It is curious how slippery slopes only work one way.
That is to say, when I approve of a proposition, the slippery slope argument used against it seems tendentious, fear-mongering and not a real refutation.
However, when I disapprove, the slippery slope risks are apparent, real and imminent.
So if I am what is (inaccurately in my view) frequently labelled as a social liberal, I will decry as scare tactics any consideration of slippery slope arguments when discussing the legislation designed to promote societal approval of homosexual relationships; yet when the government seeks to make internet porn censorship available as a default, then I see state control of the internet, mass censorship of the freedom of expression and the collapse of all civil liberties just around the corner
But I am not, of course. I occupy a different place. I see the mendaciously-labelled 'equal marriage' legislation as proof positive of a slippery slope that we have been sliding down for a long time, and I have no doubt that we will slide considerably further down it, with grievous consequences for individuals and society.
I wish I could believe that the proposals to attempt to stem the flow of pornography into households were the start of a slippery slope, reversing the trend of decades, but I fear that will not be the case.
But the broader phenomenon is interesting: how governed our perceptions and interpretations are by our underlying philosophy. It reminds me, once again, of one of my favourite quotations from C S Lewis (from Miracles):
What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.
A Chartres Surplice - a school and God's own county - The first of the final two coats of arms is that of Chavagnes International College, of whose Scouts I am privileged to be chaplain. Fine and brave Scout...
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