Is the Golden Rule Really All That Golden?

Something that was said in class that sparked my interest was the idea that the Golden Rule we all grew up with might not be so golden after all.

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

We were all told this growing up when we didn’t want to share our lunch or our crayons. However, there are many things that seem novel when we are children, yet we come to realize that they aren’t all that they were once cracked up to be. Childhood seems so simplistic once you are out of it. The Golden Rule is no exception to this notion of things that were perfect before you saw the world for what it is.

Is there harm in teaching this rule? Does it really not inspire people to be better people, but rather encourage hypocrisy? Am I naive or too optimistic if I believe that the Golden Rule still stands? Does the Golden Rule backfire when people feel they can treat others poorly in response to how they were treated?

Maybe there is something to be said for the fact that we, at such young ages, learn that we should treat people as we want to be treated, rather than learning to treat people right because everyone deserves it and because we should treat everyone respectfully, regardless of how they treat us.

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