Democracy and the Golden Rule

Protesters hold placards at a Moms for Liberty rally at the Pennsylvania State Capitol. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

“Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 7:12).

Versions of the Golden Rule abound in different cultures, religions, and civilizations. Perhaps 500 years before the Gospel of Matthew, Confucius wrote, “Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.” In the Mahabharata, the 5th century B.C. Hindu epic, one of the gods commands, “One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self.”

The Golden Rule is beautifully simple. It is intuitively fair. The alternative—treating others as you would not want to be treated—is the ethic of every bully, warlord, and tyrant in history. If there is a natural law, the Golden Rule is its first statute. It’s also the strongest argument for some form of democracy and civil rights. 

Democracy is the political version of the Golden Rule. I treat you as an equal citizen because I want you to treat me the same way. I recognize and protect your rights and freedoms—free speech, free worship, and more—because I want you to recognize and protect mine.

Join to continue reading
Get started with a free account or join as a member for unlimited access to all of The Dispatch. Continue ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT? SIGN IN