Loyalty And Patriotism

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Faithful to a person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty

For some, these two concepts are ingrained into oneself at birth while for others these are concepts they can only relate to through life experiences. For some, it has been legislatively provided backed with sanctions that they must serve their country while for others they queue up day in and day out with the hope that someday their Country would call them to “shed their blood for their Motherland”.

Honestly, I believe that these two concepts are fascinating not because they are subjective to the individual but rather because they exist in every single one of us in varying degrees. We are loyal to our country, our partner, our parents, our employer, our favourite food stall, our friends etc. Are we loyal to every one of above examples in an identical manner? We may be willing to shed blood, sweat and tears for our country and parents but when it comes to our employers and favourite food stall, we may not be mentally or physically ready for such draconian commitments. But why? What makes us more loyal to one “person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty” compared to another?

Furthermore, some of us are even prepared to turncoat – espionage against one’s country when offered the right incentives, cheat on our partners when they are unhappy in the relationship, lie to our parents when we feel that they don’t understand us, leave our employer for better job prospects, change food stalls or reduce patronizing it when the queue is long or food prices go up. Maybe for the right reasons we are all potential turncoats?

So how do you pick the true loyalist or patriots – the ones that can “in sickness and in health”, “till death do us part”, “shed sweat, blood and tears”, “sacrifice everything not because they have to or need to or they are paid for it but because they want”. I believe that a true loyalist or patriot believes in certain essential intrinsic characteristics, characteristics that form the foundation of the loyalty or patriotism.  When one chooses one’s loyalty and patriotism based on the correct  and appropriate essential intrinsic characteristics, then no change of circumstances or reason will become persuasive or “good reason” enough to turncoat. For example: do not choose your employer because he pays you “good” money or serve your country because “if not” you end up in jail as these are only excuses and not reasons for your loyalty and patriotism. Right now, I am seeing such “excuse-based” loyalty at work first hand.

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