View Poll Results: Is the "Slippery Slope" a valid concept?

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  • Yes

    16 42.11%
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    6 15.79%
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Thread: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is the "Slipper Slope Theory", aka the "Domino Theory", a valid concept?

    I say 'Yes'. Taking federal income tax, for example. It was supposed to be small and affect only the richest. Within 10+/- years it had expanded greatly beyond the original reassurances. Today, it affects way more people than originally promised, AND the rates have increased as well.

    To me, this fits. While it is not a single person or group consciously plotting something big and slipping it by us one piece at a time (that would be a conspiracy theory), the end result is that something grew to be bigger than it ever was meant to be one piece at a time.

    Second example: Well-meaning politician sees that a tax or regulation was passed. They want more. They see the passage as a "mandate from the people" that what they want is really what the public wants, hence they propose taking said tax or regulation further.

    What was the Dept of Homeland Security's original narrowly-focused purpose?

    This is a big reason why I am reflexively worried whenever a new tax or bureaucracy is proposed. Even something small and reasonable. History tells me it won't stay small and reasonable for too long.

    Opponents of the Slippery Slope argument often say that they take each issue as it comes along. I say that is easier said than done when group politics is concerned.
    I say that the real slipperier slope here has less to do with taxing more and more to do with attaching pork to bills. The fact is that spending is popular but raising taxes generally isn't, but raising taxes comes along with raising spending in the long run.
    However, you have to raise taxes at some point in order to reduce spending. But yes, the slippery slope theory can definitely be valid in many cases.

    PS: I got hungry and selected "I like cheesecake" as my response. O well.

  2. #12
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Absolutely a valid theory but in proper circumstances. If you look at many abuses of liberty they all started off with a "small inconvenience", such as the EPA, it was a little idea at the time but has grabbed more and more power and now threatens manufacturing and the quality of our automobiles, also the FDA, ATAC, the BATF, gun control legislation...........
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

  3. #13
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Its valid as part of a larger argument or as a word of warning, but is not valid in and of itself as an argument for/against a particular thing.

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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Its valid as part of a larger argument or as a word of warning, but is not valid in and of itself as an argument for/against a particular thing.
    I agree, there has to be some kind of admonition of further damage as a result of the precedent. I also like the "Camel nose" analogy.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

  5. #15
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaMidRighter View Post
    I agree, there has to be some kind of admonition of further damage as a result of the precedent.
    Does "the government has a history of always taking things further than originally intended" qualify?


    Quote Originally Posted by LaMidRighter View Post
    I also like the "Camel nose" analogy.
    Ha! I haven't heard that phrase used in years. I had forgotten all about it.

  6. #16
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Does "the government has a history of always taking things further than originally intended" qualify?
    Not only does it qualify I think it's the best use of the theory.
    Neither side in an argument can find the truth when both make an absolute claim on it.

    LMR

  7. #17
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Certainly there are situations where the concept applies, but it is used far, far, far more often than it actually makes sense. Where it does apply is when there is some reason that each step you take in a particular direction, it gets more tempting to keep going for some external reason. For example, doing crack one time does indeed start you on a slippery slope because each time you use it, the desire to use it again gets stronger because of the physical addiction.

    But, people use it just as a generic way to oppose anything other than extremism. For example, say that on some issue there is a spectrum of 1 to 10. Say that 5 is the actual optimal point. Somebody who prefers 10 will scream "slippery slope" if people want to move from 7 to 6 because he can't deny that things improve between 7 and 6, but he can talk about how bad 1 is... It's just flawed logic. Binary thinking. Difficulty dealing with the complexity of life. In virtually all situations the best solution is neither 1 nor 10, but somewhere in the middle. Somebody who habitually uses the slippery slope thinking will always be in the wrong on such an issue because they will always oppose anything other than whichever extreme they like more.

    In short, the notion that if as a society we decide to do one thing, it is nearly inevitable that we'll then later do some radically more extreme variant of the same thing makes no sense. There is no logic behind that position at all. It's just a bare, stupid, assumption. It's like saying "you shouldn't walk to the store because then you'll end up walking to China and you'll die of overwalking"...
    Last edited by teamosil; 10-21-11 at 01:13 AM.

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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phys251 View Post
    I have never heard of the "Slipper Slope Theory." Does this have something to do with friction on hills?
    it's also known as the "ratchet effect"

    basically, by pursuing one ideologically moderate-left/right policy, you set the stage for pursuit of an even more left/right policy.

  9. #19
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    I chose "maybe". It depends on the argument.
    The problem is, it tends to say that a middle ground doesn't exist.
    It also tends to confuse the issue. Either someone has to defend you're new definition of what the argument is or waste time refuting the fact it will lead to these massive expansions.

    For the example you give I'd say that higher taxes was inevitable as government has had to deal with more and more complicated issues. That those increases in taxes and government spending has taken place in EVERY modern government in the world. That in general the US taxes less than every modern government in the world. That the only countries that tend to have no bureacracy and little to no taxes tend to be places that are backwards.
    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” John Maynard Keynes

  10. #20
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    Re: Is the "Slipper Slope Theory" a valid concept?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is the "Slipper Slope Theory", aka the "Domino Theory", a valid concept?

    I say 'Yes'. Taking federal income tax, for example. It was supposed to be small and affect only the richest. Within 10+/- years it had expanded greatly beyond the original reassurances. Today, it affects way more people than originally promised, AND the rates have increased as well.

    To me, this fits. While it is not a single person or group consciously plotting something big and slipping it by us one piece at a time (that would be a conspiracy theory), the end result is that something grew to be bigger than it ever was meant to be one piece at a time.

    Second example: Well-meaning politician sees that a tax or regulation was passed. They want more. They see the passage as a "mandate from the people" that what they want is really what the public wants, hence they propose taking said tax or regulation further.

    What was the Dept of Homeland Security's original narrowly-focused purpose?

    This is a big reason why I am reflexively worried whenever a new tax or bureaucracy is proposed. Even something small and reasonable. History tells me it won't stay small and reasonable for too long.

    Opponents of the Slippery Slope argument often say that they take each issue as it comes along. I say that is easier said than done when group politics is concerned.
    any scheme that was intended to pander to the many by allowing them to be given what they want paid for by a minority voting block is going to expand



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