Gene Therapy


Eugene Volokh posts on the importance of getting down to details in sociological argument, invoking his extremely useful paper on slippery slopes. He's talking about gay marriage here, but the more general point is a crucial one to keep in mind in the midst of often abstract arguments about the broad social effects of this or that institutional change. It's all too easy, in such debates, to be hypnotized by vague language about how some reform will "undermine families" or "debase the culture" or have some other such terrifying consequence. Volokh stresses the importance of asking: "What's the mechanism?" It's a simple question, but one with an uncanny power to carve through the squishy sheath of pseudo-profundity and reveal the pit of naked assertion at the center of the argumentative avocado.