Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Evolving" On The Slippery Slope

A few months ago, in a discussion about the issue of same-sex "marriage," a commenter chastised me for saying that the same logic being used to justify the practice could be used to justify any number of variations of the moving target this new definition of marriage would allow. My opponent mocked me for my "old guard" position and promised that the younger generations would eventually overcome the current resistance to same sex "marriage" by pointing out that "laws and culture both change ... Polygamy is also something illegal/intolerable now."

I responded that he had made my point when he used the word "now," and warned him that the basic building block of society never changes, while the definitions of terms can change any time at the whim of what some group of people "like." If someone decides they want to define a "marriage" as the union of a boy and his dog at some later time, the logic of their argument would be exactly the same one we hear being used now to allow same sex "marriage" because once you decide that there is no objective definition of a term, you have no logical way to limit the point where it ends.

His response was telling:
"... I think that if a guy wants to marry his dog, while personally repulsive to me, I don't see why he can't. It would be important though for the dog to provide informed consent. Additionally, you should know better than to resort to 'slippery slope' arguments."
This is the enlightened tolerance of the "young guard" I guess.

It is common to mock the use of the "slippery slope" argument because it has been so illegitimately abused in the past. But there is a difference between the old: "next-thing-you-know-they'll-be-saying-it's-OK-to-marry-your-dog" argument (I mean, seriously, who would ever say that?!), and invoking the exact same logic to make the case for one thing that can be used to make the case for another. This is called a "logical slippery slope" and it is a completely legitimate argument to make.

You might think it would require a robust philosophical explanation to prove that last statement, but since I'm not the most robust philosophical guy in the world, I will make it easier ... I'll just report some news.

On the day after New York legalized same-sex "marriage" last June, Moein Khawaja, executive director of the Philadelphia branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical Islamist propaganda unit, Tweeted the following:
"Easy to support gay marriage today b/c it's mainstream. Lets see same people go to bat for polygamy, its the same argument. *crickets*"
Now, you might think Khawaja is just a goofball. But what about the October, 2011 article titled: "Polygamy: Tis the Season?" in the Muslim Link, a newspaper serving the Baltimore-Washington area.*
There are murmurs among the polygamist community as the country moves toward the legalization of gay marriage ... As citizens of the United States, they argue, they should have the right to legally marry whoever they please, or however many they please ... As states move toward legalizing gay marriage, the criminalization of polygamy is a seemingly striking inconsistency in constitutional law ... Be it gay marriage or polygamous marriage, the rights of the people should not be based on their popularity but rather on the constitutional laws that are meant to protect them.
Same argument, different definition of marriage. This is a textbook case of the logical slippery slope.

And this is why the recent "evolution" of our President on same-sex "marriage" is so dangerous. His support of same-sex "marriage," when applied to any other kind of mutually amorous relationship, offers no reason to deny any kind definition someone may dream up.

So while I'm at it, let's check the "evolution" of Barack Obama on the same-sex "marriage" issue:**

  • 1996 - Running for Illinois state senate in a trendy Chicago district: Barack Obama was for same sex "marriage"
  • 2004 - Running for U.S. Senate and needing statewide support: Barack Obama favored "civil unions" but opposed homosexual "marriage."
  • 2008 - Running for President of the United States and needing the elusive swing voters to win the presidency: Barack Obama said, "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I'm not in favor of gay marriage."
  • 2012 - Facing a re-election in which he needs to appeal to his party's base: Barack Obama supports same-sex "marriage."

See how the "evolution" works? Or is this just a demonstration of what we might call the "opportunistic misrepresentation of the truth"?

If the stakes weren't so high for the moral character of our nation, these could be considered the comical machinations of a spineless political hack. But the stakes are high for the future us old guard folks leave our children. I pray that there are enough of us left to stop the slide.

* Source: National Review, April 16, 2012, p. 24
** Source: Elliott Abrams, The Weekly Standard

1 comment:

  1. Good post. The logic of same sex marriage I always encounter is (1) two consenting people should be able to do what they want, (2) I should be able to marry who I love, and (3) since I was born with these feelings, society owes their approval. All of these reasons, as you emphasize in your blog, lead us down a very slippery slope.


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