Emotional Pornography

Today we have an excellent piece by Charles C.W. Cooke on the abrogation, by gun-control partisans, of rational deliberation in favor of shameless appeals to emotion. (Mind you, the abrogation itself is very much the product of rational calculation; the politicians and pundits doing this are clearly aware that such vile mawkishness can be a very effective way to put the opposition on the defensive. These people will use whatever comes to hand; that they cannily prop up these grieving parents as human shields in the culture war is despicable.)

Mr. Cooke writes:

It makes no rational sense whatsoever to privilege the testimony of Newtown’s parents in our deliberations. The children of Sandy Hook were randomly chosen victims of abhorrent and reckless violence. It is reasonable to seek the counsel of victims if you suspect that they can help you prevent future atrocities. But we wouldn’t expect the casualties of bombings to have particular insight into how best to deal with security, nor the victims of a gas leak to shed light on the details of piping infrastructure. Cruel as it might seem to observe, you are not afforded greater insight into the legal and economic questions surrounding gun control because a bullet fired by a madman has hit you or somebody you love.

This, of course, does not mean that the victims of gun violence, or their families, should sit down and “shut up.” Far from it — they can and should say whatever they wish and they should explain the devastating consequences of gun violence. But they should not be treated as expert witnesses.

Spot on. Read the rest here.

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