punishment for some criminals. In his argument, Jacoby fails to address issues at the point they are presented while also stating some irrelevant facts, which does somewhat hinder his ethical appeal.
However, Jacoby does include many helpful facts and comparisons that help to justify his thinking, which makes his argument pretty valid. Jacoby starts off his argument by referring back to the Puritan times, when flogging was a common punishment for criminals. He gives specific examples of the punishments by talking about specific people, dating back to the Puritan times, who received punishments like whipping in public or branding of body parts. These examples, although valid and helpful, are not the best examples to rely on because Jacoby is assuming that the audience finds at least some of these acts to be acceptable.
Jacoby then reminds the reader that flogging was repealed in 1972 and has been out of fashion for 150 years (193). Once again, Jacoby provides a valid and helpful fact, but fails to address the idea that flogging was appealed because a big enough group of people did not agree with the use of it. Instead, he assumes the audience agrees with the idea that flogging is Stiles 2 acceptable and begins to compare imprisonment, the current form of punishment, to flogging.
Imprisonment, according to Jacoby, is not only ineffective, but too expensive. Jacoby states facts like the 250 percent increase since 1980 in prison inmates, and 300,000 dollar cost of each inmate that help to prove that imprisonment is expensive (193). Next, he praises the use of flogging by pointing out how ineffective flogging could be in terms of providing punishment for more criminal acts. He shows this by stating facts like imprisonment cannot always be assigned to every criminal due to the limited amount of jail space.
This comparison is pretty effective and definitely helps convince the reader that flogging is more effective, assuming that the reader agrees with his opinion that flogging is acceptable. Even though Jacoby fails to address some possible differing opinions that could be present in the beginning of his argument, he does address them towards the end. He states that 200,000 inmates are raped each year as a way of comparing the physical effects of imprisonment compared to the physical effects of flogging. This comparison, however, is not very effective for everyone because some readers may pay attention to the “1. million people that are behind bars today” and realize that the 200,000 people that are raped in jail represent only twelve percent of the people that are in jail, when one hundred percent of the people who are flogged will be hurt (193-194). However, if the reader did not remember the fact that he had stated previously, then convincing the reader that flogging should or even could be used today will be a much easier task. After reading the article, I noticed two important features that help to build Jacoby’s argument effectively: the tone and the organization.
The tone of the essay is very calm and sarcastic, which helps to create a very effective argument that does not seem biased or weak, but Stiles 3 instead informative and strong. For example, when Jacoby was talking about the new way we punish criminals he didn’t just say imprisonment at first but instead: “…we practice a more enlightened, more humane way of disciplining wrongdoers: We lock them up in cages” (193). The statement may at first seem too sarcastic and biased, but he defends this statement throughout the rest of his essay by talking about how imprisonment is not much better than flogging.
His use of sarcasm that is supported by some reasoning or facts is not only informative, but compelling, which creates a strong article. The organization is also pretty strong because he starts off with the Puritans, which helps to introduce the article and addresses all his points, and then begins to feed the audience questions that could help them think about the subject further, such as: “Are we quite certain the Puritans have nothing to teach us about dealing with criminals? ”(194). After some questions, he tries to assert his idea about flogging even more by addressing the opposition.
He then ends the article effectively because he ends it the same way he started it: with the Puritans. The tone and organization of this article are so strong and informative that it helps the article flow and seem more persuasive. Overall, the article produces a very strong and convincing argument. Jacoby does a great job backing up his opinions with evidence, while also keeping his reader interested with his strong tone and organization. Even though his article does contain some flaws that could make hinder his ethical appeal, his article in undoubtedly compelling and convincing.
Cite this Jeff Jacoby Biography and Impact
Jeff Jacoby Biography and Impact. (2017, Mar 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/jeff-jacoby-biography-and-impact/