Originally Posted by vampiregenocide
The general rule of thumb is don't do anything that would cause harm or loss to another person. That pretty much covers everything.
But even here, varying definitions mean this rule of thumb is not applied to everyone. Is it that the early American settlers didn't perceive the natives as people? Or the Australian transports perceiving the aborigines?
What about the Taliban, who don't view other Muslims as real Muslims?
And wouldn't those examples illustrate how subjectively we apply morality as a species?
The human history of the world is more about mouthing platitudes about loving one's neighbor until push comes to shove. Sadly, those shoves aren't even necessarily about things which are necessities. The Japanese forcing Korean women into pleasure houses, forced to be whores for Japanese military? A completely different definition of "love thy neighbor." The gulags. The Long March. The Hutu mutilating and killing Tutsi women with machetes.
Every moment of triumph on American Idol has the voyeuristic pleasure of the audience cheering on their favorites has its counterpart in the voyeuristic schadenfreude (joy in the misfortunes of another) when people clearly have no ability to sing at that level... and American Idol knows it. They even broadcast those who fail spectacularly, and those episodes are often better rated than the normal competition broadcasts.
I'd argue that humans like to think of themselves as nice, and that's why so much lip service is paid to "love thy neighbor." "Oh, of *course* we're nice people... wait, don't let that person butt ahead of us in the merge lane!"