We're All Reactionaries Now
At the New Republic, Tod Lindberg has a fascinating essay on slippery-slope politics:
A liberal staunchly opposed to a ban on late-term abortions on grounds that such a ban would open the door to additional restrictions on abortion rights is every bit as reactionary in defense of a status quo perceived to be favorable as a conservative who opposes broader background checks on grounds that more restrictions on guns will follow. Move to “chained CPI” for cost-of-living increases in Social Security payments? Absolutely out of the question for the Left, a first step toward dismantling the program altogether. (Here, it looks like Hirschman actually does have the “slippery slope” argument covered, in his category of “jeopardy.”)
Well... ya. When I've proposed payroll tax cuts to help the working class, the response is quite often that I clearly want to destory Social Security. Even proposing to shift funding for entitlements from payroll to consumption based taxes meets vehement opposition.
And, again, I'm quite fine with the New Deal. (And even a strong supporter of the idea that the very poor and the old should have access to health care).
But there is something to be said for being a reactionary:
[H]ere’s the other thing about slippery-slope arguments. In a context in which your opponents actually do have a much broader agenda than the issue at hand and are pursuing an incremental strategy to advance it, the slippery-slope argument you make in response isn’t quite so fallacious. No, it does not address the merits of the matter at hand, whether that’s late-term abortion horrors or a reasonable inquiry into who’s buying a gun. The point is simply to try to shut down the pursuit of the broader agenda at the point at which it presents itself for political consideration. It’s based on the non-erroneous insight that many proponents of Reform A want to win on A not only on the merits, but also so they can move on to B, C, and D.
What's your favorite (or least favorite) slippery-slope argument? Better yet, which one am I most often guilty of?