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Chapter 14. The Power and Limits of Prof... > True and False Loyalty to a Professi...

True and False Loyalty to a Profession

True loyalty to a profession is a product of the commitment to ensure that the profession, both in general and in particular cases, serves the public interest. False loyalty to a profession is formed either by an uncritical acceptance of the “ideology” every group engenders, or arises as a product of a fear of being disapproved or punished by other members of the profession—if one deviates from expected behavior. In being socialized into a profession—and socialization is part of being trained in a profession—one learns how to present oneself to outsiders, how to express one's authority as a professional, and how to protect fellow professionals from criticism—except in group-approved ways.

True loyalty to a profession is born of recognition of the profession's potential power for good in the world. It is not blind commitment to practices in the profession as they stand. It is not given by the intensity with which one defends the profession. The fact is that ethically sensitive persons who are also astute thinkers find themselves, from time to time, in dilemmas in which they are torn between their consciences, on the one hand, and the in-group pressure not to publicly criticize the profession, on the other.


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