By Nathan Barton
According to Claire Bernish over at The Free Thought Project, Monday the 1st of May was declared “Loyalty Day” by Hated Leader The Donald Trump – apparently (so Claire says in her headline) to “Remind Americans to Never Question Government.” Supposedly “obedient citizens” were supposed to fly the Stars and Stripes to attest to this.
Except, of course, he didn’t say that, and that isn’t what loyalty is all about, anyway. (As she herself at least hints out in the text). It is not new – been around since 1958, created by Congress to counter the Communist/Socialist celebration of May Day as “International Worker Solidarity Day” (and variations on a theme).
I don’t blame her – it is a great hook to hang yet another whinging (if often accurate) litany of the evils of the The Donald and the entire Fifty States (not just the FedGov or just government). And I realize that it gets boring (and therefore ignored) to just repeat the same old complaints about the wickedness of the current occupant of the White House, especially after the first 100 days of “power.”
Tempted as I am to parse her words (and Hated Leader’s, as she does), I wish to inject a few words of caution and consideration from an anarchist’s point of view – an anarchist who loves his lands and people – his nations in a nation, and has (and could again) signed a blank check for her defense and the defense of liberty.
First, “loyalty” is NOT about obedience, and even Trump’s proclamation does not claim that. You can (and should be) loyal to family (parents and children in particular), to your friends, your brothers and sisters whether in trade unions or churches or benevolent societies or in arms. But loyalty does not imply – and certainly does not coerce obedience to them. Indeed, true loyalty often means a refusal to obey or support those we are loyal to, when they are wrong. We may express our love and loyalty for our mother on Mother’s Day – but that doesn’t imply unswerving obedience lifelong to her.
Second, the loyalty is not to the FedGov or to the Fifty States, or especially to whomever is in office (or power) at the time. I’m not saying that the word isn’t twisted that way. So are many other special days and events. Thanksgiving, for instance, used to be about “thanking God” but today (especially in New England – resembling its namesake more each year) we are supposed to be vaguely thankful to someone or something – perhaps parents or society or our mentors or those ancient AmerInd who saved the pilgrims from starvation or…
But the loyalty as addressed both by Trump and by his predecessors, however hypocritical their writing might be, was to the ideals and principles on which the United States of America was supposedly built: limited government, self-government, freedom, justice, and equality. It is what we SHOULD have – not what we do have. Not so much loyalty to persons or offices or institutions or even documents – but to fundamental principles. The Fifty States have failed to achieve those ideals – but has ANY nation? ANY people? Is it so wrong to still encourage and work towards those goals?
Despite her closing words, I see no forced celebration or compliance in Trump’s words, nor in those of the last nearly fifty years. Indeed, the declaration only encourages and does not order those bureaucrats who DO report to him, to recognize the day. Nor do I see any sort of belief in the power of proclamations or declarations. Maybe I’m just too blind to see all the evil.
But it seems to me to be preferable, as I am trying to do in this commentary, to use the opportunity to promote true loyalty to the ideas and principles, and to our neighbors in our states and communities; loyalty which is not “blind loyalty” but really does seek what is best for each other – self-government, liberty, justice, and if possible peace and protection from those who would seize any of those, or our lives or property.
Mama’s Note: Things like trust and loyalty are earned, not a given – regardless of the words, occasion or people involved. The relationship with children goes far beyond loyalty, and has to be anchored in the responsibility one took on at their conception or adoption.
As one who was raised on the history of Scotland, the insane “loyalties” and betrayed trusts… I don’t have any loyalty for words on parchment, and reserve it for the basic principles of integrity and non-aggression. Whoever joins me in that may well earn my trust.