Worst of Ethics Award 2022: Most Unethical Lawn Sign Or Car Sticker. And You Thought “Baby On Board” Was Bad…

I’ve been steaming about this one for a while.

That’s not exactly the sign I saw stuck on the rear window of an automobile with Virginia tags that was in front of me for about 20 miles last month; the one I had to look at had the heart in place of “love.” I also couldn’t find anywhere online that sells such a thing, which is encouraging.

I found myself wondering what kind of person would display that message. It is virtue-signaling of the worst variety, simultaneously obnoxious, arrogant, stupid and self-defeating. It is self-defeating because there is nothing virtuous about someone who would proclaim “I love an autistic child.” What does this jerk want, applause? Pity? “Awwwwwww!”?

What’s the ethical alternative to loving one’s autistic child? The sign might as well say, ” I feed an autistic child,” or “I protect an autistic child” or  “I don’t abuse autistic children.” The parent or grandparent (sibling?) of an autistic child who feels compelled to seek attention for the fact raises concerns that he or she feels trapped and unappreciated. Moreover, the child involved can read the sign. Does anyone post stickers on their cars that say, “I love a deaf child,” or “I love a child in a wheelchair”? I hope not! If the autistic child referenced can’t read yet, that makes the sign arguably worse. Who broadcasts a message to the world about one’s child that they wouldn’t reveal to the child? That’s obviously unethical, and a Golden rule breach.

I also am wondering how the various cross-cutting forces of our roiling and rotting culture made someone think this was an acceptable message to post on their automobile. Whatever it’s a symptom of, it’s not healthy.

Runner-Up: “Let’s Go Brandon!”

 

11 thoughts on “Worst of Ethics Award 2022: Most Unethical Lawn Sign Or Car Sticker. And You Thought “Baby On Board” Was Bad…

  1. Ugh. Unfortunately, for some parents, ‘parent of an affected/disabled child’ becomes an identity that they inflict on those around them.

  2. “And You Thought ‘Baby On Board’ Was Bad…”

    When those signs were all the rage, I made a similar looking “Body on Board” sign that I had in my car’s back window for a couple of months. I got a few strange looks and laughs from my friends, but I don’t think very many people actually noticed.

  3. Adding to the idiocy, autism is a disorder _spectrum_, encompassing billionaire Microsoft employees on one end and adults who haven’t developed social skills beyond elementary school on the other.

    It’s so broad to be meaningless.

  4. Seems like the calories burned on acquiring such a sticker would be better used just telling your kids you love ’em. But I’m no expert on autistic children. Maybe they like having their neurological conditions broadcast to the world indiscriminately.

    There’s way too much of this sort of thing in society today: people fixating on one aspect of their life and building their entire personality around being that one thing (usually, but not always, with a flavor of victimhood sprinkled generously on top).

  5. During the “Baby on Board” era, I found an “Old Fart on Board” and stuck it in my dad’s car’s rear window. I thought it was hilarious, but Pop was not amused. Mea culpa. He was probably 85. Now I’m 71, I should find one to hang in my rear window.

  6. I can tell you one thing. Many autistic people do not simply fail to interact, they interact paradoxically. For such people, words of the wrong sort really can be tantamount to violence, in that they cause genuine distress – and affection, through language or otherwise, really can be that triggering. That sign could distress the child in question, whose every effort to be left alone gets handled as attention seeking. Benevolent and malicious people alike can hurt the autistic, just by connecting.

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