My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or
its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the
eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to;
institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear
out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from
winter, disease, and death.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
For in a republic, who is "the Country"? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is "the Country"? Is it the newspaper? is it the pulpit? Is it the school superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in a thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn't.
Who are the thousand--that is to say, who are "the Country"? In a
monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common
voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility,
must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to
be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases
of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is
wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this
and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified
and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label
you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that
way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done
your duty by yourself and by your country--hold up your head. You have nothing
to be ashamed of.
- "Papers of the Adam Family" in Letters from the Earth
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