The basic idea of this article is to discover how rhetoric and ethical issues played into the Nazi holocaust. The beginning of this piece comes from a memo, written by a Nazi, explaining how “undesirables” could be more efficiently terminated. Katz then goes into a basic overview of the entire piece by explaining the memo, looking at the ideas of others, and defining the ethics of expediency in broad terms. The article becomes Aristotelian as many of the ideas Katz uses either come form Aristotle or are compared to Aristotle’s theories. Katz reintroduces readers to terms like logos, pathos, ethos, praxis, and phronesis to explain rhetoric. With rhetoric he explains virtue and how it is constructed by humanity. Towards the middle of the article, the author focuses more on Hitler specifically. He informs readers of how Hitler created a base of followers based on a moral foundation, which was more like expediency in disguise. Continuing, the author looks at the technological ethos used in Nazi rhetoric. Katz explains how propaganda played a huge role in the holocaust and keeping loyal followers. The last section of the article relates technological ethics back to the United States. It generalizes our values and warns us of the potential dangers we face.
This article relates to technical writing because it explains how ethics can go wrong. If people twist established ideas of what is right, it is possible that horrible outcomes can occur. In our current political climate, being a voter can be very scary. Professionals have it down to a science on the most effective campaign methods. As mentioned in the Katz article, a big component of that is propaganda. This makes me question if my decisions are really my own, or if there is someone, who knows how I will react to every situation, forcing me to make certain choices.
Questions: 1) What are signs that a person may be distancing themselves from an idea or movement while still supporting them? (258)
2) Do you ever feel like Katz doesn’t entirely lay out the historical situation at play? Does he ever seem to write something but not go into enough historical detail? (262) (265)
3) How did Hitler create a “spiritual foundation” on which to build an army? How did technological rationality come into play?