Resolving conflicting loyalties
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14-02-2013, 06:05 AM (This post was last modified: 14-02-2013 06:10 AM by Zat.)
Resolving conflicting loyalties
In our complicated world, individuals have simultaneous and often conflicting memberships in many tribes: immediate family, extended family, work-group, religion, political party, social organizations, country, race, species and life.

Everybody is aware of the problems caused by conflicting loyalties but I have not seen any good advice or guidelines on how to resolve them.

Can we create a systematic and logical hierarchy of obligations we face as human beings?

We as humans are halfway off the trees with mixed impulses: part of us want to cooperate, other parts want to fight for survival. This is natural on an evolutionary path from one stable state to another one.

We are all vulnerable in the middle.

It is painfully obvious to most of us that we could not live on our own outside of society, outside the benefits of division of labour. How many of us know how to grow our own food, make our own clothes, our own tools, build our own shelter, protect ourselves from wild animals? Some, not many.

So we owe something to each other, we owe something to our human family.

And this chain of obligation can be logically carried on to the utmost dependency: on our planet and biosphere.

Just as in Nuremberg it was not an acceptable defense that "I followed orders", the planet will not forgive us for betraying our highest level of obligation: to Life.

Any thoughts on this?
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14-02-2013, 07:26 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
OK, let's make it easier.

How many of you ran into conflicting loyalties in your own life?

How did you resolve them?
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14-02-2013, 08:20 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
Many of these never affected me much, just family, friends, neighbors and life. I don't much go for organized anything.

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14-02-2013, 08:41 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
So what do you do if you have a job and your boss wants you to do something unethical and would fire you if you refused?

You very much would like to refuse, and get fired instead, because you know that the action would have harmful consequences to your community (like dumping toxic waste).

On the other hand, your sun is in college and depends on you for his tuition?

I see a possible conflict here between family and society.
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14-02-2013, 09:02 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
You're thinking too much inside the box, if my boss ever asked to do something I don't think is ethically correct, most probable thing that's illegal, I'd go to the authorities and then collect my paycheck for wrongful discharge.

Is not so much about deciding from one or other social field when in conflict, is how you about finding solutions and workarounds.
Luckily life is not so binary Smile

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14-02-2013, 09:08 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
...
Have you actually been in that situation?

Going to the authorities can backfire, as many whistle-blowers found out.

But, again, suppose you did have only those 2 options -- how would you resolve the conflict?
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14-02-2013, 09:15 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 09:08 AM)Zat Wrote:  ...
Have you actually been in that situation?

Going to the authorities can backfire, as many whistle-blowers found out.

But, again, suppose you did have only those 2 options -- how would you resolve the conflict?


When I was about 30, married with baby on the way, the company I had been with for nearly 8 years asked me to do something unethical.

I resigned.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-02-2013, 09:25 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
(14-02-2013 09:08 AM)Zat Wrote:  ...
Have you actually been in that situation?

Going to the authorities can backfire, as many whistle-blowers found out.

But, again, suppose you did have only those 2 options -- how would you resolve the conflict?
No I haven't been in that situation, but I've been in similar ones and I solved them in different ways.
You're asking me to assume that those are my only two options, and that's rarely the case for everyday life, a system that only applies to hypothetical cases are seldom useful for real ones. Trust me, I'm a lawyer Tongue

You asked for a hierarchy to try to solve conflicts between loyalties, I say that a hierarchical system is not the best solution for that kind of problems, so I don't have one.
Of course I have things that I value more than others, for instance, I put my sister above anyone else, she's my best friend and I'd give anything for her, but that doesn't mean that when I think she's doing something wrong that could affect a friend of mine or some scenario like that I wouldn't go against her in that case.

Every situation is different and require particular solutions, so a general system would be useless or filled with too many nuances and exceptions just like a legal system.

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14-02-2013, 09:34 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
OK, here is another one.

Suppose you are to be conscripted to the army in a war you consider unethical.

Like most of the US wars since WW2.

They say it is your patriotic duty, like they said during the Vietnam war, to protect your country from Communism/terrorism/...ism.

But you know it is all BS.

Your choices: go to fight in an unethical war or leave everything and run to Canada for protection, dragging your family with you.

Many Americans had to make this decision before.

However, you may not see your aging and sick parents again, who would be heartbroken to lose you.

Another conflict example....

PS. And now I am taking my wife out to a romantic Valentine lunch, so see yous later. Heart
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14-02-2013, 09:39 AM
RE: Resolving conflicting loyalties
false dichotomies, false dichotomies everywhere!! O.o

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