Towards a Liberal Morality Part II: Loyalty

Some months ago, I touched on the idea that liberal morality may not have the "holes" in it that Jonathan Haidt suspects. I started by saying that the English meaning of "purity" is slanted toward the right. I want to expand on this broader subject.

Haidt also talks about "minimizing harm" as a moral measure, and both sides of the political spectrum subscribe to it (the left somewhat more so).  I think this concept is spot-on.  Not much to talk about, here.

The next interesting concept in Haidt's study is that of "loyalty", and again this is one of those morals that the Right seems to have corenered the market on.

But, again, I think a subtle shift in terminology may reveal otherwise.  The Right's concept of "loyalty" seems to me to encompass the act of following one's leaders. I think Haidt's definitions includes a clause about "deserving leaders", or some-such.  So, for example, it's okay to question (for example) President-elect Obama, on grounds that he doesn't deserve his role as leader.

The Right can have that definition of loyalty. It's inane.

For me, what "loyalty" means is advocating continuous improvement of the group. Loyalty requires critical analysis, self-measurement: supporting a group without improving it is empty support. I think you'll find that liberals have this "critical loyalty" in spades... so, again, Haidt's political imbalance would disappear.

So, again, loyalty is a word I would like to see the Left re-claim.

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