I think that Gertrude Stein, with her typical acerbic wit, said this terrible thing the very best:
Would I if I could by pushing a button would I kill five thousand Chinamen if I could save my brother from anything. Well I was very fond of my brother and I could completely imagine his suffering and I replied that five thousand Chinamen were something I could not imagine and so it was not interesting. One has to remember that about imagination, that is when the world gets dull when everybody does not know what they can or what they cannot really imagine.
Everybody’s Biography (1937)