Loyalty vs Objectivity

A fundamental cultural value is the relative importance of loyalty and objectivity.

To illustrate by obvious extreme, suppose your friend does something illegal.  The police stop by to ask you about it.  Do you tell all, or cover for a pal?  Your answer mostly depends upon whether you value loyalty or objectivity more highly.

Does this seem distant from your daily experience?  It’s not.  You may have no sketchy friends, but stepping away such extremes, this dichotomy is as ubiquitous as air, and as invisible.

When you argue politics, do seek to defend a party (loyalty), or explore an answer (objectivity)?

If a married friend divorces, do you side with the friend (loyalty), or with the injured party, whoever it may be (objectivity)?

This is one of those distinctions that is true at nation scale.

  • Corruption:  loyalty > objectivity.
  • Resigning due to scandal: objectivity > loyalty.
  • Property rights: objectivity > loyalty.
  • Amnesty for undocumented immigrants:  loyalty > objectivity.
  • Loosening immigration law to reflect reality:  objectivity > loyalty.

As you might expect, objectivity-based cultures appear to be more fair, egalitarian and prosperous.  Getting the right answer is really important, it seems.

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