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 Post subject: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 27 May 2010 23:35 
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Is The Golden Rule Too Radical?
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Confucius (551-479 BC) allegedly said that human ethics could be expressed in one word, "Shu", meaning reciprocity. Rabbi Hillel (110-BC-10 AD) expressed the Golden Rule as "Do not to others that which is hateful to you. This is the whole of the law; the rest is commentary." Later, Christ expressed his positive version of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others..." in The Sermon on the Mount. Today, the Golden Rule is touted as a basis for ethics by all major religions, and perhaps all religions. But, in perusing various Christian ethics forums, legal ethics forums, and other political and relgious forums in recent years, I have not seen the Golden Rule of reciprocity advanced as an argument regarding any ethical question, be it political nepotism, immigration, abortion, "shock and awe on Iraq", gays in the military, or whatever, by ministers, politicians, or whomever.

Why has the Golden Rule gone out of favor? Perhaps it is too radical. Consider this statement by P.J. Proudhon (1809-1865):
“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so."
When one considers the fact that no one wants these things done to them, it becomes apparent that doing them to others is a violation of the Golden Rule. Taxation, itself, would be illegitmate, not to mention such things as the expansion of the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons after the US public was told they would be deactivated, the expansion of the use of killer-drone aircraft abroad, which routinely kill innocent people, and so on.

If the Golden Rule were implemented, not only would the four to five thousand page US IRS code be abolished, and IRS employees, lobbyists, and tax attorneys be out of work, but congressmen and senators would have to find new jobs because the entire mechansim of the coercive State with it's pyramidal system having a Bureaucrat-In-Chief at the top would be obsolete. Is it any wonder the the Golden Rule is given short shrift today, and is now totally religiously and politically incorrect?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 02:05 
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The world has changed since WW1.
Was the change caused by Communism, Freud, Dr Spock, drugs, or TV?
Personally I think TV has a lot to answer for. It provides seductively selfish role models. The Simpsons is a funny show, but a lot of very young kids watch it who have no idea what satire is. Now Bart Simpson clones are creating anarchical havoc in classrooms everywhere. Is it possible their glorification of stupidity is the reason its uncool for males in western countries to study for fear of being ridiculed as nerds?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 05:29 
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The fact is that there are things that are hateful to me that other people enjoy. I hate being told how to do my work but I had people working for me who demanded that I do the hateful, to me, thing and write out step by step instructions.

It's hateful to me to have neighbors telling me what color to paint my house, what my "window treatments" must look like, what kind of shingles I have, what trees I can plant, whether or not I can cut a tree on my property or fill a low spot with dirt to improve drainage. But, there is plenty of evidence that a lot of people apparently love being told those things.

I would hate living on the dole and would want work. Of course, there are those who find work hateful and prefer living on the dole.

So, what's hateful to me is often what's desirable to others. So, should I do what's hateful to them.

I tend to avoid people who do things that are hateful to me so I live a fairly solitary existence.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 10:09 
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Christine O, There was an article by Gary North at LewRockwell.com yesterday labeled The American Tombstone is a TV Set, that I think you might enjoy. Go to "the past 7 days" at the very bottom right of the forum listings and click Wednesday. Then click on Why Asia Will Overtake America.

patrickt,
I agree with you about avoiding people who you find hateful (or who advocate things that are hateful to me, like the "shock and awe" on Iraqis.) I think that most people are generally better than I am at recognizing people they are not going to like. In the past I might have gone out of my way to be freindly to people who appeared cool towards me, but I found out that this was a waste of time. They were right in the first place that our values were much too different for us to get along well. The advice I give to my grandkids is to do what I say, not as I did. I tell them to not to go out of their way to try to date or befriend people who are a little cool towards them, even if they think those kids are really good-looking, cool, popular, or whatever. I tell them to be really nice to people who appear to like them, even if they seem uncool- to at least try this approach and see if they don't have a better time. For better or for worse, though, if you appear to be having a lot of fun, the "cool" kids may gravitate to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 10:37 
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Tom Palven wrote:
Christine O, There was an article by Gary North at LewRockwell.com yesterday labeled The American Tombstone is a TV Set, that I think you might enjoy. Go to "the past 7 days" at the very bottom right of the forum listings and click Wednesday. Then click on Why Asia Will Overtake America.

patrickt,
I agree with you about avoiding people who you find hateful (or who advocate things that are hateful to me, like the "shock and awe" on Iraqis.) I think that most people are generally better than I am at recognizing people they are not going to like. In the past I might have gone out of my way to be freindly to people who appeared cool towards me, but I found out that this was a waste of time. They were right in the first place that our values were much too different for us to get along well. The advice I give to my grandkids is to do what I say, not as I did. I tell them to not to go out of their way to try to date or befriend people who are a little cool towards them, even if they think those kids are really good-looking, cool, popular, or whatever. I tell them to be really nice to people who appear to like them, even if they seem uncool- to at least try this approach and see if they don't have a better time. For better or for worse, though, if you appear to be having a lot of fun, the "cool" kids may gravitate to you.


Well, at 69, I've given up hope of having the "cool" kids gravitate to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 11:08 
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patrickt wrote:

Well, at 69, I've given up hope of having the "cool" kids gravitate to me.


Haha :D I'm not a kid but I think you're cool Patrick.

Let's analyse what coolness is, in all seriousness.
Is it a feature of modern life, or has it always existed by different names?

Can anyone explain what "attitude" is and why anyone would want it.
People with attitude are just grumpy in my book, like the mannequins marching on the catwalk with surly, ungrateful looks on their faces. Ungrateful, because they have been blessed with beauty, health and an easy job. Perhaps they have been told to look that way. If so, why would that be?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 11:31 
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Tom
I read the article you mentioned, and was interested in his thoughts about the importance of stories, it makes the Simpsons seem even more relevant to character formation.

The commercial with the smashing of the Ming vase reminded me of how a year or two ago a visitor to a museum in England tumbled onto a Ming vase exhibit while tying his shoelace and smashed it. It had been worth $3,000,000.

Can anyone share their favourite books when young?
Mine were Ferdinand the Bull, Heidi, and the Famous Five books.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 12:18 
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Tom Palven wrote:
. . . But, in perusing various Christian ethics forums, legal ethics forums, and other political and relgious forums in recent years, I have not seen the Golden Rule of reciprocity advanced as an argument regarding any ethical question, be it political nepotism, immigration, abortion, "shock and awe on Iraq", gays in the military, or whatever, by ministers, politicians, or whomever.

Tom, I’d dispute the suggestion that the Golden Rule isn’t widely invoked, or widely relied upon, to address real-life moral questions. I think it is.

You talk about “any ethical question”, but the instances you give are all drawn from politics/public affairs. “Any ethical question” is a much wider category.

Take business/economics where, of course, ethical questions arise all the time. The modern western economy rests fundamentally on a rule of reciprocity. The market works by people freely entering into transactions. Each party to a transaction is expected to abide by what he has undertaken to do, and is entitled to expect, and asked to trust, that the other party will do likewise. On this basis parties enter into transactions from which both parties expect to benefit. The fundamental expectation of reciprocity is obvious here.

Even in politics, the rule of reciprocity plays a major role. The moral underpinning for a modern democracy is that I cannot expect to have any degree of control or influence over government unless I accord others the same degree of control and influence – hence, universal adult suffrage. I cannot expect to be allowed to campaign or lobby unless I accord you the same right – hence, universal rights of free speech. Indeed, the whole culture of rights, the freedom from arbitrary arrest, etc, operates on the basis that the freedoms I want myself I must accord to others as well.

I find your analysis of taxation not very convincing. I think the problem is that you are looking at the individual citizen versus the state. But the state is not a person; the Golden Rule does not operate as between the citizen and the state, but as between the citizen and other citizens. As a citizen, I would prefer to pay no tax, but I also want the community to provide road, hospitals, a police force, etc, which I am perfectly well aware cannot be done unless other citizens pay tax. I therefore pay tax to support services for them (including many services that I don’t want myself, and don’t avail of), in return for which they pay tax to support services for me; reciprocity.

Where we have something like Guantanamo, the Golden Rule is not being followed. I expect to be free from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial, but I do not accord the same rights to “terrorists”. But the Golden Rule would be followed if citizens demanded it, and allowed that demand to influence their votes.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 28 May 2010 20:18 
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Christine O,
The French phrase "Je ne sais quoi", which literally means "I don't know what" is used like "Bruce Willis has a certain Je ne said quoi"-- a "certain something". He 's not a matinee idol, so maybe this "certain something" is attitude. Even without being able to actually define it, we'd all probably agree that Clint Eastwood portrayed characters with attitude, and for those of us old enough to remember, Humphrey Bogart had attitude, or at least I think he did. Still can't help you define it.

I liked Heidi, too, as a kid, and read it several times, and I also liked Big Red, a book about a dog, and other books by Jim Kjelgaard. Later I enjoyed Tom Sawyer, and then, as an older kid, Huckleberry Finn.

patrickt,
I'm going on 65 and one of my heroes I quote a lot, law professor Butler Shaffer (Boundaries of Order, 2009) is 74.

Peregrinus,
Yes, I'm looking at the individual instead of the state. I'm trying to take John Lennon's advice and Imagine there's no countries, and look outside of the boxes of churches and states.
I'm enjoying The History of Tractors in Ukrainian riight now. It's very amusing, and I'm learning things about a period in Eastern Europe without it being preachy.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 29 May 2010 01:54 
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Tom

To me je ne sais quoi means mystique or something similar. Lets see who has it. I think Gerard Depardieu must have it because he is devilishly attractive and not because of his looks.

In contrast I understand "has attitude" to mean a less subtle streetwise personality likely to attract more respect than fascination.

I loved Tom Sawyer to.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 29 May 2010 12:54 
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Christine O,
Checked Gerard Depardieu out on wickipedia and then put Green Card on the Netflix queue. Surpised I've never heard of him. Will just have to see about this fascinating devilishness or whatever!


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 29 May 2010 22:31 
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It will be interesting to see whether his special something is evident to you, or if its only there for women.

There are plenty of females with je ne sais quoi, but I wouldn't be able to tell you who they are, however it would surprise me greatly if there were any ugly ones with it.

Which brings to mind one of my favourite Gerad Depardeiu movies, "Too beautiful for you", The story of a man played by GD who has a stunningly beautiful young wife, but launches into a passionate affair with his chubby, plainish secretary. She must have had je ne sais quoi in spade fulls.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 29 May 2010 22:51 
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I wikied Too Beautiful For You and Josiane Balasko. She appears to be plain-looking, but can't tell anything about her Je ne sais quoi. I wonder if Roseanne Barr has Je ne said quoi, or just attitude? I don't know if she's overweight at the moment or not, but I guess I would say that I found her at least somewhat sexually appealing even when she was overweight, if that's relevant to anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 30 May 2010 00:17 
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Actually I think Roseanne Barr might have both!

She certainly is a confident, unafraid lady and has attitude, however there's also a wit and intelligence that is intriguing.

Apparently some people thought Margaret Thatcher had je ne sais quoi, mais moi? Non!


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 30 May 2010 13:32 
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I must agree about Margaret Hilda Thatcher. There's not a single sexy or humane (human?) thing about her, IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 31 May 2010 10:51 
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Regarding the golden rule, there are two things mixed up in the descriptions above.

Reciprocity - ie, if you give to me, I owe to you; and if I give to you, you owe me. That is very well described as one of the 'six influence triggers' in Cialdini's book 'Influence: Science and Practice'. Do yourselves a favour and read it, you will be much better armed against manipulation.

The golden rule though, is better described as the 'reversibility of the I-Thou relationship', a concept I think I saw at Butterflies and Wheels website. Basically, the rules are the same for me as for you - and since I am fair to me I can understand the idea of being fair to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 31 May 2010 21:47 
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Good post, Tom. I wouldn’t be too worried about the failure of the Golden Rule to satisfy a yearning for logic in human affairs. There’s a problem in taking any known set of ethical guidelines as a foolproof blueprint for human behaviour in the absence of some plausible explanatory theory of how human society emerged. A persuasive argument can be made that ‘society’ must have preceded the use of language, because there seems to be no conceivable way in which the capacity for language by itself can have somehow ‘created’ society and societal norms ex nihilo. Non-language-using primate behaviour manifests what can reasonably be interpreted as desires, intentions, deception, recognitions of de facto authority, reciprocal altruism, obligations, boundary-setting, and so forth, and it would be implausible that such a complex set of behaviours had not contributed decisively to the social constitution of language-using human groups and communities (see e.g., John Searle's The Construction of Social Reality (1995) and Making the Social World (2010)). The Golden Rule is a useful derived abstraction which interprets an urge to compliance ranging from willing acceptance to reluctant recognition of norms which constrain any cultural community. It has appeared in some form in all religions and philosophical ethical systems. This deflationary interpretation would obviously not satisfy those who thirst for absolutes, but on balance that should be something of a relief, because the intervention in human affairs of those claiming absolute certainty has a toxic and bloody history.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 31 May 2010 22:59 
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Davoz wrote:
The Golden Rule is a useful derived abstraction which interprets an urge to compliance ranging from willing acceptance to reluctant recognition of norms which constrain any cultural community. It has appeared in some form in all religions and philosophical ethical systems. This deflationary interpretation would obviously not satisfy those who thirst for absolutes, but on balance that should be something of a relief, because the intervention in human affairs of those claiming absolute certainty has a toxic and bloody history.


It seems to me that indifference is the most toxic influence in society.
More damaging than the results of any point of view derived from absolutes.
More have starved than been killed in war, and this continues.
Many have died in draught, of malaria, by pollution.
The indifferent have enormous power, but no label, like Communist, Religious extremist, anti Semite, Fascist, Terrorist.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/7/c ... to-poverty

This does fit into the topic of the Golden Rule doesn't it?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 01 Jun 2010 23:51 
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Christine O,
This may seem far-fetched, but I believe that women's liberataion would be the best cure for hunger and poverty, because women's liberation seems to result in stable populations, such as in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Where Judeo-Christi-Islamic religions (Be fruitful and multiply and dominate the earth.) or other cultural factors that tend to reduce women to baby-making machines, prevail, populations are still expanding rapidly.

Some people, such as Ben Wattenberg (The Birth Dearth, 1989), have argued that the world needs more people. Economist Julian Simon said in The Ultimate Resource, 1981, that in addition to a mouth and a stomach, that people are born with two hands and a brain, and that since there is arguably less starvation in the world today than ever, due to tremendous technological advances and despite tremendous population growth, that Thomas Malthus's (1761-1834) idea that population would outstrip food production was wrong. Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh were greatly cheered by his arguments, and sneered at people like Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich who were worried about population growth.

However food and housing shortages still occur. If less resources were needed to accomodate an expanding popuation by building more new infrastructure of homes, roads, bridges, and power plants, etc. fewer rain forests would be invaded by logging and devlopment, less oil exploration would be needed, (Now that the easy oil available from Pennsylvania to Texas and Oklahoma has been used up), and so on.

When I was in junior high school the world had two billion people, and that had been enough to produce Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, and The Beatles. At that time the sale of birth control pills and devices was illegal in Massachusetts due to a strong Catholic presence. Now the world popultion is approaching 7 billion people, prime beaches are crowded, chimpanzee and gorilla habitat is evaporating, and so on. The world may be able to accomodate billions of more people, but would that really improve the average quality of life?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Golden Rule Too Radical?
PostPosted: 02 Jun 2010 01:54 
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Tom
I remember gloating at instruments of torture in an old English castle as a child. There were eye gauges and a rack, the remnants of a more brutal time. What was quite normal then, now seems barbaric.
We know taking Aboriginal children from their families was unbelievebly cruel, however at the time it was considered in the children's best interest.

I ponder what it is that we are currently accepting as OK, that future generations will abhor, there's sure to be something.

For instance one day people might ask why we fixate on possessing an ever changing array of self indulgent ipods/ipads 3D TV type toys, when many in the world can't even buy themselves a trade deal that would enable them to bring their produce to the market.
It is too much like neo colonialism to spread feminism or any other ism into newer economies in a bid to clone our own culture.
Perhaps the rich could divest themselves of their most excessive consumer needs, and the poor could have fewer children and a better but not lavish standard of living. That sounds fair, that sounds like the golden rule.


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