I would like to articulate some reservations about Catarina's campaign against male genital alteration (recall also her earlier post). My reservations are second-order and do not concern any judgment about her normative position (I am pulled in different directions).
First, I am an analytic egalitarian (and you should be, too!) For me this consists of three core commitments:
- [A] This includes the philosophical/economist-expert
- [B] Even if  is not quite literally true, (nearly) all people consider themselves to be (at least as) equal when it matters to them.
- Philosophers/experts can't keep themselves (their incentives/their roles, etc) out of the model/proposal. In practice this means that we can't simply assume that philosophers are disinterested truth-seekers in the context of policy.
- Philosophers/experts shouldn't promote policies where the down-side risks of implementation are (primarily) shifted onto less fortunate others.
- Philosophers/experts should make an effort to educate policy and opinion-makers to counter-arguments to the policies they advocate.
In practice, of course, considerable and controversial contextual judgment is required in evaluating the suitability and content of these norms (which may involve a weighing of conflicting interests, etc). Okay, with that out of the way, let me turn to Catarina's campaign.
The moral campaigns on behalf of children are connected to a second set of campaigns that exhibit a more general awareness that we have obligations to those (animals) who cannot press their own moral and political claims. I believe there is increased moral concern for animal welfare and growing disgust at the food-processing industries. (This is often connected with a desire for seeing more ecologically responsible ways of farming or "slower" ways of living.) In practice, however, our political focus is rather selective. In many European countries we are seeing (successful) attempts at rather robust legislation to banish religiously inspired slaughter techniques (as practiced by Muslims and Jews) while continuing massive public subsidies for modern industrial animal farming; even the enforcement (of rather modest) animal welfare standards remains uneven. The needs of industry are not far from the policy-maker's minds, after all.
A third, related set of campaigns are the embrace of a robust, public secularism. In many European countries this can mean increased resistance to still widespread, historical privileges of once-national Churches. In America this issue becomes prominent in the teaching of creationism in schools. In practice this family of campaigns involves a growing intolerance for expressions of religious faith in public buildings (of the sort familiar to Americans of court cases involving displays of the ten commandments, public prayer, etc) as well as public displays of religiosity, which shades from state neutrality to state hostility toward religion, especially Muslim religion in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ongoing so-called "war on terror." This has coincided with the increased attention (in Europe) to ethnic tensions surrounding Muslim immigrant populations (of which young males are a disproportionate number of the unemployed and petty criminals) and larger society. The evolving understanding of the French conception of Laïcité is a significant marker for the rest of Europe (and parts of Canada).
Of course, there are many, many more such, ongoing campaigns that intersect with public policy (e.g., increased focus on climate change, other human rights, anti-torture campaigns, etc). My ambivalence about Catarina's campaign against male genital alteration has to be understood in light of the interaction of the three mentioned larger sets of campaigns. For, *in Europe* her campaign falls afoul of the injunction that philosophers/experts shouldn't promote policies where the down-side risks of implementation are (primarily) shifted onto less fortunate others. For, again in Europe, all three campaigns have in common that moral experts advocate a public policy that systematically impacts the quality of life of less powerful minorities (that often have access to fewer educational, economic, and political opportunities [the European Welfare state is increasingly exclusively, benefiting elderly indigenous populations]) while causing either negligible discomfort among the majorities or letting them off the hook entirely. This is so even if the most charismatic and articulate spokespeople of such moral campaigns have no anti-Muslim animus. (I am less sanguine about the motives involved in the political popularity of such campaigns.)
Now, to be sure, to the best of my knowledge, Catarina is only pursuing her campaign in English and not in the local Dutch media (or related public policy areas). (It also seems that her views on male genital alteration precede her move to Europe.) So, there is an important sense in which she does not violate analytic egalitarian injunctions (assuming she would accept these).
Can the analytic egalitarian never challenge the norms of cultural/religious/politically less powerful minorities? No, all I am claiming is that before and while we do so, we do not promote rather selective moral and political application of our moral compasses.
Of course, non analytic egalitarians may not be moved by any of these concerns. They are comfortable in their moral knowledge. For them even extremely, selective moral improvements are still moral improvements. But I fear such views (promoted by some neo-Government House Utilitarians, say) become hard to distinguish from the religious zealots they claim to oppose.