By Justin E. H. Smith
Now that an "extreme" cookbook has hit the shelves offering, among other things, recipes for human flesh (Gastronaut, Stefan Gates, Harcourt), perhaps our gross-out, jack-ass culture has reached the point where it is necessary to explain why these must remain untried.
I will take it for granted that we all agree murder is wrong. But this alone is no argument against anthropophagy, for people die all the time, and current practice is to let their remains simply go to waste. Why not take advantage of the protein-rich corpses of our fallen comrades or our beloved elderly relatives who have, as they say, "passed"? Surely this would not be to harm them or to violate their integrity, since the morally relevant being has already departed or (depending on your view of things) vanished, and what's left will have its integrity stolen soon enough by flame or earth. Our dearly departed clearly have no objections to such a fate: they are dead, after all. Could we not then imagine a culture in which cannibalizing our dead were perfectly acceptable, perhaps even a way of honoring those we loved?