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Jeff Jacoby's Essay Bring Back Flogging

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“Bring Back Foolishness”

     Jeff Jacobys’ essay, entitled “Bring Back Flogging” was, in my sincere opinion, poorly constructed. There are numerous instances where I felt that he had either not supported his premises with valid information or had negated his support in later sentences.
     The essay begins by drawing forth images of Puritan punishment. He cites two instances of punishment, which were particularly torturous and radical in nature. He then draws a comparison between this inhumane punishment and imprisonment by stating with irony that, “Now we practice a more enlightened, more humane way of disciplining wrong doers: we lock them up in cages.” His use of the word “cages” was an attempt to vilify the enclosurement of human beings and to compare this treatment of human beings, to the caging of other animals. Although his position is clear from the first glance at the title, he poses us with a dilemma, he immediately denounces his acceptance of imprisonment with his use of irony and at the same time he proposes a solution which he has radicalized. This early attempt at discounting imprisonment by comparing it with an extreme form of the punishment he is proposing, simply leaves the reader with a negative feeling towards both forms of punishment rather than bolstering his view.
     The third paragraph of this essay is primarily concerned with persuading the reader that the rate of imprisonment is on the rise, and that this form of punishment is now the form of choice in the United States. He cites the statistic,” 1.6 million Americans are behind bars today. That represents a 250 percent increase since 1980, and the number is climbing.” Lets look at this piece of information and analyze the value of such a statement. Foremost, he says “ 1.6 million Americans…” the key word here is Americans. Most readers of U.S origin in my opinion take this word “Americans” to mean people whom live in The United States. The truth of the matter is that the word Americans refers to those people whom live on either of the American continents. This means that Canadians, Mexicans, and Colombians are among those whom can be polled for this statistic. This statistic turns out to be misleading, when it is obvious that he is implying that these 1.6 million people are in U.S. prisons. Another fl...


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Near the end of his column, Jacoby begins to grow desperate for support. This is illustrated in paragraph eight. He brings up the topic of gun control and speaks more or less against “ gun control fanatics” in this paragraph. I feel that this was an attempt to sway gun owners to his argument, and conversely, this issue has no place within this column. In addition, he closes his column by saying that the Puritans sanctions in relation to punishment were “ humiliating and painful, but quick and cheap. Maybe we should adopt a few. “ I find it humorous that he feels “quick and cheap” are foremost qualities that punishment should adhere to.
In conclusion, I felt that this column was written as a piece of trickery. It was devised to fool average people into agreement. I also felt that anyone with mild intelligence and critical reasoning skills could easily punch an incalculable number of holes in his arguments. So, did he achieve his goal? I believe that this piece of writing could easily win over half of the U.S population, but that doesn’t speak well for his writing necessarily. If I haven’t made it obvious enough, I disliked this column, and hope he can be more sly next time.


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