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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:36 PM

A Very Brief Return- for those resolving to be a "better person" in 2013. The Golden Rule.

US politics have been infested with the false morality of scapegoating the powerless more or less since the country's inception. However, such viciousness has experienced a resurgence in recent years as a tool of manipulation in economic politics. This thread is for those looking for a re-centering toward and re-affirmation of the real goal of being a good person- treating others as one would want to be treated, without prejudice.

For those who need Biblical backing for their sense of right and wrong, The Golden Rule can be found in Matthew 7:12 ("So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.") and Luke 6:31 ("Do to others as you would have them do to you.")

But The Golden Rule's roots are not limited to Christianity. Not coincidentally, virtually every prominent religion in existence today has made reference to the "ethics of reciprocity" in one way or another. Most of those references have been quite emphatic.



The concept's simplicity and inherent justice give it a beauty and "self-evident" truth value. It also encompasses well the easy righteousness of simply leaving those people who are doing no harm to others alone.

For those who resolve to be "better people" in 2013, resolve to not only treat yourself better, but also treat better those who you would have treat you better. There isn't anything more to it than being careful to watch one's own behavior toward others. All other ideas of "morality" present in our culture are noise, nonsense, and/or lies.

Safe travels and happiness to you all in 2013!

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Reply A Very Brief Return- for those resolving to be a "better person" in 2013. The Golden Rule. (Original post)
coti Dec 2012 OP
AnnieBW Dec 2012 #1
coti Jan 2013 #2
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #3
coti Jan 2013 #4
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #5
coti Jan 2013 #6
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #7
coti Jan 2013 #8
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #9
coti Jan 2013 #10
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #11
coti Jan 2013 #12
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #13
coti Jan 2013 #14
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #15
coti Jan 2013 #16
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #17
coti Jan 2013 #18

Response to coti (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:07 PM

1. Wiccans Have It Too

Whatever you send out comes back to you threefold.

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Response to AnnieBW (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:53 AM

2. It's universal enough to warrant only minimal replies



I see it as something that is so elementary that it often gets overlooked and is underappreciated in our "dealings" with others. I do hope that it is retained in the hearts of people, though, as a guiding principle. It's not clear to me that the strength of the idea is understood by the newest of our generations, who seem to think that, as long as people are not explicitly singled out (though they often are) by the law for ostracization, all opinions are equally valid, which I do not agree with. There is a lot of noise out there, and I do think people, including myself, forget how we should treat others.

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Response to coti (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:36 AM

3. I'd be happy to follow the golden rule if the ruling class would. as things stand, such notions

 

only handicap the rest of us in the class war.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 01:59 AM

4. Which brings up an important point.

I see defending those who are being unjustly attacked or oppressed as being in line with the Golden Rule, despite the judgment being in the mind of the defender, because of how the person attacked would hope to be defended by others, with the added measuring stick of whether the person being attacked has the means to defend themselves. If they don't (i.e., they don't have the money or political power to stick up for themselves), there's a good chance that they deserve and would wish a stronger, added opposition to the attack. It's also further likely that the attack is undeserved simply because the powerless make for very good targets- less chance of counterattack. They are preyed upon in this culture.

Which is part of the point I made in my first reply. What I have noticed in such situations where "positive action" is required is that the Millennial seem to kick the can down the road for the sake of "getting along"- there's a bit of moral cowardice in their attitude. They're not willing to stand up and rock the boat when there is someone undeserving being targeted, though their "opinions" on subjects, themselves, seem to be fairly liberal and "correct." They have a hands-off, it's-not-my-problem attitude. Such is the lot of gays, blacks, women, illegal immigrants, the poor, etc. Minorities without power being who commonly gets attacked, of course.

I believe that the Golden Rule requires more than just not hurting anyone- it also requires defending those who one would feel deserves it, if one was in their shoes. Treating others how one would want to be treated encompasses that.

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Response to coti (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 02:22 AM

5. i'd agree; but in that case the oppressors aren't being treated as they would wish to be treated.

 

what i've noticed is that those in power (& i mean anything from small to large power) demand the golden rule of others, but practice it irregularly themselves.

the golden rule can be perverted into a rule for slaves, imo.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:22 AM

6. The Golden Rule is surprisingly more resilient than one would think.

Check out the argument and counter-argument (toward the end- "Criticisms," etc.) here, involving the classic "masochist":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule

Kant, as usual, has the best criticism, oddly enough as related to his categorical imperative, which may be an even better rule but slightly less practical in implementation as a matter of determination of standards. In other words, it's easier to figure what a particular individual or group of individuals would have done to them than to determine what is the empirical "best" thing to do given an entire situation. The Golden Rule is just a more practical guide than Kant.

Though your argument is a bit different. I think a good response to your argument- that there are simply bad people with a lot of power who don't deserve such consideration out there- is that those who you are talking about don't have a very realistic expectation of being treated well, given that they are already treating people badly (against the way those people would reasonably wish to be treated, and deservedly so) and encouraging others to treat others badly (through the media). I think your argument, essentially, is the classic going beyond "I wish to be treated as a human being" to "I wish to be treated as a king," which is not encompassed by the Golden Rule. I.e., I agree that, even given the Golden Rule, such people don't deserve the consideration of empathy, though one must be VERY careful in making such a judgment. There is an inherent "reasonable person" imbedded in the principle ("how I would wish to be treated"- which does not allow for circumstances where the judge is so "special" in their privileges), but, on a one-to-one basis, it may come about that the humanity of the idea still lies true.

Humans are different than systems.

Just be careful in your judgment.

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Response to coti (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:28 AM

7. The powerful have huge expectations of being treated well, & they enforce their expectations.

 

But i agree that in everyday life, the golden rule is a good guide. but not an absolute one, even then.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:49 AM

8. That may be true, but one of the important words in my above post was "realistic," in line with

the "reasonable person" I spoke of being inherent in the Golden Rule's principle. The rule does not protect those who expect to be treated as kings, pretty simply. The person doing the treating has to be able, themselves, to directly relate to and understand why a person would want to be treated in the positive way at issue. Do you see how that doesn't work?

Let me put it this way: When you consider Rupert Murdoch, does it make sense that he should be able to abuse whoever he likes? Why not? That reason why not, that you understand, is why the rule does not apply in the narrow instance you're considering with regard to Murdoch. It's not a reasonable thing that YOU would expect.

However, keep in mind that, in other instances, though, Murdoch retains his humanity (i.e.,- there IS a bit of prohibition of "off with his head" stuff in the principle). Issues will narrow to a point where doing rash things won't be justifiable.

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Response to coti (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 03:57 AM

9. here's the rub, though. few of us will ever deal with rupert murdoch. we may, however, have

 

to deal with the effects of rupert murdoch's power, as mediated through the network of people that enforce it at various levels, in large ways and small.

it's not really a narrow instance.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 04:10 AM

10. This is great moral discussion, where you're going with this, in all seriousness.

I understand what you're saying completely, regarding people generally being more involved in a personal interaction when these dilemmas come up, if that's what you're saying. Give more details, if you have something in mind. Because, on the level of Murdoch just being a dick and his information/approach not deserving real respect, I've basically already conceded that. I'm not sure what else you want. Defend those being unjustly attacked was basically the first point I made.

It does seem like you're moving toward the "personalization" aspect of the rule, though, which is where I think this gets fascinating ("great moral discussion" mentioned above). My own personal sense of the rule is that, the more personal a given interaction is, the more you have to consider the rule, no matter the "power" of the person. It's not black and white, and the more you know a person the more it requires empathy. Again, not "treat me like a king" empathy, but understanding of the standards one would expect to be held to if one's self was put in the very same position. Think of how many on DU consider Obama, for example.

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Response to coti (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 05:03 AM

11. i'm not really looking for anything, just exploring the notion. my thought was more focused on

 

the distributed nature of power; rupert murdoch is nothing in himself -- but by virtue of his money and its significance in our society (which is both mental & structural) he 'owns' a network of agents that will enforce his will all down the chain of command, in the same way a king used to 'own' lords who would enforce the king's will on smaller lordlings, and the smaller lordlings on vassals, etc. all down the chain of command.

so if we look at political resistance & protest, it's often directed at people who aren't powerful in themselves, yet indirectly enforce the power of larger actors.

as an example: during some protest people blocked freeways & i remember some posters here at du complaining about it - how totally innocent people were inconvenienced, how emergency vehicles might be held up, etc. some were quite irate about it.

another example might be a foreclosure process, when the local sheriff or whatever enforces the will of a multinational bank and the largely unknown, unseen bigshots that control it. can we be rude to the sheriff? can we resist, can we throw dung at him, even though we know that he isn't the one that willed the process?

is the question "is this action fair to the person i'm directly dealing with?" or is it "will this action be effective to achieve my ends?"

probably you have to consider both angles, and probably they co-mingle, but which side do you come down on when there's a divergence?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:03 AM

12. They absolutely comingle, and, 90% of the time, your actions will fall on the side of the person

you're dealing in opposition to. I.e., no, in my opinion it's not justifiable on the Golden Rule principle to indiscriminantly offer resistance to the direct actions you describe.

The sheriff or deputy with whom you're dealing is not a judge- it is not his job to consider information on behalf of or against those he is ordered to move. Yes, his job is a sort of "muscle," but, in the ideal situation, his job shouldn't be questioned (it is the judge who made a decision before him who should have been questioned)....until he demonstrates questionable actions within his "muscle" responsibility (the responsibility you must consider on the Golden Rule). It is completely within your rights, however, to make him decide upon questionable actions toward forcibly attaining the goals the judge assigned him. To the extent that his choices of actions toward you are his (which they almost all are- he cannot transfer will to someone else without some kind of coercion), you can create serious moral difficulties for him. Certainly, the less reasonably threatening you are, the less justification there is to use injuring force- via the Golden Rule.

Overall, documentation of, rather than resistance to, such interactions is more advantageous to a person in such circumstances. I think that what most people don't realize is that, the more you follow the Golden Rule in meeting the expectations of civility toward others during such situations, the more likely you will be shown to have followed the law, oddly enough. Both criminal and civil law very much follow the "Golden Rule," especially where juries are making decisions. The "shininess" of the gold shines through, somehow (of course, it sounds very silly to put it that way).

Think about it, though- it's really the basis of the social contract.

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Response to coti (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:16 AM

13. what is the validity of the social contract where rupert murdoch rules?

 

and how are the sheriff's actions the result of his own will, when his job and livelihood depend on him acting in accordance with rupert murdoch's will (indirectly and admittedly mostly unconsciously)?

and why is the sheriff only responsible for his job function as mindless 'muscle' & only the judge is responsible for his job function as 'mind,' when without the sheriff, the judge's decision would be meaningless? surely both the judge & sheriff are not only disembodied muscle or mind, but moral actors and human beings as well?

following your line of thinking means prohibiting resistance in the places where we are most likely to meet 'power' face to face, since every level up the hierarchy is protected by more & more insulation from the people affected. it also seems to prohibit any physical resistance & limits resistance to parading around the offices of power with signs -- as we generally aren't allowed to get much closer than that.

going a bit further, when the rupert murdochs of the world effectively structure the shape of most human interactions, but don't follow the golden rule in their own, that has ramifications all down the chain of command too -- a kind of corruption that permeates every level -- and people's behavior will change in recognition of *reality,* despite residual desires to be 'better people' or moral exhortations to follow the golden rule. it seems to me.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:27 AM

14. How about I just leave that answer to you, as you better understand the specific context

of your question?

In the situation you described above, there was no relation between the sheriff's responsibility and a Murdochian situation.

I'm tired, regardless. I think you can figure this kind of thing out based on what we've already talked about, even against a Murdochian, worthless "public's right to know." It's all a balancing of values.

Keep in mind he'll use worst case scenarios and fear to color his side of things, though.

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Response to coti (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:35 AM

15. the sheriff has no responsibility other than to act as a cog? see, there i disagree. no need to

 

respond, just registering my opinion.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 06:48 AM

16. My last reply, though it's been a great conversation- No, the sheriff has no POWER to act

as anything other than a cog. He has no decision-making POWER. That's not his job. Making decisions is the judge's job.

It's the judge's job to tell him what to do, though the judge can not enforce anything on his own. It's the sheriff's job to enforce/execute the law, though the sheriff can not interpret what the law is on his own. That's the separation of powers in our constitution. We don't have things set up so that one person can perform all of those responsibilities.

We've gotten way off-subject, though, and I'm going to bed. I encourage you to continue considering the "in's and out's" of the Golden Rule, not only its simplicity and justice, but its pliability. It's quite a thing.

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Response to coti (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 07:04 AM

17. he has power over his own actions, and he has power to judge whether the law he's asked to

 

enforce is socially beneficial, neutral or harmful -- precisely as a concentration camp guard does, as a soldier does, as any social actor does.

i encourage you to consider the possibility that the golden rule might favor the reigning balance of power.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 07:06 AM

18. As far as the very last paragraph of your reply #13

Yes. That is my concern, but not of others' recognition of "reality"- more of a manipulation thereof away from a quite simple human understanding. Hence, the thread.

Our concerns are very similar, we just see the roots differently.

Alright. Goodnight. Really.

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