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arts / rec.arts.books / Principled loyalty

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o Principled loyaltyIlya Shambat

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Principled loyalty

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Subject: Principled loyalty
From: ibsham...@gmail.com (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Wed, 4 Oct 2023 23:10 UTC

Some people's concept of ethics is based on the concept of loyalty, and other people's concept of ethics is based on the concept of principle. Neither however is adequate in itself. I combine the two to come up with a more workable concept: Principled Loyalty.

Loyalty, by itself, creates things such as the mafia. Mafia has strong internal loyalties, but it treats everyone else like dirt. I do not want to see the world being run by mafia values.

Principle, by itself, lacks realism and compassion. Principle wants to treat everyone equally. I do not believe that that is a fair expectation. People will have loyalties to one another. People will prefer their own over others. People will prefer their children over other people's children, and people will prefer their countries over other countries. I consider it foolishness to expect anything else.

I combine the two to create something better than either: Principled Loyalty.

Principled loyalty seeks the well-being of people to whom one is loyal, but it refuses to do wrong things for them. Specifically, it refuses to do wrong to others. If my country wanted me to throw sulfuric acid into the face of a child, I would not do it. If someone to whom I am personally loyal wanted me to commit murder, I would not do it. Instead I will look for workable ways to advance their best interest without hurting others.

Principled loyalty therefore corrects the potential for error in both loyalty and principle and then combines the two to create something better than either side.

One thing that happens when cultures mix is people's conception of ethics getting taken away from them. I used to have a strong ethical system that was based in Communism. When I came to America, that got deconstructed, and I was left without moral guidance. I have had to use my mind and my experiences to create a more informed system of ethics. Principled loyalty is what I came up with as a result.

With principled loyalty, we see both human reality and values at work. People will have loyalties to one another, but unconditional loyalty takes people into the mafia land. Principle is very much a virtue, but by itself it fails to consider human reality. There is a need for both. With principled loyalty, people will advance the lot of their own without hurting others in the process.

I will prefer my own over others, and I do not expect anyone else to act differently. I will not however do wrong things for them. I will look at how to advance their interests without hurting others. Doing that corrects the potential for error in both loyalty and principle. And the result is a more functional system of ethics – one that considers both human reality and principle and gives people a workable way to advance the interests of their own without hurting others.


arts / rec.arts.books / Principled loyalty

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