Persuasive Rede: The Importance of Rebellion and Critical Thinking

Die abschliessende, zehn Minuten lange, komplett im Vorhinein geschriebene Rede in unserer Rhetorikklasse am Santa Monica College ist eine persuasive Rede – eine Überzeugungsrede. Wenn man so will, Propaganda.

Pro-Israel, Pro-Palästina, Pro-HipHop, Anti-Genmanipulation, Anti-Designerbabies, Anti-Tierversuche, Anti-“School of the Americas“, Anti-“Puppy Mills“, Pro-artgerechte Haltung… das sind alles Theman, die andere Studenten während der zwei Abende vortragen. Meine Rede handelt von der Kunst des Radau machens – der Rebellion.

The Importance of Rebellion and Critical Thinking

Title: The Importance of Rebellion and Critical Thinking

(Should Rebellion and Critical Thinking be taught in schools?)

Attention Getter: You participate in an experiment. You teach a stranger memory tasks. If he makes a mistake, you give him a little electric shock. With every mistake, increase the shock intensity. On the machine in front of you, the maximum possible voltage is 450 Volt. As you hear the student screaming, you want to end the experiment, but the professor who supervises the experiment tells you to continue…

Specific Purpose: To make the audience aware of their ability to disobey and their ethical obligation to be critical thinkers.

Central Thesis: Everyone shall be taught to rebel against unfairness and take action in order to express this rebellion.

Main Point I: (Define the problem in society) It is common that people stand by when others suffer, it is rather uncommon that they resist and take action.

Main Point II: (What are the causes/effects of the problem toward society) People are often scared to speak up and go against their governments, fearing punishment. The effect might be too much government power, dictatorship or genocide.

Main Point III: (Describe workable solutions and solvency) A solution to this problem is the education of school children to think their own ways, desire nonviolent ways to show their disagreement and the bravery to say no.

Credibility/expertise: I wrote a 40-page thesis paper in high school about manipulation in group and mass.

Transitional Sentence: Let’s explore the nature of obedience further.

Main Point I: (Defining the problem) Human nature, which makes societies on a large scale possible, lets us thrive towards respecting authorities and obey their orders. It makes civilization possible, and obedience is taught to us by all authoritarian figures – parents, teachers, policemen, governments.

Sub-point A: (what is the problem in society) There is only little encouragement to develop critical thinking or even rebellious thoughts. It is considered abnormal if a child goes against what it is being told and it shall be corrected in its behavior.

Sub-point B: (supporting sentence) In many cases, we find ourselves as bystanders – people who watch and show no real disagreement with what is happening.

Sub-point C: (supporting sentence) With this principle, inhibitions and fears are developed that are not necessary – fears that can be abused by whoever likes to take advantage of it.

Sub-point D: (provide evidence to support-source/visual aid) This fear ofte leads to refusal of help:“The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help.”

Aronson, E., Akert, R. D., and Wilson, T. D.  Social psychology (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.

Transitional sentence: Let’s analyze how all this falls into place.

Main Point II: (The causes/effects on society)

Sub-point A: (define the causes) The main problem I am addressing here is called conformity. By being conform, we agree to what the people around us think – group pressure. The second cause is obedience – following authority.

Sub-point B: (supporting sentence) Some people start smoking because their friends do. Some people might go to church because the rest of their neighborhood or family does.

Sub-point C: (supporting sentence) Some soldiers shoot civilians because their authorities order them to do so. Some children betray their friends and tell on them because they are asked by their a teacher.

Sub-point D: (evidence to support-source/visual aid) Solomon Ash – Stripe Experiment (agreeing to a wrong judgment made by a majority)

Experiment von Solomon Ash: Der Versuchsteilnehmer soll im Beisein anderer Versuchspersonen bewerten, welcher der drei rechten Streifen dieselbe Länge wie der Streifen auf der linken Seite hat. Die anderen Versuchspersonen sind Schauspieler und bewerten einstimmig falsch - 37% der tatsächlichen Versuchspersonen fügen sich dem Mehrheitsbeschluss, anstatt ihren eigenen Sinnen zu vertrauen.

Experiment von Solomon Ash: Der Versuchsteilnehmer soll im Beisein anderer Versuchspersonen bewerten, welcher der drei rechten Streifen dieselbe Länge wie der Streifen auf der linken Seite hat. Die anderen Versuchspersonen sind Schauspieler und bewerten einstimmig falsch - 37% der tatsächlichen Versuchspersonen fügen sich dem Mehrheitsbeschluss, anstatt ihren eigenen Sinnen zu vertrauen.

Ash, Solomon. Opinions and Social Pressure. Freeman, 1955.

Sub-point A: (The effects on society) We become increasingly part of a group and are vulnerable to manipulation by authorities.

Sub-point B: (supporting sentence) The wish to privacy and self-control is being diminished and so-called “security measurements” are accepted.

Sub-point C: (supporting sentence) As Stanley Milgram puts it: “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.” http://thinkexist.com/quotes/stanley_milgram/

Sub-point D: (evidence to support-source/visual aid) Stanley Milgram – Authority Experiment

Das Milgram Experiment: Vorhergesagtes Verhalten und tatsächliches Verhalten. Die X-Dimension (v.l.n.r.) beschreibt die Schockstärke, die Y-Dimension (oben-unten) für den Prozentsatz der Teilnehmer, die das Experiment nicht abbrechen. Sprich, mit wachsender Stromstärke brechen immer mehr und mehr Probanden das Experiment ab - man beachte jedoch den gewaltigen Unterschied zwischen Prognose und Realität.

Das Milgram Experiment: Vorhergesagtes Verhalten und tatsächliches Verhalten. Die X-Dimension (v.l.n.r.) beschreibt die Schockstärke, die Y-Dimension (oben-unten) für den Prozentsatz der Teilnehmer, die das Experiment nicht abbrechen. Sprich, mit wachsender Stromstärke brechen immer mehr und mehr Probanden das Experiment ab - man beachte jedoch den gewaltigen Unterschied zwischen Prognose und Realität.

Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New Haven: Taylor & Francis, 1974. Print.

Transitional sentence: After we recognize the potential danger of these effects, let’s see what we can do about it.

Main Point III: (Solution to solve the problem)

Sub-point A: (Define the solution) The solution is to encourage self-esteem and a sound judgement of group pressure within young students. They shall be taught how to respect and critizize authorities and understand the importance of nonviolent resistance against unjust orders.

Sub-point B: (Explain how the solution will work): Through educating the following generation, society as a whole will adapt a more individualistic, empathic mindset.

Sub-point C: (How it will solve the problem) This mindset will lead to actions and prevent athrocities commited by majorities or authorities.

Sub-point A: (Possible objection to your solution) People might say that teaching disobedience may trigger an unfunctioning, anarchist society..

Sub-point B: (Your rebuttal to the objection) … but as we see in history, progress and tolerance towards each other is brought because of rebellious, non-violent movements that fight oppression and unjust treatment.

Sub-point C: (Evidence to prove your point-source/visual aid) “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.”

(Mahatma Gandhi) http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Mahatma_Gandhi/

Transitional Sentence: So, as we all learnt today, it is important to be brave enough to disobey, it is important to never lose your critical mind.

Conclusion: You have to be the one person who stands up for others! The one who resists against unfairness, the one who doesn’t let group pressure come close to you.

Restate attention getter: As you saw in Milgrams experiment, 60% of average people continue a murderous treatment just because they are told so.

Restate specific purpose: This means to you that any time you see unfairness, you raise your voice and stand for it!

Restate central thesis: The ability to rebel and to be critical has to be given forward to our following generation, to make the world a better place.

Restate Main Point I: We obey to authorities, we conform with group pressure.

Restate Main Point II: This can lead to dangerous situations in which minorities are endangered and power abuse is easy business.

Restate Main Point III: We have to stand up for our own rights and for the rights of others! Peaceful resistance is what makes us humans unique. Never forget that: Fight for your rights and let your children fight for theirs – and as you can see on the projector, a single nonviolent man alone can stop a tank.

Ein einziger Mann stellt sich in den Weg der heranrollenden chinesischen Panzern - auf dem Bild nicht zu sehen sind mehr als ein Dutzend weitere Panzer. Die Kolonne bleibt stehen, der Mann fuchtelt mit seinen Einkaufstaschen und klettert auf einen der Panzer. Andere Zivilisten kommen schliesslich zu Hilfe und bringen ihn fort, um eine Eskalation zu verhindern.

Ein einziger Mann stellt sich in den Weg der heranrollenden chinesischen Panzern - auf dem Bild nicht zu sehen sind mehr als ein Dutzend weitere herannahende Panzer.

  • Widener, Jeff. “Tank Man”, Associated Press, 1989
  • Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New Haven: Taylor & Francis, 1974.
  • Ash, Solomon. Opinions and Social Pressure. Freeman, 1955.
  • Aronson, E., Akert, R. D., and Wilson, T. D.  Social psychology (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.
  • http://thinkexist.com/quotes/stanley_milgram/ (Quote by Stanley Milgram, site maintained by ThinkExist 1999-2006)
  • http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Mahatma_Gandhi/ (Quote by Mahatma Gandhi, site maintained by Michael Moncour 1994-2007)
  • About the Author

    Tobias Deml is an Austrian Filmmaker and Visual Artist. 2012 Cinematography Reel: http://vimeo.com/53973421 Tobias Deml ist ein österreichischer Filmstudent und Möchtegernregisseur in Los Angeles. Er arbeitet derzeit als Kameramann in Los Angeles und popelt in seiner Nase.