Friday, July 22, 2005

Honk If You Oppose Genocide

Driving back from Santa Monica I passed the VA building in Westwood (I think that's what it's called). This place has a history of collecting all the protests and people with signs.

Anyway, there was a cluster of signs saying "Honk if you opppose genocide". Being generally down on genocide and having access to a convenient car horn I cheerfully honked.

A bit later though I started to wonder. Are there a bunch of people out there that we need to educate -- who mistakenly used to think that genocide was good but have now been enlightened?

Getting out and being active strikes me as a good thing -- even when it's about something as controversial as whether or not we should promote or criticize genocide.

However, the scene struck me as symptomatic of an endemic problem in society: wanting to take stands and talk about the incredibly simple issues and avoiding the complex, but real, problems -- then giving up when you can't find a simple solution to the complex problem.

For example -- something like "we should obey our Kantian obligations to save those in immediate threat of starvation, even though doing so may cause more harm in the long run by propping up corrupt regimes", or vice-versa, doesn't fit on a sign. Or at least doesn't fit on a sign that you can read while driving past on the road.

Reminds me that I'd like a pair of bumper stickers that say:

If you can fit your moral philosophy on a bumper sticker,

then you've got a bumper sticker's worth of moral philopsohy.

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