The golden rule is really a statement of reciprocity or a back and forth exchange of something such as a behavior or actions.
Do to others what you want them to do to you. or
Treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves. or
Do unto others as we would be done by. or
Do unto me as I would do unto you.
While this rule has valid meaning in an exchange between two humans with the same or similar socioeconomic status, the same or similar moral values or basic beliefs, and the same or very similar religion, it is unworkable between very unequal humans with wide differences in ability, wealth, morality, beliefs, religion, etc.
If one human is healthy, very talented, well educated, has integrity, is wealthy, and maybe even has celebrity status and the other human is unhealthy, very ignorant or badly educated, has limited ability, is morally flawed, is financially destitute or on permanent welfare, and has a lousy reputation- the wants, desires, or needs of the two individuals or humans are as different as night and day and the question of just reciprocity or exchange becomes a very complicated issue and not intuitively obvious.
The greatly handicapped destitute human would probably want and desire at least half or more of the wealth of the talented celebrity. Is that a just social solution? Definitely not, so the egalitarian golden rule crashes and burns in this example!
The golden rule definitely does not apply to very unequal humans and unfortunately it is a fact of life that humans can in fact be very different from each other despite the fact that the majority or common humans have many more similarities and the golden rule would apply a little more relevantly to them.
Historically in a mostly agricultural society where most were farmers and craftsmen with similar income levels and common religious values, the golden rule made much more sense. Even now in a very unequal society the rules of polite reciprocal etiquette amongst most members of society apply and are still relevant.
In an egalitarian or collective society whose unrealistic aim is to make everyone EQUAL in health, wealth, ability, education, etc. the golden rule of reciprocity would apply in almost all cases because everyone would be thought of a being equal in all ways biologically and environmentally or circumstantially. The factual reality is that everyone is born biologically different with the exception of identical twins, and almost everyone is brought up in different environments or circumstances which impact how they will ultimately turn out in life.
The reciprocity of the golden rule is an interesting philosophical idea but the reality is that it is a very bad guide or has minimal value in solving social and individual problems. The golden rule in too many cases is just not a just principle to follow.
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