The Golden Rule is a Bitch (When You’re an Asshole)

I’ve been talking with some colossal idiots lately and have decided a few things. My conclusions are based mainly on the ethic of reciprocity (aka The Golden Rule) and I shall dispense them in a series of if/then statements and in no particular order.

I’ve decided that:

1. If you think torture is an acceptable interrogation method, then I sincerely hope you undergo agonizing torture yourself.

2. If you enjoy eating pretentious foods like foie gras, then I sincerely hope one day you find yourself in a tiny cage with a steel pipe jammed down your throat.

3. If you feel beggars just need to buck up and get a damn job, then I sincerely hope you end up with no home, no food, no phone, no clean clothing, and no place to bathe.

4. If you have no problem with dubious reasons for bombing innocent civilians, I sincerely hope you survive an explosion, losing a limb or four in the process.

5. If you harbor unjustified prejudices towards other people, I sincerely hope you are met with equal contempt when you finally stand naked before your god.

On the surface, these statements might seem hypocritical. You might think, He implies torture is utterly wrong, but in the same sentence hopes for those he’s chastising to be tortured!? He claims to have compassion for the homeless, but wishes homelessness on others? WTF?

The Cask of Amontillado
The Alan Parsons Project

But, you see, I’m not wishing for these outcomes out of any kind of twisted retribution. Rather, it's that I have come to the conclusion that the only way for some people to understand the suffering of others is to undergo that very same suffering themselves. I’ve found that the people who bark the loudest about how stupid it is to give money to beggars are almost always people who have never had to worry about where their next meal was coming from. The unapologetic racists and homophobes I’ve met are invariably people who have never had their lives threatened for being different. And while we’re at it, how many of the gung-ho armchair soldiers out there have ever experienced torture worse than passing a kidney stone? (And how many of them bawled their pissy little eyes out just doing that?)

I don't want anyone to suffer any more than they need to in order to learn the importance of loving their neighbors (and their enemies). I had to suffer to learn it, so I don't think I'm being a hypocrite wanting others to undergo similar lessons.

I think Alan Parsons paraphrased Poe well in the song that accompanies this post:

You who are rich and whose troubles are few,
May come around to see my point of view.
What price the crown of a king on his throne,
When you’re chained in the dark, all alone?

Aggression will not bring about world peace. Torture will not bring about world peace. Selfishness, hubris, arrogance, and indifference will not bring about world peace. And all the venomous justification of these things only serves to prove that we, as a species, have a long way to go.

It’s truly sad that a fundamental truth that was first uttered by Confucius several millennia ago, and has been reiterated by every great spiritual leader since, still eludes so many people. Until everyone gets it, we shall be slaves to the consequences of the ignorant.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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19 Responses to The Golden Rule is a Bitch (When You’re an Asshole)

  1. Budd says:

    Nuclear holocaust would bring world peace.

  2. Kirk says:

    Well, you do have a point, but I was hoping more for a world peace we could all stick around to enjoy. I don't want world peace for the planet's sake; I want it for our sakes!

  3. tom says:

    Well said. I'm always amazed when I hear people who are racist say things like, "But I have some black friends." As if it's okay to deal kindly with "you" or "him" or "her," while all the time hating "them." Some people just miss the irony of loving the individual while hating the group. Sad.

  4. I-Luv-Eeyore says:

    3. If you feel beggars just need to buck up and get a damn job, then I sincerely hope you end up with no home, no food, no phone, no clean clothing, and no place to bathe.
    I hope this comment isn't directed toward me and my comment on this post about the beggar women in India. While I was telling about my trip and sharing some pictures I did not go into detail about that picture and the comment that went along with it. The truth of that picture is how 'mad' this woman got when we refused to give her money—our friends/guides from Hyderabad had warned us about how many of the beggars on the streets don't need to be there…they chose to beg, they 'rent' children for the day, and some even purposefully cause injury to a child to tear at your heart strings and make you want to give even more than you already want to. There are some 'legitimate' beggars in India—if you look past the surface you can tell the difference between the 'shysters' and the legitimate people that need help. We gave to many and counted our blessings that we are lower middle class Americans and not living as many live in Hyderabad, India.
    If your comment was not directed toward me at all (because you did say: "I’ve been talking with some colossal idiots lately" and you and I have not been 'talking') —then I'm totally embarrassed and you should just ignore/delete this comment. 🙂
    I love hearing your take on the world….you make me think….which is usually a good thing.

  5. Budd says:

    <sarcasm> A peaceful world would be a very boring place don't you think? Who would want to live there? </sarcasm>

  6. foxsydee says:

    But, you see, I’m not wishing for these outcomes out of any kind of twisted retribution. Rather, it's that I have come to the conclusion that the only way for some people to understand the suffering of others is to undergo that very same suffering themselves.
    What you are talking about is karma. Karma is all about giving back to you what you put out there in the first place. You sow what you reap….you attract what you are, not what you want. The Golden rule and karma are much alike. I don't think its hypocritical because not everyone has their perspective on straight so they need to experience the dark in order to see and appreciate the light.

  7. uncagedbird says:

    Well said. I might print it and hang it on my cube.

  8. Xeyli says:

    [いいですね]

  9. DJ says:

    Thanks for the if / thens. There is no excuse for ignorance.

  10. Jeff D says:

    I came across quite a few people panhandling when I worked in inner city Boston. Most were wearing more expensive clothing than I was. I just gave money to my church or to the various food banks or soup kitchens in town instead. Then I knew that my money was going towards providing people something they needed (food) as opposed to something they wanted (alcohol, drugs, any other thing. I will also add that the dumbest thing about the waterboarding debate is that torture simply doesn't work as a method of interrogation. All that ends up happening is that the person just tells you what you want to hear in order to stop the torture. Just an utterly stupid means of getting information. I give credit to the FBI for realizing this fact (and the fact that it's just plain wrong) and refusing to co-operate with the CIA on such things.

  11. AmyH says:

    Good post.
    In this country, It's easier than people think to slip below the poverty line and it's a bitch to climb back above it.

  12. Kirk says:

    Aw, don't be embarrassed. My post wasn't about any of my VOX peeps but in reference to certain right-wing shitheels I have to deal with daily. Stupid dicks who think the mentally ill just need a good push in the right direction. Meanwhile, they continually do things to perpetuate the subjugation of the underprivileged. It sickens me.Now, there's a guy who begs by my work everyday and he makes a sweet living doing it. I hate him because he blows it for legitimately needy people. But in the instances where you have no idea how a person became homeless, it is best to err on the side of caution, show mercy, and forgo the judgmentalism, IMO.

  13. Kirk says:

    Buying food instead of giving them money outright is a fine solution. See the second paragraph of my reply to I-Love-Eeyore above, too, okay? 🙂

  14. Bookmole says:

    <<Stands up and applauds. >>

  15. Kirk says:

    I should make it clear that I'm not talking about people who prefer to give charity in other places. I'm hatin' on people who look at a man who is clearly mentally ill and has no place to shower much less a phone number, and say, "Get a job you bum."Funny you should mention the complete uselessness of torture, Jeff, because the unedited version of this post had a tirade about each of the above bullet points and the first one spoke to that very issue. Fact is, a person will say they were born a hermaphrodite and like to fuck pigs if they think think it'll get the pain and terror to stop.

  16. Jay says:

    I was born a pig and like to fuck hermaphrodites. Go figure.

  17. kalita says:

    If you enjoy eating pretentious foods like foie gras, then I sincerely hope one day you find yourself in a tiny cage with a steel pipe jammed down your throat.
    This one struck a cord with me because I eat chicken, and for a long time chicken was the only meat I would eat (and the only thing preventing me from getting anemia), but I don't want to like in a tiny cage with no room to stretch.

    If you harbor unjustified prejudices towards other people, I sincerely hope you are met with equal contempt when you finally stand naked before your god.
    Does that include prejudices towards Americans? 😉

  18. Jay says:

    If a homeless guy asks me for a couple of bucks and I have it, I'll give it to him regardless of whether he uses it for a meal or a drink. Shit. If I were living like that I'd want a drink too.

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