Friday, April 12, 2013

Special Moral Authority Based on Experience or Status


Everybody feels sorry for the parents and survivors of the Newtown massacre.  It was a truly horrendous event and it's difficult to imagine having gone through it.

This article at politico (h/t althouse) indicates that they have extra political sway because of their victimhood and that they're being smart about how they use their status in that they "can get a meeting with any senator they want, whenever they want". 
Why is it that they (putatively, and I don't really doubt, actually) have more access to my senators than I do?  They are alleged to have been imbued with special moral authority arising from their experience.  This is not the first time I've seen this claim.  My most familiar prior encounters have been with veterans and combat veterans, the idea expressed being that veterans and in some cases, only combat veterans, have special moral authority as to whether war should be waged and, if so, how it should be done.  I find this (even as an Iraq vet) preposterous.

I find the idea of special moral authority arising from the status or experience to be highly dubious, however.  These people, are not, generally, experts on guns, violence, the Constitution or anything else pertinent to the debate about gun control.  Their influence appears to be based entirely on pandering by one political party and attempts, supported by a sympathetic media, to bully the other political party.  Basically, they're useful to push a political position that has more or less, nothing to do with the vast majority of gun violence in America.  Their experience, and their alleged moral authority, being used in an attempt to trample the rights of millions of Americans (who are innocent of any crime) by promulgating a law that would not have stopped the event if it had already been the law.

Lots of mass shooters, after all, passed background checks.

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