Thank you, Quazi!
I think you can, but a little consideration should be given to those in high pressure situations with little time for a decision. People shouldn't be so critical when they have the benefit of hindsight and the person living the experience didn't have that advantage.
We can criticize the cop for killing instead of wounding the madman charging with cleaver, but have a little heart if you've never been under that type of pressure. He had a split second for a decision. We have literal days to think about it. We can criticize the quarterback for passing to the covered receiver instead of the open one, but have a heart. He had a split second before a lineman blasted him into unconsciousness. We get weeks to analyze the result.
We should have a little consideration for the person who was there, without our benefit of hindsight.
Should you have an opinion and view in regards to actions taken or opinions stated by someone when you don't have similar experience to said person? Absolutely.
Should your opinion be viewed as equally valuable as someone who has had experience in a similar situation? Possibly depending on other factors.
If your opinion seems oblivious to issues regarding that situation then is it understandable that those who have been in a similar experience may take your opinion with a grain of salt? Absolutley.
Take the Berneke argument. To me, there's a difference between disagreeing with his policies and making a statement of something like "I'd never do it that way" if he took some kind of drastic action after a major stock fall. Disagreeing with his policies despite not being an economist or ever serving on the Fed is reasonable and your opinion should be regarded as much as anyone else whose a casual observer...give or take some amount of regard based on your history with those listening to you. However, I think a bit of skeptisism is realistic if you'd say that, with the amount of pressure and weight on you that Berneke has, that you'd react in a cool, collected, perfectly logical and singularly focused on principle way during an economic emergency.
Or more to the point of what this thread is about...
When it comes to dealing with the thought of killing people, of entering into firefights, of existing in a place where you've seen friends die or become mutilated, I take the opinion of someone whose experienced those things at a typically higher level than I take of those who never have. That doesn't mean those people can't or shouldn't speak their opinion, but that they shouldn't be surprised when their opinion on that issue isn't highly regarded. And this phoney clinging to "history" or "human psychology" is pure and utter bull**** in the instance directly spurring this, as historically we have seen that typically in wars countries do have to in a sense "reprogram" soldiers to dehumanize the enemy to allow for the brain to even attempt to cope with the notion of what is being done. If someone is attempting to judge a person in an entirely different mindset and world based on their every day situation and the logic that applies to those things, then yes...I don't give a damn about their opinion because their opinion seems squarely based on ideology and exterior things rather than an honest reading of a situation.
Experience in a particular situation IS a valuable asset in forming an opinion. Lack of that experience can be a deteriment. However, the worth of opinion isn't held singularly in how much or how little experience one has. There are other factors. Those other factors can potentially make an experienced persons opinion worthless and an inexperienced persons opinion priceless. However, looking at JUST experience, by and large its a positive to have when forming an opinion.
My opponent is a liar, and he can not be trusted
This election began like a car wreck; a bad thing, but I couldn't help but look away. It's now more like a beheading video; a sickening display where I can't hit the red X fast enough.
Yes, people can have informed opinions about things they have never experienced, especially if they have been close to others who have experienced such things. I have a problem with the "WELL informed" description though. I have informed opinions about the actions of various US presidents, but I come to those opinions without the totality of information available to make it WELL informed. My experience with human behavior and reactions to trauma allow me to have an informed opinion about how most people react in a life-and-death war situation; however, since I myself have not been in such a situation, my opinion is not WELL informed. My husband has an informed opinion about the human body's response to pregnancy and childbirth. Since he has never been pregnant, carried a child to term, or experienced something akin to excreting a 10-lb watermelon through a bodily orifice, his is not a WELL informed opinion. Mine, however, is WELL informed.
Everyone is entitled to watch events in the world, process those events through their own prism of thought and experience, and form an opinion. Unless one actually has the totality of all relevant information, has walked in those shoes, or has lived through that nightmare, such opinions are not WELL informed.
In other words, we cannot know what we do not know, and to pretend otherwise is the epitome of hubris.
Last edited by DiAnna; 01-17-12 at 09:19 PM.