Even for those not religiously inclined, the wisdom of the Golden Rule is widely acknowledged. As a civilizing instinct, treating others as you wish to be treated is an admonition of considerable heft.
It is abundantly clear, that at the present time living in the United States could readily benefit from its application.
In the current era of the “cancel culture”, let us all remember that if you cause other people to be shamed and to lose their jobs simply for taking a position on public policy different from your own or even expressing a thought different from that of the approved sacred media texts, this malevolent power can come around and be applied to yourself.
There is a general rule about revolutions, to wit; they always reach the stage when the revolution eats its own children.
Let’s take the New York Times (NYT.) Having unleashed the mass of lies and sheer misrepresentation of events surrounding the 1619 Project, it is entirely fair to treat the NYT by the standards it treats others. Besides the irony of Progressives constantly howling about the benefits of being non-judgmental, we witness judgementalism on steroids.
They contend every fiber of America is racist and must be rooted out by the scolds that prowl the news and opinion pages.
OK, let’s treat them as they have treated others. Fair enough?
Not only has it been determined that the Ochs family who founded the NYT included slave owners and Confederates, but that their very name, New York, is derived from the Duke of York, a monumental slave trader. Should not the Times be forced to change its name and pay reparations? And while we are at it, should not the NYT gift their building and property back to the Manhattan Indian Tribe of the area, the rightful original owners?
This is, after all, how they treat others.
Moreover, there is the Golden Rule of philosophy – apply the same arguments to yourself as you apply them to others.
For example: although the NYT is not alone in this, it has been a standard argument for years by Progressives that people lack moral agency or the power to really know right from wrong, acting in accordance with their existing knowledge. They argue further that there is no objective standard of behavior. We can’t be guided by the Bible, the scribblings of ancient desert nomads. We are guided by the views of society at the current time, shaped mostly by public intellectuals, i.e., people like themselves.
Thus, criminals are shaped by their environment mostly and the institutions and zeitgeist of their time. We cannot really hold them responsible for their actions. By this logic, criminals should not be punished.
But racists and slave owners were a product of their times. They had intellectuals of their era as well, such as George Fitzhugh who argued slavery was “the Southern beau of communism.” Fitzhugh had no use for Adam Smith and John Locke. Few realized that Fitzhugh wrote, “how much truth, justice, and good sense there is in the notion of the Communists as to the community of property.” After all, socialism “is simply the new fashionable word for slavery.”
And since there are no objective standards of right behavior, we cannot blame slave owners for being what they were. It was the intellectual and social environment they grew up in and hence no one is really to blame.
They believed that human behavior and achievement was a matter of skin color, similar to the fashionable arguments today about “white privilege”.
Not only do Progressives leap out of their own skin of moral relativity to accuse people of the past of not upholding the standards of today, but they also go even a step further into the ether. They accuse an entire society of the actions of their great, great, great grandparents.
Hardly anyone today believes children owe either the monetary or moral debt of their parents or even great, great grandparents. But the NYT apparently does.
It is worth noting that it was a distinct minority of ancestors that owned slaves while most did not. Only about 25% of the Southern population owned slaves, which ironically included Black slaveholders and Indian tribes as among those owning slaves. Most of the country did not own slaves and much of the country opposed the institution. Many immigrants that came to America before and after the Civil War had no ancestral ties to the horrid practice but some did have political affiliation with the Democratic Party that ran much of the North and the South, both under a slave regime and Jim Crow.
Having said that, how can one believe that distant ancestors are responsible for bad actions, especially if there are no objective standards and it is all caused by the environment anyway?
And while we are exposing contradictions, why does the NYT so fervently support Democrats since that political party had more to do with the racial injustices of the past than any other party in America?
Not only that, they ignore all the important steps to limit slavery taken in America from the three-fifths compromise to the Northwest Ordinance, the suppression of the international slave trade, the Missouri Compromise, the Civil War, the new Amendments to the Constitution, the desegregation of schools, the military and of sports and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s and 1970s.
Most of the 1619 Project is the dubious product of college-educated Black women. How could they get educated and recruited to the nation’s leading newspaper if there is such bigotry in America?
Not only does the NYT deny the same arguments about moral agency to the South that they apply to criminals, but they also seem to have no inkling of the century and a half of historically unique progress, blocked ineffectively by Democrats. They have become judgmental fanatics with historic amnesia.
And few at the NYT seem to realize their solutions to today’s racial tension are far closer to Fitzhugh’s rather than Locke, Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison.
If we were to treat the NYT as they treat others, they should be forced to take a knee in front of the slavery-hating Republicans. The New York Times corporation should be liquidated and the proceeds paid to those they have wronged. Their writers and employees should be banned (aka “canceled) from journalism for sure and more importantly, from Twitter.