Originally posted at my old blog on April 12, 2008 in the months before another presidential election. Some editing and added text.
Note: I may have already re-posted this rant here at Da Tech Guy Blog. But as I watch how “conservative” fans—note the noun–of Donald Trump react to criticism of him and his past, I felt the need to post it again. Many fans like the fact that Mr. Trump speaks without fear or apology and, I agree that this is an admirable trait. But if we conservatives are supposed to vote for a person because of his conservative-sounding words and are to discount the past words and deeds which contradict that person’s present words, then fans of Barack Obama—who believed his words and ignored his past–are owed an apology.
All too often these days, when the average person talks about principles, what they’re really talking about are their personal commodities—exchangeable for fiat and other currencies and available only to the select. Oh sure, this merchandise is labeled as “principle” but the definition of the word has become mutable–Truth become the Lie.
Thus does the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” become “do unto others as your preconceived notions would have you believe that others will do unto you.” Or does the Rule come with a codicil: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you—but only if you believe that others follow this rule.” (The most common, of course, is: “do unto others before they do/as they have already done to you,” but at least those who abide by this perversion of the Rule have the courtesy to drop all pretense.)
Of course the Golden Rule has constraints—like all rules which exist in the realm of human imperfection. It cannot and, sometimes, should not be followed 100% of the time. There are exceptions to every single rule under the sun. But if the Rule is to be thrown out of the window every single time it gets a little difficult to follow it, then why bother to even pretend to follow it? (And, please people, on those occasions when you’re not living up to your stated principles, you could at least acknowledge that you’re falling short instead of childishly pointing at the other guy and say “well he’s not following the Rule either.”)
If your “principles” are always for sale, then call them something else, because, in spite of the Theory of Relative Definitions for Words Which Have Fixed Meanings in the Real World, they are not principles.
Call them The Family Jewels and sell them on eBay. You might fetch a high price for them.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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