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The Ethic of Reciprocity: or Libertarians are Buddhists

Compare and contrast:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

For numerous other formulations go here.

The first one is Christian. It is presumably some translation of Luke 6:31 that I remember. The second one is everyone else, including the basis of Anglo-American Tort law.

2 replies on “The Ethic of Reciprocity: or Libertarians are Buddhists”

I guess there’s a fundamental difference in the assumptions these two phrases make. One is that everyone is out there doing stuff to each other all the time, and it’s the rule that you should make those deeds good ones.

The other is that doing stuff to another person is not necessary.

I guess I live in the former, but would prefer to live in the latter. It makes me a libertarian.

Your comment reminded me that there are two ways to view these rules: what you want society to use and what you will use.

Is it consistent to want society, not just government, to generally leave people alone and at the same time to offer help to our fellows?

Of course, the negative formulation do not require you to be cold and distant. It only requires that you not harm. An adherent to the negative formulation is free to help, just not compelled to.

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