Should nations follow the Golden Rule

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good afternoon:

I had to attend to some personal matters yesterday in Tennessee and was unable to post a new article.

I write today to remind everyone about the importance of basing our conduct on the Golden Rule. We humans could literally change the world in an instant if we could get everyone in the world to agree to base their conduct on the Golden Rule. I am not the first person to say this. Philosophers and spiritual leaders have been saying this throughout recorded history. Nevertheless, instead of seeing progress in our country toward reaching a consensus about the fundamental importance of basing all human conduct on the Golden Rule, I see a retreat from it. I do not believe it is a coincidence that we are also seeing an increase in racism, disrespect for human rights, incarceration and demonization of the poor and the mentally ill.

I have a few simple questions.

1. If George Zimmerman believed in the Golden Rule, would he have gone hunting for Trayvon Martin or would he have identified himself and asked him if he needed any help?

2. Would racism exist if people followed the Golden Rule?

3. Would the right wing hate machine gain traction or lose credibility, if people followed the Golden Rule?

4. Would people, including the blind, be buying guns in record numbers, if people followed the Golden Rule?

5. Would the United States be interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and considering bombing Syria, if people and the government followed the Golden Rule?

6. What do we have to change about our thinking in order to apply the Golden Rule in our lives?

Let’s start with the last question because I think it is the fundamental question that answers the other questions.

We live in a society in which many politicians play the fear card to promote fear, suspicion of strangers, and demonization of the other. Seems like they are constantly declaring a war against this or that alleged calamity instead of using evidence based research to identify problems and propose reasonable solutions. No one is going to seriously consider following the Golden Rule, if they believe their existence is constantly threatened. Instead, they are more likely to follow a perversion of the rule and do unto others before they do unto you. This is the idea behind preemptive strikes in self-defense that our government used to justify invading Iraq and we all know how that turned out.

We have seen the fear card played over and over and it is long past time to recognize we are being played and refuse to support politicians who persist with the one-trick-pony show.

We need to reorient our thinking to see our fellow humans as basically the same as we are regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or the language one speaks. Our differences should be celebrated rather than feared. For example, the science of genetics informs us that 99.99% of human DNA is identical. Therefore, the obvious differences we see in others, such as skin color, are really insignificant in the big picture. Beneath the skin we are the same.

We cannot eliminate suffering by practicing the Golden Rule, but we certainly can reduce it. Rather than disregarding the Golden Rule as impractical and demonizing all Muslims as enemies or potential enemies, we should examine our nation’s conduct in the past to see what we did wrong or could have done differently to have avoided the hatred of so many people. This requires evidence based thinking, which is the mature and intelligent way for individuals to resolve their disputes.

Why is our government so afraid to admit mistakes and wrongdoing?

Why does it default to bully behavior and military options to solve problems when we have seen them fail over and over?

Groans Quoted Bill Maher in a comment at 12:10 am this morning:

“Forget the Syria debate, we need to debate on why we’re always debating whether to bomb someone,” Maher said. “Because we’re starting to look, not so much like the world’s policeman, but more like George Zimmerman — itching to use force and then pretending it’s because we had no choice.”

As our Founding Fathers said in the Declaration of Independence, we have the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So does everyone else.

45 Responses to Should nations follow the Golden Rule

  1. colin black says:

    UN Inspectors .

  2. colin black says:

    O N Inspectors confirm traces of sarin found in sample taken in Syria.

    What a World we inhabit.

    May you live in INTRESTING times is such a feirse curse to aim at one.

    This is why I long for boredom .

  3. MDH says:

    My brother retired from NAVSEA in March of this year. When they were in Crystal City, Va. , they had security that the rest of us envied. Whoever got in must have had a pass or was an employee.

    • colin black says:

      That’s what it looks like if you walk into a heavly armed base carrying a weapon an dressed in uniform your one tree in a forrrest.

      Or he could be a civilian base worker the fact they released a name so quickly suggests he had a pass.

      Or at least someone had acsess to this Aron Alexis dudes pass,

      How closely do gaurds check routine passes.

      A Terrorist could easily tail civil workers from Armed Secure Bases find out there address.

      Mexican workers would be a good fit for Middle Easter Terrorists.
      Simply eliminate the worker an take his pass or matriculation lanyard whatever with tech today an quick photo shop swap you have a valid looking pass to enter a secure American Base.

      Yopu wouldn’t need all that mission impossible bunk make up ect.

      Just obtain the pass an alter it.

      You know that guys routine you have his address an use his vechicle

  4. colin black says:

    12 confirmed dead at the Naval Yard somehow it looks like shooter walked onto heavly guarded base with a rifle.

    They seem to think shooter is contained with in the yars.

    I wouldn’t bet on it .

  5. colin black says:

    Senate closed aron Alexis being sought after Navy Yard Shooting.

    Tentively reported as one possible shooter from Texas ALLEGEDLY.

  6. dianetrotter says:

    We should all follow the Golden Rule and realize that the Rule applies, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, or any other difference among people.

  7. Woow! says:

    We need to spend more money educating and training those who want to go into law enforcement.

    I may be over exaggerating but how long do you think it will take before those oppressed start shooting back? It will not be marches like the 60s. I have been saying this for years my family says I’m touched.,,,heeheee

    On a serious note, something has to be done. The killing of innocents by trigger happy cops has to stop. White women/men being afraid of blacks who pose no threat to them is silly. If that is the case I should run every time a see a white man or woman because I don’t know if they where sheet in private.

    • Girlp says:

      There is a program in Utah the goal is to have a better relationship with AA’s and Latino’s….training them not to react to the race of a person.

  8. Boyd says:

    On Point #5 Professor, we spent $682 billion on defense in 2013, why not try to save some People with it.

    There are wars worth fighting. I do not trust Putin , Assad must pay for breaking the rules. I fear Al-queda will takeover the Sarin and other gasses they have.

    I’m able to separate Afghanistan and Iraq from Syria and Libya.

    I find that interesting I did not want to stay in Afghanistan, my thinking in 2001, get all the bad guys you can within 1 year and get out! Iraq, my understanding was Afghanistan had nothing to bomb, so let’s get Saddam, that was insane! The WMD was from 1991. Yet congress and most people wanted to invade I did not.

    But I see Libya, Syria as an opportunity to improve the middle east. The Free Syrian Army only needs a little help. Using the Libyan blueprint and working with the French again, I don’t think it will take long. But Most disagree with me.

    • bettykath says:

      It’s taken longer than 5 years but the plan is still on…..


      Gen. Wesley Clark Says Pentagon Had Plan in 2001 to Attack Seven Countries in Five Years

      By davidswanson – Posted on 04 March 2007

      GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

      So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

  9. Girlp says:

    OMG is this country turning into a police state? The police should follow the Golden Rule too.

  10. colin black says:

    As we career in the use of technology human progress we alter the fabric of exsistance .
    The landscape of the planet invent a knew tech speak language giggabites nanograms pixels ect.

    As we srtrive to build higher an higher buildings no longer sky scrapers but sky puncturers.

    We are rippi ng our selfs tp eices just as we were warned in the Bible when man strives to emulate God .

    Biochemistry clones an such nano tech an ginourmous building projects inititives in space lasers things we cannot even fathom.

    But the results are the same just as God cursed humans with chaos an strife by intruduseing multiple tounges languages so the builders of the Tower of Babel could no longer communicate an all fell into chaos for attempting to build a tower to touch the heavens.

    We are enacting out the exaxt same secenario today as we strve forward chaoticly with tech an new an improved ipads xpads higher buildings smaller phones slimmer TV s.

    In stead of the Nations bondi ng an comeing to gether as the innerweb shrinks communications to a global village for us peons.

    The powers thst be are ripping the world apart with there wars an greed an contempt for us an any kind of spirtuall harmony

    We have to stop the few asinine power brokers that are building a white elephant tower to no where an create a level ground for all to prosper..

    • colin black says:

      And b t w Im no Bible thumper not even Christian but I do believe the story of the tower of babbell is a good example of what I M O is ocouring in the world today

  11. Woow! says:

    Are police officers really that afraid of blacks?

    Until police officers are forced to acknowledge their biases or control themselves to not act negatively toward blacks, we will continue to have Jonathan Farrell’s and Trayvon Martins.

    My heart goes out to that young man’s family.

  12. Deborah Moore says:

    Thanks, Fred, for this inspiring post.
    I would answer no to your questions.
    My kids went to a private Lutheran school for the elementary years. The kindergarten version of the golden rule is Treat friends like you want to be treated.
    From Religious, versions of the Golden Rule, or Ethics of Reciprocity, from different religions:

  13. endlessummer76 says:

    Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

  14. bettykath says:

    If everyone were to learn and use the concepts of non-violence, the use of the Golden Rule would increase substantially.

    The first step is to learn non-violent communication. Even the most well meaning people sometimes get sucked into using violent rhetoric which is a result of judgement and then shuts down communications. It’s only through effective communications that we can begin to treat others as we would like to be treated. How else do we know the situation of others but by listening to them and putting ourselves in their situation?

    We know that fogen told many different self-serving stories about the events when he killed Trayvon. These lies were b/c he didn’t want to own up to what he did. I have wondered if Serino might have gotten an admission of what really happened if he had been allowed to continue his investigation and interrogation. Serino had worked for rapport and trust. Good listening and tempered calling out of fogen’s inconsistent stories might have worked to answer all the questions.

    • Deborah Moore says:

      You hit it, bettykath. “As a result of judgement…”. That’s a real key concept and a real challenge.
      In affective communication, I sentences work better than You sentences. We take responsibility instead of finger pointing.

      • Deborah Moore says:

        Oh, and look what I did. I started with a You sentence. 🙂

        • bettykath says:

          But it’s a compliment. I’m not offended by your judgement. 🙂

          • bettykath says:

            For those not used to thinking in terms of “I” statements, a rephrase might be

            “I find your statement to be…..”

            The speaker is taking responsibility. It’s her judgement that’s on the line, not the statement of the person she is responding to.

            Consider the difference in your reaction to:

            1) What you just said is offensive.


            2) I consider what you said to be offensive.

            The first, the “you” statement, gives no room for anyone to consider the statement to be non-offensive. It suggests the person making the critique is speaking for everyone. It’s absolute and tends to shut down further dialog.

            The second, the “I” statement, leaves room for other opinions since it’s clear that it’s the opinion of only one person. It leaves open the suggestion of further dialog for a reconsider of the judgement.

    • Malisha says:

      But from Day-1 Serino was advised NOT to let Fogen (even accidentally) confess.

  15. Excellent post, Professor! Your proposals applicably would start with each of us, individually. I recall your posts of the effect of the powerful Ma’atian principles toward justice as a benchmark, but it doesn’t seem as if we as a federated people are too interested in it. No?

  16. Judy75201 says:

    It’s not a question of should, it’s a question of would. A single human might follow the golden rule, but a group never will. And nations fall into the group category.

    • bettykath says:

      I’m thinking about Ghandi and how the Brits left India. I’m thinking about MLK, Jr., John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, the four little girls killed 50 years ago in the church bombing and others and how the civil rights legislation was finally enacted. I’m thinking of the Occupy Movement and the dialog it started. I’m thinking of all the anti-war protests against war in Viet Nam.

      It doesn’t always work and it can get bloody, but violence only begets violence. Hate brings more hate. The rewards of non-violence and the Golden Rule are always seen immediately.

      btw, it looks like “we the people” have made an impact the run-up to bombing Syria. For once it looks like the bombs will have to give way to diplomacy a win for the people of Syria.

      • bettykath says:

        It’s always the one word that changes the meaning that gets left out….” The rewards of non-violence and the Golden Rule are NOT always seen immediately.”

        btw, “never underestimate the power of one”

      • Judy75201 says:

        I like your thinking. From my perspective, it is the individual who makes a difference.

        I don’t believe a machine (governmental or political or national or religious) will ever champion righteousness. I don’t believe a nation can ever achieve the golden rule. The trap of greed & fear is all too easy for humans, as a whole, to fall into.

  17. looneydoone says:

    Nobody likes a bully
    ‘merica squandered all the good will it had gained following WWII by abusing it’s “superpower” status.
    Here’s a short, and not quite current list of coups and dictatorships ‘merica’s sponsored on behalf of corporate interests

  18. endlessummer76 says:

    Beautiful post, professor. Thank you.

    Speaking of playing the fear card, the paranoia among today’s law enforcement is playing out in horrific ways. I am just in tears over this one:

  19. groans says:


    I had to attend to some personal matters yesterday in Tennessee and was unable to post a new article.

    No worries. Even bloggers are entitled to days off from work!

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