Posted in philosophy | 25 Comments »
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The Golden Rule is often stated in terms such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
I submit that this “rule” is insufficient as a basis for any sort of universal ethic.
Among other possible objections, there is the belief voiced by a friend of mine a short time ago as we discussed anarchism as opposed to other political philosophies:
I want to be taxed to provide essential services for other people. I want this because I know that I, like others, am greedy, and would not otherwise contribute to their well-being. This is especially important with respect to the well-being of others incapable of providing for themselves.
My attempts to liken taxation to robbery were futile, yielding nothing at all to my argument that taxation is robbery. My interlocutor insists that it is moral for some people to do the taxing, in order that all (or especially the poor) might be looked after.
The Golden Rule is a poor ethic to apply when your morality legitimizes violations of yourself. Until you are possessed of a morality which regards other people as ends in themselves, rather than means to be exploited for whatever grand goal the day demands, using the Golden Rule as your ethical yardstick admits all manner of horrors.