Resigning Out of Loyalty

A servant of an institution may in certain situations be compelled, by his loyalty, to resign. If, for example, he feels pressure to publicly lie on behalf of the institution, then his only way to safeguard the institution’s legitimacy might be to resign and explain that decision publicly. Lying on behalf of the institution would damage its legitimacy. But seeing that an insider is willing to resign, and publicly explain why, might reinforce the public’s impression that some elements within the institution maintain their capacity for self-criticism, which is crucial if “the people” are to simultaneously accept the institution’s legitimacy and acknowledge its most calamitous mistakes.

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