Columnist: A democratic society cannot exist unless its citizens have established strong bonds of mutual trust. S...

Brendan on August 31 at 04:55PM

Why can't A be correct?

If (NOT strong bonds) >> (NOT dem society), then if relying on movies made you unable to form strong bonds that would have a corrosive effect on democracy? right?

1 Reply

Victoria on August 31 at 06:24PM

Hi @B_B,

The passage tells us that "a democratic society cannot exist unless its citizens have established strong bonds of mutual trust."

Democratic society - > Strong bonds
Not strong bonds - > Not democratic society

We know that "such bonds are formed and strengthened only by participation in...groups outside the family."

Strong bonds - > Participate outside family
Don't participate outside family - > Not strong bonds

We can then use the transitive property to conclude that:

Democratic society - > Strong bonds - > Participate outside family
Don't participate outside family - > Not strong bonds - > Not democratic society

The passage takes the information above to conclude that "widespread reliance on movies and electronic media for entertainment has an inherently corrosive effect on democracy."

Why? We know that if citizens don't participate outside the family, they cannot form strong bonds and, therefore, democratic society cannot exist. This means that relying on movies and electronic media for entertainment causes individuals to not participate outside the family or to not form strong bonds with citizens.

Answer choice A suggests that this reliance makes individuals "unable" to form these strong bonds. This is a tempting answer choice, but it is far too strong. Many people rely on movies and electronic media for entertainment yet are still able to form strong bonds of mutual trust with other citizens.

Additionally, if we negate answer choice A, it tells us that this reliance means that we are able to form strong bonds with citizens. Just because we are able to form these bonds does not mean that they will be formed. In this way, this is not an assumption on which the argument relies as we are still able to draw the conclusion if the answer choice is negated.

Answer choice D is a stronger answer choice as it says that this reliance "generally makes people less likely to participate in groups outside their families." We know from our diagrams above that if people don't participate outside the family, democratic society cannot exist. If we negate this, reliance on these forms of entertainment make people more likely to participate in groups outside the family which means they are more likely to form strong bonds with citizens which means that these forms of entertainment would have a positive (as opposed to inherently corrosive) effect on democracy.

Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions.