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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (D)

The policy adviser concludes that freedom of speech is the only rational policy for the government to adopt. The adviser argues that when ideas are openly aired, good ideas flourish and the silly and dangerous are easily dealt with. The adviser believes that nothing is ever gained by forcing speech into secret.

The policy adviser's argument is decent, presuming that the adviser is making recommendations to a government that would benefit from free speech. We might accept that individuals and societies benefit from free speech, but the policy adviser's conclusion concerns what is rational for the government to do, not what is rational for individuals and societies to desire.

Since you are asked to strengthen the argument, you should focus on strengthening the idea that the government, and not just the people, would benefit from free speech.

Answer choice (A): The idea that most citizens would accept limits on free speech should be discarded as somewhat contradictory to the argument. You may have kept this response, believing that if citizens accept some limits, that will make for smoother government and make the policy even more rational. However, that would imply that in limiting free speech, the government gains something. Since the adviser states in his argument that nothing is ever gained by forcing ideas into secret, assuming that this response strengthens the conclusion requires discarding one of the adviser's premises, so this response cannot strengthen the argument.

Answer choice (B): This response suggests that governments respond to dangerous ideas irrationally, no matter the policy on speech. That suggests that the policy adviser was partially incorrect in his premises, so this choice would weaken rather than strengthen the argument.

Answer choice (C): Whether there are other basic rights that the government must recognize is irrelevant to whether a policy of free speech is the only rational policy for the government.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. If a policy of free speech makes a government less likely to be overthrown, it is easier to accept the idea that a policy of free speech is rational for the government, and not merely something that is good for the individual and society. This response effectively speaks to a possibility the adviser had not considered. Since it could be a good idea to replace a certain government, by his reasoning that idea would flourish under free speech, and free speech might thus not be in the government's rational interest. This response suggests that possibility may not be as significant as one might think, and thus improves the argument.

Answer choice (E): If great ideas flourish regardless of whether there is free speech, that somewhat challenges the adviser's premises, which weakens his argument.

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