A neganthropic version of the familiar “Golden Rule” – which runs “do not do to others what you would not wish to have done to you” – that grounds our Conditio in/humana.
It has rightly been objected to this rule that different people can willingly consent to very different things. One person may require no anaesthetic when they go to the dentist while for another person the very thought of having dental work done without one is terrifying. The “would not wish” contained in the “Golden Rule”, then, always implies also a dimension of tolerance, acceptance, “putting up with”. The things “that I would not wish to have done to me” are indeed things that I myself would not tolerate, accept or put up with. But there are also things that, while being tolerable for me, might possibly be absolutely intolerable and unbearable for someone else.
This transformation of the “would not wish” clause into a “personal tolerance” clause is only one of two transformations which the “Golden Rule” permits. There corresponds to the defensive ban on the inflicting of that which I, for my own person, refuse a second aspect of imposingly imputing, as reasonable, to others a tolerance of these very things. In other words, construed in this way, the Golden Rule states that I can reasonably impute to others a readiness to accept and put up with whatever I, for my own part, feel and consider to be tolerable. This transformation of the Golden Rule yields, then, the following:
“You may impute to others an obligation to put up with anything that you personally, for your own part, will put up with having done to you”! If one applies this “coercive imputation” version of the Golden Rule to the question of the begetting of progeny, the following maxim results: “If I myself hold to be tolerable the things that are done to me in and through my existence, this means I have the right to impose existence also on further human beings.”