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The white lie of persuasive communication

Faculty Advisor




rhetoric, communication strategies, ethics

Abstract (summary)

The following is a personal manifesto of the state of 21st-century rhetoric. Rhetoric is so intrinsically bound into all aspects of life and all communication environments that it appears inevitable to communicate by using some form of rhetoric. Though, the ethical nature of rhetoric comes into question when we consider the ways rhetoric might be used for good and for evil. This article explores the ethical state of rhetoric today — what it should or shouldn't be, where rhetoric went right and where rhetoric may have gone wrong, and if the current rhetorical state is our reality, our dream, or our nightmare. First, by establishing rhetoric as a persuasive communication strategy that can be easily learned and both innocently and connivingly used, this article then explores if or how rhetoric can be used in "right" and/or "wrong" ways, and what this means for the present and future state of rhetoric.

Publication Information

Bergum, J. (2021). The White Lie of Persuasive Communication: A Rhetorical Ethics Argument. MacEwan University Student EJournal (MUSe), 5(1).


Item Type

Student Article




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)