Posted by: mmeazaw | April 24, 2010

What is the matter behind being loyal for your country?

The Definition of
LOYALTY, as a general term, signifies a personís devotion or sentiment of attachment to a particular object, which may be another person or group of persons, an ideal, a duty, or a cause. It expresses itself in both thought and action and strives for the identification of the interests of the loyal person with those of the object. Loyalty turns into fanaticism when it becomes wild and unreasoning; and into resignation when it displays the characteristics of reluctant acceptance. A man without loyalty does not exist. It stirs and arouses him, brings meaning, direction, and purpose into his life and unifies his activities. At the same time, loyalty has a social function. Only manís willingness, in cooperation with others, to invest his intellectual and moral resources generously and wholeheartedly in something beyond his own narrow circle has it been possible for communities of various kinds to emerge and continue to exist; among them, family, church and nation.
Political loyalty is devotion to, and identification with, a political cause or a political community, its institutions, basic laws, major political ideas, and general policy objectives. A cause to which persons are loyal is often considered ìlostî by those who do not share the loyalty; in the face of what seemed to others fearful odds, the Irish, Poles, and Zionists never wavered in their loyalty to the cause of their national independence, which they ultimately regained. Loyalty to the laws of Athens, which brought him into the world and nurtured and educated him, was the chief motive of Socrates in accepting death at the hands of a regime that he had opposed and ridiculed, rather than fleeing from prison when given the chance to do so.
The nature and content of political loyalty has varied greatly through the ages. In Greek political thought the principle of unity in life tended to preclude the possibility that a variety of important loyalties might lay claim to the individual and alienate him from the polis, the city-state. Aristotleís famous dictum that man is by nature a political animal stated well the conviction that man could realize his aspirations only by active participation in the affairs of the city-state, which was the highest of all communities because it aimed at a more comprehensive good than any other, and at the highest good, the perfection of human development. A man was expected to be loyal to the city-state and to no one else.
Occasionally, however, a conflict of loyalties did arise. Loyalty to the vague concept of a Greek commonwealth of nations, standing over and above individual city-states and overriding local loyalties, inspired Athensí rejection of an alliance with Persia. In Sophoclesí Antigone the heroine counters the rulerís decree forbidding the burial of her brother with a moving appeal to the moral law of Zeus, which, she believes, has more valid claims to her loyalty than the duly constituted government. Platoís Republic expressed concern that the enjoyment of family life and private property by the governing guardian class would result in a conflict of loyalties from which the state would emerge second best.
Other people in antiquity also searched for unity through the state. The Romans, extolling the virtue of political duty, professed their loyalty in the proud affirmations civis Romanus sum, ìI am a Roman citizen,î and dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, ìsweet and fitting is it to die for oneís countryî (Horace). In the Hebrew theocratic state, ruled by the agents of Yahweh, the very essence of life consisted in serving and preserving the state, which was the equivalent with obedience to God.
Christianity rejected the classical principle of unity in life through the state. While the state, as a divine institution, exercised powers originating with God and was therefore entitled to loyalty as long as it functioned within its natural limits, man could never hope to fulfill his spiritual destiny within the framework of a political organization. To achieve this end, man had to turn elsewhere. The dualism of loyalty postulated by Christianity is affirmed in Jesusí famous dictum, ìRender therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesarís, and to God the things that are Godís.î St. Paul (Rom. 13:1 ff.) ìtoo would not have allowed the Christian to obey the State just at the point where it demands what is Godís.î (Oscar Cullmann, The State in the New Testament, p. 65, Charles Scribnerís Sons, New York, 1957). Man was, as St. Augustine put it, a citizen of two cities, the city of man and the city of God. Political theorists have often given support to this concept of dual loyalty by defending, for example, the right to resist arbitrary or tyrannical governments, especially if the right is claimed in consequence of oneís loyalty to God and the moral law. The Nurnberg and Adolf Eichmann trials have shown that absolute loyalty to the state may be demanded only if the state is guided by principles of right and justice.
The efforts of the rulers of the slowly emerging nation-states to enlist nationwide loyalties took place within the framework of feudalism. On the continent of Europe the result was often disappointing. In France, for example, vassals would owe loyalty only to their immediate lords rather than to the king; the latter, therefore, had no direct contact with the lesser vassals, who even retained the right to make war against him.
In England, William I, determined to be a true sovereign rather than one feudal lord among many, imposed an oath upon all the important landowners. In 1086 at Salisbury they swore that they would be faithful to him against all other men. This oath, repeated under later monarchs and extended to all people, even the peasants, by Henry II (1176), was a ìnational act of homage and allegiance.î

Allegiance, later defined by William Blackstone as ìthe tie or ligamen, which binds the subject to the King, in return for that protection which the King affords the subject,î has become a powerful legal weapon in the hands of governments, especially those of English- speaking peoples, to promote loyalty and to punish disloyalty. Allegiance assisted the integration of the Norman ìforeignersî with the English natives; formed the basis of British nationality; and played a part in transforming the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations, a result foreshadowed by the Balfour Report of the 1926 Imperial Conference, according to which Britain and the self-governing dominions were ìunited by a common allegiance to the Crown.î In deference to the Commonwealth, however, this aspect of allegiance lost its significance. Since 1949 nations qualify for membership even if they renounce allegiance to the crown by adopting republican (e.g., India) or separate monarchical (e.g., Malaysia) institutions provided that these nations accept the monarch ìas the symbol of the free association of its members and as such as the Head of the Commonwealth.î The consent of all the other members is required. Its absence led to the secession of South Africa (1961).
Allegiance has also been crucial in the definition of treason, which is a breach of the allegiance owed to the king in person.
Under the influence of nationalism Englishmen developed a second loyalty, one to the kingdom itself as distinguished from allegiance to the king as a person. On occasion, such as in 1399, 1689, and 1936, the conflict between the old allegiance and the new loyalty resulted in the victory of the latter over the former and the kingís deposition or abdication. Thus, the new loyalty was certainly an important political factor. Yet, the law, refusing to take comprehensive cognizance of changes affecting the sovereign, continued to recognize allegiance to him rather than the newly discovered loyalty to his realm. Thus, treason technically has never ceased to be a crime against the king, although the state rather than the sovereign himself has been involved.
In the effort to secure loyalty, totalitarian systems have accepted Rousseauís recommendations that there should be no independent associations within the state because they are formed at its expense. By contrast, in democracies a wide variety of such groups is not only tolerated but also encouraged because they all, subversives excepted, contribute to the formation of national loyalty ó as illustrated by the British party out of power, called ìHis Majestyís loyal oppositionî whose leader is being paid an annual salary by the very government he is opposing.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s