In 1988, I was taking a course on logic. And, as is common in classroom debates, the topic was legalization of marijuana.
And we had the usual arguments with health studies and traffic studies and prejudicial enforcement. Fine. But the one that finally won the argument was this slippery slope extrapolation of, “Well, if you are going to go around saying people can’t get high when they are harming no one but themselves (i.e. in a controlled setting without involving non-users), then you might as well restrict people from consuming butter.”
Now at the time, this was ridiculous. And yet the class also had trouble pointing to the one thing that made it a different case.
In 2012, the arguments are exactly the same, but people take seriously the possibility that butter consumption might be affected by governmental oversight of some form. And every single time this comes up, I remember how incredibly unlikely it seemed back then.
What does broccoli have to do with health insurance? (NYT)
Broccoli in the Supreme Court decision (WSJ)
regulating soda size in New York (NYT)
Ruhlman fights back (tongue in cheek) with butter protections (blog)