Preserving the Status Quo: The Use of Slippery Slopes Throughout US History

Originally published on Lefty Cartoons and cross-posted here with their permission.

I’d wager that anyone doing any sort of anti-oppression work has come across one of the most used rhetorical fallacies in existence: the slippery slope. Those who resort to slippery slopes like to argue that society can’t possibly change to include queer folks, Black folks, or anyone else outside of the straight, cis, white male figure — or else anything (usually horrible things) will be possible.

But these sorts of arguments are virtually never based on facts, research, or precedent. At best, they’re misguided communications of anxiety based on the fear of change. At worst, they’re manipulations of common fears and anxieties used to deny the rights of people the slipper-slope-user deems inferior.

While issues like interracial marriage, abortion, and marriage equality are not to be conflated, the common kinds of hostile responses and other forms of resistance to them often draw upon the same faulty, status-quo-preserving logic.

Who knows when or if the day will come when all generic, cookie-cutter objections to equality finally fizzle away, but hopefully in the next few decades ,the slippery slope will be put to rest once and for all.

Check out this comic from Lefty Cartoons to see just how similar defenses of the status quo have been across the years.

Slippery Slope

To learn more about this topic, check out the following:

Barry Deutsch is the Portland-based author and cartoonist of Ampersand, a political comic with a generally progressive sensibility. A new Ampersand comic appears in every issue of Dollars and Sense Magazine. Barry attended Oberlin College in Ohio in the late 1980s, the School of Visual Arts in New York City in the 1990s (where he took classes from comics legend Will Eisner), and graduated from Portland State University several years ago. While at PSU, his political cartoons won the Charles M. Schulz Award. His current comics project is my comic book Hereville, a fantasy adventure comic about an 11-year-old Jewish girl. Check out his blog and follow him on Twitter @barrydeutsch.