“Most people are taught that loyalty is a virtue. But loyalty—whether to one’s friends, to one’s school or place of employment, or to any institution—is all too often a destructive rather than a positive force.”
When the majority expresses their appreciation for loyalty as a virtue, I have to say that in my eyes loyalty is always held as an excuse under the honorable mask, according to the theory of human ethology. I do not mean to be extreme, and my analyses are listed below.
When someone claims loyalty to his or her spouse, work units, homeland and so on, where does your loyalty come from? What does it really mean under the surface of loyalty? Firstly, we need an explanation that can reveal the essence better. To discuss the topic more efficiently, I want to take the romantic relationship for example. Imagine a boy falling in love, he might swear loyalty to his sweetheart because he holds firmly that she is “the one”. However, while the girl met a boy who she really prefers, she is likely to desert his boyfriend as well as abandon the so-called loyalty. So the decisive factor is not the visionary concept of loyalty. The mere fact is that, regardless of the ethical advocacy like a “fig-leaf”, it is the inner desires, likes and dislikes instead of an objective moral standard that have dominance over our choice, and loyalty here seems to be a pretext while needed.
Undoubtedly, loyalty should be appreciated as a virtue. But have you considered the issue that why we choose to be loyal in many cases? Just because loyalty is a virtue? I think here comes the very point of the issue topic. In most cases, a long term relationship such as love or employment is to some extent equivalent to an optimum choice accepted by the parties involved. Its formation is the result of two-way selection and mutual understanding over along period. Loyalty serves effectively as the potential premise, or more accurately, an acquiescent contact for us to invest patience and contribution in the relationship. Recognizing these, we may agree that making choices whether the relationship ought to be sustained is supposed to be based on reason, rather than the simple judgment of loyalty or disloyalty. For instance, if an employer thinks the disadvantages outweigh the advantages on the action of betraying his company, such as a decline in salary or losses o connections, then a wiser choice for him would be to stay in his position and keep loyal. Philip Kotler, the famous marketing expert, once said, “There is no customer loyalty that cannot be offset by two cents price cuts.” I take his words for granted, and it reveals the inherence of loyalty properly.
Even in circumstances we choose to be loyal, loyalty does not necessarily mean blind obedience. What is more, although it can be categorized as a merit, its value is greatly hindered when one faces the choice of consciousness and loyalty. When Mr. Schindler realized the crime that his government had committed, he bravely chose the reverse way of saving the Jews. Indeed, he betrayed what he had advocated to the Nazi Party, yet such loyalty is against the real good for human beings. Stated thus, the loyalty cannot be only taken as a positive force unconditionally. The statement contends that the loyalty is all too often a destructive force, and it appears to be true especially when keeping loyalty opposite to reason and universal values. For example, the couple‘s loyalty to each other could lead to a tragedy when there remains no love between them at all; the learners’ loyalty to the authority in absence of skepticism results in few academic progress since no one dares challenge the outmoded and faults; the staff’s loyalty to an outrageous boss may cause the entire inefficiency and corruption of the company; the members’ loyalty to their leader without their independent minds are dangerous, which had been proved by the Nazi and evil cults in modern society. All these remind us to set a bottom line for loyalty in order to keep it a positive force, which may require rational thought in the first place.
In conclusion, a little too absolute as it stands, I am generally in favor of the speaker’s opinion. Before bolstering the value of loyalty, we should clarify the essence and the limitations of it.