In my recent post Theophillis Goodyear: Networks of Corruption—-Critical Mass—-Divided Loyalties—-Dilemmas of Betrayal—-Sacrifice—-the Harm of Innocents—-The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number I said I was unaware of any other books that are specifically about loyalty, but I found this one:
Why Loyalty Matters: The Groundbreaking Approach to Rediscovering Happiness, Meaning and Lasting Fulfillment in Your Life and Work [Paperback], by Timothy Keiningham, Lerzan Aksoy, and Luke Williams (BenBella Books, 2010)
The authors are described as leading experts in loyalty, and they discuss it from the point of view of philosophy, sociology, psychology, economics, and management.
Chapter 5 is called Toxic Loyalty. Eric Felten, in his book Loyalty: the Vexing Virtue, talks about how dictators and other unscrupulous people often use loyalty as a weapon of control, leading people to remain loyal when they probably should not, turning a person’s sense of loyalty against them and in essence getting them to betray their own consciences. Chapter 9 of “Why Loyalty Matters” is called: Enlightened Loyalty. I imagine it’s a discussion about how to temper one’s sense of loyalty with wisdom. It sounds like a good book.
In Dante’s Inferno, the lowest depth of hell is reserved for people who have betrayed some kind of special relationship. And it’s obvious that throughout the evolution of humankind, loyalty has served a vital function. But like all of our psychosocial traits, loyalty can work against us and against the greater good of humanity. Obviously the loyalties of contemporary humans are often misplaced. We need to learn to be loyal to higher principles than always choosing in-group interests over out-group interests at all costs, because that cost just might be our extinction as a species. So obviously the social dynamic between loyalty and betrayal is a central concept and especially important to examine at this stage of human evolution. It’s surprising that more has not been written about the subject.
ROBERT STEELE: Bill Donnelly, then Deputy Director for Administration (DDA) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), liked to recommend that mid-career officers read Joe Fox’s book Executive Qualities. I did — and had Bill Casey not died, CIA might be a better place today for the initiatives that Bill Donnelly was leading, in the direction of computer-assisted ethical evidence-based decision-support. Fox’s key point that Bill used in speeches was the the opposite of virtue was not vice, it was virtue carried to an extreme. The above contribution from Theophillis Goodyear makes that point perfectly. George “Slam Dunk” Tenet and Colin “WMD Are There, Really” Powell both confused loyalty with integrity — the two people in the US Government that could have stopped Dick Cheney is his tracks failed to do so, for the wrong reasons. I believe in Truth & Reconciliation. I harp on these two individuals not to punish them, but to point out that we are blind to the cancers of corruption–the loss of integrity–and until we accept that even such great individuals as Tenet and Powell can totally betray the public trust and not realize it, we will be unable to get a grip on reality and heal ourselves.