The biggest, most obvious problem with the Golden Rule lies in the problematic assumption that everyone wants the same thing that you do. Only a truly selfish person would think this way, and yet, this is exactly the way in which we ingrain children with selfish, self-centered thinking, and then we simultaneously wonder why a child, now grown, acts selfishly. To “treat others the way that you want to be treated,” says or validates you and your desires above all others. A person must think, “How do I want to be treated?” And then that person acts according to his/her own best interest. Obviously, the larger, more general point makes sense if you’re simple minded—presumably, all people want to be treated well, with respect. But “well” and “with respect” can mean an infinite number of things, depending upon who you ask. Thus, perhaps a more effective rule to instill into children—future adults—revolves around teaching them how to truly consider other people: Treat others the way that they (the person being acted upon) wants to be treated. “Oh, but how can you know what some other person wants or desires?” small, pathetic minds wonder. Well, the answer is quite simple, open your fucking mouth and ask.
But then here lies the circular conundrum: What if a person does not deserve to be treated in the way in which he/she desires? What if a person is unable to treat another the way in which he/she wants? Who ultimately decides who deserves what sort of treatment? The easy answer, of course, is that everyone ought to accommodate the will of others. At what point, however, does a person stand up for him/herself after realizing that he/she sacrifices too much of his/her own self in order to treat another in the way that that person wants to be treated, which ultimately encroaches upon the way you want to be treated?