Making a "Proportional" Argument


A decision came down from Chick-fil-A corporate headquarters last week that has a few operators really hot and bothered.  I won’t get into what it was all about; it’s an internal matter, and that’s enough said.  One particular operator took the initiative to write a chain-wide email to express his strong disagreement with the decision (a concern which, from my vantage point, is much ado about very little, really).

But here’s the point of this post: in crafting his argument, and then later reiterating the same basic position, he on each occasion resorted to apocalyptic language, warning that by this decision, he feared Chick-fil-A, a company long known for its foundation of Biblical principles, indicated that we were capitulating.  In his follow-up, he wrote about how all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Please.  I mean, really, please.

If you have a point to make, make it.  If you have an argument to support it, fine.  But every time we exaggerate the stakes, we weaken our argument.  Frankly, I thought that this particular fellow had a relatively tiny good point to make, but when he overmade his point so, I wrote off his entire argument.

Now this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some small decisions that have large consequences, or that there’s no such thing as a “slippery slope”.  But I think that as we make arguments—whatever the topic—we would do well to remember a proper sense of proportion.


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