With the . . . ahem . . . annual avalanche of Supreme Court opinions on the way, I thought I’d raise a question about how slippery slope arguments play out. The reason advocates make this sort of argument is that they want to convince someone not to do something. If A leads to B and B is seen as unacceptable, then people will be less likely to do A if they are convinced that there is no line between them. The problem, of course, is that this tactic can backfire. It might convince people that there is no distinction between A and B when they thought that there was, and thus make B more likely once A happens.
In practice, how often does the former scenario happen as opposed to the latter one? I’m not sure that there is a good study on this question, though we can all come up with examples on either side.