Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Does pain of loss equal a pass on moral judgment?

Posted by Craig Westover | 3:31 PM |  

Gutsy column. Prager on Wetterling.
Democrats who excuse her (for her misleading Mark Foley ad) point to the fact that she suffered the unspeakable tragedy of having her own child abducted 18 years ago.

This is a new development in American moral discourse -- the granting to people who have suffered the loss of a child moral credibility, thereby excusing them from normal moral judgments. The father of Nick Berg, the young American slaughtered by Islamists in Iraq, has made morally absurd comments from the national platform accorded him as a grieving father; Cindy Sheehan has attained iconic status solely because her son was killed in Iraq.

The loss of a child entitles a parent to the deepest, sincerest sympathy the human race can offer; there is no pain like the loss of a child. But that loss does not justify using that sympathy to claim special moral status . . .
I have to agree with Prager, although I cut both Berg and Sheehan some slack given the recentness of their losses. What Parger rails against is the flip side of condeming an arguement by the perceieved motivation or intent of supporters rather than judging the argument on its merits. It's a tendency we should nip in the bud.