Loyal to a Fault

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Eric Felten, author of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtueexplores the concept of loyalty and when it crosses the line from virtue to vice or from patriotism to jingoism.


Eric Felten

Comments [19]

jgarbuz from Queens

To Donna and others

The Land of Israel, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river, is liberated Jewish territory, which was originally allotted to the Jewish nation-in-exile by the Council of the League of Nations in 1920, and publicly declared in the Mandate of 1922.
If the Arabic-speaking inhabitants living in that land want an independent state of their own, they MUST and SHALL recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish state and homeland. If not, they will not get a state of their own, just as the Lakota Sioux will not get one. Without recognizing Israel as the Jewish state,the Arabs will not get a 23rd state in Judah, Samaria and Gaza.

May. 05 2011 12:49 PM
art525 from Park Slope

@gary from queens- you disagree with what? You disagree that there was the incident where the supreme court judges couldn't explain their behavior to the Russian judges? Because it did in fact happen. And you disagree with the fact that Vincent Bugliosi had in fact written a cover story for Newsweek saying that the judges acted wrongly? Because he did.
And incidentally the citings I found on Google refer to Tayor as a conservative not a moderate. So congratulations you found a conservative who defends the Bush "selection".

May. 05 2011 12:15 PM
Donna Franklin from NYC

To jgarbuz from Queens

No, no, no, not enough. All the Jews in Israel need to step up and put an end to their government's insane paranoia.

"OTHERS"? Doesn't include Palestinians, huh? I don't see any Israelis "killing themselves" for the sake of the Palestinian freedom, I see them stealing land.

I agree that Israel is on the path to self destruction but it's because of the paranoia. No one wants to destroy Israel because the people that live there are Jewish, it's the way you have behaved towards your neighbors that pisses people off. I don't think Israel even has the capacity to be rational at this point, the insanity has festered for too long. I don't see a good end to all of this for Israel.

May. 05 2011 12:05 PM
gary from queens

DEAR art525 from Park Slope

I disagree. i wrote commentary on the matter here:

Also, Legal analyst and Supreme Court watcher Stuart Taylor of believed the court acted correctly. Taylor is well respected as a political moderate.

May. 05 2011 12:04 PM
tom from astoria

there's the problem. If Jews are "inherently" democractic, what do you believe are "inherently" Arab traits?

May. 05 2011 12:01 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Donna of Franklin

There are TOO many Jews like Willy in Israel,which is why Israel is on the path to self-destruction! Jews are suicide bombers too, only they bomb themselves with too much self-doubt, self-hatred and will kill themselves for the sake of democracy and even the freedom of OTHERS.

More Jews died in the Black civil rights movement in America than any other non-Black group.

May. 05 2011 11:53 AM
tom from astoria

Loyalty can be prelude to prejudice. I remember my friend's vehement citicism of palestinians -- and we were only 14 yrs old! Where did those views come from?

May. 05 2011 11:52 AM
Donna Frankin from NYC

NO - real friends don't stand with you when you are wrong - they call you out and set you straight.

May. 05 2011 11:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Tom from Astoria

"Criticism" of Palestinians? When I was growing up in the 1950s in Brooklyn, I was called "Jew boy" more times than I care to remember.

But Brian, there is NO conflict between "Judaism" and loyalty to your country of citizenship, if that country allows Jews to live in peace and freedom.

As for the ISraeli who just called in, I know the IDF respects individual beliefs, and this story is NOT unusual. Many IDF soldiers who refused to serve in Judah and Samaria were permitted not to do so. This is the STRENGTH of ISraeli democracy that your caller just evidenced! Jews are inherently a democratic people by nature. And thus easy to take advantage those who would USE democracy to undermine it!

May. 05 2011 11:47 AM

The recent financial problems show that a lot of people will give up their loyalty to society if they can make money from it.

May. 05 2011 11:46 AM
Donna Franklin from NYC

If only there were more Israeli's like Willy. You did the right thing.

May. 05 2011 11:45 AM
art525 from Park Slope

@gary from queens- President Bush was selected not elected. That is not ridicule or criticism it is fact.

I remember shortly after the "election" a group of Russian judges came to the US to spend time with the US Supreme Court judges. They were honestly perplexed how that election fit in with our professed philosophy on elections. They asked the judges how their choosing the president squared with our electoral process and the justices sat there stone faced and speechless. And on another note- Newsweek magazine was scheduled to publish a cover story written by Vincent Bugliosi detailing why the court's decision for Bush was illegal and called for the impeachment of the supreme court. I don't know who would hear that case though. The cover story was bumped by the events of 911.

May. 05 2011 11:45 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

What about the loyalty even to loyalty as an idea? I mention this because I tend to find my loyalties to my values (e.g., tolerance) and my loyalty to the state/community are in conflict, but the guiding principle that gives one supremacy is, in itself, an overarching loyalty to a particular world view.

May. 05 2011 11:45 AM
Virginia from Bronx

I've always thought that this issue was the essence of the program "24". Every character, major and minor, were constantly having their loyalties tested. Just when they thought they were doing the right thing, new circumstances or new information would challenge their loyalties.

May. 05 2011 11:42 AM
Leah from South Harlem

I am reminded of Jane Jacobs (famous as the author of THE LIFE OF CITIES and key organizer in G. Village's successful fight against Robert Moses) who also wrote a book called Systems of Survival. Per wikipedia, "Systems of Survival a 1992 book ... describing two fundamental and distinct ethical systems, or systems of survival as she calls them. These systems supply ethical direction in the conduct of human life." But they oppose one another. Actually, she refers to them as "syndromes."

Again copied/pasted from wikipedia, they are:

(1) Guardian Syndrome's
Moral Precepts

• Shun trading
• Exert prowess
• Be obedient and disciplined
• Adhere to tradition
• Respect hierarchy
• Be loyal
• Take vengeance
• Deceive for the sake of the task
• Make rich use of leisure
• Be ostentatious
• Dispense largesse
• Be exclusive
• Show fortitude
• Be fatalistic
• Treasure honor

(2) Commerce Syndrome's
Moral Precepts

• Shun force
• Compete
• Be efficient
• Be open to inventiveness and novelty
• Use initiative and enterprise
• Come to voluntary agreements
• Respect contracts
• Dissent for the sake of the task
• Be industrious
• Be thrifty
• Invest for productive purposes
• Collaborate easily with strangers and aliens
• Promote comfort and convenience
• Be optimistic
• Be honest

May. 05 2011 11:40 AM
tom from astoria

Loyalty can be prelude to prejudice. I remember my friend's vehement citicism of palestinians -- and we were only 14 yrs old! Where did those views come from?

May. 05 2011 11:40 AM

The news media is crossing the line too!

ABC News is running a special 20/20 episode called Kill Shot: The killing of Osama Bin Laden. Can they be more transparently jingoistic and rah-rah?

Sadly I haven't see any Daily Show this week, but Jon Stewart is at his most excellent in his cutting analysis of today's superficial media landscape. I look forward to my DVR's episodes this week.

May. 05 2011 11:38 AM
Chad from Jersey City

As a gay American it is often difficult for me to be loyal or supportive of candidates in our two party system when the openly support discriminatory policies. For instance, President Obama does not support gay marriage, I feel differently but I have no choice when it comes to voting.

May. 05 2011 11:37 AM
gary from queens

Let's please include the media for criticism, when loyalty crosses the line to deification.

Exhibit A: We all recall that mainstream media pundits had never ridiculed or criticized or even frowned upon Democrats who had routinely opined throughout GW Bush's first term that his presidency was illegitimate. That he was "selected"; not elected.

But in 2009, policy disagreements with president Obama had prompted the media to question the loyalty to America of those critics. And to even allege they were racist. Then one day, Rush Limbaugh said he wanted Obama to fail because Obama's policies were harmful to the US.

Democrat operatives jumped on that statement, conveniently leaving out the second clause of Rush's remark. Democrat media "watchdog", Media Matters, had circulated the quote, that Rush had wanted Obama to fail. No mention of Obama's harmful policies. The media never listens to Rush, who had clarified his remark for weeks following that. They just read what Media Matters writes about conservative talk radio.

As we all remember, the media allowed this fraud to morph into 'conservatives wanting AMERICA to fail', because they wanted Obama to fail. Thus, Obama became the equivalent of Joe Stalin or Kim Jong-il, in which the success of the leader equated to the success of the nation.

The liberal media was so infatuated with the idea of a black liberal president as savior or messiah, that it became a chearleader, instead of performing its function as the fourth estate. It shamed its profession by failing to remember that their sole loyalty, if to anything, should be to the Constitution. Not to any politician.

May. 05 2011 10:38 AM

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