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Loyalty in relationship to other values, such as justice

David Brooks just published a NY Times opinion piece where he praised American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916) for developing a meaningful way to relate loyalty and tolerance. (See money quote below.)

About 5 years ago I started studying customer retention practices and became fascinated with loyalty programs. Many marketers these days worry about 'true customer loyalty' versus loyalty which is bought through financial incentives. So I decided to look at loyalty as an abstract human value and made many surprising discoveries. 

Loyalty is usually perceived as a conservative value, but the abstractness of the concept opens it up to many interpretations. Progressives are naturally reluctant to say loyalty doesn't matter because it clearly builds community. 

My own view is that loyalty is a natural impulse which is subject to abuse. I resist the idea that we should 'redefine' it. Loyalty has given me great benefits but I exercise it with a strong consciousness that it often comes in conflict with other values such as justice and truth. We each have to figure out what loyalty means in our lives. 

NY Times: Your Loyalties Are Your Life, 2019-Jan-24 by David Brooks

We should despise those causes, based on a shared animosity, that destroy other people’s loyalty. If my loyalty to America does not allow your community’s story to be told, or does not allow your community’s story to be part of the larger American story, then my loyalty is a domineering, predatory loyalty. It is making it harder for you to be loyal. We should instead be encouraging of other loyalties. We should, Royce argued, be loyal to loyalty. 

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