Yes, okay. But if that is so, why are the eggs to be broken always the poor, marginalized, defenseless? Why do the makers of omelets never break themselves? And why are those omelets served first and mostly to the makers and their friends?
Whatever may be said for it as a philosophical system, utilitarianism provides a wonderful excuse for exploiting the poor for your own benefit and the benefit of those you care about, or of those who pay you. Just make (if you have to) a small adjustment in the way you think of certain people and they turn into things whose eyes, urethra, and rectum you can put gonorrhea-filled pus and watch what happens as they die.
We should not underestimate the number of utilitarians in political office, scientific labs, corporate executive suites, magazine offices, and university faculties. Poor Latin Americans are safe, for now, but others aren’t. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that someone is conducting morally problematic experiments in rural Africa.
Men in white coats, some of them professors at major universities and others employees of major corporations, experiment on embryonic human beings all over this country. They will protest that the cases of the nameless embryo and the Guatemalan woman named Berta are different, that the embryo is not fully human, not yet a person, that it can therefore be destroyed for the greater good. Which is what Cutler must have thought of Berta and her peers.
David Mills, former executive editor of First Things, is a senior editor of The Stream, editorial director for Ethika Politika, and columnist for several Catholic publications. His latest book is Discovering Mary.Follow him @DavidMillsWrtng.