June 2007 LSAT, II, #22

Section 2, #22, of the June 2007 LSAT presents us with a loose, but reasonable, causal chain of events: First, the media does a shitty job of covering politics. Simultaneously, politicians conduct their business in secret. The result of these two things is that citizen action is less likely to influence politics. And the result of THAT, in turn, is that citizens lose interest in politics. I think that's basically what's happening here. There are TWO initial causal factors (bad media and government secrecy), and one end result: people give up on politics.

The question asks us "Which one of the following is most strongly supported by the editorialist's statements." I am not, by nature, a conservative.  But I'm going to pretend I'm conservative when I'm answering this question.

We're not asked to support the argument, or attack the argument. We're simply asked to find an answer choice that, if the editorialist's statements are true, must also be true. Or at least has the best support from the evidence the editorialist has presented. When I say I'm going to be conservative, what I mean is that I'm going to avoid all answers that seem in the least bit speculative. I'm going to be very critical of the answer choices, and I'm going to try to pick the one that makes me say "well, yeah, I mean that's pretty much exactly what the editorialist said." I can't really predict this one in advance. I just have to get rid of the four shittiest answers, and pick the answer that has the strongest support from the given facts.

A)  No. It's true, according to the editorial, that isolation is contributing to the failure of politicians to respond to citizens. But maybe there are other, even more powerful factors. Like, for example, the overwhelming influence of corporate campaign contributions. Maybe isolation is part of it, but dollars are a much bigger part of it. So even if the isolation wasn't happening, politicians might still ignore the citizens. I don't know that that's not true, so it's possible. So this isn't the answer.

B)  No. Even if the secrecy weren't happening, the reporters would still be doing a terrible job. And, again, there could still be other factors (like campaign cash) that might be discouraging citizen participation. This is too speculative. I want the answer that basically says exactly something that the editorial actually said.

C)  Nah. The chance of making an impact is one factor that impacts whether citizens participate in politics, according to the editorial. The editorial never says this is the most important factor. There could be other, unnamed factors--the chance of getting laid, perhaps?--that motivate folks to join campaigns. I'm still looking for a conservative, non-speculative answer choice.

D)  There we go. Shitty reporting was mentioned as one cause of citizen disengagement. So if the reporting were better, that would be one less cause of possible citizen disengagement. This is directly supported by the editorial. This must be true according to the editorial's facts. So it's going to end up our answer here.

E)  This one just gets all the facts ass-backward. Citizen disengagement is caused by isolation, not the other way around. This is the worst answer of the lot, because it actually misunderstands the evidence. A, B, and C were speculative. E was outright wrong. So our answer is D--that's the answer that is best supported by the facts presented in the editorial.