One of America's pet hobbies is "pledging". The average American gives little thought to signing a pledge, and so this process of extracting promises has become a much-abused one. The pledge-making a mania has not stopped with the Boy Scouts and the Sunday school but has found its way into prospective legislation in the form of a bill now before the New York Assembly which proposes that public school teachers be required to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The purpose of the bill is to eliminate communistic and other extreme propaganda threatening our present system of government.
A little reflection reveals the fallacy of the supposition that a mere pledge can accomplish any appreciable limitation of insidious propaganda by erring school teachers. Anyone who feels justified in accepting the protection of a government which he is surreptitiously attacking will be unscrupulous enough to take a "mere oath" and subsequently violate it. Furthermore any propaganda sufficiently biting to make an impression on the student mind would not be long in reaching the ears of the proper authority to deal with such individual cases. Finally, these betrayers of childish confidence exist for the most part only is the minds of our "anti-red" alarmists.
The question would be far more worthy of serious discussion if its presentation at this time were not so obviously part of the wide-spread "red" scare which still grips no small portion of our population. We are paying too much attention to the "red" menace as it is; to put through such a bill at this time would make us the laughing stock of all sensible people.