Are you loyal?
What do you mean when you use the word loyalty?
Is loyalty the same as honesty and integrity?
This week on the show we had Alison Blackler who is both a coach and a therapist and as today, May 1st, is National Loyalty Day in the USA we decided to dive in and have a look at it.
The idea that this is described as loyalty day interests me greatly because many of us, and perhaps you included, will know May 1st as Labour Day. This was a socialist celebration of the workers when people would celebrate and have a party and sing ‘The Red Flag’, the socialist anthem.
In the 1920’s America had a severe reaction to socialism and communism. They talked about ‘Reds in the bed’ and how the communist revolution would sweep across the world. The USA created a capitalist reaction to socialism and they renamed the day loyalty day so that Americans could show their loyalty and allegiance to the flag, the Stars and Stripes, and to the capitalist philosophy of the ‘free world’ while at the same time denigrating socialism and the Red Flag. The same thing happened again in the 1940s…
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s.
Many famous people, actors and artists, writers and academics, had their lives ruined by the McCarthy witch hunts.
The strange thing about loyalty is that both sides believe that they are right and the participants are committed and faithful to their own point of view.
I know that in the First World War, prior to a battle, both sides would hold a religious service and offer up prayers on the basis that both had a loyal faith that God was on their side. God was either on one side or the other, or neither, who knows? The participants were all loyal to the faith.
As I type this we are coming to terms with the recent Isis bombings in Sri Lanka. I assume that the Christians in the Churches had a loyal faith to their religion. I also assume that the followers of Isis also had a loyal faith to their religion and to their belief.
The problem, as I see it is that loyalty is always in the eye of the beholder and because of that we all mean different things when we declare our loyalty. the most common declared loyalty is in relationships and marriage, we call it love. However, we all mean different things when we use the word. If I say that I love and you reply that you love me too, how do we know that we both mean the same thing?
Loyalty, in general use, is a devotion and faithfulness to a nation, cause, philosophy, country, group, or person. Philosophers disagree on what can be an object of loyalty, as some argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.
The more I think about it the more I feel that loyalty, for most people, is concerned with self interest. By that I do not mean self loyalty, which is sadly lacking and is much needed. I am talking about the associations and attachments that we make that are only as strong as what we need them to be at that moment. I have seen too many people change sides, leave causes and relationships after they decided that their loyalties will be better served elsewhere.
In the end the realisation is that we can only rely on other people for as along as we meet their needs so that loyalty is, in most cases, only skin deep.
Take care and be loyal to yourself