The problem with slippery slope arguments is that they take so long to come true; thus, the are easy to dismiss in the moment as being “hyperbolic,” or “scare tactics.”
Yet, time and time again, it is so easy to look back at human behavior and predict what will come next, particularly when it involved taking away freedoms, limiting choices, and controlling the behavior of others.
When the war on cigarettes began in the 70’s, countless pundits warned that it would lead to attempts to regulate, limit, or outright ban things other than cigarettes which were legal, yet potentially dangerous to one’s health. At the time, such prognosticators were told to calm down and stop being silly. Clearly, they argued, it was bad for us to inhale smoke, but that didn’t mean it would lead to people attacking, for example, sugar. Yet, here we are, 40 years later, attempting to regulate, limit, or ban everything from sugar, to saturated fats, to trans fats and more, all in the name of “health,” and all based on “studies.”
When we began “asking” children and parents to modify their behaviors in the name of one child in a school of 1500 having peanut allergies, to the tune of suggesting no one bring anything peanut based to school, prognosticators warned against asking society en masse to accommodate “the ones.” Such statements were called “attacks,” or “cruel,” and were called alarmist and non-sensical. It wasn’t, we were told, as though we were going to suddenly accommodate every single concern throughout all walks of society. This was a safety issue, after all! Yet, here are, 20 years later, with safe spaces abounding to maintain the mental and emotional wellness of anyone who might be offended by anything. Never mind actual health concerns, we’re now protecting people from imaginary problems!
And so, we head to the 6th largest city in Ohio, Dayton, where they have just announced they will no longer hire anyone who uses nicotine or tobacco. That’s right, effective immediately, if you want to be a cop, contractor who works with the city (or a simply member of said contractor’s team), or even a teacher paid by the city, forget about it if you smoke. Why? Simple: “Studies indicate that employees that smoke cost approximately an additional $6,000 per year in direct medical costs and lost productivity,” according to Kenneth Couch, the city’s director of human resources. https://www.foxnews.com/health/ohio-citys-ban-on-hiring-smokers-vapers-could-be-slippery-slope-some-fear
That’s scary as hell considering the bogus nature of “studies.” For the last two decades, up until a month ago, doctors were telling people to take an aspirin a day for heart health based on “studies.” Until new studies revealed aspirin is destroying healthy hearts. Ooopsie.
20 years ago “studies,” told us to exercise 90 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Today, a 30-minute walk 3 days per week is what “studies,” advise while warning against the damage done to the human body by exerting itself 450 minutes per week. Sorry about that.
So, here’s your slippery slope; cigarettes and smokers are, admittedly, an easy target. They have almost no friends, no vocal supporters, and no standing. Smokers are deemed dirty outcasts by a society that has been brainwashed by a 40-year campaign of “studies.” But lest you forget, that same 40 years ago, 80% of all American adults smoked. It was commonplace. If the behavior controlists can use “studies” to bring down an activity chosen by 80% of us, they can bring down any activity they disagree with.
When the war on smoking began the pushback was “something’s gonna kill me, leave me alone!” The fascists turned that personal responsibility argument on its’ head by arguing that smoking wasn’t just bad for the smoker, but it affected those around him via second-hand-smoke, and all of society as result of increased health costs to care for smokers, a burden we all bear in the end. Brilliant.
Thanks to “studies,” almost every personal choice we make is potentially detrimental to our health. What do we do with the aforementioned extreme athlete now that “studies” show they’re breaking down their bodies?
We are already seeing signs of who is next; While not yet substantiated, there are more than a few stories of business owners refusing to hire gun owner because “studies,” show that gun owners are more likely to suffer a fatal gun related injury at home.” DUH…if you own an elephant you are more likely to be crushed by a pachyderm than others!
A decade ago, major corporations began rewarding employees who joined gyms and maintained a positive BMI score (a totally bogus way of determining health) and have now moved to punishing (charging more) those who are overweight. How long before, citing “studies,” they simply refuse to hire the hefty?
And what of the fastest growing and most asinine fear campaign being spread today, the war on meat? Just like cigarettes, meat, say the almighty “studies,” is bad for us and causes cancer. Cancer, of course, weighs down the health care system and, eating meat is destroying the planet, thus endangering civilization and is therefore a danger to all who don’t eat it. Sound familiar? And for those of you who wave your hand, make a “Pffftttttt,” noise with your tongue and spout off bumper sticker slogans about how Americans love their beef while asserting that we will never discriminate against meat eaters, I remind you that just two generations ago, there were as many smokers as there are meat eaters today. Boxing was America’s most popular spectator sport at the time, as well…when was the last time America cared about boxing?
The ban on hiring meat eaters won’t happen this year, next year, or even the next 5. But to argue that it can’t or won’t is to turn a blind eye to the power of the emboldened and the almighty “study.”