Columnist: Although most people favor the bill and the bill does not violate anyone's basic human rights, it will not...

Lauren-Au on September 16, 2019


Can someone please explain this question and the answer choices? I'm a bit confused on how to reach the proper answer choice? @lsatmax

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shunhe on December 27, 2019

Hi @Lauren-Au,

We're looking here for a principle that will help justify the columnist's reasoning. The columnist tells us that a majority of people favor a bill that doesn't violate people's basic human rights, but this bill (and similar ones) won't be passed for a long time because of an influential law group of people who would be adversely affected and are presumably lobbying against the bill. The columnist then concludes, based on this information, that the country either is not a democracy or is not a well-functioning democracy. It seems likely that the answer will connect this conclusion with the idea of a special interest group affecting otherwise benign, policies, or the length of time it takes a bill to pass.

Skimming the answers, (E) has these components, and (E) happens to be the right answer. (E) can be diagrammed as follows:
MPF = most people favor the bill
VBHR = bill violates basic human rights
PPIL = bill is passed promptly into law
WFD = well-functioning democracy

(MPF & (~VBHR & WFD)) - > PPIL

The contrapositive, then, is

~PPIL - > (MPF & (~VBHR & WFD))

Which we can rewrite as

~PPIL - > ~MPF v ~(~VBHR & WFD)

~PPIL - > ~MPF v VBHR v ~WFD

And so we know that in this case, the law will not be passed promptly. But it is favored by most people and does not violate basic rights, so we know that the country is not a well-functioning democracy.

(A) Is wrong because we don't know if the bill benefits most people or not, we only know that it does not violate most people's human rights.

(B) is wrong because;we this bill may eventually pass into law, and so doesn't allow us to conclude anything about whether or not the democracy is well-functioning.

(C) is wrong because it tells us that in a WFD, is a bill is MPF and becomes law within a few years, then those who opposed it were not very influential. But this doesn't allow us to reach the author's conclusion in our case, when those who oppose it are influential.

(D) is wrong because it doesn't tell us anything about this non well-functioning democracy, and doesn't have any discussion of time frames in it.

Hope this helps! It's a complicated one, so feel free to ask any further questions you may have.