It just occurred to me that the Golden Rule is pretty lame.
I mean, it may be great for kids, when you're trying to socialize them. But for adults, its usefulness is pretty limited.
The problem is the premise: it works if we all want the same thing. But we don't. We all want different things. So if you want to be nice to someone, don't treat them the way you would want to be treated; treat them the way they want to be treated.
This came to me as I was pondering a recent thread on an email list, in which two people expressed entirely opposite viewpoints on the issue of "courtesy copies". One person finds them annoying, and so he always trims out all addresses from To/Cc except for the email list; the other person thinks they're useful, so he leaves the other addresses in. They're both following the Golden Rule, and in the process, hurting each other. The Golden Rule has backfired.
Of course, in a situation like this, things aren't so black-and-white, since there are the other members of the list to consider. Both individuals are serving the interests of some fraction (roughly half?) of the community, so it's not like either one should necessarily be enjoined to reverse his behavior.