QUESTION TEXT: Political scientist: Some analysts point to the…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: The government does not support freedom of expression.
REASONING: There is no evidence the government supports freedom of expression, since they approved of the protest rally’s message.
ANALYSIS: This is a classic LSAT flaw: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I.e. something can be true even if we lack evidence that it is.
The author has successfully shown that government support of the protest rally is no evidence, because the government supports the rally’s message.
But that doesn’t mean the government opposes freedom of expression. For that, we’d need actual evidence the government disapproves of free speech.
The negation of the right answer should help show the government likes free speech. Note that my negations below follow this format: “Making the answer false, while still trying to keep the argument correct.” That is how you should negate properly. And in analyzing the answers, I’m describing how they would affect the argument if they weren’t true.
- This is just more evidence that the government likes the rally. But negating this doesn’t prove the government likes free speech.
Negation: The government didn’t help or hinder the protest rally.
- This answer plays on an ambiguity in the word government. There are two parts to government:
1. The ruling party and administration
2. The vast administrative bureaucracy that enforces laws.
A governing party can disagree with some functions of the bureaucracy. So there’s no contradiction for a government (ruling party) to oppose some government function.
By picking this answer, you were probably trying to contradict the premise that the government supported the rally’s message. But you should not try to contradict premises.
Negation: The message of the rally concerned a minor function of government. The governing party agrees that that government function should be changed.
- CORRECT. The author’s conclusion is that the government does not like freedom of speech. If this is negated and the government would have accepted an opposing protest march, then that contradicts the conclusion.
Negation: The government would have accepted a protest march it disliked.
- This answer makes an incorrect distinction. Groups could fear government response even if there was no reason to fear. And vice-versa. What we care about is what the government would do, not what protest groups think the government would do.
In other words, there could be a government backlash even if no groups fear a backlash.
Negation: There are no protest groups that fear a government backlash.
- This gives a reason why the government supported the march, but who cares? This isn’t necessary.
The key point was that the government agreed with the march’s message, so government support is no evidence that the government likes free speech.
Negation: The government didn’t fear a backlash if it didn’t support the march.
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