In Gorgias, by Plato, various philosophers discuss issues which they at first do not agree upon. In one part, Gorgias and Socrates argue over what rhetoric is and the characteristics of a rhetorician. Gorgias thinks that rhetoricians can make immoral use of their expertise, but Socrates does not think so.
First, Socrates and Gorgias define a rhetorician as a “mere amateur who happens to know how to be more persuasive than a professional in front of amateurs.” Therefore, a rhetorician can fool other amateurs into believing they are a professional when they in fact are not. Gorgias then brings up the point that rhetoricians could make immoral use of this skill. Socrates asserts in response to Gorgias’s claim that rhetoricians can make immoral use of their expertise that a rhetorician is also an expert in morality. He says that the rhetoricians must know about morality and behave morally since they are experts in morality.
I have a couple of problems with Socrates’s argument that rhetoricians are experts in morality and therefore behave morally. I think that a lot of politicians who promote non-excellent agendas are brilliant rhetoricians, but are not moral and do not follow general rules of morality. They often cut corners and spew lies, but nonetheless cause amateurs to believe them to be professionals. Perhaps I don’t fully understand what Socrates was trying to say, but as I understand it now I certainly don’t agree. I think rhetoric can be used unmorally and that some rhetoricians are immoral.