1. Say, I build a better mousetrap and put my competitor and producer of old mousetraps out of business. It is asked, “If you were him, would you like to be treated this way?” I would say, “No,” so the GR treats my greater efficiency as immoral when in fact it is perfectly licit and even praiseworthy (benefits the consumers, abides by utilitarianism, etc.).

In fact, the GR seems to condemn any competition whatsoever. If I win, I can always be asked how I would feel if someone else had won, to which I’d answer, e.g., “upset,” which means that it would be wrong to seek victory, such as in sports, business, within a company competing with other employees, even war, and so on.

This make no sense and is a false positive.

2. Regarding the positive version of the GR: suppose I am giving my girlfriend a box of candy. I myself don’t like candy. Does it mean that I shouldn’t give candy to her?

Again, the GR works only on the highest level of generality: I want others to “do good” to me; hence, I ought to do good to them. But each person’s good is unique.

Different understanding of what is good is not limited to narrow happiness but apply to virtue, as well. Let Smith be a good person, and Jones, bad. It is good for Smith to learn to fly a plane, say, for fun. But that would only be a distraction for Jones who, before having fun, needs to find virtue, both self- and other-regarding. “Bad” people have no right to seek narrow happiness; they need to self-correct first.

Thus, Smith cannot look at his own desires in assisting Jones.

3. Suppose I hate X and wish him harm but also am afraid if him. This is clearly evil by any standard.

But if I were asked, “How would you like it if he hated and feared you?” I might reply “Awesome! It’s downright cool to have an enemy who is intimidated by me. Let him hate so long as he fears, etc.”

4. Let it be that Moriarty is trying to deceive Holmes. Despicable, right? When demanded that he do unto Holmes as he’d have Holmes do unto him, Moriarty replies that he’d relish the chance to match wits with the detective. Again, a false negative.

5. Again, suppose a person has enlisted in the army, knowing that he would be expected to abide by the rule that “if a grenade is thrown into your trench AND the lives of more than 10 soldiers are at stake AND you are closest to the grenade, then you must jump on the grenade and sacrifice yourself to save the rest.” This is a good rule, because any soldier would have a 1/10 chance to die but 9/10 chance to be saved by another in this manner.

This is exactly what happens, except that our person cowardly runs away. Bad all around, right? But when asked, “How would like it if another failed in his duty to jump on the grenade and save you?” he replies “Are you kidding? Who wouldn’t run away! It’s perfectly reasonable.” Another miss (i.e., immoral conduct sanctioned).

6. There cannot be a society in which the strong do not oppress the meek. I was born one of the meek, so I suffer; but if I were strong, I’d oppress others without a second thought, for that is the way of the world. Here, GR seems to fail to get off the ground.


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