And if you're wrong, somebody else may be having a conversation too, at a time of their convenience, and words may be optional.Loyalty to someone committing an indefensible act is immoral. That is the reason a lot of folks hate all cops- not because every cop is committing bad deeds, but because they cover for them.Ever hear about how Mai Li got contained? two guys, a pilot and a door gunner on a Huey who were gonna open fire on the American troops with an M60 if they did not STOP RIGHT NOW. That got their attention right away.
I know the story well. Think about what it took for those two guys to come between an American unit and a Vietnamese village, though. That kind of trust, to see each other through the moment, is the loyalty he's talking about. They both had to know that threatening to fire on an American unit could have severe consequences. Whichever one of them committed to it first, the other one had to go along. 'You're committed to this, so I'm with you, and we're going to see it through -- we'll work out the consequences on the other side.'Loyalty is a virtue like courage, in that it can be used for good or evil. That doesn't make it less a virtue. A lot depends on to whom you choose to be loyal, or in what cause you elect to be brave. Done well, though, it isn't just a commitment to support you when you are right. It's a commitment to support you sometimes when it's not clear that you're right, or when you may be wrong in a discrete instance but there isn't time to work it out right now. You have to be very careful about extending loyalty for just that reason. Nevertheless, that kind of personal man-to-man loyalty is how things like the defense of Mi Lai happen.
Doing what's right when you know what's right is simple, if not easy. The problem arises on days when "what's right" isn't exactly clear. On those days, loyalty is trusting someone else's judgment. A person who extends that trust has every right to an explanation afterward.Valerie
But if a man's efficiency is not guided and regulated by a moral sense, then the more efficient he is the worse he is, the more dangerous to the body politic. Courage, intellect, all the masterful qualities, serve but to make a man more evil if they are merely used for that man's own advancement, with brutal indifference to the rights of others. It speaks ill for the community if the community worships these qualities and treats their possessors as heroes regardless of whether the qualities are used rightly or wrongly. It makes no difference as to the precise way in which this sinister efficiency is shown. It makes no difference whether such a man's force and ability betray themselves in a career of money-maker or politician, soldier or orator, journalist or popular leader. If the man works for evil, then the more successful he is the more he should be despised and condemned by all upright and far-seeing men.When Grim starts talking about virtue as being a tool for evil or good, there's all kinds of pitfalls people will fall into there.
Teddy spoke the same way, here as elsewhere. Of the Scots-Irish, he wrote in his history that they were a "grim, stern people, strong and simple, powerful for good and evil[.]" That is only to say that they were virtuous. But strength, sternness, power -- all of these things can be used for good or evil. Even simplicity can be, though God Himself is simple, properly understood. Pitfalls abound. Philosophy is damn dangerous stuff.
So perhaps we should speak of human qualities, courage, loyalty etc as tools. No different than a strong body or sharp saw. Virtue, or lack of it, shall be found in the type of employment of those tools.
Is that "we're gonna talk about later" some sort of idiom that I'm not aware of?
Raven:That's the way Aristotle does talk about it: virtue is an excellence of capacity, generally directed between extremes. Courage is what we do confronted with trying to right among fears, with cowardice and rashness as the extremes. Well, you're trying to do right among fears. What does that mean? It's not simple. Aristotle doesn't always have a clear answer. When he talks about justice, he says that one part of it is being lawful, and the other part is being fair. That sounds like obeying the law is just, regardless of what the law might say. But that isn't what he means. He goes on to say that the law makes us do what is virtuous, for example, not fleeing before the enemy. It's that sense in which the law is just: it points us towards right virtue. A law could do other things, but he doesn't recognize any laws except just ones.It's a much harder question than he admits.
Eric:I think he just lost a word. It happens. Most people eye-skip over it and assume it's there. Your attention to detail is commendable, but not usual.
I am reading about the First Afghan War- 1842 -there is a description of a Afghan leaders exceedingly competent right hand man by an Englishman to the effect of "never was a man so able , and so evil".
Your attention to detail is commendable, but not usual.The poster didn't make sense at the end, so I used Grim's topics in the thread instead.On another note, vices such as gluttony under the Christian ethos or falling to temptation via lust, are often considered by political philosophers to be necessary for "great men", such as Teddy Kennedy or the other Kennedies. They claim that the greater the man, the greater his vices.This goes against the way of the ancients, which prided themselves on self mastery. Mastery of one's fear and instincts, using them as weapons and tools, produces the outward attribute of courage. Courage is thus not the cause, but the result of prowess and self mastery.When Islamic Jihadists sacrifice their lives in return for angelic rewards in heaven, on command from their Islamic faith, they are less men and more like tools or animals. And animals or tools have a harder time acquiring ethics or virtues. They cannot master themselves, because Allah is their master. They cannot resist temptation, because it is temptation they have fallen into for the angelic houri rewards. Nor do they resist temptation on the Earthly realm, for they believe all their guilt and sins will be absolved in successful jihad.If self mastery leads to courage, and courage leads to virtue, then slaves who demonstrate fidelity and loyalty to an Evil Authority, cannot have courage because they do not master themselves. They have other masters, and thus it is their masters that have the virtues and benefits of the slave's successes.In feudalism, loyalty is valued amongst one's subordinates. A person that has been saved by his feudal lord once, might obey that feudal lord even if that lord violates his oath to his own liege lord, the king, in rebellion or regicide. It becomes inconsistent to call that a virtue, because the entire sequence of actions must be analyzed and taken, in order to explain extremes vs moderation. In Japan, this loyalty to one's lord was taken to its utomost limits in their Era of warring states, where the Emperor or one's lord could order seppuko upon their retainers and subordinates. That's easier to analyze, vs staying loyal to a feudal lord who then betrays his oath and tries to murder his king and royalty. Because the only person you have to hurt is yourself, the one person you have to cut is yourself, and the only person that will help is the second of the subordinate, not anyone else unrelated or above in station.If the regicide succeeds, the loyalty of the armsman that helped bring it about is tainted. For they would be loyal to a man, but not the ideals that make it possible for that man to wield power.Other Japanese feudal lords considered hara kiri to be a waste of talent, of a loyal subordinate's life.Personally, I prefer self mastery over the results of traits. Rather than the samurai, it is the ronin which interests me more. Instead of the soldier who must obey orders, the warrior or independent fighter interests me more. Because in the absence of higher authority, the true nature of a person comes through. What is the true nature of a man? To find that is to find the root of virtue. Merely the outward result of loyalty or courage, means little.
When Islamic Jihadists sacrifice their lives in return for angelic rewards in heaven, on command from their Islamic faith, they are less men and more like tools or animals. Well, in fairness, they aspire to be more like animals or angels. Free will is undesirable in Islam. Islamic Angels are said not to have it (unlike Christian ones, many of whom are supposed to have rebelled against God). Islamic Angels are determined in action directly by the will of Allah. You're supposed to want to be also.That's the whole concept of the religion when it is taken seriously. It's about submission to Allah's will, and a laying down of your own. If you become like a tool for God, you'd have gotten to what they teach is the highest place. In feudalism, loyalty is valued amongst one's subordinates. Japanese feudalism is very different on this point from Western feudalism. The loyalty demanded by Western feudalism looks both ways. That's how we got Magna Carta: the king let down his end of the bargain, so his barons came to discuss it with him.
Under Christianity and the previous US military command philosophies, it gets complicated. Because the commanders and religious text often commanded their subordinates to "use your free will" or "use your own initiative".If the Christian God commanded their saints to obey God and to use their free will and conscience, no earthly authority could countermand that. The Roman legions ordered Christians to recant or convert, at one time; many chose to freeze to death instead. This self mastery of fear, this obedience and loyalty to their Lord, this ability to resist pain and the terrors of the powers of the Earth, were respected by their fellows. And many began converting to Christianity, not because of the Christian sword of the apostles, but because of the aura of strength and virtue around the apostles.Under this hierarchy, part of this strength is converted to virtue or respect for the martyr as well as to the lord of the martyr. And in the case of soldiers, the benefits of success and failure are split. Well, the benefits may be split but the failure may still go to the top (or bottom).At best, the Islamic hijackers on 9/11 can be attributed the qualities of a good hound, loyalty and fervor and ability. But the virtue, if any, of the results of their actions and their methods, goes straight to Allah, their master. Their lack of free will, such as it exists, means the vast majority of whatever good or evil comes of their actions, rests with the masters, not the tools.Then again, the Nazi history, means that there is a certain limit where "I am merely obeying my orders" doesn't save you.
That limit is reached very quickly if the 'orders' you are obeying are to kill Americans. Even on 9/11, their best day, they got to that point after the second plane hit the towers. Flight 93 marked the end of Allah's will being done, as it was understood by al Qaeda.
The loyalty demanded by Western feudalism looks both ways.All feudalism goes up and down. And things are exchanged.What is returned for loyalty, may be different, but people get something. For the Japanese, loyalty was considered something so valuable, that nothing could buy it. Honor for honor. People still had to eat, however, so the reality is not the same as the ideals.Modern US military trades a lot of benefits and training, in return for the life and body of a soldier. That's one relationship that goes both ways, but it is asymmetrical, and people do not merely fight for the US Army because of the bennies. Just because something goes both ways, doesn't mean what is exchanged is of equal value.Not every kingdom happens to mimic the results before and after the Magna Carter. Not even in the West.That limit is reached very quickly if the 'orders' you are obeying are to kill Americans.If you would give to the jihadists, what you call the virtue of courage on that day, then cannot Americans use vice for good?If all these virtues are considered by you as mere tools, then Vices are mere tools as evil. And your talk about executing, in abstract, the child rapists of Rot England, rests upon a dream within a dream. For if virtue can be used for evil, then vices can be used for good.The consequences of such logic easily violates the intent and spirit of T Roosevelt as well as Aristotle, which is to produce men who are masters of themselves, rather than masters of "other men". Feudalism and aristocracy produces the mastery of other men, as is its specialty. Plato would perhaps prefer that, but I do not think Aristotle pushed for that much. Of course, slaves and serfs back then weren't considered full men.
The consequences of such logic easily violates the intent and spirit of T Roosevelt as well as Aristotle, which is to produce men who are masters of themselves, rather than masters of "other men"... Plato would perhaps prefer that, but I do not think Aristotle pushed for that much. Of course, slaves and serfs back then weren't considered full men.Bear in mind who Aristotle's most famous student was. :)
Japanese, loyalty was considered something so valuable, that nothing could buy it. Kant says: everything either has a price, or a dignity.
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