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Living by the golden rule essential today

I don’t recall if I’ve done an opinion piece on the golden rule previously. Could there be a more appropriate topic in today’s world? It doesn’t sound much like our American capitalistic society today, does it? Capitalism spends its efforts doing money deals to them before they do it to us.

I need to give credit where credit is due. Bud Brand, local Superior poet, sent me this short, concise summarizing poem, which he titled, "The Golden Rule."

If a man would ever

take a stand,

it should be simply to

lend a hand,

for a helping hand,

has no downside

and forever should

be man’s true guide.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Actually, I experienced the golden rule in Lucas Valley, Dunn County, Wis., during my youth on a 100-acre dairy farm. One of our neighbors had a power saw and came over each fall to saw the poles and logs we had piled up in advance for our winter’s firewood. Another neighbor had a corn shredder that he brought over each fall to make corn stalks edible for our milk cows during the coming winter. We provided return help to those neighbors, when they had need for extra manpower. I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing of dollar bills being passed out or collected.

We had a local grocery store about three-quarters of a mile away. We took them extra eggs that we couldn’t eat that they could sell, and they let us charge the month’s groceries. When our milk check arrived at month’s end, there was a face-to-face settlement.

Yes, I am well aware that we don’t live in the past. Those days are gone. We also know that other religious civilizations have their moral and psychological belief and guides such as Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Is that the result of various religious beliefs? Can we set aside our beliefs for the schedule of the different belief systems. Sunday is our Christian day for that talk. Shouldn’t we actually be walking the walk as well?

My personal attention to the golden rule is usually worded as to what we shouldn’t do to others what we do not want done to us.

Mankind has developed an unbelievable array of weaponry. We have innumerable atomic bombs in countries like our U.S. and Russia. We defend our past, our ongoing and forever increasing military expenditures, as merely efforts to protect ourselves. And so, our U.S. military industrial complex grows and grows.

Former president and war general, Dwight Eisenhower, knew the problems with the military industrial complex. It has grown until it has a life of its own. Military spending is providing the life’s blood to many regions in our country. It’s easy to say that we are doing it for our ultimate protection by other rogue nations of the world. Which actually came first? It’s sort of like the chicken or the egg question?

My conclusion is that the golden rule says it all in the few words it contains: Do unto others as we would have others do unto us. Bobbie Burns summarized it in his short statement: If we could see ourselves as others see us, it would from many a blunder free us and foolish notion.

Will we ever learn?

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at