Of all the logical fallacies decried by philosophers, the fallacy of the "slippery slope" is among the most maddening. On one hand, we know that a single choice (say, privatizing a highway) doesn't inexorably lead to another choice (e.g., selling a public park). But on the other hand, we see the slippery slope in action far too often to ignore it's potential risks.
Two of the the slipperiest slopes plaguing us today are the ones that have bolstered the roles of political parties and religious institutions in government operations. The two spheres of influence have much in common. They are both dominated by rich, white men. Neither has a proscribed role in government that can be traced to the US Constitution. And they each, in their own way, seek to perpetuate the preferential treatment they receive, the taxpayer dollars they command, and the dominant positions they hold.
In an impassioned column opposing the Marriage Discrimination Amendment in the Chapel Hill News today, I discovered this excerpt from a speech by John Kennedy, which addresses the first insidious institution.
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. Where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. Where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I would say the same about political parties.
I believe in an America where the separation of government from the influence of political parties is absolute. Where political parties have no role in the operations or structure of government. Where no political party is granted any funds or political preference, and where no person is restricted in his or her right to run for office merely because of partisan affiliation.
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