Loyalty is an amorphous concept, the definition of which is as fluid as the sea. Some would have you believe it is simply a strong feeling of support, allegiance, or devotion, to someone or some thing. This fidelity could have as its subject; a person, such as kith and kin, or it could turn its focus to a thing such as a country, an ideal, or even a cause. Regardless of which defining perspective you prefer, loyalty remains an elusive concept to understand… let alone to put into words.
The challenge of transforming such an intangible concept into one which we can understand is difficult. Bringing the esoteric into exoteric focus is an elusive goal, and one risks hubris in the attempt. Therefore, rather than try to bring form to the formless, I will simply share my understanding of loyalty with you in the hopes that you will examine the concept for yourself. After all, introspection is a healthy exercise in which good men should engage from time to time. There is no time like the present.
In its most general sense, loyalty can be divided into the personal and the impersonal. By this I mean that men can be loyal to people, or things; two very broad categories. Personal loyalty includes that which focuses on friends, family, and others of like-mindedness, as well as the groups they form, such as communities, clans, tribes, nations, brotherhoods, fraternities, and so on. In contrast, impersonal loyalty includes such focus areas as ideals, beliefs, worldviews, religions, ideologies, philosophies, and organizational entities such as political parties, businesses, makers of “product,” sportsball teams, and the list goes on.
Each man separates, parses, and divides these two very broad categories as best suits his personality and character, his needs and wants, and his ideological, philosophical, or religious worldview. There is no “right” answer that suffices for all men. Each must find that for himself.
A Brief Examination of Related Terms
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let us make a brief pit stop to fuel up on some terminology which often appears when considering the concept of loyalty. This pit stop is important, for it lays out the similarities in, and differences between terms that often confuse our understanding on the context, character, nature, and meaning of loyalty.
The concept of patriotism is one which contains love, devotion, and attachment to one’s homeland, as well as an alliance with other citizens who share the same feelings. This attachment can be based on culture, politics, or other historical aspects such as tradition. Though similar and related to loyalty, patriotism is not the same thing; that is, patriotism is one of several subsets within the overarching concept of loyalty.
Another relation to both patriotism and loyalty is the concept of nationalism, which is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular group of people. This group or nation then seeks to gain and maintain sovereignty over its homeland. With that in mind, nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself via self-determination. It also seeks to build and preserve a single national identity, one based on the shared characteristics of culture, ethnicity, geography, language, religion, politics, and tradition. Within this framework, a shared history is important to nationalism. Where patriotism is focused on the homeland through alliance with fellow citizens, nationalism is focused on the people – kin groups – and their traditions from which everything else springs forth.
For our purposes as white nationalists, national socialists, or any of the other related worldviews based on race; racialism is a term with which we need to come to grips. Simply put: Racialism is the belief that humanity is naturally divided into races. These are distinct biological categories which serve to put humans into separate and unique bins for organizing and understanding. This belief is supported by two strong pillars: natural law, and race. Some consider racialism as an ideology unto itself, but for us it serves merely as a component of our larger worldview.
An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies attributed to a person or group, which considers theoretical and practical elements on equal footing. I consider this concept to be the glue that binds the philosopher to the activist. Both rely on ideology for different reasons. For the former, ideology is the product, or end result, of his thoughts and intellectual work. For the latter, it is the driving force behind his action. Regardless of the role ideology plays, it is an integral part of the concept of loyalty.
Loyalty has so many specific forms, types, and dimensions, that to name and describe them all would fill a book. Rather than have you nod off from that literary sleeping pill, I will briefly share with you some forms, types, and dimensions; as well as important aspects of each. Naturally, you can draw your own conclusion should you decide to grab your ruck and hike down this path with me.
Loyalty can be either exclusionary or non-exclusionary. If you are loyal to a single person, a solitary group, or only one idea, your loyalty is exclusionary. If you are loyal to multiple people, several groups, or numerous ideas, then your loyalty is non-exclusionary. Just because a man is loyal to multiple entities, does not constitute disloyalty to others. It can, however, present him with challenges, conflicts, and issues going forward; but these he must work out as best he can to find a balance, not only for himself but also for those people, groups, or ideas which compete for his undivided loyalty.
Emotional loyalty comprises three basic components: affinity, attachment, and trust. Any one of these three could be missing, thus spoiling the achievement of true loyalty. But when all three exist simultaneously, emotional loyalty is easily fulfilled. Let us break these down into their individual parts and examine them.
Affinity is an interest in, or an attraction to, someone or something. Simply put, it means you like someone or something. The object of your affinity does not have to reciprocate your feelings. It merely serves as the focal point of your attraction. Affinity is nothing more than a one- or two-way directional feeling, and does not in any way include attachment. In fact, we should consider it a detached feeling of affection, if we are to be concise.
Attachment is less about liking someone or something, and more about making a connection with him, her, or it. Optimally this connection is of a long duration, or even everlasting. This aspect adds depth and meaning to any feeling of affinity, thus forging a strong bond between two people, or a person and something. Affinity and attachment together, adds another layer to the concept of loyalty.
Trust is the final layer to emotional loyalty, and transforms a two-dimensional idea into a three-dimensional concept. Trust comes from respect, which is ideally mutual. Once respect is given, and trust between men is established, the connection originally built from affinity, and layered with attachment, takes on a whole new meaning that includes communication. Think of trust as the channel through which this communication flows. From trust, respect, and communication, bonds thus established become cemented.
Behavioral loyalty is a sticky subject, and I like to refer to it simply as: irrational loyalty. This is where one is loyal to a person, thing, or ideal, simply because others like him are loyal to it; such as family and friends. In other words, you follow an ideology simply because your father did, not because you did your own research and came to the same conclusions. Similar to the herd mentality we deride, this is typical “follower” behavior, and men who engage in this type of loyalty need to reassess their ability to think critically.
Rational loyalty can also be considered functional, or cognitive loyalty. It is little more than a clinical, reasoned, and cold comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of loyalty to a person, thing, or ideal. The obverse of emotional loyalty, this is a pragmatic and practical approach that neglects to build the deep connections found in emotional loyalty. It is more substantive than irrational or behavioral loyalty, but nowhere near as strong as loyalty built on affinity, attachment, and trust, such as emotional loyalty.
The Impact of Emotion
Of the three types, emotional loyalty has the strongest influence on a man. This influence is due directly to the strength of its connections, and to the depth and breadth of its nature. Those with strong emotional loyalties are far less likely to be disloyal than those relying solely on rational or irrational loyalty. Thus the emotional component in loyalty is huge.
Men are less emotional creatures than women, to be sure, but one would be remiss to assume men are completely unemotional. Men, especially those who seek to be part of a brotherhood, have strong reservoirs of emotion from which they pull as they develop their loyalty, both to other men, and to their brotherhood as a whole. The process of developing that trust, engendering respect, and establishing communications, is a long one, but the benefits are a loyalty with an increased longevity that can withstand the hardships of life.
These hardships serve to challenge the strength of a man’s loyalty. The type based solely on irrational or rational factors will begin to erode over time for a variety of reasons I will not go into here. In contrast, emotional loyalty is made of tougher stuff thanks to that longer and more involved process mentioned earlier. Outside factors are less likely to wear thin the loyalty that binds men of like minds.
Loyalty also has several dimensions that shape its nature. Briefly, they include form, type, basis, strength, scope, and legitimacy. We have already discussed the various forms and types of loyalty; therefore, let us now explore the rest.
Loyalties can differ at a fundamental level in the matter of basis. They can be built on the basis of form, either exclusionary or non-exclusionary. They can also be constructed on the basis of type: emotional, behavioral, or rational. Regardless of the foundational basis, this dimension is a product of its nature. Family ties might prompt behavioral loyalty, while personal choice and evaluated criteria form a rational basis. In this way, basis – or how a loyalty was formed – affects its nature.
Similarly, loyalties differ in their strength. Strong emotional ties can form supremely powerful loyalties which tightly bind men together with unbreakable force. Competing non-exclusionary loyalties might require much looser ties, especially if the number is quite large. Motivation plays an important role here, and must be considered.
Scope is another dimension in which loyalties differ; these can include a limited scope wherein the man is subject to few actions. Broad or unlimited scope loyalties, on the other hand, require either many actions, or a few actions, of great depth or involvement. It is important to note also that scope encompasses an element of constraint. In cases of multiple loyalties, there will likely be conflict between the objects of a man’s loyalty. Here, their scopes will likely determine what weight a man gives to the alternative courses of action each loyalty requires. Balance is the key to maintaining loyalty to all.
The final major dimension of loyalty is legitimacy, which is particularly relevant in the aforementioned cases of multiple loyalties. Conflicting loyalties might weigh differently in legitimacy. Loyalty of ideals might engender strong feelings of loyalty based on a higher level of legitimacy, whereas loyalty to a person might be lower in legitimacy, especially if the person is neither friend nor family. The more legitimate a man considers a person, thing, or ideal; the stronger the loyalty.
Now that I have laid out some contextual background for the forms, types, and dimensions of loyalty, we come to the part where the rubber meets the road. How do we demonstrate our loyalty to a person, thing, or ideal? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors. (Now, before you groan about the prospect of more categories, rest assured I will not subject you to more wordy descriptions.) What demonstrations of loyalty really come down to are two things: the subject expressing loyalty, and the object of that loyalty.
When men are loyal to other men, such as those who are part of a brotherhood, they tend to minimize the use of flowery language, and hollow sentiment; in favor of meaningful, and tangible acts. They will spare no expense in blood, sweat, tears, or expenditure of treasure; to support, defend, and honor their fellow brothers. They will do so willingly and without expectation of reciprocation. They do it time and time again. For men like these, action speaks volumes more than mere words.
The same goes for men loyal to a group or an ideal. There is no need for them to talk about how loyal they are; their actions speak for them. They support the group in ways they can, expending effort, time, or money. These same men express loyalty to an ideal by serving as living examples of what that ideal means, and the principles for which it stands. These men do not talk; they do.
A component of loyalty I have yet to address is commitment. When a man is loyal to a person, group, or ideal; he commits to them. He does this by taking an oath, taking meaningful action, and demonstrating his reliability and worth. Commitment for men such as these is not solely online presence and chatroom conversation. For them, commitment is action, and committed action; is loyalty.
If you have stuck it out and are still with me, I thank you. You have shown fortitude, perseverance, commitment, and loyalty. Regardless of your opinion of me, I write for you. Whether you agree with me or not, is unimportant. If this diatribe prompts you to look into yourself to determine your understanding of loyalty, and how best you can demonstrate it to those precious people, groups, things, and ideals in your life; then my job here is nearly done.
We are a unique group of men. Each of us has come to each of our brotherhoods from different areas, and along different paths. Yet here we are; together, building a future for each other and our people. What would you do for your fellow brother? What would you do for your brotherhood? What would you do for your people?
We all have loyalties to different people, groups, things, and ideals. Where do your brothers fall on your prioritized list? What about your brotherhood itself? Do you have conflicting loyalties? Does your loyalty to another person or group impact your ability to be committed and loyal to your brothers?
These are not simple questions, but ones which require thought and introspection. Take the time to ponder these and other issues. As you develop your own personal form, and type of loyalty, ensure it is best suited to you and to the level of your commitment to yourself, your family and friends, your brothers, and your people.
I do this myself, and I do it often so I can continuously evaluate my worth as a man, a husband, a father, a brother, and as a member of my brotherhood. I do not intend to waver in my loyalty, and I use these evaluations to ensure I do not. My brothers do the same for me, continuously evaluating me, constantly considering my worth. I urge you to do the same for yourself and for your fellow men.
A final thought: If you find yourself wishing your brothers were more committed to you or your brotherhood, ask yourself how committed you are… and assess how you demonstrate that commitment, that loyalty. Are you as committed and loyal as you want them to be? If so, bring them up to your level. If not, fix yourself before you reach out to fix others. We are our brothers’ keepers. I am yours, and you are mine.