Loyalty, Reverence and Respect

“Loyalty has a difficult time in a society dominated by egalitarianism, universalism and rights, for I am loyal to this, not that; to these people, not those. Reverence means that there are some values that are non-negotiable. I hold certain things holy. That, for instance, is at stake in the debate about assisted dying or voluntary euthanasia. One side believes, on the basis of personal autonomy, that I have the right to decide whether I live or die. The other believes that life is sacred, we do not own it, and therefore it is not ours to dispose of as we choose. Respect means that there are hierarchies built into some relationships, between student and teacher for example, or parent and child.”

Morality, Chapter 20, p. 277