Thursday morning, while driving to work, I heard one of the county commissioners being interviewed on the local radio station.
His words took me back to my college days and a Speech 101 class I attended called "Illogical Reasoning in Contemporary Rhetoric." The county commissioner was arguing against a ban on shooting prairie dogs.
His argument seemed illogical to me, so I dug out my Speech 101 notes, and verified the feeling I had.
The county commissioner was saying that if we ban the shooting of prairie dogs, then we will ban the shooting of predators, and then we will ban the shooting of deer, and then the shooting of elk.
So, if we ban the shooting of prairie dogs now, eventually we will ban the shooting of everything down the road.
I found in my notes that this is the fallacy of the Slippery Slope/Domino Theory. The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question.
In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypasses.
This argument has the following form:
1. Event X has occurred (or might occur).
2. Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.
This sort of reasoning is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim.
It doesn't matter what the argument, just beware of fallacious reasoning.
So, it's the old adage of don't believe everything you hear. Just because an elected official says it, doesn't make it true.