'Slippery Slope' Arguments


Registered Member
I just saw this term three or four times within the last five minutes; I cringe on the inside every time I hear or read this argument. :shake: Seriously, does anyone ever buy into it? "If we do (or don't do) this, then [ominous]more, and far worse, is sure to follow...[/ominous]"

It verges on the edge of transparency.

To me, this is one of the weakest rhetorical devices out there, and I find it to be more of an argumental cop-out than anything else. When I read those words, what they says to me is "I don't have a developed or outwardly rational reason to think the way I do; I'm just going to play to the fears and worries of the common idiot by saying 'Lo! But if ye make this small and imperceptible change (or non-change), surely you'll be handing all of your powers of democratic process over to the crazies of the world!'" It's a complete load, and nothing more. The inherent weakness is only truly revealed when you apply it to absolutely every debate you can think of:
Abortion? It's a slippery slope!
Health Care? It's a slippery slope!
Gay Marriage? It's a slippery slope!
Gun control? It's a slippery slope!
Prohibit smoking in public places? It's a slippery slope!
Taxes? It's a slippery slope!
Environment? It's a slippery slope!
Public Apologies? It's a slippery slope!
Repay some of my credit debt? It's a slippery slope!
Donate money to a charitable organization? It's a slippery slope!
Buy mom a nice Christmas gift this year? It's a slippery slope!
If nothing was ever done for fear of negative consequences, nothing would ever be done.


Certified Shitlord
Thank you.

I never could understood this paranoid debate point. I mean, do people honestly think that someone is going to turn on their TV, see Steve and Gary holding a marriage license and start fucking their poodle in a fit of delight? It's insane and you made the point already, if people are taught to be scared of every possible (ridiculous) negative consequence, we'd still be throwing our own poop at each other . . . well, more often than now.


Registered Member
Here's a "slippery slope": governmental endorsement of heterosexual marriage. The slippery slope is that the government has divided citizens into 2 classes and provided some benefit to heterosexuals that it denies to homosexuals.


Change the World
Staff member
I just especially have trouble with the "slippery slope" argument with health care, which I view as a basic human right.

Universal Care doesn't mean we want the rest of the system to turn socialist. Give me a break.


Registered Member
...except that government funded organizations and institutions already provide food, shelter, and clothing to the people that lack them. :-/


Endangered Species
The slippery slope argument is usually a sign of paranoia, stretching conclusions and applying illogical fallacies to match the insecurities and lack of arguments. It really should be added to Godwins Law of forum debates. Lets have a Pretzel Law:lol:


Registered Member
I would suggest that it is not the slippery slope concept that is the problem, but how it is used.

Assuming "A" = a proposed course of action and "B" = undesirable or unintended consequence then:

Just because "A" may lead to "B" it doesn't mean that "A" must result "B". Nor does it mean that "A" will never lead to "B". It may however be valid to consider the probability that "A" will result in "B".


Son of Liberty
The funny thing is there have been slippery slope arguments that have come true and eventually become the mindset.

For example, after Everson v. Board of Education in which Justice Hugo Black came up with the most overused metaphor "a wall of separation of church and state" people argued what's next? Prayer in schools? Taking In God We Trust off our money?.....those came true.

After Griswold v. Conn. in which the right of privacy was extended people argued what's next? Privacy will lead to abortion?....Again the slippery slope argument came true.

It's unfair to label ALL slippery slope arguments as paranoia or illogical fallacies. The better counter-argument would be to analyze that slippery slope argument as valid or not instead of discounting all of them.