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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Hierarchy of Personal Loyalty

The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach the Elder.« Cranach the Elder, "The Golden Age" (Image via Wikipedia)

Liberal or conservative? Democrat or Republican? Socialism or free-market capitalism? Left or right? These are some of the major divisive considerations polarizing the American electorate. But, I submit, these are not at the heart of our great divide.

All of the anecdotal-based bickering between those who espouse the two dominant worldviews stem from the principal dichotomy: those who pledge their fundamental loyalty to humanity at large, and those who center it at self preservation.

Thus, the core of our differences concerns how humanity organizes itself. The "utopian view", for want of a better designation, is that the personal-loyalty hierarchy begins at the fraternity of mankind, and "diffuses outside-in", to coin a phrase, assigning decreasing loyalty in the following priority order: humankind; nationality/ethnicity; regional association; local association; family; self. For the "non-utopians", it’s the reverse.

I think the utopian view is noble, albeit naive. Like it or not, humanity has evolved with an “inside-out diffusion” of personal loyalty. Self-preservation is paramount. Family loyalty is next in the hierarchy, followed by the various sociopolitical organizations.

Despite such a less-than-ideal altruism inherent in the non-utopian worldview, there is, nevertheless, room for improvement of the overall human condition. One can easily envision a cooperative striving for a lessening of our evolved inward-focused loyalty gradient. But it is unrealistic, nor would it be preferable in my opinion, to reverse the gradient itself.

It would be nice if we could all just get along. But we haven’t; we don’t; and we never will, if you are willing to face reality.

Post 1,746 The Hierarchy of Personal Loyalty

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