One of those things

hammer sickle by rizobreaker

California’s Loyalty Oath
[Via Big Think]

I just had to sign a loyalty oath as a condition of my employment at a California state university. The California constitution requires all state employees to sign the oath. And I frankly find it offensive.

It’s not that I have any reservations about bearing “true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the United States of America” or supporting and defending them “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”—although as a lecturer in a freshman class I won’t exactly be called upon to defend the state against its enemies or execute its laws. But I love my country and its Constitution as much as anyone. It’s rather that I object to being required to prove my loyalty to state simply to teach a class. I feel the same way about the Pledge of Allegiance—do children really need to swear not betray their country every morning before school starts? Is treason really a big problem among elementary school children?


One of the things to remind you that California is not just a place of wild-eyed hippies but also has a strong legacy of red-baiting that still lingers today. You can get fired for not signing the loyalty oath in California, although I do remember reading about someone who was big enough to get away with it. The average professor does not have that option.

2 thoughts on “One of those things

  1. Red-baiting? All anybody ever remembers about the Fifties is McCarthy. Believe me, he wasn’t the only threat seen at the time.

    1. Well, I mentioned red-baiting, not McCarthy because my research indicated that these sorts of loyalty oaths originated during the late 1940s due to Truman’s concerns about the infiltration of communists. If you have evidence that the California Loyalty oaths was not part of this, please let me know.

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