The Loyalty Continuum

When we discuss loyalty it is useful to think of a continuum between the two extremes: maximum and minimum loyalty. This will be a useful tool in helping us place people and arguments in context.


thou shalt not
betray me

thou shall be
one with me

By minimum loyalty we mean, quite simply, the minimum that has to be done to maintain a loyal relationship either to a person or to a country. It can be summed up by the phrase "thou shalt not betray me."

Maximum loyalty, at the other extreme of the continuum, is the complete submergence of the self into a cause, country or a relationship. "Thou shall be one with me," and we will think and feel the same on all matters.

Keep this continuum in mind when you read the next two passages.

Dr. William Pierce

The Nature of Patriotism: What Factors control Whether People Are Loyal To Their Country?

What has changed so much in America during the past 50 years to erode the sense of patriotism so much?

If you think about it for a minute you'll know the answer. The average White person can no longer look on America as his family. He no longer feels a part of it. It's just the place where he happened to have been born and happens to be living. He no longer feels a sense of kinship with all other Americans. The reason he doesn't is primarily the result of the enormous increase in what liberals and the media

fondly call "diversity": that is, the great increase in the number of people with
whom we feel nothing in common-people with different roots, people who look different, think differently, behave differently, and have different values-people whom we cannot even imagine being part of our family. When we look at America and see a great many people like that, when we see all of this "diversity," then we no longer feel ourselves a part of America. We no longer feel a sense of loyalty to America. We no longer feel like traitors if we do something to hurt America.

National Alliance. The End of Patriotism

Prior to the 20th century the concept of patriotism was generally understood to be the "family" feeling-a blend of affection and loyalty-one had for one's fatherland, the land of one's ancestors.

A related concept was that of nationalism, the family feeling that one had for one's nation: which is to say, for one's people. The etymology of the word implied that one's nation was one's extended biological family: everyone in the nation was related by birth. If a nation had occupied a given geographical territory for a long time, then the two concepts were practically interchangeable.

Patriotism was much more than an intellectual construct; it was closer to an instinct. It was bred into a people because it had a survival value. A tribe which could

depend on the loyalty of its members was much more likely to survive than one which could not. Thus also the strong taboo against treason.

When North America was settled by the Europeans in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the meanings of patriotism and nationalism were strained a bit. Fairly soon, however, the descendants of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Scotland, England, Norway, Poland, Italy, and other European countries developed a new sense of patriotism.

There were exceptions, of course…..non-European groups as a rule did not [transfer their loyalty]. Gypsies still thought of themselves first and foremost as Gypsies. And Jews remained Jews, with a loyalty only to the Jewish people, wherever they might live.

Immigrant population by place of birth and period of immigration,
2001 Census, Canada

Definitions and notes

Total - Immigrant population Period of immigration
  Before 1961 1961-1970 1971-1980 1981-1990 1991-2001
Total - place of birth 5,448,480 894,465 745,560 936,275 1,041,500 1,830,680
United States 237,920 34,805 46,880 62,835 41,965 51,435
Central and South America 304,650 5,910 17,155 62,925 102,655 116,005
Caribbean and Bermuda 294,050 6,990 42,740 91,475 68,840 84,005
United Kingdom 606,000 217,175 160,005 126,030 60,145 42,645
Other Northern and Western Europe 494,825 248,830 86,820 56,345 45,595 57,235
Eastern Europe 471,365 135,425 36,595 30,055 104,825 164,465
Southern Europe 715,370 207,900 232,255 126,095 55,620 93,500
Africa 282,600 4,635 23,830 54,655 59,710 139,770
West-Central Asia and Middle East 285,585 4,445 13,360 29,675 75,885 162,220
Eastern Asia 730,600 18,325 36,360 97,610 155,070 423,235
South-East Asia 469,105 2,240 14,095 107,445 159,660 185,665
Southern Asia 503,895 3,845 26,600 77,230 101,110 295,110
Oceania and other countries 52,525 3,950 8,870 13,910 10,415 15,380
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population.
Last modified: May 13, 2003.

Further Understanding: Ethnic and civic nationalism

Canada can never, of course, be as homogeneous as Germany was in the 1930s or as much as Dr. Pierce and the National Alliance would like. However, not all patriotism need depend on being the same. Indeed, if Germany can be said to be the exemplar of ethnic nationalism, Canada is one of the best examples of civic nationalism. Civic nationalism is a common belief in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, common values, and a feeling of attachment to this country and all that it stands for.

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