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Army Value Loyalty Essay - 1139 Words - StudyMode

It may be that particularistic obligations such as those of loyaltyhave to be considered as sui generis, products not simply of our commonhumanity but of our sociality, of the self-realizing significance ofassociational bonds—most particularly friendships, but alsovarious other associational connections that come to be constitutive ofour identity and ingredients in our flourishing. That leaves, ofcourse, the problem of resolving conflicts with universalisticobligations when they occur. We may, with Scheffler, wish to argue thatthe reasons generated by particularistic associations are“presumptively decisive” in cases in which conflict arises(Scheffler, 196), though that would need to be integrated in some way with judgments about the value to be attributed to particular associations.

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This raises the important question whether judgments about the worthof loyalty are reducible to judgments about the worth of theassociations to which loyalty is given or the legitimacy of what isdone as a result of them. Does loyalty have any value independent ofthe particular associational object with which it is connected or isits value bound up exclusively with the object of loyalty? There isdisagreement on this (paralleling disagreements about theobligatoriness of promise keeping). Some would argue that loyalty isvirtuous or vicious depending on what is done out of loyalty. Otherswould argue that loyalty is always virtuous, though overridden whenassociated with immoral conduct. Consider the complicated case of aloyal Nazi. Ewin would argue that because a Nazi can be loyal, loyaltycould not be a virtue, for the virtues are internally linked to theidea of good judgment. Whether that follows can be disputed. The loyalNazi might express that loyalty in a number of ways (as a husband andfather, as a compassionate co-worker, or as a scourge of Jews) and inat least some of these ways loyalty would appear to function as avirtue (unless, perhaps, there is some special Nazi way of being ahusband). In the more interesting case of a loyal Nazi whose loyaltyexpresses itself in anti-semitic forms, we could respond in one of twoways. On the one hand, we could point to the fact that the loyalty islikely to aggravate the harm caused. On the other hand, were such aNazi to act disloyally by allowing Jews who bribed him to escape, wecould argue that he is doubly deficient—self-serving anddefective in his capacity to form close bonds. Certainly the value ofparticular associations is of importance to how we value loyalty tothem; but it is doubtful whether the value of loyalty is simplyreducible to the value of the association in question.

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The point I am making is that the Seven Army Values of , , , , , , and all remain at the core of soldiering but change as a soldier progresses. Remember that an Army of ONE is , , and .

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A broad justification such as this leaves unstated what associationsmight be constitutive of human flourishing. Perhaps there is nodefinitive list. But most would include friendships, familialrelationships, and some of the social institutions that foster,sustain, and secure the social life in which we engage as part of ourflourishing. To the extent that we accept that engagement with or in aparticular form of association or relation is constitutive of ourflourishing, to that extent we will consider loyalty to it to bejustified—even required.

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More critically, if loyalty is viewed simply in terms of the goodsthat the associative object is able to secure or produce, theintrinsic value that the association has come to have for the loyalperson is overlooked, along with the sense of identification that itexpresses. It is out of that sense of identification that loyaltyarises. We return to this in c. below.

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There is a great deal of contingency to the development ofloyalties. The loyalties we develop to family, tribe, country, andreligion often emerge almost naturally out of the process of nurture aswe become increasingly aware of the environmental factors that haveformed us. Our identifications can be very deep, and are oftenunquestioning. For some writers, this unchosenness is whatdistinguishes loyalty from other commitments such as fidelity (Allen).But usually loyalty can be extended to consciously acquired relationalcommitments, as we choose to associate with particular people, groups,and institutions. Here again, the loyalties may or may not develop,depending on the extent to which those associations acquire someintrinsic significance for us beyond any instrumental value that mayhave first attracted us to them. Such explanatory accounts, however, donot justify the loyalties we form or may be inclined to form. Yet,because loyalties privilege their objects, the provision of ajustification is important.

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There is sometimes a further question about whether loyalty, even if avirtue, should be seen as a moral virtue. Loyalty may be thoughtexcellent to have—even a component of a good life—but isit essentially a moral disposition? The divisions among virtues (say,intellectual, moral, personal, and social) are, however, at bestunclear and probably overlapping. Kindness is almost always morallycommendable, but imaginativeness (often said to be an intellectualvirtue), courage (usually categorized as a personal virtue) andreliability (sometimes called a social virtue) may be shown on thesports field or by enemy soldiers as well as in contexts that renderthem morally commendable. There may be no great value in attempts todifferentiate loyalty (and other virtues) into rigid and exclusivecategories. What is almost certainly arguable is that a person who iscompletely devoid of loyalties would be deficient as a personunderstood inter alia as a moral agent.