I have been wanting to post about the proper place of patriotism in my allegiance ranking since mid-break and never took the initiative, only to have Dan Lower beat me to it. And he did a good job, but I think my order would be different, and I would like to explain each a bit more…
*Note: Other than number 1, each allegiance can be ovverridden by a lower one in certain circumstances. For example, though the US is lower than my family, I would not disobey the law to allow a family member to murder someone (this is probably because of number 1). Allegiances can be shifted under circumstances which render a higher allegiance not in its truest, good form. Make sense? No? Tough…
1. The Triune God composed of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.
- As a product of the creation of our God, there is nothing I do not owe to He Who Looks Down Upon Us. My allegiance is first and foremost to the Everlasting Love that sustains everything I know and don’t know. Pretty simple, I think. As a small tangent, this is one of the problems I have with agnosticism – the allegiance is not there and agonists are apathetic to the answer of whether it should exist. But assuredly if God exists, this should be the believer’s first allegiance. On the other hand, there is a certain sense in which we are all agnostic… This allegiance should extend to Love, as well, since God is Love (though love is not God). This is one of the more difficult allegiances to maintain, love before anything else. I work on it much less than I should, but it would be included in 1 if I must rank it.
1.a. Theotokos, the Communion of Saints, & the Eucharist. (Didn’t know where to fit this since the Eucharist is God but needs the Church to be transubstantiated into existence, etc.)
2. (tie) The One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church.
- As an institution, there is an element of obedience implicit in Christianity and true fullness of humanity that only the Church can amend. There is a great indignation in today’s world about one’s self and to whom we owe any allegiance other than ourselves. A system of rules and earthly formulation of heaven (such as the Church) peaks this indignation more than anything else, and very few people still see obedience as a virtue. But it is one, and is very important at that… However, if it happened that the Church were under fire, it would strike me first to defend Her, and last to criticize Her. There are many things that I disagree with the Church about (even if it is for my own ignorance or shortcoming), but there is also a manner, time, and place for those complaints to be aired. As similar to my allegiance to my family, the only criticism I would ever have for the Church would be constructive, not meant to tear down or retaliate against some wrong I may not agree with. I believe the Church was ordained by God to be the Hands by which He acts upon this world, and would not aim venomous barbs at those Hands for any reason (purposefully). Medicine heals, venom kills. Given the Church’s unparalleled mission on earth, nothing short of reverence should be shown toward the Catholic Church. The Church is Christ’s Bride on Earth, and should be treated accordingly. (Far too many people have no allegiance to God any more, nor even to an Institution as great as the Church. I think that is pretty sad, and it all comes down to the degradation of the concept of obedience, which has been relegated to the likes of dogs and small children, especially by those who are achieved or intelligent, rational people. Comes with the territory, I suppose, in that there is a tendency to make one’s self a tin god in seeking for one’s self…)
2. (tie) My family, nuclear & extended.
- I can understand for many people why this allegiance would not be so high for many people. However, I am one of the most blessed people alive for the family and bloodlines I have. My parents, four siblings, 16 aunts & uncles, 55+ cousins, and uncountable second-cousins are some of the most virtuous and wholly good people I know of. A hugely important aspect to this is their intertwined-ness with the Catholic faith and the Aristotelian Virtue and high morality it brings with it. They are tied for 2 because if I had to choose between them and the Institutional Church to defend, I would have a lot of trouble deciding which should take priority. Not everyone can say this, and I can see why there would be greatly differing ranking on this allegiance at no fault of the individual. Love has the ability to conquer even the Church’s teachings at times (if it was ever the case that the two opposed each other, which it rarely is), and loving those who have been given to me (and I given to them) is of utmost importance to me, even when I don’t know how to do it. This includes any criticism I would have, as stated above, in that I would not attack anyone in my family to tear them down, rather wishing to resolve some conflict between myself and them so that Love can be the force behind our interactions instead of something else…
2. (tie) Virtue (Truth, justice, temperance, fortitude, obedience, mercy, loyalty, gratitude, beauty, charity, compassion, confidence, courage, creativity, joy, kindness, wisdom, knowledge, optimism, patience, empathy, self-respect, moderation, tolerance, free will, diligence, honor, humility, morality, humor, integrity, etc.)
- There is almost nothing I would sacrifice virtue for. Almost. The above worlds might include some of those things. Luckily, number 1 on this list defines Virtue (and has formed this world with Virtue as the handwriting), so the two would never be in conflict. Numbers 2 can at times be un-virtuous (is that a word?), but my job is not to understand the two as in conflict, but rather as a challenge to align the two as fully as I can while respecting autonomy and personal decisions on different issues. So on the chance that the above allegiances and this one oppose each other, my job is to reconcile, not abandon the above.
- Friends are a strange notion to me. I have friends that are more like brothers or sisters than friends, and kind of include them in those systems. If I had to put friends somewhere else than family, which I think I would, it would be here, right above humanity itself, which is only for the emotional connection I have to these people. It is strange to value one person more than others for the semi-selfish attachment we feel toward them, but it is something everyone experiences. So I don’t really get this one, but friends go here. (Haha. It is so foreign looking at friends rationally instead of emotionally. Such a strange concept!) I will have to develop this one, since it is surely the case that I value these people more than strangers…
6. (tie) The human race
- We owe every one of our brothers and sisters on this planet the benefit of the doubt, and the respect and love that comes with being a human being. None are inherently worth more than any others, even though qualities and externalities may render us socially or culturally unequal. This is more important than arbitrary boundary lines on physical maps or in our hearts, but it seems to be something we forget easily…
- I believe any of the above causes is worth sacrificing myself for under many circumstances. The below allegiances also may at times warrant self-sacrifice, but not nearly as often. Because I like it here. Duh.
7. Gaia/Mother Nature
- To me, it would be very difficult for this allegiance to override any of the others in the full sense, but is it still very important. We are stewards of this earth and it was given to us to tend as our own. The destruction of a species is a resounding defeat for humanity itself, in a way, because we are entrusted with their safety. Undue pain should not be exerted on nature. We should protect it as best we can, plain and simple.
8. The United States of America (Constitutionally/Principally Devised)
- Wow. 8th. That feels pretty low on the list. And that isn’t even the real country. It’s a pretend country that could exist and was engineered by our Forefathers. This is the country I wish ours to be, based on close reading and interpretation of the Constitution and History. This country would be one that does not resemble anything on earth, and probably is dangerously utopian, though reigned by freedom many protections that defend against ursurpation of power by any one party or special interest group. Not that important, but included here just to show that the current America is not as important to me as the potential one.
9. The United States of America (Actualized)
- The United States is so remarkable. It is unlike any government system ever devised, and has existed accordingly. I could talk for hours about why it is so lovable. I love our country. Its liberalism (I use the world in its true nature here) and pluralistic nature, combined with a beautiful Constitution, checks & balances entailed therein, and emphasis on western values are a foundation upon which no other country on God’s Greenest Earth has ever been founded. But it is not at the top of my allegiances. To rank anything above it does not attest to the lack of love I have for any one element, but rather the great love I have for the higher elements. But more pertinently, why is it so low on my list? When we put our country before our fellow human beings or even our world, it is an easy justification to exploit either to the economic, political, or any other ends we deem acceptable. I don’t agree with this. Many policies of the US have been at the cost of the world’s people (Though one great dichotomies of this wonderful country is that we have also brought more people out of poverty than any other country on earth, EVER). It is a delicate balance to sustain, but valuing someone who is an American over others is not something that I could ever do. Our system is great, and it has led to more freedom and happiness than I could state, but it is only a system of individuals, and tries to value the individuals as just that, individuals. I value the world as just those, and therefore our particular governmental system does not supersede humanity or gaia. That being said, I am still a bit of a coward because of my ranking order. I am not strong or disciplined enough to join the military. I could not fight in a battle I did not explicitly sign up for, nor a war that engaged in killing those who don’t know any better than simply what they have been exposed to/immersed in. I also could never follow orders, which anyone who knows me can attest to. Accordingly, I have great respect for those who do join the military, for their ability to forfeit their freedom and even their own lives to ensure I can live in a system of expansive freedoms and never have to fear my government. I simply do not have the same ranking. I will do a bit of research on this one, to understand it a bit more fully. But for now, that is where it will lie.
10. My Irish Heritage
- I like the Irish belligerent drunk stereotype. And I like potatoes. That’s that.
100. Lord of the Rings Movies
- They are the best movies ever. If you disagree, I will fight you.
That’s enough for now.
This was all a bit more personal than I wanted it to be, but it is kinda fun to rank things like this. TRY IT.