The Concept of Loyalty: A Misguided Ideal or a Dying Virtue

22 Nov

Written by Simon S. Sundaraj

Chapter 1: Introduction

Loyalty is a deep-rooted virtue within the subconscious of every individual around the globe. Its notion continues to survive and evolve as humanity’s primal nature became a coherent living intellect. The question would be how a coherent living intellect could turn into a twisted individual in the name of loyalty that would resort to destruction, devastation, and death.

The claim of loyalty going amok seem preposterous to many, but it’s a fact of life to some who is on the receiving end of its wrath. It also continues to inspire young men and women from different classes of society to use their bodies as a weapon in defense for an idea or belief. This blinding loyalty continues in places around the globe by numerous terrorist groups.

Then there’s the pure form of loyalty that inspires many to die for a noble and just cause. Today the ideal of loyalty still grows strong in some parts of the world. This form is clearly demonstrated by the Gurkhas and the French Foreign Legionnaires who enlist their life away in order to serve a foreign state. One would ask why individuals have come from lands a far and to fight for a country those they could scarcely identified.

Sometimes the answer seem a complicated as human nature. To understand the concept of loyalty one must define its meaning by diving into the web that binds human existence. Human existence over the evolution of time is thanks to its ability to band together into a community in order to survive. The survival of a community depends on the collective contribution of every individual. A matter of speaking in order for a person to survive, one must align with a community to fulfill his or her basic necessities in life.

This perception of the evolution of loyalty is open to debate but, it will paint a picture in considering its imprint into human psyche. Still it does no sled some light how would a simple function of loyalty could harness the power people within a community in organizing an army of believers to die whole-hardheartedly.

The question now could the concept of loyalty be defined but, to answer that question one have to dig deeper on the influences that propel it to this day in age. First one will need to take a look at loyalty from the ground up. Every idea starts with the individual and there is where personal loyalty derives. Then the next step would be a sense of fellow-feeling to a Gene-group or family and community. This would in turn lead to an acceptance of an individual into a state or an organization. Finally the trump card of loyalty that continues to cast a shadow on mankind in the twenty-first century is religion.

Chapter II: Stages of Loyalty

To define loyalty is to look further by dividing its concepts into different types and stages. Stage one is personal loyalty and it is important that an individual stand for something he or she believes in, yet will be able to affiliate with a group or a person. This personal stage influence the type of loyalty a person could be influence by or from an individual or a leader at the pinnacle of a society. A couple of examples would be Saddam Hussein who derives his persona by receiving the support of the Sunni Iraqis. The other would be Hitler and Stalin who consider themselves as the embodiment of the state itself. The two influence the masses by tongue or at gun point to pay homage in blood by dying for them in war.

Stage two is family loyalty that enables an individual to support and function with his or her family’s support. The type of hold a family loyalty has on an individual is the respect and honor requirement that a person need to fulfill in order to gain recognition within the family hierarchy system. In simple manner of saying would be an individual would not disobey his elders even if they might be wrong. It is to maintain the fragile social order within the family nucleus. One such example would be the Oligarchy system of the ancient Greek city states like Athens. Athens was run by a group of individuals during the Peloponnesian war in order to keep the population loyal and to curve free thought. Even punish those who preach against tradition like the unfortunate Socrates that was order to take his own life. Socrates abides the suicide order because it was to preserve the social order of Athens and his personal loyalty to the city-state.

Next is tribal loyalty in stage three that promotes kinship among a group of individuals centered in a mountainous or rural area. It also promotes the reliance on each member of a group to cooperate and contribute with each other in order to survive. The type of loyalty is a communal bases like a family but on a larger scale. A few examples like the Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda. The two so-called ethnic groups tried to wipe each other out over the decades of infighting. In the early 1990s the Hutu had the upper hand and went on a rampage and killed 800,000 Tutsi. The Hutu mobilize their entire population to commit the act of genocide. This is a clear evidence of tribal loyalty because every Hutu has to kill at least a single Tutsi or be killed by a fellow peer if the act was not carried out.

Loyalty within a society and state falls in stage four because it’s a combination of groups of individuals from a vast region. This form of loyalty allowed opinions among the population to come into an agreement. It promotes democracy as a type of loyalty that individuals within a state or society could be a part off. One example would be the participation of an election may it be for a mayor or president that brings everybody from different political views to cast their vote. One may say that this type of loyalty is far fetch, but if one take a deeper look at the process of an election, its reality. Imagine if everybody believed in taking up arms for a cause each time a government fail to appease the needs of a specific group. The answer would be chaos, but if everyone believe in an election than it’s about existence of social order. To preserve it one has to be loyal to the state or society because it is what one who elected the individuals to take charge of the society or state.

The fourth stage is gene-group and nation-state loyalty is the fifth stage (both are interlinks most of the time and at times starts out as one or the other but always comes together in being an appeal to all its loyal followers) because it is a form of identity that an individual could find commonalities. For instance if a group or community is originate on the far side of the world it will still have a psychological hold on an individual no matter where he or she is born. This type of loyalty that exists in a nation-state and in a gene-group could be compared to nationalism or Nazism. If one takes nation states like Iceland or Japan it is more likely that everyone looks alike physically. The nation-state is a place where everybody were not immigrants but of the same ethnicity. In some extend a nation-state and gene-group is one of the same. One example might actually differ the two is the ideology of Nazism because for one it preaches the superiority of a race. Meanwhile a nation-state is much broader besides physical appearance it must have a common language, culture, and religion. Nazism on the other hand preaches genetic similarity of the German/Aryan race and that could only be obtained through genetics that one could only be considered as Aryans. These belief systems empower the individual to contribute to a country in the form of culture similarities or genetic compatibility.

Religious loyalty is the final sixth stage that continues to plague mankind’s beliefs system in this present day in age. The first five stages may have impacted humanity in some form or another, but religion is the ultimate show stopper because it evolves from time to time. It strike fear and brings death in the name of a faith, but provides hope and salvation to those who sacrifice in the name of god. All monastic religion could be used to illustrate this type of loyalty because for one it preaches complete devotion to the Almighty without question. The other example could best describe the role of religion in reshaping loyalty is the Crusade Wars. It was a bloody time where young men were sent to die for a piece of desert real estate but in the grandeur scheme it was for a belief. (In any conflicts the reason for starting one is the lack of communications and complete understanding of cultures and history). The Pope orders the Kings of Europe to attack and conquer Jerusalem. As quoted from Mathew “His Lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” In retaliation the Islamic imams decreed that all infidels must be killed in order to free the Holy Lands. The two major religions continued their struggle for over two hundred years until a settlement was reached.

To some the arguments and analogies of stages in loyalty and its intertwining types of loyalty are debatable. It will be an interesting debate for one to indulge in a conversation that seems to never end, but its does paint a logical picture on the realities of the origins of loyalty from a psychological or emotional point of view. The next question would the stated stages and types of loyalty shed a light on this illusive subject. The answer is partially yes, but it can ever understand the spontaneous notion of loyalty through practical terms. Then in turn one would ask what would influence the change in one’s loyalty. The answer may seem a stretch, but anything is possible given the sequences of events that occur in this present day in age. It is safe to say if one needs to sculpt statue, but first one to find the right stone, tools, place, and moment to get the job done. One might ask what does a statue or stone got to do with loyalty. The answer is everything starts with the individual because even if the first five or six stages may have impacted his or hers idea about loyalty, but there are other factors that will heavily influence its conception of loyalty.

Chapter III: Influences

The influences of ones background sometime have nothing to do with an individual reaction in projecting his or hers loyalty in life. Now let’s take a look at the influences of environment, information, ideology, education, culture, religion, identity, and history that holds weight on an individual perception on loyalty. Environment is a key factor in projecting ones loyalty because if a person is confine into an isolated region or group then he or she will be subjected to a narrow train of thought. The out side of the coin would be if an individual is located in a city then the idea on loyalty would be wide-ranging. One example would be the Kibbutz or Jewish settlements in the Holy Lands. Individuals in these kibbutz protest furiously against the Israel government proposal to remove them in order to hand over their land to the Palestinians. Even there wasn’t anyone killed in the removing of settlers in September, 2005, but it showed the world that this people are loyal to their community rather than to the Israeli government. The Kibbutz might not be an example of lack of communication, but of a banding together to defend their homes. They were drawn together as a united force out of loyalty rather than law breakers to make a stand against their perception of an invasion on their environment.

Then one could now argue that the power of communications should be a factor in contributing to ones own sense of loyalty. It is true because with communication comes education and information that shows even how isolated an individual is he or she will be effected by it. One also could state that communication is part of education and information because it is one of the same. In this day in age the ability for a person to project his or hers ideas around the globe is commonality and a necessity to do business. First you have the importance of education that could shape society from its very core. Education caters to the individual specific needs in person because it is open to interpretation or a tool of corruption in order to serve another power-hungry desire. One such example was Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. His book became as popular as the bible in Germany not because it was a great writing, but it fed on the hatred in the German hearts against the Jewish people.

Then if one to project education through information even further from ones environment requires the control of the mass media. Televisions and computers in the twenty-first century is one of the most powerful medium that an organization would be able to rally its troops or supporters. It is also able to project a visual or image that could motivated an entire population over the globe to support a conflict which has nothing to do with them. The saying goes an image work a thousand words, but a picture of a naked burned girl could cost a war. Non-Western networks is one key example where by this news network as portray the United States Armed Forces as oppressors in Iraq and compare its similarities to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. This information about US forces as occupiers maybe debated, but in the eyes of Muslims around the globe it might speak to them differently. Only time will be the judge whether it would be a calling card for a united front against the United States of America or a call for a better dialogue of understanding by both sides to resolve the ongoing hostilities. (The Western media fault lies in the question of ratings and what they think viewers like, instead of tell what the story is! This was develop during the Vietnam War which was morale blow to Western powers especially the United States of America)

 It only goes to show that a sense of loyalty to die in the name of the Almighty against these occupying infidels is growing on the battlefields in Iraq but using religion as a weapon is not fix on a particular region, race and religion as seen in Northern Ireland, Kashmir, Cyprus, Kosovo, and may other places around the globe. The thought of conflict intertwine with loyalty transcend into the realm of human nature and existence as a whole because it seem humans tend to shift blame when there exist some new to fear or a challenge to long-held beliefs.

The notion of identity, culture, and history are also contributing factors to a person’s loyalty. On the question of why identity is a defining issue in a conflict? The answer is everything and nothing because it creates a separation of an individual within a society, but it is also an individual right for self-expression. Identity may be argued as a dangerous thing, but in a wrong context everything could be deadly. The Iraqi Sunnis see themselves not as Iraqis, but to them as a disfranchise group of people who the US and new Iraqi government fail to acknowledge. The insurgency within the Sunni triangle is to offset the legitimacy of the new government of Iraqi, but to inspire a popular Sunni resistance. Before the existence of identity there is culture and history. Culture is a tradition that became deep-rooted within an ethic group over the period of generations. Many have killed and died for culture in order to prove their loyalty to an organization or a group. One example is the Bushido Code that instills the values of self perfection and obedience to the continuous stability within society. Now the flip side of the coin on Bushido was the radicalization of a great idea into a weapon by the Meiji government during World War II. It was to prepare the masses to commit an act of total self-destruction upon a possible United States invasion on mainland Japan.

History is also the main offender that inspires or creates a belief system. One might what is so dangerous about history? The answer is whoever interprets it will be the master that makes or breaks an entire population. History is the answer to the past and a guideline for the present, but a question for the future. One would ask what does this all means. It means that anything can be manipulated if one side or the other has the will or desire to do it. One key fact is the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The Arabs or Muslims nations will not admit to the existence of Israel and the Holocaust for a long time. They believe that the Jews were the new western imperialist power occupying Palestine. On the Israeli side the Holy Land is the land given by Yahweh to the descendents of Abraham. The existence of a Palestinians state is just a footnote in history and they are not occupying the Arab lands. They are resettling on lands that claimed to be theirs 2000 years ago and that it’s their rights since the Holocaust had happen to them. This was the historical definition both Arab and Israeli came too and later built around their culture so one day it turn to a sense of identity.

The other two important influences are ideology and religion. These two have the surface in the stages section, but both deserve to be given a second look. This two can override the train of thoughts possesses by an individual even if one takes into account the other attributes and influences on loyalty. Communism is an excellent example because for over fifty years people around the globe would fight under its banner. Individuals that have not prior relationships would band together to fight the evils of capitalism. It only demanded to individuals to pledge their allegiance to the cause of Communism. One might debate the different types or forms of Communism, but one have accept that during the Cold War western powers perceive all communist regimes or terrorist were evil. The members Red Brigade in Germany and Italy were professionals within a capitalistic society. Yet they were willing to place their life for what they thought was an ideal society and while others regard it as oppressive. Ironically, in the twenty-first century religion has step into the lime light in place of ideology. After all the two is one of the same and as for Islamic radicals follows the struggle against the evil western empire.

Since an accumulation of a background to shed some light on loyalty has been lay forth, then the discussion now, whether loyalty worth its weight in gold in this materialistic world. One has to keep in mind of the types, stages, and influences of loyalty that would an able an individual to define its notion of existence in the human psyche. So the question would be how would an individual on this present day in age be affected by an age-old virtue? The answer is a sense of acceptance or the dictation of tradition will be the key factor in keeping this virtue alive and well within an individual psyche. Then the next question would be is complete loyalty is justifiable? The answer is no because complete loyalty requires one to ignore morality. Terrorist groups focus more on the acceptance of complete loyalty rather than the notion of morality. If morality is brought in to the frame then the rules in attack a target fill with civilians with human bombs would be wrong. Then total loyalty is possible as proven by terrorist around the world, but it would mean to completely disregard of rational thoughts and morality.

The reasoning for a proper or justifiable loyalty is open for debate. Now with the idea of different stages and types loyalty be taken into account would meant in order to win the hearts and minds of the enemy one have to break the foundation of its loyalty. In order to do so is to deal with the philosophical critique of loyalty by defining that a complete adoration of loyalty is morally impossible.

Plato once said “Only a man who is just can be loyal, and that loyalty is a condition of genuine philosophy.” Plato was trying to elaborate on Socrates commitment to the laws of Athens who condemns him to take his own life. Its trying to shape the fact that an individual who is clear minded and knows what truth is will do the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve an ideal. Then a just man is also an individual who has morals and will be able to know between right and wrong.

If a man is devoted to a cause without clarity then the sense of loyalty will be clouded by the merits of his actions and not of the repercussions for his actions. This brings in the statement by Josiah Royse who stated “It was the supreme moral good, and that one’s devotion to an object mattered more than the merits of the object itself.” That was the justification of the Nazis when they decided to march the Jews to their death. It was done out of the moral good of the German people. The merits of an objective are the balance between excessive loyalty and supreme morality. This may be used why the British view the Gurkhas as an object or material to be used and shelf aside once it holds no value. The same goes for terrorist who used the notion of loyalty as a source of recruitment and to expand the ongoing conflicts. One might debate that the two is wide-ranging and different, but a closer look would suggest other wise because they both need the human factor to fuel a purpose to its end.

Chapter IV: Case Study: Hamburg Cell and Gurkha’s Pledge

Now with those thoughts in mind an individual should take a deeper look why will educated young men fly planes into buildings. The Hamburg cell centered around three individual in which all was graduate students in Germany. This group is a step out from the normal suicide attackers because most men and women were from poverty-stricken class of society. They do what is necessary in order to ease their family burdens by committing the act or martyrdom for a religious cause. In this case concerning Mohammed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, and Ziad Samir Jarrah it was definitely a whole new level all together. To understand the motivation is to explore the background of these individuals. Unlocking the secrets of loyalty is the key in winning the war on terrorism and undermining its endless supply of suicidal human enthusiast. This discussion is also a viewpoint on strategically interpretation of an idea that could make or break an individual psyche into ones endless ambition.

Mohammed Atta was the leader of the Hamburg cell. He was born in 1968 to two wealthy parents. His birth place was Kafr El Sheikh, Egypt. Atta grew up as a moderate Muslim and graduate from the University of Cairo in architecture. He was a remarkable student in the Technical University of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany from 1993 to 1999. A key factor begun to show his frustration on modernization has on Arab civilization. His fellow classmates said he was an intelligent individual, but was angry about the western dealing in the Oslo Accords and Gulf War. Out of this, his religious believe grew and he became more radicalize in trying to project his believes by plotting a terrorist attack. Atta case was a sense of isolation that begun to push him to find a cause where he could claim to be apart of and that was total faithfulness to Islam and the Arab culture.

Next was Marwan Alshehhi who was born to a Muslim cleric in the United Arab Emirates. He was a devout Muslim, but not radicalize. Alshehhi enrolled in a language school in Bonn, Germany and it took him two years to learn German. Meanwhile he stayed with a German family, but it did not last long because he fails his language exams. Marwan was a dedicated student and tried again, but he soon met up with Atta at a religious gathering. After this meeting in 1999, his views became more radical and begun to assist Atta in plotting the terror attacks. For Alshehhi this may be the case of a personal loyalty to an individual that inspire him with the sugar-coated religions obedience add to it.(This is not solely define to a particular religion but to various groups just like the Jones town incident or the gassing of Japanese Transit System by cultist.)

Then there was Ziad Samir Jarrah who was a Lebanese born in the city of Beirut to two wealthy parents. He was not a devout Muslim, but a secular one. Jarrah attended a Catholic private school and later move to Germany to study aerospace engineering in Hamburg. He was a normal youth who enjoy the social gathering by wandering into discos in Greifswald, Germany. He also met his girlfriend Aysel Sengün who was a secular Muslim from Turkey. Soon met Atta and Alshehhi and became more radicalize in ideal and religion. He tried to force Sengün to dress more modestly and she refuses. They continue to see each other but the fighting were intense. Jarrah was not a typical Muslim devout until he begun to read and interpreting the Q’uran. In his case his loyalty is one of acceptance into a cause because he felt that his stray from the religion and culture of Islam cause him to lose his identity. In order to show he has the sense of identity and by show complete loyalty to the cause by proving he will be a fellow martyr among his brethren.

The Hamburg cell showed that in the name of religion complete adoration of loyalty can be executed. In the writings of Al-Baqarah “Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah, they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” These men did experience some levels of radicalization before they became completely intertwine in the notion of unconditional loyalty for Islamic Jihad. The three men prior to the Hamburg cell have communally in occurrence that might have influence their loyalty. Then by using the types of factors stated earlier that influence these three individuals in becoming radical martyr one could paint a picture on the human aspect in loyalty.

The members of the Hamburg cell did not grow up in an isolated environment where they were cornered like the pool Palestinian suicide bombers. Atta, Jarrah, and Marwan chose self isolation by regarding the need to stay faithful to the cause of Islamic Jihad. The self impose will to isolate oneself from reason is a step close to the complete adoration of an object or desire with any foreign influences to intervene. The three men started out with moderate views of the world, but as they saw the degradation of the society morals conflicting with their ideology radicalization was inevitable. They all grew up in moderate Islamic states and which has a strong Western media influence. They are educated in Germany which is one of the most liberal countries in the world that still has some traditional values. It showed then the ignorance of the views of Western media on Non-Western society. In turn these three men begun to look into other media sources for self-assurance in their viewpoints. The power of information is a double edge sword because Atta and his group turn to slandered Islamic Jihad home videos for information.

Since these group of men came to Germany the begun to experience Samuel Huntington’s theory of clash of civilizations. The infrastructures of Western development on the need of materialism rather than nature are a focal point where Eastern thoughts differed. Jarrah and his group came from moderate Islamic families who like most people in the world rather see the gathering of wealth, security and pursuit of happiness. Their perception change when they were in Germany with the overriding factors of western social decline surrounding them. They decided to band to gather under banner of commonality like Islam won’t any other religious communities around the Western world. As this group of men met in the discussion community became to the radicalization of a faith in order to punish non believers. It also establishes the notion of Pan-Islamism/Arabism in order to unite different nationalities into a powerful voice or action group. It was also a safety net to keep each other in check and became a reminder of the individual identity is alive within the Pan-Arabism group. It’s also radicalize the group from the rest of a foreign society by radicalizing its members actions and thoughts. (Won’t any other minority have done what the Pan-Islamism/Arabism if the roles are reverse)

Atta, Marwan, and Jarrah all grew up under oppressive regimes that were backed by the United States. The moderate opposition was not supported by the United States (US), but a strong handed government was back by the US. The men were self-aware of the US role in regional politics especially in the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. Jarrah and Atta would be directly influence with Israeli when both nations were partially occupied during the few Arab-Israeli Conflicts. This angered and resentment only drove these men to a point of giving up their lives in the name of Islam. The other was education that became a factor when Atta and Marwan the corruption of a western education had on them begun to turn to the Islamic teachings in order to purify them. Jarrah who was strayed begun to used the Islamic teachings to search a sense of identity in order to place him in an important part of the cause. “All that they said was: “Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and anything we may have done that transgressed our duty: establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith ” by Al-i-Imran. The teachings of Islam require complete loyalty by its followers and the Hamburg cell accomplished its objective by obeying its own radical interpretation of Islam. (Interpretation of documents and preaching tend to differ from time to time and numerous religions, persons, and governments have been using words to justify its actions. Example like the Hutu in Rwanda and Burundi, Fascist Italy, and list goes on)

The Hamburg cell is a unique case of the radicalization of a believe system to one twisted end. Even if the individuals involved were educated and had a secure future it can be radicalize in the name of a cause. It showed that individuals could be blinded in the in notion of loyalty. Yet this was a few men that who place their logic and morals aside in order to inflict mass destruction. Then with the Hamburg cell aside comes another case of undying loyalty by an entire race pledge for glory in death in a country across the globe. The Gurkhas, warriors from the high Himalayan mountain range state who are known for honor and bravery in battle, but undying loyalty for its British master to all four corners of the world. A Gurkha soldier never draws the kukri without drawing blood and that’s a fact when one comes face to face with them in combat. The Gurkhas have a strong history and culture of loyalty to king, country, and family. To understand the unique situation of the Gurkha soldier is to look at its birth as legal mercenaries in the British Army after the Gurkha War of 1814.

The Gurkha War that lasted for two years from 1814 to 1816 between the Nepalese and British East Indian Company was a bloody affair. The Gurkhas believe it’s their birth right to died in battle. It is rather too died with honor than a coward and with that idea that the British came to respect them as equals. Even though Nepal was defeated the British were impressed with the fighting ability of the Gurkhas decided to hire them as mercenaries in their regiments throughout India. Then Shree Teen Maharja Jung Bahadur Rana, the first prime-minister and ‘Father’ of modern Nepal permitted the hiring of Gurkhas within the British Army.

The Gurkhas were foot soldiers the British Empire reign over the Indian subcontinent and the rest of the colonies around the globe. Gurkhas infantrymen serve with distinction along their British counterparts during the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, World War I, World War II and other British led operations throughout her colonies. Their reputation became world well-known during World War I. The Battle of Loos immortalizes the Gurkhas as they fought to the very last men. Some would say why go over the trench when death waits. The Gurkhas was born to fight and that the Goddess Kali demanded blood sacrifices in order for an individual to be purified. To obtain purification is too died in battle. At the Battle of Gallipoli the Gurkhas were the only troops to capture the Sri Bari crest that looks down into the straits. Time and time again in battle the man of Nepal prove their valor and honor for the British Empire. They will never quit until they get the job done or it kills them.

Then in World War II the Gurkhas served with distinction by remaining loyal and crushing the Indian National Army that were allies of the Japanese in Burma. The Gurkhas were also part of a commandos force known as Chindits that served under General Wingate in conducting raids behind enemy lines in the Burma-India-China Theater. They also fought in North Africa and the Italian campaigns for the British forces. The British realizing that they have come across a breed of men who were a valuable tool to have in a conflict and also would die for a country without question so they immediately decided to enlist the Gurkhas as part of the British Army permanent deployment structure. After the war they were sent to the British colonies to restore order with force and curve civil independence movement. These deployments convince Singapore to hire Gurkhas as constables in order to have a neutral force to crush any racially motivated riots. Gurkhas as fair and balance came to be known throughout its colonies and the reputation of carrying out its order to the letter. They do not believe that war has morals and no one is immune from the wrath of a Kukri. Basically if a Gurkha goes into a battle they are expected to fight to the death in the execution of an order and if they survive it would meant they completely annihilated the enemy.

The British kept there Gurkhas contingents after the independence of India and a separate treaty was sign to maintain a steady follow of recruits into the British Army. Some of the Gurkhas serve under the Indian and Singaporean flag. Each of these countries has a separate treaty with each other and not with Nepal in recruiting the Gurkhas. Under the international law the Gurkhas are not considered as mercenaries, but as regular soldiers fighting for their host countries. There is a treaty called the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) between Nepal, Britain, and India in the recruitment of Gurkhas. This treaty also trains Gurkhas into full-time professional soldiers. They are not allowed to marry for five years upon joining the service and even communicate with the population of a host country, but their aim is to be prepared for war at any given time.

This agreement applies to 3,500 Gurkhas serving in the British Army and 100,000 soldiers in the Indian Army but it excludes the RNA. The conditions stated in the agreement illustrates that Nepalese citizens can only participate in the recruitment process. The host countries will maintain and protect the religious, cultural, and social needs for the Gurkhas under their serve. Singapore on the other hand has a separate agreement with Britain in replenishing their supply of Gurkhas. The agreement however does not aid in the welfare of the Gurkhas after accomplishing its service in the British Army.

Then who is to blame if the British only regards Gurkhas as objects not as subjects. “Unconditional loyalty is morally forbidden, for it does not recognize moral limits” said Michael E. Brumen. The Gurkhas pledge is the complete reverse of Brumen statement. They have proven unconditional loyalty in battle by laying their lives on the line in wars other than their own. The British on the other hand does not recognize the moral limits by only regarding the Gurkhas as auxiliaries. In respect to the Gurkhas they are just by showing a standard of pure loyalty to their maters, but it is the British who does not seem to hold any responsibility in the welfare of a former Gurkha. The question remains does the British Empire owe loyalty to these men of arms? The answer is yes because it’s out of respect and loyalty the British must do everything in its power to assist the Gurkhas.

Chapter V: Conclusion 

The concept of loyalty is an ever-changing face as time evolves from one phase into the next, but human beings always need to have the sense of belonging and will ensure loyalty to remain within the psyche of man. It will be a dilemma when it contradicts with the objectivity of a situation. Toner stated the complexities of an individual to pledge his or hers allegiance to a leader or the country. One key example was General Douglas MacArthur bickering with Truman who believes his loyalty is to the constitution not to the president. The reality of the fact is that the president is part of the constitution in whereby the people of a nation selected him or her to run the country. Toner argues that a complete adoration to loyalty is possible, but a balancing at between the mission and principles is a must. Even Toner states that there is a higher loyalty, available to reasonable human beings. Then the justification for the Gurkhas to remain loyal is right.The extremist or terrorist groups around the globe who acted in the name of religion did in fact answer to a higher loyalty. So the question whether loyalty is obsolete in this day in age is no.

Is loyalty a misguided ideal and the answer is yes and no. No because its inspire individual to serve for a just cause. To do the right thing by being truthful in every action and it also promote the existence of morality. Yes, morality come into play because it is for a fact that loyalty in its prefect form will always do the right thing no matter what were the orders. Individuals like Martin Luther King and Gandhi were loyal to the cause of non violence and they did protest by breaking laws not because their loyalty was misplace, but it was place in their loyalty of morality of a just cause. The flip side of the coin is yes because it leads to the twisting of the truth to ones end. It is to inspire the loyalty of the masses to follow a misinterpreted cause like religious terrorism and Nazism. It’s also demonstrates that a misguided ideal of loyalty could be used a strategic weapon and if one wants to destroy the enemy than one must attack its foundational loyalty link between the people and its mission. As the Gurkhas case study showed us that loyalty has its own stages, types, and influences. Once all of the criteria that makes loyalty as a weapon than it would mean that it could be broken.

The final question would be is loyalty a dying virtue. The answer is yes because it has lost its moral content over the ages of manipulation by religions and ideologies. Its true form was well demonstrated by Socrates and the Roman Republic. Toner contributes the decline of virtuous loyalty to the decay of society and its materialistic needs to survive. He also states the problem of education that also a contributing factor to inspire a sense of loyalty within the population. One have to agree with Toner to extend on the issue of social degradation in society as core of the problem after all that was the same argument the terrorist used to attack the US. In actually it is within in the individual that the virtue of loyalty thrives, but not in the entirety of society like it used too. The reason is with the rationalization of education one would be logically able to defining the problem and creating solutions rather than backing a military move whole-hardheartedly.

The world will be a worst place without loyalty because it is the virtue and ideal that binds mankind from imploding on itself. As seen without the sense of loyalty to an ideal there will not be states or governments just a bunch of scavengers roaming around for food. Terrorist has used loyalty to it ends because it knows and witness the potential of the human beings as weapons. They can be stop if the population is shown a form of loyalty caters to the need in loyalty of human unity. Loyalty is here to stay with the as evolution of warfare continues so must the requirement of individuals to fight them. As for religion and cultures it will always plague mankind to separate from the sense of the idea of equality to an idea of self impose community collective mindset. The world is getting smaller and the sense of brethren among individuals should be taken into account because after all, the virtuous idea of loyalty should serve in benefiting humanity not an organization or a state. The question should one ask would be; where will ones loyalty lies when it is the right thing to do? Why do this horrible act of violence happen when Islam, Judaism, Christianity and so forth have been living in peace in past and not now? And what action is morally justified in being loyal to a cause or belief?

The questions to Why and Who cause this actions should never stop because by understanding to where and what cause this acts of violence under the concept of loyalty; the we as a human race can prevent this in order to move forward in peace and harmony. Yes the truth hurts but the assurance it will never happen again worth the effort, dialogue, and hindsight. In the end, only an individual will be able to answer that final question of loyalty.

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2 Responses to “The Concept of Loyalty: A Misguided Ideal or a Dying Virtue”

  1. Christa Falkenroth May 20, 2014 at 03:47 #

    This article was amazing and very enlightening, i’m now contemplating on how I saw loyalty and appreciating what you had to say about it. Thank you, you have helped me so much in my school essay!!

    • Simon Sundaraj-Keun May 20, 2014 at 07:18 #

      Thank you and I am always glad that my articles are of benefit to all 🙂

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