Words are powerful weapons. If people don't think clearly, they can get caught up in the emotion of rhetoric and be swept along by lies and half-truths. Then, they can easily become oppressed as they are drawn further and further into the rhetoric of political leaders. They lose their ability to think critically and to discern right from wrong, and pretty soon, they are trapped by tyranny. This is what George Orwell shows in his book Animal Farm.
Old Major begins the rhetoric of the book. He has a new philosophy to present to the animals on the Manor Farm. He wants a world where the animals are in charge and free from humans. This sounds very good to the animals, for they are tired of working for humans and having all their efforts stolen from them. For all of Old Major's rhetoric, though, he also provides some balance, because he warns the animals that if they go too far, they run the risk of acting just like the humans and oppressing each other. All animals are to be equal, he firmly maintains.
Yet Old Major predicts exactly what happens. The pigs Snowball and Napoleon lead the revolution and set up the animal reign on the farm under the philosophy of Animalism and their seven commandments. But the pigs soon began to abuse their position as leaders. They start taking more food and stop doing their share of the work, yet they use rhetoric to justify their privileges, warning that the farmer could return if the pigs don't have what they need to make the farm a success. The rhetoric-backed oppression has begun, for the animals are no longer equal.
The situation quickly escalates as Snowball and Napoleon fight over the windmill and Napoleon uses the dogs to drive Snowball off. Napoleon then claims that the windmill idea was his all along (even though he had opposed it). Napoleon and the other pigs begin acting more and more like humans, moving into the farmhouse and using rhetoric to justify themselves. They change the rules to fit their own desires and claim more and more privileges and honors.
Pretty soon, the other animals are hungry, tired, and downtrodden. The pigs become so much like humans that it is hard to tell the difference, yet all along, they use their words to show themselves in the best possible light and to threaten and control the other animals. Finally, the rules end up saying merely, "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Here is the power of rhetoric and the abuse of leadership at its highest.