SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 4 - reading 7

Questions 1-11 are based on the following
passage.


This passage is excerpted from William Graham Sumner, “The Absurd Effort to Make the World Over," originally published in 1894. Sumner was an outspoken economist and highly influential sociology professor at Yale University.




It will not probably be denied that the burden of proof is

on those who affirm that our social condition is utterly

diseased and in need of radical regeneration. My task at
present, therefore, is entirely negative and critical: to
5 examine the allegations of fact and the doctrines which are

put forward to prove the correctness of the diagnosis and to

warrant the use of the remedies proposed.
When anyone asserts that the class of skilled and unskilled

manual laborers of the United States is worse off now in
10 respect to diet, clothing, lodgings, furniture, fuel, and lights;

in respect to the age at which they can marry; the number of

children they can provide for; the start in life which they can

give to their children, and their chances of accumulating

capital, than they ever have been at any former time, he
15 makes a reckless assertion for which no facts have been

offered in proof. Upon an appeal to facts, the contrary of this

assertion would be clearly established. It suffices, therefore,

to challenge those who are responsible for the assertion to

make it good.
20 Nine-tenths of the socialistic and semi-socialistic, and

sentimental or ethical, suggestions by which we are

overwhelmed come from failure to understand the

phenomena of the industrial organization and its expansion. It

controls us all because we are all in it. It creates the
25 conditions of our existence, sets the limits of our social

activity, regulates the bonds of our social relations,

determines our conceptions of good and evil, suggests our

life-philosophy, molds our inherited political institutions, and

reforms the oldest and toughest customs, like marriage and
30 property. I repeat that the turmoil of heterogeneous and

antagonistic social whims and speculations in which we live

is due to the failure to understand what the industrial

organization is and its all-pervading control over human life,

while the traditions of our school of philosophy lead us
35 always to approach the industrial organization, not from the

side of objective study, but from that of philosophical

doctrine. Hence it is that we find that the method of

measuring what we see happening by what are called ethical

standards, and of proposing to attack the phenomena by
40 methods thence deduced, is so popular.
The advance of a new country from the very simplest

social coordination up to the highest organization is a most

interesting and instructive chance to study the development

of the organization. It has of course been attended all the way
45 along by stricter subordination and higher discipline. All

organization implies restriction of liberty. The gain of power

is won by narrowing individual range. The methods of

business in colonial days were loose and slack to an

inconceivable degree. The movement of industry has been all
50 the time toward promptitude, punctuality, and reliability. It

has been attended all the way by lamentations about the good

old times; about the decline of small industries; about the lost

spirit of comradeship between employer and employee; about

the narrowing of the interests of the workman; about his
55 conversion into a machine or into a "ware," and about

industrial war. These lamentations have all had reference to

unquestionable phenomena attendant on advancing

organization. In all occupations the same movement is

discernible in the learned professions, in schools, in trade,
60 commerce, and transportation. It is to go on faster than ever,

now that the continent is filled up by the first superficial layer

of population over its whole extent and the intensification of

industry has begun. The great inventions both make the

intension of the organization possible and make it inevitable,
65 with all its consequences, whatever they may be. I must

expect to be told here, according to the current fashions of

thinking, that we ought to control the development of the

organization. The first instinct of the modern man is to get a

law passed to forbid or prevent what, in his wisdom, he
70 disapproves.
Now the intensification of the social organization is what

gives us greater social power. It is to it that we owe our

increased comfort and abundance. We are none of us ready to

sacrifice this. On the contrary, we want more of it. We would
75 not return to the colonial simplicity and the colonial exiguity

if we could. If not, then we must pay the price. Our life is

bounded on every side by conditions.

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Question 1 The main purpose of the passage is to