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Dual loyalty and the fetishizing of the state


Here’s the House resolution condemning “hate.”

This whole sordid mess is a product of, among other things, the insidious idea that it’s undesirable for people to have “dual loyalties” in the context of their relationships to nation-states.  This idea is obviously absurd if stated as a straightforward proposition, which is why it almost never is.

People have multiple loyalties in every other aspect of their lives, so why wouldn’t or shouldn’t they in the context of their relationships with nations?  I’m not Jewish, but I think it’s completely ridiculous to criticize American Jews for feeling various levels of affection toward, passion for, and loyalty to, the state of Israel.

If, for example, the United States were to consider adopting a policy that would be of minor benefit to the USA, but would do immense harm to Israel, why in the world would anybody expect American Jews who care about Israel’s well-being to be in favor of something like that?  Isn’t that analogous to being OK with your spouse doing something that would slightly benefit her, but would be devastating to your best friend?

Sure, your ultimate loyalty needs to be with your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you side with your spouse in every possible situation.

The accusation of dual loyalty, in other words, is based on a completely bogus theory of both human psychology and political morality.  And yes, I realize “dual loyalty” is a classic anti-Semitic trope, but that accusation only has bite because of a perverted concept of patriotism, which requires loyalty to the present government of the nation of which one is a citizen to always trump every other consideration.  In other words, “dual loyalty” is only bad per se if one accepts the essentially fascist concept of loyalty to a single nation state as the first duty of every citizen of the State.

I’m sure you would like to know more, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

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