The previous discussion was devoted to the problem of surfing and its prohibition during the time of the pandemic. The topicality of the issue is evidenced by the fact that being obliged to observe social distancing and quarantine rules, people feel the lack of physical activity and suffer from the adverse effects caused by this factor. For this reason, there are vigorous debates whether surfers introduce the additional risk of spreading the infection and increasing COVID-19 rates, or their activity is safe for communities, and contributes to the overall improvement of the situation by providing people with new opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and better functioning of their immune systems.
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The previous op-ed discussion managed to create a good argument justifying the necessity to allow surfing and provide people with an opportunity to engage in this kind of activity during the pandemic. The analysis by using the Toulmin model demonstrated the appropriate logic of claims, grounds, and supportive statements to explain why the ban of this activity might have a negative effect on populations. However, to continue discussing the issue and acquire its improved understanding, another piece of evidence taken from a new op-ed can be investigated. Comparing the arguments offered by different authors and applying the same Toulmin model, it is possible to prove or refute the central assumption or add additional evidence to the primary statement.
Thus, the Toulmin model presupposes six elements: claim, grounds, warrant, qualifier, rebuttal, and backing. Bass introduces his main claim by stating, “Don’t discriminate.” Immediately after the given statement, the author introduces the ground for the argument, saying that “Let bikers go biking. Let joggers go jogging. Let surfers go surfing. But it must be done alone. If not, by all means, shut them down.” (Bass). It means that the rule should be the same for all kinds of activity with no exceptions; otherwise, an unfair situation can be observed, and surfers might feel discriminated. Bass also offers the warrant by assuming, “There is no difference between me exercising in the ocean and the cyclist who rode past me that early chilly morning using the bike lane.” In such a way, he starts discussing the problem with reasonable and grounded arguments.
The analyzed work also has a qualifier that adds power to the argument. Bass states that “if you are not keeping yourself six feet away from all people at all times, your behavior is immoral”, meaning that even surfers should follow the existing rules. However, the chances of violating the laws of isolation are minimal for these people. At the same time, there is a rebuttal, as Boss assumes that if social distancing is critical, it should be “wide enough to be effective.” Thus, the argument also includes backing, presupposing that the ocean is a big playground, and surfers can be distanced enough to remain safe and healthy (Bass). In such a way, the application of the Toulmin model shows that the offered text has all components of clear, distinct, and persuasive writing.
Nevertheless, there are some flaws and fallacies in the assumptions offered by the author. First of all, Bass often appeals to emotions emphasizing the given component of surfing and its importance for people to feel happy and safe. This method might decrease the effectiveness of the argument because of the subjective nature of such claims and their ability to affect a limited number of individuals who share the author’s position or can accept this argumentation. In such a way, statements such as “I urge my fellow surfers to go surfing alone” can deteriorate the quality of the argument because of their personal nature and the lack of credible justification (Bass).
Another flaw of the proposed argumentation is the Appeal to Authority type of fallacy. In other words, the author mainly uses his own visions, observations, and conclusions to justify the necessity of surfing and its need for society. Bass says, “In the ocean, surfers keep their distance. Even at crowded locations, we are rarely within 10 feet of each other.” Yet, the statement comes from his own experience, which means that there is a lack of support and credible evidence. The given fallacy might deteriorate the power of arguments and make them less persuasive.
However, regardless of the existing fallacies, the overall logic and structure of the text can be viewed as sufficient and strong enough. The application of the Toulmin model shows that Bass observes the basic form of the argument. His claim and ground introduce the topic appropriately, and, at the same time, the author manages to attract attention to the discussed issue. Another vital feature is the way the idea is presented. Bass starts the discussion of the problem of surfing with some persona experience and continues by offering his own arguments and visions of the situation. It helps readers to understand the idea that will be discussed and be ready to engage in debates related to the problem of surfing in terms of the pandemic. In such a way, regardless of the multiple appeals to emotional aspects, and the lack of authority, the overall logic of the argument seems appropriate and strong.
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Comparing the two ways op-ed discussions touch upon the issue, it is possible to state that they both manage to offer reasonable and powerful arguments. However, they touch upon the problem from different perspectives. The reasoning provided in the first paper focuses on the spiritual, mental, and physical benefits of surfing, which can be critically important for individuals during the pandemic (Istvan). At the same time, the argument offered by Bass revolves around the fairness of the prohibition and its consideration from the perspective of isolation and social distancing. The power of both theses is proven by the application of the Toulmin model and investigation of fallacies found in the authors’ statements. The logical consistency of the selected editorials cannot be doubted as they have the features of potent persuasive texts that can affect the target audience and initiate vigorous debates in society.
Altogether, the analysis of the editorial demonstrates that the text contains the central elements of the potent argument. The application of the Toulmin model shows that the author manages to introduce a powerful claim and develop it by using background and reasonable pieces of evidence. There are some fallacies, such as the appeal to emotions and authority, which can weaken the claims of the author. However, the clear structure and the employment of some strong examples help to persuade readers and increase the power of arguments suggested by Bass. In such a way, both analyzed editorials have logical consistency and help to understand the problem better.
Bass, Scott. “Commentary: Surfing, by Nature, Is Social Distancing. Let Us Surf.” The San Diego Union Tribute, 2020, Web.
Istvan, Zoltan. “Should Surfing Be Allowed During the Pandemic?” New York Times, 2020, Web.