The Golden Rule(s)

July 2, 2013

The Golden Rule—a common-sense ethical principle based on mutual empathy—is shared by numerous religious and philosophical traditions. For example, there is Judaism’s Torah verse: “. . . Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). The popular Christian version (paraphrasing Jesus from Matthew 7:12) is, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And so on—in Islam, Buddhism, and many others, including Humanism. (See “Golden Rule,” online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule.)

Here are some modern versions I’ve taken the liberty of penning for a variety of groups.

  • Liberal: As you would like others to do unto you, do even better to them, including freeloaders, trees, lonely rocks.

  • Conservative: Do unto the rich, so that goodness may trickle down to others.

  • Libertarian: Resist doing unto others, so that they may receive inspiration from Individualist principles. 

  • Fundamentalist: Do always unto God, who will respond in mysterious ways.

  • New Age: Send positive energy through the universe, and spirits will repay you in kind.

  • Tea Party: Reduce taxes, lest they be used to do unto others.

  • Machiavellian: Do unto others whatever you like, but do it first.

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