Saturday, May 04, 2024

Blind loyalty not a trait I admire

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for March 31, 2024)

People admire different qualities in others. The traits each of us admires are shaped by our own values and experiences. What some see as a virtue, others see as a vice. Or worse.

It seems most people admire obedience-- they voice admiration for those who follow orders without hesitation. This isn't something I admire. Too much depends on who is giving the orders and what those orders are. This can include bad parents as well as people wearing uniforms or holding a political office. I can't excuse anyone for obeying when the orders are clearly evil.

History's worst atrocities weren't committed by the disobedient, but by those who thought obeying orders should be automatic. They were, and are, wrong.

Every order must be weighed against ethical behavior before being obeyed. A shout to "Duck!" is rarely going to have negative ethical consequences and stopping to think about it could be a problem, so you can make an exception there.

If you are obeying orders to violate life, liberty, or property-- such as an order to enforce illegitimate legislation-- then obedience is the opposite of doing the right thing. Disobedience is the only ethical path in this case.

The same could be said for loyalty. Whether loyalty is admirable or not depends on who or what you are being loyal to. Too many people are loyal to the wrong things and the wrong people. Their loyalty makes the world worse.

If you are being loyal to a group of rights violators, or to the other members of this group, your loyalty is a destructive force you are adding to the world. Being disloyal in this situation would be the right thing to do. This is nearly always going to apply to politics. Loyalty in politics shows you aren't thinking.

The only thing worse than the Republican Party is the Democratic Party. Sometimes it's the other way around. Neither party has earned your loyalty.

I notice both of these traits-- obedience and loyalty-- are encouraged by those who want to use people for their own purposes. When those purposes are political-- looking to violate life, liberty, or property-- the result is nearly always horrendous. At best, it's not helpful.

This is why I have never admired obedient order followers or those who express unconditional loyalty. I prefer those who can think, even when they cause a little bit of trouble by doing so.

I couldn't do this without your support.

It boils down to this:

Liberty is non-negotiable.

Here are some of the best ways to help me

Wouldn’t you like to be a rebel, too?