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Redifining Loyalty: some questions.

Reader comment on item: The End of Treason

Submitted by Damon (United States), Aug 16, 2005 at 15:40

The whole debate about loyalty, treason, allies and enemies centers on very particular, deeply- held ideas of what constitutes nationhood, citizenship and human nature in general.

The fact is, to be a citizen of a nation is to be willfully a signatory, if you will, to a definite social contract, one that provides for, above all else, security to all equal participants in the said contract. Outside of that is lawlessness, of course. Which doesn't mean chaos necessarily, but certainly the possibility of chaos.

So, members of the contract, afraid of defending their person and property against scoundrels and brigands, band together to ward off danger and protect interests. Fanciful notions of a nation's "unifying history" and "special culture" have certain elements of descriptive truth in them, but are largely myths, fabricated by communities to ensure solidarity, protection, etc.The myth of Abraham and Zion, for example, or the goddess Columbia. Hence, loyalty is practiced through supposedly sacrificing one's self-interest for the overall survival of, what?...the protective unit, clearly.

Of course, history shows that human beings WITHIN the community still go about stabbing each other in the back, sending children off to die for the sake of very special interests, manipulating markets for self gain, etc. So, in effect, the protective unit, while protecting the physical welfare of all (the strong & the weak ) within the community, preserves the political, social and economic strength of the strong ALONE. So there is still lawlessness, a survival-of-the-fittest reality, even within the nation. So what is the nation? A farce?

And what is loyalty? Happy participation in what may amount to a farce, or perhaps adherence to storied myths about past heroes spilling blood for "freedom" or some such catch word?

And then what is treason? The recognition that one is human first, before being an adherent to any particular mythic cause or belief? Is it fighting for survival or justice against those who cherish identity myths and safety over truth and humanity? Or is it merely barbarism and political lechery? The word comes from the latin word meaning "to hand over"...and the modern usage indicates it is the handing over of secrets...that is, betrayal. Perhaps some forms of "treason" are acts that hand over the keys to our awareness of who we are, and why we are what we are...a call to "wake up and smell the coffee?" Looking forward to everyone's views on this.

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