Check out this Brian McFaden Comic (at the Daily Kos):*
Seems like your standard slippery slope argument to me (in addition to some poignant commentary on how wasteful this particular argument is). We’ve talked about this a lot here–here’s one by Scott from a few weeks ago. The question there was what distinguishes the slippery slope from the bumpy staircase.
I think of this whenever I walk through the outdoor area separating the building that houses my office from the rest of campus. It used to be that smokers (such as I once was) would occupy tables in this covered area. Now the area is off limits to smokers. I can see a smoker’s argument going something like this:
banning smoking outdoors in this one place will lead to banning smoking outdoors in another place, and eventually to the banning of smoking in all public places on campus.
This is certainly a slippery slope argument, but it doesn’t seem fallacious to me. There’s no significant conceptual distinction between the various moves. I imagine the justification is that the University has the right to regulate toxic chemicals on campus. They only do it piecemeal so as not to shock anyone. Full disclosure, I look forward to the universal ban.
Back to Bloomberg. Aside from the general question as to why start with giant soft drinks, this argument seems to be like the smoking argument. If city government has the power to regulate such things, then there is no conceptual distinction between various other food-related regulations. There seems in other words to be no relevant difference between the giant softdrink and the megabaconator. Banning the one is just like banning the other.
*an earlier version mistakenly attributed the comic to Tom Tomorrow.