PowerOfBabel posts a Rambling Rant on Empathy that is worth reading:
Whenever anybody sets up to be "a voice for the voiceless," little alarm bells go off in my head. It always suggests for me a subtle grab for power from groups which, by their very definition, can never disagree or protest decisions made in their name. Decisions made for non-coherent groups of humans, such as the very young, the senile, the comatose, the mentally disturbed, made by some self-appointed ambassador, seem to me questionable if they pose these decisions as the sensitively divined wills of the non-coherent themselves, rather than as the decisions of the ambassadors, no matter how humanely and ethically arrived at they may be. It seems to me to be patronizing in the worst, most extreme sense of the word. People can have trouble figuring out the will and desires of people they know and can speak with, sometimes.