Hitchens on the lame “chicken hawk” school of argument

I’ve always thought the “Unless you have personal experience, you must not be allowed to have an opinion” school of argument was pushed way too hard. Yes, parents are probably better people to go to for advice on parenting than childless theoreticians. Yes, there is the reality that clueless academics know less about car repair than somebody who’s done it. But really. Does anybody in the world think “Unless you’ve had cancer, you have no right to diagnose it or operate on it. Unless you’ve been in a car accident, you have no right to teach traffic safety. Unless you’ve been a soldier, you have no business talking about war.” Unfortunately, with the last point lots of people thinks this, meaning that they want to exclude most of the population from the discussion.

I note, as well, that pro-abortion zealots routinely make appeals to this line of reasoning as well, as though nobody can make moral judgments about the morality of abortion if they aren’t a woman. What this presupposes, of course, is that men and women are subject to different moralities. You might as well argue that women have no right to make moral judgments about rape since they just can’t possibly understand the emotional and psychological pressures that drive men. It’s a stupid way to approach moral reasoning.