Do you find yourself generally agreeing with the phrases 'respect should be earned' AND 'everyone deserves respect'?
Well, technically, you can't, because they're both using very different respect definitions! ^^
I think 'respect' is one of those words in English that's really way too vague. It's like 'like'. If you like someone, do you just enjoy their presence? Or are you actually their friend? Or do you just not dislike them? Or are you in love with them?? You can use 'like' to mean any one of those, and it's up to the listener to figure out which.
'Respect' is the same way. When you respect someone, do you admire them and look up to them? Or do you simply believe they're deserving of a certain level of courtesy? Or do you just feel that you should be as polite to them as you would want any given person to be to you? Or do you just feel that you should maybe not insult them right off the bat...? I could go on and on...
Everyone has their own definitions of respect, but I think they generally fall into two camps: reverent respect (believing someone deserves admiration and niceties from society in general) and basic respect (believing someone should be treated as a human being with feelings). Most people have a concept of both types (whether they want to admit it or not) and apply one or the other depending on the situation.
However, I've noticed that problems tend to arise when someone makes a statement and people apply the wrong one. '__' For example, when people say "respect should be earned", they're usually talking about reverent respect (at least I hope they are...), but the people who get angry at them and start flaming them imply that they're talking about basic respect. And when people say "everyone deserves respect", they're usually talking about basic respect, but the people who scoff at them and mock them imply that they're talking about reverent respect.
So much conflict over a simple misunderstanding...it might be unwieldy, but I recommend that anyone who's about to have a bad reaction to someone else's ideas of respect simply stop and first clarify which respect definition their opponent is using. A simple "do you mean ___" would suffice...