Sunday, November 02, 2008

Loyalty vs. Logic

"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul."
-Mark Twain

Loyalty, what a dangerous word. When I think of loyalty I think of blindness. I think of someone who can't see an issue from more than one angle. Or if they do see the issue from multiple angles, they only adhere to the one perspective they find to be most beneficial, for themselves or for the community.

I have been accused numerous times of not being loyal to friends. I've been affectionately dubbed a "dream-squasher", as well as antagonistically called a "traitor" and a "backstabber". I've been told on a couple occassions that I'm not loyal to my friends, not because I talk behind their back or badmouth them, but because I don't stand behind them in certain situations.

For example: A while back my buddy and his girlfriend got in a bit of an argument...and when I say "bit" of an argument I mean a shouting match. After listening for a few minutes to both parties trying to outdo the other in waking up neighbors and inadvertently attracting the police, I came to realize that my friend was being a complete asshole. The girl wasn't exactly the most understanding person in the world, but at the core of the argument, my friend was simply wrong. I interjected a bit and didn't exactly take sides, but I also made it clearly known to my friend that I thought he was wrong, in a logical sense.

Was I wrong in doing this? Maybe it wasn't the best time to interpose myself, alcohol being involved and whatnot, but if a friend is being, to be frank, a douche bag, I'll tell him (or her). I have no problem telling a friend when I think they're acting like an idiot or being unreasonable. And I hope people can tell me, in turn, when I'm doing the same thing. I'm honest to the point of being rude, and those of you who know me best know this all too well.

My friend, in this particular situation, believed me to be wrong as well. This is where the "traitor" and "backstabber" monikers came into play. The next morning there was quite a different reaction to my "Benedict-Arnoldish" actions and motives, but that night I thought I might have lost a friend by trying to be reasonable.

I must admit, however, that loyalty, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, not by any means. When loyalty is taken to extremes is when it can be counter-productive. It has to be balanced by logic, not standing at the opposite end of the spectrum. One thing to keep in mind is that this comes from a man who questions anything and I could be wrong.

SIDENOTE: I want people to understand that I AM very loyal to my friends and family, I just happen to question actions, mindsets and motives more often than most. Devil's advocate, anyone?