This paper uses Toulmin's (1958) scheme to conduct a rhetorical analysis of claims being made in the construction of the satanic ritual abuse of children problem. The analysis reveals that the persistence of these claims over the last fifteen years is the product not of their compelling facts or their effective conclusions, but of their persuasive warrants. These implicit, "self-evident truths" resonate well with recent cultural concerns about the vulnerability of children to abuse, and the satanic menace.

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