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Eamon Arasbard

The Golden Rule as a basis for rights

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It seems to me that what is being asked here is when should someone who blatantly violates individual rights be granted immunity simply because they discovered that using an innocent individual(s) as a shield(s) will shield protect them from the otherwise >> just << consequences of their action?

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You packed a lot in there, and I may come back to some of it, but I wanted to respond to this in particular.

 

I'm not sure who is asking this, but I don't see it in any of the comments I've responded to, or in my own.  Someone who blatently violates rights ought to be prosecuted period.  Is there any disagreement on this issue??

 

My questions have to do with rejecting islands and lifeboats as a means of getting a pass for ethical behavior.  When you say "just", you tacitly endorse moral reciprocity by definition, for there is no justice without equity, and that is precisely what moral reciprocity measures.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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"Addressed" could be substituted for "asked", as in it is one of the themes noticed while reading some of the scenarios used.

 

Depending on the extent you say "Someone who blat[a]ntly violates rights ought to be prosecuted period." this may be too narrow. For instance, in the occasional murder-suicide scenario, is prosecution possible as you outline it?

 

Consider just in the case of Officer Williams and Michael Brown. "Just" would be evaluating both parties in accordance with their respective actions. This is why it is important to determined what occurred - in order that the good or right is deemed as such and conversely the evil or wrong is identified as well.

 

As to moral reciprocity, individual rights should be the principle by which it is measured.

 

In the spirit of the thread title, Miss Rand commented on the Golden Rule in her journals as requiring her ethics in order to be practiced without an altruistic premise.

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In conclusion, and for clarity, my position is that the Golden Rule, aka Ethic of Reciprocity, IS the basis of rights, and specifically the Right to Life.  When you speak of justice, you are endorsing equity which is what the Golden Rule measures, i.e., are your actions towards others consistent with what you expect from others with respect to having a right to those actions.  You are the moral benchmark, i.e., it is the quality of your selfishness that is being judged.  In this respect, the Golden Rule is entirely consistent not only with Objectivism*, but with most religious, philosophic views** regarding the nature of man and his relationship with his fellow man.

 

In reviewing material from ARL, the following statement* expresses what I agree with and base my argument on:

"The only 'obligation' involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected." ~ Individual Rights

 

If this is not an application of the rule, then it is at the very least a reflection of what the rule validates.  While I fully appreciate Objectivist aversion to all things Kant and catagorical imperatives, to dismiss the ethic of reciprocity by association with Kant or altruism is to throw the baby out with the bath water.  I have tried to the best of my ability, to respond to every criticism of the rule, and if I have fallen short of being persuasive the fault is mine.

--

* http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html

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

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...  is prosecution possible as you outline it?

...

 

Certainly, as prosecution requires judgement, which may lead to being found guilty and punished, or an acquittal.

 

...

As to moral reciprocity, individual rights should be the principle by which it is measured.

 

In the spirit of the thread title, Miss Rand commented on the Golden Rule in her journals as requiring her ethics in order to be practiced without an altruistic premise.

 

This is a good point, but I'm more inclined to consider a violation of individual rights resulting from applying the rule as an indication of the rule being misapplied.

 

finis

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Funny how moral reciprocity, for all its apparent lack of value, finds representations of itself in nearly every religion and philosophy, including Objectivism.

In reviewing material from ARL, the following statement* expresses what I agree with and base my argument on:

"The only 'obligation' involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected." ~ Individual Rights

 

Which rights?  The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  The right to a house and three meals a day?  Let's be painfully clear about this.

 

Political reciprocity, under certain highly specific conditions (namely the Objectivist theory of "rights"), provides an invaluable way to know whether any given action will maintain and extend the conditions necessary for one's own freedom, or not.  That's what I was getting at with "consensual equality" as a synonym for the non-initiation principle and I wholeheartedly agree that it is an important piece of life-enhancing knowledge.

Reciprocity as such, however, (which means reciprocity for the sake of reciprocity; as a fundamental) is not the same thing and should not be treated as the same.  Because it provides no distinction between what's mutually beneficial and what's mutually suicidal, whatever decisions are based on it can just as easily hinder and/or destroy one's life, as they can help it.

 

To further clarify this, throughout this entire thread you've been implicitly using "reciprocally good" while explicitly calling it only "reciprocity". 

The Golden Rule as such, as a fundamental, is just as consistent with a Stock Exchange as a Gulag.  If my suspicions are correct, and you would cringe at any actual advocacy of the latter, then what you mean by "reciprocity" is based on something else. 

To assert it as the proper starting point of the entire realm of political thought, while refusing to give Gulags equal treatment with Sock Exchanges, is- well -not entirely fair.

 

If you don't believe that Stock Exchanges and Gulags are morally interchangeable, then that's excellent; neither do I.  But if we intend to stay out of the latter then we have to be able to articulate why, and reciprocity as such won't cut it.

And I don't believe you're actually referring to reciprocity as such, because I think you see the difference therein, so why not make the same case with more accurate terminology?

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Which rights?  The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  The right to a house and three meals a day?  Let's be painfully clear about this.

...

 

Please, let's do.

 

Taking a step back from the rule for a moment, let's focus on the individual who acts selfishly as a moral benchmark for whatever evaluation of ethics that follows.  Presuming he is being honest with himself and not acting hypocritically, is he not bound to find whatever ethical behavior others have that agree with his own to be mutually beneficial?  In that case, whatever rights are secured by the community he lives in would be agreeable because they were mutually beneficial or challengable because they weren't.

 

Objectivism holds that the nature of reality, by the law of identity, indicates that man is man in terms of what is necessary for survival, i.e., a right to life that favors one to the disadvantage of another would be an inconsistent view of reality.  Therefore we can rule out any applications of "justice" that promote sacrificing one individual to another as being at odds with the nature of man in terms of survival.  So if one lives in a community where rights are being secured equitably, one has little to complain about in terms of basic survival.

 

Objectivism also holds that the right to life is the fundament right from which all others are derived.  This clearly indicates that any additional "rights" based on a right to life must also be consistent with the nature of reality, by the law of identity.  So what is really being objected to here?  That by being true to oneself, one might become surrounded by others who share an ethical devotion to values that are mutually beneficial?!  One might argue that the ethics being secured by one community may be at odds with another, and indeed we see this in reality, but ethical diversity only becomes an issue when force is used to promote the ethical view of one over another.  In that case one would simply look back to the nature of man and align oneself with the community that has properly identified the reality of mans nature.

 

finis

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Certainly, as prosecution requires judgement, which may lead to being found guilty and punished, or an acquittal.

 

Mea culpa dream_weaver, I jumped from your specific to a general in haste.  It would be fairly hard to prosecute a murderer who has commited suicide :blush: Perhaps a better response would have been, an active, blatant rights violator ought to be prosecuted period.

 

One last observation... true, consistent justice cannot be delimited to just us.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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...my position is that the Golden Rule [...] IS the basis of rights, and specifically the Right to Life. [...] You are the moral benchmark, i.e., it is the quality of your selfishness that is being judged.  In this respect, the Golden Rule is entirely consistent not only with Objectivism*, but with most religious, philosophic views** regarding the nature of man and his relationship with his fellow man.

 

In reviewing material from ARL, the following statement* expresses what I agree with and base my argument on:

"The only 'obligation' involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected." ~ Individual Rights

 

If this is not an application of the rule, then it is at the very least a reflection of what the rule validates.

[...]

* http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html

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

I'm not sure why it would matter one bit what any make-believe religion has to say about ethics.

 

In that very same Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on individual rights to which you linked, the following is quoted from Rand:

It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a “compromise” between two rights—but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society—but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society—but is implicit in the definition of your own right.

 
Within the sphere of your own rights, your freedom is absolute.
Rand's position is that individual rights are based upon the needs of an individual. But you are saying that the Golden Rule, not individualism, is the basis for rights. As has been pointed out repeatedly, the Golden Rule is contentless without first establishing moral principles upon which the Rule will then be based. Although ethics is in fact a science and can thus be proven or disproven, people continuously try to follow ethical "principles" which actually run contrary to their human nature -- such as altruism and its many derivative principles. But, since the Golden Rule does not look to human nature at all, and is instead defined strictly as a moral imperative, it can be applied to any and all of these "principles" whether they can be proven as based on human nature or not. So, "do unto others" can be superimposed equally over opposing principles, such as individualism or altruism. It is impossible for anything to be based on the rule. Since the Rule must be pasted over top of actual ethics, it is meaningless, essentially defined by those principles, with no distinctive ethical content of its own.

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I'm not sure why it would matter one bit what any make-believe religion has to say about ethics.

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“We should behave to our friends as we wish our friends to behave to us.” ~ Aristotle

 

 

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In that very same Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on individual rights to which you linked, the following is quoted from Rand:

Rand's position is that individual rights are based upon the needs of an individual. But you are saying that the Golden Rule, not individualism, is the basis for rights...

 

Ones actions are always presented in the context of what one likes or dislikes, so unless you don't consider yourself an individual, I really don't understand the distinction you are trying to make here again.  "Do unto others..." ≠ "It's better to give than receive."  The former promotes mutual benefit and the latter promotes altruism.  Giving and receiving are opposite actions, and clearly not interchangable.

 

Please present your clearest use of the rule that would be consistently altruistic?

 

The remainder of your comments seem to return to your, "the rule is superfluous" argument, and if one is already acting on a principle that promotes a respect for rights that are mutually beneficial, then you're correct.

 

Please name a source principle/moral/ethic that the rule is "pasted over top of" superfluously?

--

edited for spelling :blush:

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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The journal entry by Ayn Rand was just added to the O.O. Wiki page on the Golden Rule.

 

This is a use of the rule that would fall along the altruistic lines:

The charity example comes up annually in the drive for contributions at work via the United Way. When asking for contributions, they appeal to the idea of the less fortunate. As a private organization that seeks to raise money to provide handouts, one implicit point used, sometimes explicitly made, is you should feel obligated to donate, after all, it could be you in their shoes. This is supplemented with e-mails highlighting the company goals for an overall dollar amount, e-mails from the CEO advocating their support for your support, group meetings to see the presentations by representatives from the United Way, along with periodic e-mails sent from the United Way throughout the year to remind you of how your support is needed.

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The journal entry by Ayn Rand was just added to the O.O. Wiki page on the Golden Rule.

 

This is a use of the rule that would fall along the altruistic lines:

The charity example comes up annually in the drive for contributions at work via the United Way. When asking for contributions, they appeal to the idea of the less fortunate. As a private organization that seeks to raise money to provide handouts, one implicit point used, sometimes explicitly made, is you should feel obligated to donate, after all, it could be you in their shoes. This is supplemented with e-mails highlighting the company goals for an overall dollar amount, e-mails from the CEO advocating their support for your support, group meetings to see the presentations by representatives from the United Way, along with periodic e-mails sent from the United Way throughout the year to remind you of how your support is needed.

 

So you are saying that, "give to others as you would have them give to you" is altruistic?  What definition of altruism, normally understood to be acting without the expectation of compensation, are you using??

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Consider the lexicon entry which starts with:

Even though altruism declares that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” it does not work that way in practice. The givers are never blessed; the more they give, the more is demanded of them;

 

I don't consider a misrepresentation of the rule to present any serious unique challenge to it.  One could make the same criticism about Objectivism, e.g., that it means one thing but is practiced differently.

 

The following statement from your link: "you do not sacrifice yourself to others and you do not wish them to sacrifice themselves to you", is a proper application of the rule, though in the negative form: "don't sacrifice to others as you would not have them sacrifice to you."

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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“We should behave to our friends as we wish our friends to behave to us.” ~ Aristotle

What is your point? That the Golden Rule is old? That all viewpoints from our friends should be treated as valid, even in the context of a forum where we are here to discuss and determine such validity? At this forum in particular, no appeal to religion is appropriate when determining the validity of an idea.

 

Please name a source principle/moral/ethic that the rule is "pasted over top of" superfluously?

 

The Golden Rule is pasted over *all* moral principles, if the Rule is cited at all. As I said, it is superfluous and without content. As was also pointed out earlier by Harrison, where the Rule actually says "do unto others.." you are arguing for it as if it said "do good unto others, and by good I mean from an individualist perspective."

 

 

Please present your clearest use of the rule that would be consistently altruistic?

 

"I believe we should all sacrifice ourselves for the good of other people. I also believe in the Golden Rule, and we should do unto others as we would do unto ourselves. Thus, I believe I should sacrifice myself as my guiding moral standard, since I think others should also sacrifice themselves to my needs." The Golden Rule pasted over altruism.

 

"I'm a lunatic. I think it's cool to shove people into walls sometimes. We all know Aristotle and religions through the ages said to 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' I can't wait to shove someone again.. Probably someone's going to do it to me sometime, too, oh well... Golden Rule is what tells me it's cool." The Golden Rule pasted over a crazy violent person.

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What about the woman who voted for Hitler, would you regret her "collateral damage" death?

 

In a democracy, everyone has a right to vote for whoever they want, and there are all sorts of reasons for choosing to vote for a particular person. She may have voted for Hitler because she was worried the Communist party would win if she didn't.

 

Whether or not I would consider her complicit would depend on what she had actually done to support the government.

 

 

Yet, you cannot (and, I hope, will not) argue that the possibility of killing a single innocent should be enough to stop one from taking some military action. The only way to judge the choice is to weigh it against the alternatives. The alternatives typically involve the deaths of others. One does not give more weight to a civilian life or even to an innocent life, when weighing it against the life of a young soldier who has volunteered to go fight evil... "combatant" though he may be. I hope you agree with that?

 

The soldier has made a voluntary choice to put his life on the line for the sake of freedom. He has already recognized that there are values at stake which exceed the value he places on his own survival.

 

Civilians living in the enemy nation have not made that choice. Therefore, their deaths are a sacrifice.

 

It is also not a sacrifice for a soldier to die instead of killing civilians for the following reason. In order to destroy the enemy and keep them from rising again after the war is over, we have to have the population of the other country on our side. If, in the course of defeating their government, we have sacrificed the lives of their friends, neighbors, and lovers, then they will be angry and more likely to support the creation of another government that is hostile to our interests.

 

Just look at Iraq for a concrete example of what happens when we alienate the population of the country we're invading. First they democratically voted for an Islamist dictatorship which has since allied itself with Iran. Then the people who didn't like that government revolted, allied with terrorists in Syria to form ISIS, and are now rampaging across the country, massacring innocents left and right, and are threatening to wage war on the West as soon as they have finished conquering Iraq. This in turn has pushed the sitting government closer to Iran.

 

If the people of Iraq were to rationally evaluate what their culture of radical Islam has brought them, versus what freedom and reason can bring them, they would have to choose reason, and would be willing to ally with the West and throw both ISIS and Iran out of the country. But after watching their neighbors dying in our invasion, they are probably much more interested in supporting whatever Islamist faction they belong than having anything to do with us.

 

In other words, the consequence of our bombing Iraq is that millions of our soldiers died, believing they were fighting for freedom and protecting America against our enemies, and instead Iraq has been delivered into the hands of two different Islamist factions run by the most bitter enemies we have.

 

 

It can be legitimate as a "meta-rule" to use when coming up with an Ethical system.

 

Yes, and that's what I meant by saying the Golden Rule should be part of Objectivism.

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This is a use of the rule that would fall along the altruistic lines:

The charity example comes up annually in the drive for contributions at work via the United Way. When asking for contributions, they appeal to the idea of the less fortunate. As a private organization that seeks to raise money to provide handouts, one implicit point used, sometimes explicitly made, is you should feel obligated to donate, after all, it could be you in their shoes.

 

That wouldn't be altruistic in itself, if charity is practiced as a means of building a mutually supportive community which would be to the selfish benefit of all members. Rand also explicitly supported giving help to deserving people who found themselves in unfortunate situations.

 

It would be altruistic if they consider someone who is more fortunate, and in a position to help, to be unworthy of support -- for instance the "you're a privileged white male, so why should anyone care about you?" argument which is popular among leftists.

 

However, I do agree that the Golden Rule in itself is not enough to build a philosophy on. But it is still valid if it means "respect my right not to be aggressed against, and I will refrain from agressing against you."

 

Maybe it would be better to specify "Do unto others as you would rationally want them to do unto you."

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In a democracy, everyone has a right to vote for whoever they want, ...

Democracy is not a primary ideal in politics. Moral politics must be based on individual rights. Anyone taking any action, including voting for a potential dictator because they like his ideas of dictatorship, is acting immorally. I do agree that a person may vote for the "lesser evil", thinking that Hitler may be bad, while judging that Stalin's pals may be worse. That's different... I did not mean that type of voter. (I assume you hold the same view when it comes to voting for GOP vs. Democrat.)

 

I meant to ask about someone who likes Hitler's ideas, and voted for him on those terms, but did not do much concretely to support him other than the vote. Many libertarians would paint such a person as innocent if they have not done any physical action to support the enemy, other than agree with his ideology. I , on the other hand, couldn't care a hoot if such a person died, and think that their death should not enter into a rational calculus. I was wondering how you felt about such people.

 

Also, how do you feel about the person -- fairly typical in both Germany of WW-2 and the middle-east today -- who is not particularly radical nor particularly rational, but still has a bedrock of national loyalty? For instance, consider a German who spots a downed allied airman hobbling across his farm. He can help him, ignore him, or report him. The majority, even being anti-Hitler, would turn him in because he is the enemy and they think of themselves as loyal Germans. Are these people innocent in your opinion?  Similarly, consider someone in Gaza -- the majority voted for Hamas, but many who voted for Fatah aren't exactly pro-Israel either. Many of them have been fed anti-Israeli stories for decades, and firmly believe Israel is their enemy. Though they may not want Hamas's war, they would not want to help Israel win it either. Are these average people -- who may not want war, but would like to see me defeated -- enemies in my eyes? Should I value their lives over the lives of my neighbor's son who volunteers to defend my life with his body?

 

Just look at Iraq for a concrete example of what happens when we alienate the population of the country we're invading...  ... If the people of Iraq were to rationally evaluate ... ... But after watching their neighbors dying in our invasion, they are probably much more interested in supporting whatever Islamist faction they belong than having anything to do with us.

This is false. The U.S. invasion of Iraq toppled the dictator who held things together by force. If they had a country chock full of rational people, they would have seized the day. The U.S. did screw up, but not in killing innocents. The U.S. screw up came from Bremer and Bush's notion that the existing power-structure should be dismantled, and that the Iraqi people would somehow build rational institutions that fit their best interests. B & B ignored the lessons that were practiced in Japan and in Germany, post-WW2. Those countries turned around so well for a host of reasons, but one big reason was a positive effort by the U.S. to maintain key elements of the government [people you would probably classify as "non-innocent"] by letting de-Nazification only go so far and no more. The second key factor in Germany and Japan was the insistence by the U.S. on certain guidelines for their new constitution, instead of thinking that democracy was a primary virtue in politics. 

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What is your point? That the Golden Rule is old? That all viewpoints from our friends should be treated as valid, even in the context of a forum where we are here to discuss and determine such validity? At this forum in particular, no appeal to religion is appropriate when determining the validity of an idea.

...

 

My point is that representations of the rule aren't unique to religion.  Call it an appeal to antiquity if you must.

 

...

 

The Golden Rule is pasted over *all* moral principles, if the Rule is cited at all. As I said, it is superfluous and without content. As was also pointed out earlier by Harrison, where the Rule actually says "do unto others.." you are arguing for it as if it said "do good unto others, and by good I mean from an individualist perspective."

...

 

It would be more accurate to say the rule is misrepresented or elaborated on by many moral principals that developed after it.  The rule only encourages actions that are mutually beneficial or discourages actions that mutually detrimental.  The good it promotes is justice.

 

...

 

"I believe we should all sacrifice ourselves for the good of other people. I also believe in the Golden Rule, and we should do unto others as we would do unto ourselves. Thus, I believe I should sacrifice myself as my guiding moral standard, since I think others should also sacrifice themselves to my needs." The Golden Rule pasted over altruism.

 

"I'm a lunatic. I think it's cool to shove people into walls sometimes. We all know Aristotle and religions through the ages said to 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' I can't wait to shove someone again.. Probably someone's going to do it to me sometime, too, oh well... Golden Rule is what tells me it's cool." The Golden Rule pasted over a crazy violent person.

 

Sacrifice to others as you would have them sacrifice to you, and shove others as you would have them shove you.

 

The former is another example of an altruist expecting compensation for his sacrifice, and the later makes me think of a mosh pit.  Give your crazy, violent person the ITOE and see what he makes of that.

 

Until you, dream_weaver, et al, can actually produce a representation of the rule that is altruistic, I'll consider your objections to be primarily against misrepresentations of the rule.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Until you, dream_weaver, et al, can actually produce a representation of the rule that is altruistic, I'll consider your objections to be primarily against misrepresentations of the rule.

Original sin is a slap in the face of morality. It is another way of saying guilty until proven innocent, unless, perhaps, a redeemer intercedes or intervenes.

As Miss Rand point out in "Philosophy: Who Needs It":

There are two moral questions which altruism lumps together into one “package-deal”: (1) What are values? (2) Who should be the beneficiary of values? Altruism substitutes the second for the first; it evades the task of defining a code of moral values, thus leaving man, in fact, without moral guidance.

 

Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value—and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.

 

Note how the Golden Rule structures itself:

Do unto others - (2) Who should be the beneficiary of "values"? Note what comes first.

 

What should you do unto others? -  as you would want them to do unto you. What would you want them to do unto you - i.e.,  (1) what do you value, or what are values?

Does the Golden Rule identify what are values? No. It only suggest that you do unto others based on what you think those unidentified values might be.

 

This is the premise that allows you try to keep "moving the goal post". Yes, if you identify what you should do unto others is in alignment with what Ayn Rand says makes the practice of the Golden Rule possible (i.e., her ethics), then it more or less falls in line with isolated aspects that seem to come from Buddhism, Islamism, Judaism, Catholicism, or Protestantism.

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My point is that representations of the rule aren't unique to religion.  Call it an appeal to antiquity if you must.

 

It would be more accurate to say the rule is misrepresented or elaborated on by many moral principals that developed after it.

Perhaps part of the disagreement stems from you believing a historical attempt at morality (Golden Rule) which was thought up well before Rand's moral identifications is valid/more valid simply because it was thought up first...? The length of a held belief in the history of civilization does not necessarily reflect its validity.

 

Sacrifice to others as you would have them sacrifice to you, and shove others as you would have them shove you.

 

The former is another example of an altruist expecting compensation for his sacrifice, and the later makes me think of a mosh pit.  Give your crazy, violent person the ITOE and see what he makes of that.

 

Until you, dream_weaver, et al, can actually produce a representation of the rule that is altruistic, I'll consider your objections to be primarily against misrepresentations of the rule.

 

Since you have rephrased for yourself what I think is a perfect representation of the core problem with the Golden Rule, I am at a loss and don't think my arguing any further will serve a purpose.

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No. It's not right. It cannot be a basis for rights in any way.

 

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is really vacuous. It's not profound. It's not clever. It doesn't even have any justification. It's just a sound bite.

 

Someone might like to be sacrificed to others and have them be sacrifised to you. Right there, you can see that it doesn't stand up. Rights are a moral sanction to action. Just because you like something done to you, for whatever reason, doesn't mean that you can do it to others. You are opening the door for anything. Any sort of psychological, moral, or other aberration that might lead people to 'like having done unto them' things that you find abhorrent. The basis for your rights is in your nature as a human being. These are objective facts. "as you would have them do unto you" is in the consciousness of the person. Rights are not based on anyone's thoughts or feelings. They come from objective facts.

Edited by Peter Morris

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Perhaps part of the disagreement stems from you believing a historical attempt at morality (Golden Rule) which was thought up well before Rand's moral identifications is valid/more valid simply because it was thought up first...? The length of a held belief in the history of civilization does not necessarily reflect its validity.

...

 

Perhaps not, but is it likely that a falsehood from antiquity could remain unexposed to our day, and remain credible?  The historical attempt at morality has been to establish justice, which the rule has pointed to every time throughout history.  Is justice a good thing??  If not, then dispose of the rule.

 

...

 

Since you have rephrased for yourself what I think is a perfect representation of the core problem with the Golden Rule, I am at a loss and don't think my arguing any further will serve a purpose.

 

This is a most curious response...

 

If by, "a perfect representation of the core problem with the Golden Rule", you mean that it promotes (or could promote) altruism, then I'd ask you (et al) to check your definition of altruism.  Altruism asserts, "It is better to give than receive", which means that giving is good and receiving is less good.  In terms of the rule you can only assert, "Give to others as you would have them give to you," or "Don't receive from others as you would not have them recieve from you."  Neither of these statements makes the case for altruism, which by definition promotes an unselfish, unilateral action towards others.

 

The bottom line is that the statement, "Sacrifice to others as you would have them sacrifice to you", describes a equitable tranaction of service for service based on the selfish expectation of a return on ones own sacrifice.  Rather than being altruistic, this points to toward interactions that are just, and not unilateral.

 

So unless a selfish pursuit of justice is immoral (or amoral), I fail to see what you're objecting to.

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Perhaps not, but is it likely that a falsehood from antiquity could remain unexposed to our day, and remain credible?  The historical attempt at morality has been to establish justice, which the rule has pointed to every time throughout history.  Is justice a good thing??  If not, then dispose of the rule.

This begs the question. A major argument in this thread is that the Rule does not necessarily promote justice. As for your likelihood, do I really need to point out religion?

 

 

If by, "a perfect representation of the core problem with the Golden Rule", you mean that it promotes (or could promote) altruism, then I'd ask you (et al) to check your definition of altruism.  Altruism asserts, "It is better to give than receive", which means that giving is good and receiving is less good.  In terms of the rule you can only assert, "Give to others as you would have them give to you," or "Don't receive from others as you would not have them recieve from you."  Neither of these statements makes the case for altruism, which by definition promotes an unselfish, unilateral action towards others.

 

The bottom line is that the statement, "Sacrifice to others as you would have them sacrifice to you", describes a equitable tranaction of service for service based on the selfish expectation of a return on ones own sacrifice.  Rather than being altruistic, this points to toward interactions that are just, and not unilateral.

 

Altruism is actually a made-up non-reality -- we have whole threads on this. It's literally impossible to practice altruism with total consistency, so if one is to try to follow its creed, compromises are inevitable. Your post illustrates this. We can say it's "selfish" to "equitably transact" a sacrifice, but this is distorting the true meaning of all of these concepts. Sacrifice is not selfish.

 

The Golden Rule only states, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Altruism only states, "It's better to sacrifice than to gain." There is nothing that says these two can't be combined. When they are combined, they state, "Sacrifice unto others as you would have them sacrifice unto you." This combined creed does not lead to justice, individual rights, or personal happiness. It is the opposite of, "Respect others' rights as you would have them respect your own."

 

You're treading into territory that is not consistent with the premises of Objectivism.

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This begs the question. A major argument in this thread is that the Rule does not necessarily promote justice. As for your likelihood, do I really need to point out religion?

...

 

We can agree that justice is a necessary precondition for securing rights, and I have yet to see a credible example of the rule promoting injustice. And do I need to point out again representations of the rule from non-religious sources?

 

...

Altruism is actually a made-up non-reality -- we have whole threads on this. It's literally impossible to practice altruism with total consistency, so if one is to try to follow its creed, compromises are inevitable. Your post illustrates this. We can say it's "selfish" to "equitably transact" a sacrifice, but this is distorting the true meaning of all of these concepts. Sacrifice is not selfish.

...

 

Sacrifice is be the exception that proves the rule. If selfish freedom is to have any meaning, self sacrifice necessarily remains a valid option.

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"I don't give a rat's ass about justice. Give me your car or I'll shoot you." This man is following the Golden Rule.

Sacrifice is a valid option for no one.

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