Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"And Before You Know It . . . "

A recent post mentions the slippery slope, the "and before you know it" argument; or more precisely, the argument that a relatively small first step leads to a more or (mostly) less plausible chain of related events culminating in some more significant, often disastrous, outcome.

To my boundless delight and merriment, the fallacy continues to insinuate itself into the news of the globe - understandable in these times of unrest and social ferment, an age in which, to put it baldly, One Can't Be Too Careful. Here are some further examples lifted from the static we daily radiate into an unoffending and indifferent Deep Space.
  • Saudi academic Kamal Subhi presented a report to his country’s legislative council warning that allowing women to drive would encourage prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, and divorce, and would lead to the “end of virginity” in the nation. Presumably, allowing women to drive will emasculate their husbands to the extent that they turn to prostitution (since their wives will rarely be found at home, though I can't for the life of me understand why not), homosexuality and pornography (ditto). The best way I can suggest to encourage Arab virginity is a proscription against vehicles with floor-mounted or center-console shifts. As for prostitution and pornography, they've never needed any encouragement.

 "Never mind the keys - I can't find the car."
  • Ann Marie Kennedy, a resident of Effin in Limerick County, Ireland, complained that Facebook was blocking her from listing her hometown on her profile. She wanted to show her pride in company with “so many Effin people around the world.” To be fair, a Facebook spokesman has explained that "From time to time we are alerted to oversights such as this in our mapping system. We will look to correct it to ensure places like Effin can be 'liked' on Facebook." It's actually the Facebook software that foresees a slippery slope here, sagely anticipating that it's but a short, swift fall from Effin to Bumpass. Or maybe vice versa.

 Effin Eff Bee
  • On the campaign trail in Iowa, GOP candidate Rick Santorum offered yet another febrile reason for opposing same-sex marriage: "Well, let's look at what's going to be taught in our schools, because now we have same sex couples being the same - and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society - as heterosexual couples and their activity," he said (just read that a few more times, I think you'll see what he's trying to say). Apparently there is a heterosexual sex curriculum currently being taught in public schools somewhere, and in this age of political correctness homosexual variants will require equal instructional time, much like Title IX programs for female collegiate athletes. (There is actually one school in which "applied sex" figures in the curriculum, though it's not in this country.) On a personal note, this is yet another case of my having been born too soon in human history.

"No - she only looks like a transvestite."
  • Time once again for Fox's annual "War on Christmas." The Huffington Post reports that, "A quick look at [Fox News'] recent segments showed that replacing 'Christmas' with 'holiday' not only puts our religious freedoms 'on the rocks,' but goes against everything the pilgrims and our founding fathers would have wanted." So it's obvious that if we neglect to use the word "Christmas" at every available opportunity, the forces of secular darkness in unholy alliance with the forces of political correctness will a) suborn the true significance of "Christmas" as "a Christian nation's single largest annually recurring retail revenue-generating opportunity," and b) substitute traditional characters in nativity scenes, kresches, etc., with characters drawn from Marvel Comics, various anime movies such as "Avatar," StarWars and Transformers characters, etc. (Oh - they did that aleady?)
The Nativity by Toys-R-Us
  • This is not an example of a slippery slope, but no logic primer in this peculiar season can forego the pedagogical opportunities offered by Guvunner Rick Perry, who has cleverly uncovered not merely a war on Christmas but an entire "war on religion" emanating from a Muslim-controlled White House. A recent campaign ad claims that "there's something wrong in this country, when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." Ignoring for the moment the patent untruth of his unpleasant, intolerant whinging, Perry's lament is disingenuous. On its face he presents an either/or that seems to beg the "right" choice. The dilemma, however, is a false one. Either stop driving your car or die a horrible death; either kick queers out of the military or let kids pray in school. (Not to mention that children can in fact pray in school and do celebrate Christmas "openly.") If the phony dilemma doesn't fool you, the persecution complex should cinch it.

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