QUESTION TEXT: The public square was an important tool of…
QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: We need to make sure internet users have as much freedom of expression as people used to have in public squares.
REASONING: Public squares were an important tool of democracy – citizens could discuss issues there. The internet lets people discuss issues.
ANALYSIS: This may already feel like a good argument. When that happens, that means that the argument is making an unstated assumption you already agree with and you are adding without noticing.
Here, the unstated assumption is that discussion requires free speech. In this case, I couldn’t prephrase the answer – but I noticed it when answer C pointed it out.
- “Complete” freedom of expression is extreme. That means you can say anything: recommend murdering the king, advocate stealing from people in the square, etc.
You have to interpret LSAT answers literally. No society has ever had complete freedom of expression. This answer is insane, and negating it slightly doesn’t hurt the argument.
Negation: People in public squares could say anything they wanted, except the phrase “orange elephant”. Don’t ask why.
- Like A, you have to interpret this answer literally. Is the argument hurt if one citizen has internet access that occasionally disconnects due to technical issues? If not, this isn’t the right answer.
Negation: Bob’s internet goes down for 10 seconds twice a month due to a technical problem with his router. Every other citizen has precisely equal internet access.
- CORRECT. If this isn’t true, then there’s no need to protect free speech. Apparently the internet can still be an effective forum for discussion even without free expression. (Lacking free expression doesn’t mean there’s zero expression)
Negation: A public forum will still be an effective tool of democracy even without free expression.
- It doesn’t matter whether the internet is always used to discuss important issues, as long as people sometimes use it to discuss issues.
Also, the negation of “more often” (50.1%) is “equally often” (50%) . That’s rarely impactful.
Negation: People’s time on the internet is equally split between discussion of important issues and cat videos.
- It doesn’t matter if there are other tools of democracy, as long as the internet is important enough that it needs protection.
Negation: There are other public forums, but the internet is important enough that it is an essential forum.
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