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Rhetorical Analysis Of The Genocidal Killer In The Mirror

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Whether working with a co-worker, learning with a classmate or hanging out with a friend, the thought of any of them having the potential to be evil does not cross the mind. Everyday people are not typically evil beings, but if people are not evil beings then why do they commit actions like torture, killing and genocide? Could it be that the certain people committing the acts are just monsters deep inside, or could the actions be mere products of circumstance? In his article "The Genocidal Killer in the Mirror", Crispin Sartwell, a journalist and philosopher, advises his audience to take a look at the heinous acts people have committed throughout history as a way to show us how anyone could commit evil acts, including ourselves. Marianne Szegedy-Maszak,…show more content…
Sartwell focuses on the evil of genocide and his own humanity as evidence to corroborate his claims. Szegedy-Maszak on the contrary focuses on research performed by psychologists to corroborate her claim. Sartwell’s evidence consists of traits that he and people who are inherently evil share, such as: having respect for authority, having a desire to find a place in society, categorizing others based on their traits, and making compromises to protect the ones they love (118). All of these traits are qualities all humans possess, Sartwell blatantly accepts these traits along with his humanity claiming “I am not profoundly different than these people, and if you think you are, then you are either a moral hero or you are profoundly self- deluded” (118). This cynical approach in his article causes one to reevaluate their mindset; knowing that nobody is morally perfect makes us as people accept the humanity we all possess. While Sartwell focuses on the traits that made people genocidal killers, Szegedy- Maszak focuses on what made them sadistic torturers. According to Szegedy- Maszak traits that are necessary for torture are “authorization, routinization, and dehumanization” (76). These traits differ from Sartwell’s traits because they involve removing oneself from the traits that make us human. Szegedy- Maszak includes a testimony from one of the psychologists that says that these traits “ seem to tantalize someone’s moral compass, making it possible to do things that might be personally distasteful ” (77). Sartwell’s approach uses the truth within human traits as a way of supporting his claim without actual evidence. Sartwell goes for a more rhetorical approach, which means there would be no need to present research to support his claim because the one reading would acknowledge the truth within their own humanity. Because Sartwell presents to his readers that these
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