Loyalty, But At What Cost?

“The larger the group… the more… as an individual you have to surrender for the sake of group thought. And when you suspend your individual[ity] you also give up a lot of your humanity. You will do things in the name of a group that you would never do on your own… because you’ve lost your identity, because you now owe your allegiance to this thing that’s bigger than you are and that controls you.”

― George Carlin

I’ve never been much of a “joiner”. Sure, over the decades I have joined and participated – even held office – in a few groups – Boy Scouts, as a youth; sports teams, while in school; a church, while my children grew up; an internationally known service club, in my early adulthood; a union, at work; a political party – but none that I participated in for long (except school sports) before quitting.

In all of those institutions I found that I was expected to not just abide by all their rules, but (except sports) to promote and defend the institution even if – and in lieu of – any personal reservations I might have had about one or more of their tenents, and to conform to the collective “group-think”, or be branded as a trouble-maker or apostate should I question or dare challenge something I thought wrong.

We could argue, theologically, free will versus fate – who or what master steers our ship as we sail toward the hereafter – but in our temporal lives sometimes the negatives outweigh the positives – the personal cost to one’s own sense of identity and what’s right and wrong – to surrender, submitting to the will of others.

Call me a rebel, if you want, but I draw the line when told, “You must.” Oh, but I mustn’t, especially if I think it’s wrong.

Too many people today follow the party line, march blindly and blissfully to the siren call of inclussion, because they can’t or won’t think for themselves, or because of some sense of inner personal need or inadequacy that can only be assuaged by being a member of a herd and led.

If I am to choose an allegiance, if I am to follow and obey anything or anyone, it is because I believe – and not because of what I’m told I should believe.

I will not sacrifice myself to loyality, just for loyality’s sake.

– Bill


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