In the programming language R, ! is the negation function — !FALSE is TRUE, for example. The !Golden Rule, the opposite of the Golden Rule, is to treat others as you yourself do not wish to be treated.
An example comes from Colin Diver, the President of Reed College (my alma mater), who complains in an Atlantic Monthly piece about college rankings. Reed has opted out of the U.S. News and World Report rankings. President Diver explains why:
Trying to rank institutions of higher education is a little like trying to rank religions or philosophies.
That’s right: If different colleges have different goals, it is unfair and misleading to rank them on the same scale.
By far the most important consequence of sitting out the rankings game . . . is the freedom to pursue our own educational philosophy, not that of some newsmagazine.
Actually, you can pursue a singular educational philosophy in any case, rankings or no rankings. It’s just that the rankings punish you for doing so.
This is an example of the !Golden Rule because what President Diver complains about happens in every Reed classroom. All the students in a class are graded on the same scale with the same requirements. Perhaps different students have different goals, just as different colleges have different goals? Perhaps this system of grading punishes students with unusual goals, just as the U.S. News ranking system punishes colleges with unusual goals?