3example—is understood to be “of the greatest value or importance.” Andthus does it come as no surprise that the
ethic of reciprocity
, all but unknown inthis terminology, has been accepted the world over as the
The nearly universal acceptance of the golden rule and itspromulgation by persons of considerable intelligence, thoughotherwise of divergent outlooks, would seem to provide someevidence for the claim that it is a fundamental ethical truth.
The preeminent moral precept of virtually every major religion andculture in human history, the golden rule is indeed a fundamental ethicaltruth that is as precious to civil society as the metal itself is deemed to be. Thus, it is not too much to say that as gold has historically been the foremostcurrency of commerce, the golden rule has been the foremost currency of morals, the ethic that civil society has always “banked on” in one form oranother. Nor is it too much to say, then, that together, gold and the goldenrule form the twin pillars of civilization—i.e., the means by which individualshave traditionally cooperated to improve their lot in life, there being no otherreason for civil society to exist:
The idea that anybody would have fared better under an asocial stateof mankind and is wronged by the very existence of society isabsurd. Thanks to the higher productivity of social cooperation, thehuman species has multiplied far beyond the margin of subsistence.
Indeed it has. And if left to its own devices—i.e., if its members areallowed to interact freely and of their own accord—the human species willuse its commodity money and its universal morality to continually improve itsoverall wellbeing.But let us pause and ask,
why freedom? What is so important about freedom,and why is it so vital to the advance of civil society?
2. The Metaphysics of Freedom
Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.
What individuals fundamentally seek is
, by which we do not meanregimentation but
—i.e., “a pleasing combination of the elements in a whole,”
wherein the whole is the wholeness of one’s life. And because such
Marcus G. Singer,
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
, MacMillan Publishing, 1967, p. 366.
Ludwig von Mises,
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
, Henry Regnery Company,1966 (1949), Third Revised Edition, Contemporary Books, p. 165.
See definition two at Answers.com here: www.answers.com/topic/harmony .