Sunday, July 1, 2018

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”

...The Golden Rule is flawed when applied as a broad societal rule. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb has pointed out, it can be an “invitation to interventionism, utopianism, and meddling in other people’s affairs.” So it’s easy to see why you’d want to force a Christian baker to cater a same-sex wedding while urging a restaurant to throw out Sarah Huckabee Sanders: You want to create a better world.

A better substitute comes from the Talmud.

In a famous Talmudic story, the famous rabbi Hillel is approached by a non-Jew seeking to mock him. The non-Jew asks Hillel to tell him the entire Torah while he stands on one foot; if Hillel succeeds, says the non-Jew, he’ll convert. Hillel promptly replies with the so-called Silver Rule: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”...

It’s time for a reapplication of the Silver Rule. Only once we begin to leave each other alone can we talk about rebuilding our social fabric.