License Plate Slogans as Short-Cut Philosophy: Is Life So Simple?

I pulled my car up to a stop light behind a person whose license plate had the slogan, “Respect Life”. I had to think about that. Does that person, who paid a premium for that plate in order to display that sentiment to me as a command to me to respect life, himself or herself truly practice and obey that order? Does he swat flies, set traps for mice and squash a mosquito on his arm?

The personification of respect for life was Dr. Albert Schweizer. He spent a long time in a jungle in Africa ministering to the medical needs of native Africans. He suffered when stepping on an ant his “reverence for life” went to such lengths. And he wrote the book on it in his service.

Well, of course, I know what that sentiment refers to, the issue of abortion. But I had to think further about that license plate philosophy, and all bumper sticker beliefs, short, concise summaries of difficult issues. Rather convenient ways to think for the narrow minded, if the bearers test out in discussion to be short-sighted. I was just wondering.

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