Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thoughts on Loyalty

After an uneventful 4th of July, I got to thinking about the power of the state and how our loyalties are manipulated for others' interests. I came across this issue a few years ago when reading about the issue of Parens Patriae. Parens Patriae means literally, "parent of the country." It refers traditionally to the role of STATE as sovereign and guardian of persons under legal disability. Parens Patriae originates from the English common law where the King had a royal prerogative to act as guardian to persons with legal disabilities such as infants. Many articles have been written on this issue. The most recent flare-up surrounding Alec Baldwin reflects his frustration towards having to parent in absentia, his daughter having been forcibly removed from his "custody" by the state. But I digress.

The issue is that we are forced to deal with a series of truth and lies as we are born and grow to maturity. The first loyalty is to your biological mother. Then it goes to a combination of your biological mother and father. Of course, this is only if they are not abusing you or have given you up for adoption. Then those children realize sooner or later that they were adopted and that their loyalty should lie with "those who loved them best." That's an interesting conundrum. After that, the child goes to school.

Once at school, the titanic struggle begins to separate the child from the values of their family. The child must decide whether to side with mom and/or dad or with what is being taught at school. Once into the teenage years, the loyalties shift again to siding with your peer group.

Then we either go to college or into the workforce. From here, your loyalties shift to the college, a specific fraternity or sorority, or some new social group that is found.

Then of course we arrive at our employers' place of business. We are told to be loyal to the company or we can't have our house or send our children to the neighborhood school.

From an early age, we are taught to have loyalty to the state. The highest of all ideals being to "die for your country." But what of loyalty to family, friends, or your religion?

My point is that after all of these fights for your loyalty and attention, it's no wonder that people give up and throw all of their identity behind a NASCAR driver or a sports team or their local Moose lodge (if any of those things still exist). I can see where a life of ignorance is can be happier than one of full knowledge.

Does anyone else suffer from such issues? How much better would it be if we only owed allegiance to our family? Or to the church? Or to our brother?

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