Loyalty Is Dangerous | Teen Ink

Loyalty Is Dangerous

October 28, 2008
By arielc524 GOLD, Montvale, New Jersey
arielc524 GOLD, Montvale, New Jersey
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Have you ever been in the situation that you had to choose one friend over another? Have you ever felt that you needed to do something because of who that person is or your attachment to him or her? This is loyalty that I am talking about. This is not the light, positive allegiance like the dog that is always following its master, but I am talking about the dark side of loyalty. It is the kind that forces anyone into making decisions that are not right. If we know right from wrong, why would anyone do something that he or she knows to be terrible? There are many factors that makes anyone do the wrong thing it could be any of the following: fear of the person or entity, guilt of doing something to said entity, or lack of will to defend oneself. Another danger of loyalty is the people that pledge loyalty to you to get what they want.
My first example to you of the dangers of loyalty is the war in Iraq. This is the example of the factor of fear of an entity. After the unfortunate event of September eleventh, the Bush administration attempted to convince members of the United Nations to join the cause. It worked extremely well. The delegates were convinced of nuclear activity in Iraq and that they needed to be stopped. In our president’s words ,
“The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant? The United States helped found the United Nations. We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime. Our partnership of nations can meet the test before us, by making clear what we now expect of the Iraqi regime.”
President George W. Bush called the United Nations out on a plethora of emotions. He called them out on their responsibility to the world. I understand that at the time, we were duped into believing that Iraq was the source of the problem, as other countries overseas. However, at the time, the idea of a nuclear country out of control of any international government frightened us, it frightened the world. But I must ask you, if America is the greatest country in the world, what are the people in other, smaller nations more afraid of? One medium sized country that has a bomb or one large country that has the greatest amount of technology, minds, and sciences in the world. I do not pretend to know what is going on in other people’s minds, but is seems to me that the fear of someone that you know is more powerful than you trumps the possibility of someone that could, potentially, possibly overpower you. A comparison to that would be someone that you know is a black belt in Judo compared to someone who has a temper and is proven to be violent sometimes. The power of fear can make people swear a kind of fealty to others that takes strong likeness to a master and dog.
My second argument for expressing the dangers of loyalty is guilt of harming the entity. It is undeniable that no one feels guilt, or shame of doing something that burns on one’s conscience until he or she rectifies the decision. I have a friend, let’s call her Mary, she had a rough day and she accidentally lashed out at another girl, let’s call her, Lou Anne. Mary then bent over backwards trying to make up for her behavior. Lou Anne, being the type of girl that she is, took Mary’s apology, and decided that they were friends. The relationship seemed fairly good to my eyes until I witnessed Lou Anne’s passive aggressive nature. She was tearing down Mary, I told her of what I saw and that she needed to remove the relationship with Lou Anne in order for Mary to feel jovial again. She already knew what was going on, and she could not stop it. Mary felt that she was good friends with Lou Anne, and that maybe it was her way of getting back at her for the accident. I told her that it was ridiculous for anyone to fuel a fire of hatred for someone else for so long, but she did not believe me. I am pleased to say that Mary no longer is friends with Lou Anne, but it took Mary the whole year to free herself from her downward spiral; I was frightened for her mental well-being. She was the type of person that had a relentless affection and faith in people; therefore it took her a long time to finally say that enough is enough.
I will discuss lack of will to defend oneself as my third argument. I have another friend that was friends with Lou Anne, let’s call her Cecille. Cecille is a bright and creative girl. She has many talents. One day Lou Anne decided to be friends with Cecille because she was good at so many things and would ask for nothing in return for her assistance. Lou Anne would “make” power point presentations for the daily news and to take credit for presentations that she did not work on, just to name a few of her offenses, all of which were really accomplished by Cecille. Cecille was furious about the actions of Lou Anne. When she talked to me, she was like a tiger prowling protectively over her territory, and when she was with Lou Anne, her fire was extinguished, and she was as meek as a lamb. Cecille knew what was going on due to Mary and my coaxing to speak up against the oppressing girl. We considered telling the teachers, but they were not the enforcing kind. So we attempted to put matters into our own hands by trying to give Cecille the weapons to defend herself, but she did not have the heart to protect herself against her “friend” who easily, and without any remorse, took her achievements and possessed them as her own. For the longest time, I tried to get Cecille to defend herself against her oppressor, but it was then I realized that the only way for Cecille to receive the credit she deserved was to exterminate the relationship. It was then that I realized the dark power of loyalty. When anyone believes that there is someone that is precious to him or her, regardless of faults, that person will be defended. Even if that person is completely wrong, the desire to have someone to have faith fully in outweighs the desire and need to resolve the problem.
My fourth argument regarding loyalty is that there are people that feign alliance to you to get what they want. In my anecdotes, Lou Anne wanted to receive full of Cecille’s work; and the passive aggressive girl prevailed over my friend. For many people situations may not be as obviously blatant of being used through schoolwork, but the idea is still relevant whether the situation could be with any of the following: boyfriend, co-worker, friend, colleague, or that person that sits next to you that you do not talk to. Woodrow Wilson said, “Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.” What he meant is that saying that you care means absolutely nothing unless you utterly feel it in the bottom of your heart that you expect absolutely nothing in return from the other person. Then, and only then, are you loyal.
All and all, loyalty is a powerful tool that can easily be made into something unethical. Trusting, believing, and fighting for someone or something regardless of situation is a form of dominance. In loyalty there are two parts, like the master and dog anecdote, there is a master and a subservient other. Most of the time, the relationship is beneficial to both, the master having someone that believes in him or her and the subservient other has the courage to put faith in another. However, there are many times when a good relationship turns as sour as expired milk and the master is being dominant, controlling. I am not forsaking loyalty by saying to be cynical about a relationship with anyone or anything, but I am calling each and every one of you to be on your guard. There are many different kinds of people in the world that have no remorse when they use others. Loyalty to someone is a beautiful thing, but be careful to whom you pledge your allegiance to and who pledges his or her allegiance to you.

The author's comments:
This is a persuasive essay that is meant to be read aloud.

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