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Manitoba History No. 89
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No. 89

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Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 8 May 1920

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Loyalty

Loyalty appears to be an essential part of human nature, a product of organic evolution, a common heritage of every individual of the human race. If so, then the object on which loyalty rests, cannot be constant because all men are not loyal to the same thing.

The savage was loyal to the “Gens,” a consanguine institutional organization of blood relatives. The Gens segmented into others, which formed into tribes and into confederations of tribes. In all cases the loyalty expanded with the expanding organizations and became as wide as the organization itself. When the tribal system broke down, because of the coming slowly into being of the system of private property, when the tribes coalesced into civil society, loyalty became patriotism and rested on the territorial organization of society which emerged out of the institutions of barbarism.

From that time on, the loyalty of man appears to have had no difficulty in expanding to include all accessions of territory whether produced by imperial conquest or by union by treaty. All that was wanted was time, and use and wont, and the shift was a fact and not a theory. Some notable exceptions to the general rule, however, present themselves. The Jewish peoples, or Hebrews, have maintained a loyalty to the race although scattered, harried and driven and persecuted all over the earth. The case of Ireland, also, is to be kept in mind.

With the advent of modern science and its tremendous possibilities in the way of intercommunication exploited to the utmost in the service of gain, the peoples of the world are beginning to know each other better. The complement of loyalty to the group was distrust, fear and hatred of all outside the group. The distrust, fear and hatred are disappearing like the miasmatic mists, before fierce sunlight and compelling breezes of better knowledge of each other. The inevitable result is another shift in the object on which loyalty rests.

The lust for gain which used the sciences to serve its selfish ends brought the greed of man into contact with peoples of every clime and every land. The energy that is in man, the thinking, contriving brain to direct that energy, wherever found in the form of human beings could be used to produce commodities to be sold on the market of the world to bring forth the profits. The strange peoples of the earth were brought together and it was found that man had the same needs and wants in one place as another.

The shift in loyalty among the workers, exploited by capital, that recognizes no territorial origin of its dollars, is in the direction of class loyalty with a rapid weakening of the old patriotic urge, with its fear and hate. Tomorrow, the new loyalty to class will sweep the earth and the way will be open for loyalty to rest upon every brother of the dust.

It has been said that, and the truth of the statement is not here denied, that class hatred is a horrid and a dreadful thing. The workers who have been the victims of this class hatred see in the new loyalty the coming of a better day when the rationalizing mind of man will function to control his own destiny by control of the social relations. Man will then be no longer the victim of his instincts. Today man is at the mercy of the instincts and this driven by forces which he has not learned to control.

Page revised: 6 August 2013

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