In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and in a couple of interpersonal rifts with long-time friends, I have realized that I regularly choosing to be loyal to principles rather than people. It seems that my “steadfast” unwillingness to toss a principle overboard, just to look the other way when a friend is in need, COULD be read as an inability to compromise. It could be seen as an “inhuman” coldness that neglects the need of my friends, AND ignores the times I’ve been cut some slack by others. Hypocrisy in the guise of principle?
What is your choice? it is a choice you make every time there is a conflict with a person. You either choose to tolerate that person’s violation of something you hold dear, or you insist on maintaining purity of principle regardless of the effect on the friendship. I, of course, hope the friends see my position for what it is…
But I fear they don’t, and most people don’t. Most people choose loyalty to people over principle. Principles can’t take immediate revenge, cut you out of a will, fire you or ostracize you.
Barry Goldwater said, “”Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Is holding to principle at the expense of friendship a vice?
3 thoughts on “People or Principles? To which are you loyal?”
Principles for sure.
I think it’s usually possible to walk the line. I choose principles, but if a friend or family member has different principles, that doesn’t have to damage the relationship. We respect each other’s right to hold different opinions. For example, a friend shouldn’t ask you to lie for them, and in most cases I wouldn’t. However, there will be hypothetical circumstances where I would be prepared to lie, such as hiding someone who’s life is at risk if they are found. It’s the sort of thing that has to be circumstantial.
Absolutely. The cases in question involve something more like the request to lie for the person, to cover a misdeed.