… The rest is commentary

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Somehow all of humanity labels theft and murder as evil.”

    I hate to sound overly maudlin (and mostly, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts), but this hardly seems true any more. Most of humanity, perhaps, but clearly we’ve seen the metaphorical b’nei yishmael turn in a different direction.

    – Moishe Potemkin

  2. micha says:

    They engage in theft and murder by convincing themselves they have a right to the property, or that the killing is justified, and thus not murder.

    There is an innate morality, even when people succeed in burying its call.

  3. Shlomo says:

    There is an “Orthodox Forum” book on this topic, no?

  4. The Golden Rule, by the way, would require my giving away all I own to the next person I meet, wait hand on foot on others, etc… Taken at its word, the creed is un-livable.)

    Really? I don’t want you to give me all your wealth, or wait on me hand and foot. One reason for this is that I recognize that given our spiritual equality (each of being btzelem elokim) there is no reason to prefer me over you in these matters.

    The problem with “that which is hateful to you don’t do to others” is that things that are hateful to me may be desirable to them. I think any one sentence rule of morality is going to be over-broad.

  5. micha says:

    Both statements require reading as “That which you find hateful [if you were them]…” or lehavdil “… as you would want others to do to you [if you were in the same situation.” Neither works if you do not expect the person to account for differences in situation, personality, and desires. My enjoyment of philosophy lectures doesn’t legitimize my boring others with them.

    Larry, as for your defense of the positive phrasing, you are presuming a different definition of ethical and saying you do not want inequity because of it. Rolling the morality into the “want”. You saved the thesis by dethroning it, by saying that it stands AFTER one decides he wants to preserve equality of tzalmei E-lokim.


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