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IPFS News Link • General Opinion

'Two Golden Rules, One Epic Struggle' by Szandor Blestman

• americanchronicle via e-mail from Szandor
There are two versions of the golden rule that I know of. The first, and perhaps the most well known, is you should treat others as you would have them treat you, or some such thing. This philosophy has been paraphrased often and adapted in some form by all the major religions that I know of. It basically means, to paraphrase, so to speak, be nice to each other. The other golden rule is not as well known, or so I believe, though it is widely disseminated. It says, he who has the gold makes the rules.

These two rules both ring true, though when you think about it they are nearly the opposite of each other. The first golden rule, the one about being nice, is really just a suggestion that has a tendency to work out. If you're nice to someone, they're more than likely going to be nice to you. Of course it doesn't always work that way, nothing's perfect, but I think it works that way a high percentage of the time and when one acts like an ass toward others, others have a tendency to avoid them. The second golden rule, the one about the gold, basically says that if you have money you can be as much of an ass to people as you want. While many people will avoid someone being an ass, if that someone is wealthy enough people will tolerate the abuse in the hopes that they will receive some of that wealth in exchange.

The freedom philosophy has a tendency to follow the first golden rule. One of the first things one must realize in order practice a philosophy of true freedom is that if you want freedom you must allow others to be free. To put it another way, you must honor your neighbor's choices. That sounds very similar to treat others as you would want to be treated. You would want to be left alone to pursue your happiness, you would want others to honor the choices you make in your life, so why would you want to horn in on your neighbor's life unless he has invited you to?

Some people get a little confused when first exposed to the freedom philosophy. The first thing they may ask is "what if?" or "what about this?" or "what about that?" They will then go on to explain a situation where they feel one has the "right" to intrude upon another's life. Let's make this clear. The freedom philosophy, at least to my understanding of it, does not allow people to simply do as they please as some seem to think. If one harms another, or damages another's property, or steals from another, or defrauds another, then they will be expected to make restitution for the wrong they've done. They will be held accountable. How that would happen is up for debate and there are many possibilities. A freedom oriented society, as I understand it, is not a utopian society. On the contrary, it admits that human society is imperfect and creating a Utopia is next to impossible. The big government schemes that follow the "he who has the gold makes the rules" philosophy, on the other hand, try to sell a utopian dream to the masses to propel themselves into power. They will be happy to answer the above "what if?" questions to the inquisitor's satisfaction in the hopes of capturing another mind.