QUESTION TEXT: Editorialist: The positions advanced by radical environmentalists…
QUESTION TYPE: Main Point
CONCLUSION: Radical environmentalists are useful even though they are generally wrong.
REASONING: Radical environmentalists cause the public to fear disaster. This allows environmental progress.
ANALYSIS: This is a plausible argument. We’d need a bit more information to evaluate it. But the main point is that radicals serve a purpose even if their ideas are wrong.
- This goes too far. The argument didn’t claim that most progress was due to radicals. It just argued that radicals made progress possible. They are a necessary condition but most of the credit could belong elsewhere.
- CORRECT. Radicals make us fear disaster and cause us to take action. They are useful.
- This also goes too far. We might not want the public to be extremely fearful and paranoid. All sorts of weird things might happen.
- Not quite. Radical environmentalists do put forward untenable positions. But they themselves might not realize that they will never succeed and that their actions only serve to make the public do the right thing. People don’t always understand their own impact on a system.
- This is true, sometimes, according to the stimulus. But the main point is that these positions can spur the public on to approve more moderate reforms.
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