Brass Rule: Lord Chesterfield's
counsel to his son: "If you want to be pleased,
This is the perfect way to find
friends and influence people, especially when combined with a fine
disregard for the truth, and allows anyone sufficiently intelligent to "if
in Rome, do as the Romans do", and profit by it, and "if
among cannibales, do as cannibals do", likewise.
It also much contributes to civil peace, good moods, and success in
life. (A none too fine regard for moral values, apart from personal
advantage, helps considerably.)
A related Brass Rule - so called because of its deceptive
similarity to the Golden Rule
- that indeed may serve as a kind of logical ground for it, and also
for much more, is "if I would not do it,
someone else would do it", which in formal logic amounts to
"if I someone else would not do it, I would do it", which may greatly
contribute to one's welfare, with this fine sort of practical
(Arms dealers find great financially mediated
happiness this way. It has
the great logical advantage of justifying anything one desires.)
Another remarkably effective Brass Rule is "My
country (group, club, party, family, friends, church), right or wrong!".
This also has the great virtue of justifying just any atrocity, quite
morally also, according to one's fellows.
One basic principle is Ovid's Rule, that explains much here
and elsewhere: Video meliora proboque;
deteriora sequor = I see the better
and approve it is better, but I do the worse. This is the
common - "human-all-too-human" - way of the human heart, if the worse happens to be the safer,
the more pleasant, the more rewarding, or the more popular.