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

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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