Signs of the Times

[From an editorial in the Williamson Sun, New York]

The Golden Rule, that is, the doing to your neighbors and people generally what you would like to have them do to you, is considered by many in these advanced times as too impractical to apply in ordinary everyday affairs. And yet if it had been applied to world affairs during the last dozen years, it would have added infinitely to human happiness and saved incalculable misery. For just one item of its effect: it would have saved the World War and all the terrible losses and suffering caused by that struggle. No war would ever have occurred if those nations had shown even a moderate desire to follow the Golden Rule. If that spirit had prevailed, those nations would not for many years have been grasping to see which should get the most territory and trade advantages, regardless of right and justice. There might have been strenuous competition under the Golden Rule, for that rule should not be stretched to forbid people from emulation and doing the best they can to render superior service. But it does insist that we should give our neighbors, and all with whom we have relations, just as fair a deal as we expect or consider reasonable for ourselves. With a little of that spirit, those difficulties over boundaries and colonies and armies and navies that caused all that disaster would easily have been smoothed out and settled peaceably. The business-man who sneers at the Golden Rule is sneering at something that would improve his own business and make every one happier if it could be applied universally.

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October 9, 1926

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