Saturday, February 22, 2020

Slippery Slope: A Mini Rant

(source - a great academic blog on 
judgement and decision making)

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and live near Washington, DC, and the term I am hearing more and more is SLIPPERY SLOPE.  For example, this exchange on a recent It's Been a Minute podcast (host Sam Sanders was interviewing architecture critic Kate Wagner):

WAGNER: ... And this became, like, a big enough phenomenon that the New Statesman published an article about these accounts and how they're, like, weirdly, like, crypto-fascists.

SANDERS: Crypto-fascist - what do you mean by that?

WAGNER: Talking about things like the downfall of Western society and how, like, modern architecture's degenerate, which was a dog whistle used by, for example, the Nazis in order to go after institutions like the Bauhaus and sort of, like, a cultural purge. And there's a lot of sort of cloaked rhetoric about the supremacy of, like, Western aesthetics.

SANDERS: As soon as you begin to talk about the supremacy of the West, you kind of wade into territory of the supremacy of white people.

WAGNER: Yeah. It's a slippery slope.

Note - this was a discussion about the architecture of government buildings. Ugh. 

Slippery Slope is code for "lean slightly that way and you will fall directly into a very bad dark place." Avoid those slopes at all costs!

It's a judge-y way to tell you that you dare not compromise, you dare not even listen to anyone not saying or agreeing with exactly with the speaker. 

It's a cop out.

It's SLIPPERY because it's hard, yes. But it shouldn't be a barrier. There are lots of tough issues out there, and categorizing any kind of compromise as a slippery slope is just lazy.

As soon as any one or any organization says even thinking about a compromise is a slippery slope, I'm out. 

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