For decades we have seen those yellow diamond shaped signs in the back windows of cars admonishing us to ‘Drive Carefully, Baby Aboard’. Years ago as a young father, I puzzled over the first such sign that I spied. Its message was clear, ‘this car is transporting a human whose life is worth more than that of the run-of-mill human life, therefore extra effort should be made to preserve it’. I recall that a moment’s reflection made me say to myself, no it ain’t. A couple of thoughts later I concluded that in the larger scheme of things that baby’s life is worth less than the run-of-mill lives we all encounter in the daily round, including our own.
Most certainly that conclusion is true if we consider the baby’s ‘replacement value’ – you can make a new one in nine months – or its worth to society in the investment made, or the investment still required to civilize the little guy and educate him to productivity.
In my way of reasoning, I thought a more appropriate sign in the back window should read ‘Drive Carefully, A STEM Worker Aboard’, or ‘…, An Established Taxpayer Aboard’, or something similar. It was clear to me that of all the other more demonstrably accomplished lives driving down a crowded freeway, the babies strapped into their car seats represented the least valuable expressions of humanity when viewed from the larger perspective of a community or society in general.