Any government practice that might facilitate the abuse of power should not be undertaken except in cases in which th...

Alexandra on January 25, 2019

Help

Can someone help me with this plz

3 Replies

Ravi on January 27, 2019

@alymathieu,

Happy to help.

In the stimulus, the first sentence gives us a conditional statement:

If a government practice facilitates the abuse of power and there is
not a compelling reason to do it, then it shouldn't be done.

We're told that keeping government secrets is a practice that might
facilitate the abuse of power, and that it's too often done for
insubstantial reasons.

The last sentence gives us another conditional statement: when
government officials conceal that they are keeping a secret, this
practice opens up even more opportunity for abuse.

The question stem asks us to select the answer that is something we
can infer based on what we read in the stimulus.

What we know is that when the government keeps a secret, it enables
the abuse of power. We also know that when the government conceals a
secret, that also enables the abuse of power. And, as we know from the
first sentence, things that might facilitate the abuse of power
shouldn't be undertaken UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so.

(A) is incorrect because it says "most" cases; we have no idea of the
government is not justified most of the time when they conceal
information from the public. We just know they do it too often.

(B) is incorrect because even if there is a compelling reason, there
could still be an abuse of power. We just know that if something might
facilitate an abuse of power, it's unacceptable to do UNLESS there's a
compelling reason to do so.

(C) is correct because if there isn't a compelling reason, then any
government practice that might facilitate the abuse of power shouldn't
be carried out. Concealing a secret facilitates the abuse of power,
and thus it shouldn't be done without a compelling reason to do so.
This is our correct answer. It's something we can infer from the
stimulus and the conditional statements contained within it.

(D) is incorrect because we have no information in the stimulus that
the government officials who are concealing information are actually
guilty themselves of an abuse of power. The information in the
stimulus discussed facilitating the abuse of power, and facilitating
and being guilty of something are two different concepts.

(E) is incorrect because it is far too strong of a statement and can't
be supported by the stimulus. What (E) is saying is that if keeping
government secrets would make it easier to abuse power, then
government officials should not keep secrets. This is far too broad of
a statement because the first sentence tells us that there can be
exceptions when there is a compelling reason to do something that
might facilitate the abuse of power. This answer is out.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!

on July 6 at 02:52AM

Is EXCEPT similar to the word UNLESS in the passage?

on July 21 at 02:31AM

I could use more help with this!

I chose B because I took the fact that "government officials are sometimes justified in keeping secrets" to mean that in those instances, they are not facilitating the abuse of power. I inferred this because of the part of the sentence that follows and states: "too often they keep secrets for insubstantial reasons, and in so doing they wind up enabling abuses of power". So I thought the stimulus was trying to say that the opposite is true when there are substantial reasons. So the way the stimulus laid this out and how I read it, I thought it could be inferred that in cases where the reasons were substantial, the abuse of power was not enabled.

I still feel like this reading could be accurate, so I haven't been able to rule it out completely, but the only thing that helps me here is thinking that even though my reading could be accurate, it isn't always the case. So I see how answer choice C is the better choice in that way.

Ultimately, what helped me understand C was better than B was rereading the stimulus and replacing some words so it states "The practice of keeping government secrets might facilitate the abuse of power and should not be undertaken except in cases in which there is a compelling reason to do so."

The word "might" also confused me because it indicated to me that there was an exception, and that I should be looking for this exception. I suppose I should have taken a hint from the structure as it basically says "because it might facilitate the abuse of power, it should not be undertaken" so even if it didn't facilitate abuse, it still doesn't mean it should be undertaken - only if there's a compelling reason, it should be undertaken, independent of whether it facilitates abuse or not.

I'm afraid I could make this mistake again. For these "inference" questions, how can I fully eliminate answer choices that are close like I found choice B to be? i.e. could be a partially correct understanding of the stimulus but just not guaranteed? Would it help if I read the word "inferred" as if it said "guaranteed" ?