On loyalty

The type Mark Twain would recommend. He writes

You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its Office holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags, that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it.

I don’t even think I have this type of loyalty.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

20 thoughts on “On loyalty

  1. All I can say is MAGA!!! MAGA!!! MAGA!!! Twain was a liberal socialist bastard! MAGA!!! 😀 Twain’s one of the greatest minds to have lived.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have trouble with the concept of loyalty. If I was married, I’d certainly be loyal to my wife. But, how far does it go? If the corporation I work for committed some crime or atrocity, should I defend it? If I had information of a friend’s unethical act, should I keep it secret? If my country supported a deadly coup d’état against another, should I ignore it? Loyalty is like a rubber band. You can stretch it only so far until it breaks. And, every rubber band has a different capacity to stretch.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I consider myself a loyal type of person, but that loyalty can disappear for many reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Swarn Gill says:

    There’s a bit of tribalism in this sentiment here, but I would say still rather liberal for that time period, in which nation states were a pretty serious thing and America at that time was pretty isolationist. I suspect his quote would be modified if he were alive today, because at the very least he has the spirit of someone who isn’t defaulting to authority when it comes to loyalty and that’s important.

    He also said this about loyalty:

    The first thing I want to teach is disloyalty till they get used to disusing that word loyalty as representing a virtue. This will beget independence–which is loyalty to one’s best self and principles, and this is often disloyalty to the general idols and fetishes.
    – Mark Twain’s Notebook

    I think for Twain loyalty was often kin to subservience or adherence to authority without critical thought. So I would say that at least in the quote that I posted above, you definitely have that kind of loyalty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. renudepride says:

    Mark Twain is one of my favorites but I have to disagree with him here. I have no feelings of patriotism whatsoever. I cannot give my loyalty to a vague idea that fails to involve my emotions. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. basenjibrian says:

    For Americans who have still retained a vestige of nationalism/patriotism, Marcus will cure you pretty quickly.


    Liked by 1 person

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