Thursday, May 07, 2009

Processing down the aisle . . .

"If I hear one more person say that the slippery slope argument doesn’t apply to gay marriage, I’m gonna scream." So says Ryan Sayre Patrico at the First Things blog.

In proof thereof, Patrico links to this, a glimpse at the antinomians' next romance with the death of romance, a picture of what's to come in the (not too distant) future:
“I want to walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand and live together openly and proclaim our relationship,” says Sasha Lessin. “But also to have all those survivor and visitation rights and tax breaks and everything like that.” . . .

The Lessins' advocacy group, the Maui-based World Polyamory Association, is pushing for the next frontier of less-traditional codified relationships. This community has even come up with a name for what the rest of the world generally would call a committed threesome: the "triad."
Surely it will stop at three; don't you think?

I have friends who fear a return to paganism, but I don't think those moving in this direction have the energy of the ancient pagans, who came by their paganism honestly at least. Today's neo-pagans do, however, have the kind of relentless, resentful determination, a fascimile of real vitality. Like the Paisian mobs during the French Revolution, they draw more energy from the prospect of destroying the old order than they do from any real expectation that the new one of their own creation will be happier or more satisfying.

Therein lies the imperative of the "slippery slope." Extending the revolution to new areas provides the only relief from the tedium and despair of the post-revolutionary status quo.


Doughlas Remy said...

Gil, I’m surprised that you used the word “proof” with so much confidence. (Pardon me, but I was under the impression that you had been trained by Jesuits.)

Ryan Patrico’s scenario of polyamory does not constitute a “proof” of the slippery slope argument. The slippery slope argument, if I may remind you, is considered a logical fallacy and is listed in all kinds of handbooks on logical thinking, bogus argumentation, and the like.

The fallacy of the slippery slope argument is in supposing that a single step in a particular direction will inevitably lead to the whole distance being covered. This may be true in the case of stepping off a skyscraper, but it is not true in other life situations where choices are still available after the initial step has been taken.

For example, what if I were to claim that lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 will only lead to further demands to lower it to 16, and then to 14? Before we know it, I say, our new-borns will be suckled on wine rather than mother’s milk.

This argument is structurally similar to the one Ryan Patrico has advanced.

There are plenty of comical examples, and they are not hard to find in books on humor. Do you want your slippery slope argument about gay marriage to become one of them? (In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that it already has.)

I am personally not interested in advocating for polyamory and don’t know anyone who is. Somehow I don’t think it’s a major issue on a par with, say, world hunger, homelessness, war, or climate change. Again, there are so many really critical issues to address in this world, that I cannot understand your constantly beating the drum about gay marriage. (I do speculate quite a lot about it, however.) As for me, I spend time with it because I see it as a justice issue that affects me and my partner and our community. But how on earth does my marriage to my partner affect you? No one has ever adequately explained to me how gay marriage undermines straight marriage. We had this discussion in October, and I would refer visitors back to it.

Doughlas Remy

Gil Bailie said...

Proof may not have been the best word, but anyone who still needs "proof" hasn't been paying attention.

Doug Hickman said...

The three sentences that followed the ones that Gil quoted from Ryan Patrico’s article were these:

First came traditional marriage. Then, gay marriage. Now, there’s a movement combining both:...the “triad.”Are we to infer from this that traditional marriage was at the very top of the slippery slope that leads to the triad?

Also, Mr. Patrico doesn’t tell us where this slippery slope (that began with traditional marriage) will lead. How about marriage with livestock? Why indeed not? That’s what we all really want in the deepest recesses of our longings. Isn’t it?

Once the restraints are loosed, that’s where we might all be heading!

The gay community is literally cracking up (with laughter) at these dire predictions. You and Ryan Patrico are just providing fodder for them.

Maybe it’s time to abandon the slippery slope argument?

Doug Hickman