The Metallic Rules (Gold, Silver, Platinum…)

1. The Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

2. The Silvery Rule
Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you

3. The Brazen Rule
Do unto others as they do unto you

4. The Iron Rule
Do unto others before they do unto you

5. The Leaden Rule
Do unto others as others have done unto you

6. The Gilded Rule
Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you

7. The Platinum Rule
Do unto others as I [Jesus] have done unto you

Click [Read More] for my comparison of Gold, Silver, and Platinum morality…

The Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is the common formulation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:12:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV)

Many observers consider the term synonymous with the ‘ethic of reciprocity‘, which in other religious traditions is most often expressed in the negative (or passive) form, a la “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.”

However, I consider this identification misleading. The latter — which is sometimes called the “Silver” (or Silvery) Rule — seems designed to prevent bad behavior, rather than require good behavior. It is an important and meaningful distinction, because you can forbid destructive evil, but you can’t force creative good. Yeah, sure, you coerce a certain amount of positive actions (“Johnny, apologize to your sister!”), but only at the margins. Real good (at least in my worldview) is a creative act, and requires at least some innate desire or willingness on the part of the giver. The negative form, at least under the usual interpretation, allows for a trivial solution in the form of apathy (what I sometimes call the unconscious amoral choice to do nothing).

To be sure, some observers have complained that the positive form of the Golden Rule can lead to pathological applications (e.g, by a sadomasochist, who wants pain); to that extent, I actually think it is useful to have both Golden and Silvery rules (after all, 24-karat gold is usually not strong enough to bear its own weight in daily usage!). Thus, I thought it useful to list and label the different variants I’ve seen, to better understand their relationship. Of course, the ultimate standard — what I call Platinum — is not based on personal preference or historical experience, but a deep understanding of Jesus and His character.