I was one of those kids at the local park that always insisted on walking up the slippery dip (or slip-n-slide) the wrong way. I had a great sense of accomplishment when I negotiated the slippery surface all the way to the top instead of going around the other side and using the ladder. And of course, once I got to the top, I would whoosh back down again with vigour only to repeat it ad nauseam.
In debate and rhetoric a slippery slope is often condemned as a unreasonable form of argument that assumes every small concession or compromise leads to disastrous worst case conclusions. The problem with that condemnation is that it is one of those self defeating or self contradicting rebuttals. Because not all slippery slope arguments are irrational conspiracy nut rants. Some have valid concerns. The challenge is to uncover which. We can’t do that without recognition and ownership of our bias when entering the argument and we can’t do that without giving the time and opportunity to both sides to engage, explain and defend their point.
Such is not the case in the same sex marriage debate in Australia or elsewhere in the West it seems. When someone with conservative, call them traditional or whatever, views on marriage remaining as an exclusive legal covenant between one man and one woman raises their objections they are summarily dismissed as irrelevant, dinosaurs and bigots. *sniff sniff* smells like a slippery slope argument to me… Anyway, when one of the questions asked by the traditionalists opens up the matter of how far do the changes to marriage laws go, they are shouted down for being fear mongers. It is a slippery slope, say they, to suggest that gay marriage will open the door to polygamy, bestiality, incest and pedophilia (however the last 3 are a completely different category & I do not agree they are by any means natural, necessary or by any stretch, logical next steps from gay or polyamourous relationships between consenting adults). We just want our equal human rights, they say.
Whether it be a slippery slope or a daisy chain, can those of you in the ‘LG’ of the ‘LGBT’ community please explain why ‘LG’ (at least those defining marriage as 1:1) have a superior claim to these rights above the ‘BT’ (who may not, potentially, define it as strictly)? Can you do it in a reasonable, civil tone without name calling and unnecessary derision? Demonstrate that the slippery slope is, in this case, a fallacy. If you can put aside your ad hominem taunts against my so-called puritanical, dinosaur-like traditionalism and engage the issue, some clarity may emerge. After all, if we all lined up at the ladder instead of climbing up the slippery slide, everyone would get an equal turn.