Weekly Opinion Editorial
BLIND LOYALTY & PREDICTABLE BEHAVIOR!
by Steve Fair
Blind loyalty involves being loyal to a person or cause even when they misbehave or do something dishonest. Those who engage in blind loyalty believe allegiance is more important than objectivity. They believe keeping a positive image of the person or cause is more important than the truth. There are dozens of examples of people who are blindly loyal, but think of a battered woman who protects her husband when police arrive in answer to a domestic violence call. Think of people who defend bad behavior by political leaders knowing it is bad behavior. Loyalty is only an outstanding virtue if the person or cause is just and good.
Being blindly loyal will lead a person to practice situational ethics. Situational Ethics is when a person dumps absolute moral standards to justify bad behavior for the ‘greater good.’ Those who practice situational ethics believe the end justifies the means. It is acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal for the greater good. When people start being blindly loyal and practicing situational ethics, their behavior becomes very predictable. And political scientists and sellers of goods and services love predictable people.
Economists rely on predictable human behavior. Marketers develop products and then position and price them based on predictable human behavior. They bank on people reacting as they expect. Politicos bank on people reacting to an issue in a predictable manner. According to a recent study by psys.org, human behavior is 93% predictable across all demographics. The fact is we aren’t as spontaneous as we like to think.
If you want an example of predictable human behavior, write about politics on Facebook. The comments will be predictable. Liberals and conservatives- establishment and non-conformists- will see the post differently and their reactions will be either to agree with your post or to attack- all not unexpected. There will seldom be a comment that surprises you. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu said this about predictable behavior: “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”
In recent years, politics has become a blood sport with the so called ‘establishment’ on one side and the ‘non-establishment’ on the other. Press releases from elected officials and comments from their supporters are so predictable that you could write them yourself. They ‘spin’ any event or issue to fit their worldview. Both sides backbite and make personal attacks on those who disagree with their view. The intentionally misrepresent the other faction’s position on issues. Elected officials and citizens should work toward respecting differing opinions and restore civility to the process. The first step is to recognize that blind loyalty is wrong, and that we shouldn’t be so predictable.