War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.
The quality of loyalty has played an important but perplexing role in my life, both positive and negative, which for many years has prompted countless nocturnal ruminations about the reasons for my concern for what at first glance might be considered banal. Along the way I have experienced that loyalty is often confused with sense of duty to which, in my opinion, it should not be reduced. Instead, rather than a quality related chiefly to duty, obedience or obligation, I have come to relate loyalty more easily to love. Nonetheless, in my experience too much loyalty has been a curse, a cross to bear. As a result of my family background, religious and typical American South, as well as the ideological environment of the second half of the twentieth century in which I became closely involved, I have been infected with a powerful sense of loyalty. The quality of loyalty as I intend it includes—by some complex extension in my mind almost a perversion—discipline and severity and, above all, love. Thus, although at times a handicap and an impediment, loyalty remains ethically desirable.