The subject of loyalty came up over at a recent Bloggernacle Times thread. Jacob J stirred the pot a little by saying the following:
I think loyalty is vastly overrated. In all the cases when loyalty is cited as the motivation for virtuous behavior that same behavior could/should have been motivated by a less problematic virtue like fairmindedness or kindness. In plenty of cases, loyalty is a name for going against your better judgment to do something wrong, covering something up, or sticking up for a person who is in the wrong.
This comment was met with resistance but Jacob is entirely correct. Loyalty is a useful motivational tool to be sure but is hardly a virtue itself.