There is no such thing as dangerous speech; it is up to people to choose how they react.
Explain the reasoning behind this statement. Argue to the contrary that there can be instances of dangerous speech. To what extent should a society put limitations on speech or text that it considers threatening?
By stating that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’ the author is implying that it is safer to know nothing about something than to know a little about it and form the misconception that you actually know more than you do.
There are, however, many situations in which a little learning can be extremely beneficial. A basic knowledge of first aid can help to save a person’s life, even if it is the mere bandaging of a wound. The fact that the individual may not be aware of the need to elevate an injured limb is of negligible importance in comparison to the little knowledge they had of the need to call for an ambulance and to keep the victim calm and reassured.
In other circumstances, an individual who has witnessed a baby being delivered on television, will be better equipped to assist in the emergency delivery of the baby than someone who has not had the same exposure to this ‘little knowledge’.They may not be at all as experienced as a midwife but, in emergency situations, it is better to have a little knowledge than none at all.
The matter that determines whether or not learning is dangerous is the way in which the individual uses their knowledge. As long as they do not become too overconfident of what they have learnt, and do not use it to the harm of others, their knowledge is not dangerous. However, if someone viewing a heart transplant on television believes they are now equipped to perform one themselves, then in this case, the ‘little learning’ has become a danger, particularly if they have no concept of human physiology or surgical procedures. It is essential that knowledge is used cautiously and sensibly and never to the disadvantage of others. In this way, a ‘little learning’ will not be dangerous.
This response benefits from being clear, simple and focused. It provides a narrow interpretation – that a little learning is problematic when it makes one overconfident – to give a simple but structured argument.
The counterargument is effective, using good counterexamples and sensibly not trying to bring in additional knowledge. But it does not support a properly balanced consideration of the statement and contrasting views.
The last paragraph fails to realise that while the initial statement refers to a little learning, the final part of the question asks to what extent general learning can be a dangerous thing.