Unethical Quote of the Week: Progressoverpeace’s “Fool’s Golden Rule”

“There is nothing more ethical and fair than reciprocity.”

—- Conservative web pundit “progressoverpeace,” one of the approximately 300 commenters who attempted to make the ethically impossible argument that spreading the falsehood on the internet that “Harry Reid is a pederast (or pedophile)” is “ethical and fair” in opposition to my post, Funny! But Wrong: “The Harry Reid is a Pederast” Rumor.

This is, of course, a profoundly unethical distortion of the real ethical principle of reciprocity, as embodied by the Golden Rule and its many similar ethical systems from various cultures, philosophies and faiths. The Golden Rule is benign, and urges prospective and aspirational reciprocity, advising us to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves, were we in the other individual’s circumstances. Progressoverpeace—let’s call him “Pop”—embraces a punitive form of reciprocity—I’ll dub it the Fool’s Golden Rule— that endorses retribution, and precludes generosity, kindness, forbearance, perspective, peace—and civilization.

Pop’s “reciprocity” holds that once someone has treated another human being badly, it is ethical for that person to treat him or her just as badly in the same manner, presumably on the false assumption that this will teach him better “ethics.” Of course, what it is more likely to teach him was that he was correct to mistreat that individual in the first place. Such warped reciprocity seeds a perpetual cycle of hatred and escalating feuds, because it begins a cycle that can never stop short of death, terror, or surrender. Continue reading