Arizona Legislators Propose Loyalty Oath for Students


Via the Phoenix NewTimes, we learn that Arizona teenagers may soon have to intone the following if they want to graduate from (a public) high school:

I, (state your name), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God. 

A separate bill will require students to say the Pledge of Allegiance—currently optional—each day unless a parent writes a letter to the school explaining that their kid hates Jesus or America or both.

In completely unrelated news, some Venezuelans chose to recite a rather more pointed loyalty oath earlier this month:

I swear by the Bolivarian constitution that I will defend the presidency of Comandante Chavez in the street with reason, with truth and with the strength and intelligence of a people who have been liberated from the yoke of the bourgeoisie.

Reason's own J.D. Tuccille disparages another creepy pledge from Marlboro Township, New Jersey, here.

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  1. that I take this obligation freely

    Nothing says “freely” like, “If you ever want to get your diploma, read this piece of paper back to me.”

    1. A judge in LA told me (in 1980-something) that I would volunteer to make a “donation” to the local MADD chapter, even though why I was in court had nothing to do with mothers, drinking or actual driving. He wasn’t up for a discussion of the nature of volition.

      1. If you had refused, you would have outed yourself as a drunk driver, don’t you see?

        It’s a purity test.

  2. I will defend the presidency of Comandante Chavez in the street with reason, with truth and with the strength and intelligence of a people who have been liberated from the yoke of the bourgeoisie.

    Also, with los cocktails Molotov.

  3. Isn’t that the oath that we administer to members of the military?

    1. That’s exactly what it sounded like to me. Conscript all children!

      1. Why are they using the officers version? The enlisted one contains the “obey the orders of the President and those appointed over me”(*) money line.

        (*)adapted for civilian use

      2. That does sound like a good idea, actually. But isn’t 18 a little old?

    2. Yes, nearly word for word the officer oath (have it and the enlisted version memorized)

  4. “Support and defend the Constitution” has joined the ranks of “Racist” and “Take responsibility”.

  5. Look out, Florida! Arizona’s gaining on you!

    1. What is Missouri, chopped liver?

      1. “I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah!”

        1. *** rising intonation ***

          What about the distinguished gentleman from Missourah?

        2. “So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time.”

        3. ‘I thought it was because the De-mo-crats were back in office.’

          1. “Tell her her rump’s as big as the Queen’s, and twice as fragrant.”

            1. How dare you denigrate the First Lady like that, you racist?

              1. “I’m cold. And there are wolves after me.”

      2. Missouri loves company.

  6. OK, here’s one:
    “I swear I will never take an oath of loyalty to any government or agency thereof”

  7. “so help me …” what?

    1. “so help me, Allah.” Allah. Because Christians never try to impose their religion on anyone.

      1. Echidna. Mother of monsters.

        1. I thought echidnas had the world’s most terrifying penises.

          1. Pfft. Warty is not a echidna.

            1. That’s only the second video in the series. I think they saved Warty for last.

              1. After passing through Siege Perilous, Warty no longer appears on video or film.

          2. Nope, echidnas don’t have shit on bedbugs.


  8. Libertarians have definitely convinced me. Public schools have to go.

    1. Yeah, I’m one another one who has changed his mind since reading stuff like this. It wasn’t something I thought about before getting intellectually involved with publications like Reason.

      1. There is no fixing this shit. The only fix is to give vouchers and let people send their kids to whatever school they want. Get the government totally out of schools beyond handing out some money.

        1. The only fix is to give vouchers and let people send their kids to whatever school they want.

          This won’t work, either. “Universal” anything can only produce the lowest common denominator. Vouchers do not create an incentive for efficiency because you are still spending other people’s money.

          The truly amazing thing is that with all the money spent, I believe there is less net education than if we didn’t transfer a penny of wealth. How many parents would spend money on their future brick laying children to teach them high school algebra or English Lit? The number approaches zero.

          1. Well, it’s still better than government run schools. I think vouchers are possible. I don’t see an end to universal, tax funded education happening.

            1. Vouchers are probably an improvement over what we have but as long as people can make claims on others based upon their “need” those needs will remain massively over-expensive.

              It has been over 150 years since Bastiat wrote that opposition to government funded education was not the same as opposition to education but few Americans, so well indoctrinated instead of educated, have ever even heard of Bastiat.

              1. We don’t need to know about any dead white males except the holy trinity of Marx, Freud, and Derrida.

          2. Actually it comes much closer to 100% because the overwhelming majority of parents hope their kids will go on to much more lucrative careers than brick laying.

            1. Not the parents, the kids themselves believe they are sumpin’ special though they’ve not faced competition and lasted thru a fairly lanquine educational process.

  9. Isn’t that the oath that we administer to members of the military?

    We’re putting those kids on the front lines of the war against right wing fascism.

  10. Oh yay, jingoistic dipshits that think swearing allegiance is going to make a difference in the fiscal decline of the USA.

    1. Oh, very well!

      “I furthermore swear I will never exacerbate the fiscal decline of the United States.”

      1. That’s more like it!

      2. Now you’re getting it!

    2. It will make a difference; the millions of dollars Arizona is going to waste on a losing defense of this law in the federal courts is gonna speed up the fiscal decline.

    3. I argue elsewhere that I don’t get the point of having the national anthem before sporting events, especially when you’ve got people who think they’re more patriotic because they accompany it with a bigger flag.

      You should see the vitriol I get.

  11. Ha. And to that I say : I solemnly swear my children will never attend any public schools.

  12. The main problem is that the kids aren’t swearing loyalty enough. Time to unveil the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade

    1. damn where did the link go?

      1. We cannot allow a loyalty gap!

    2. My favorite book of all time.

  13. Uhm, isn’t that pretty much identical to the oath that cadets recite when they’re commisioned in the armed forces? WTF?

  14. I was in the Boy Scouts. We had an oath:
    “On my honor I will do my best, to help a Girl Scout get undressed!”

  15. “I, state your name, …”

  16. Also, for some reason I was picturing something more like this:

  17. “…without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion…”

    I suppose the authors of this particular bill see no irony in the concept of demanding people take a compulsory oath, *willingly* and without reserve.

    1. Well, it’s not like public school students are likely to recognize irony anyway.

      1. Hell, most probably can’t even spell it.

        1. irne lol wtf!

  18. Will Arizonans be forced to defend the Constitution while a cop asks them to “show me your papers, please.”

  19. The only fix is to give vouchers and let people send their kids to whatever school they want.

    And destroy the Great Progressive Hive Mind?

    That’s crazy talk.

    1. [downtwinkles]

  20. HAHA! This is too sweet. From the second link:

    The proposal from Republican state Representatives Steve Smith and T.J. Shope includes deleting that “those students who wish” part.

  21. Time to unveil the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade

    I hope that’s a Catch 22 reference.

  22. Just when I think my state is becoming some kind of libertarian paradise, they go and do this. *le sigh*

  23. And yes, our Steve Smith might as well be STEVE SMITH.

  24. One of the kids at the house I am staying at on vacation asked me for my thoughts on his assignment, “Why We Should Believe In the Pledge of Allegiance”.

    I got as far as the word “brainwashing” in my first sentence when he said that wasn’t going to be helpful in completing the assignment the way the teacher wanted it done.

    1. “one nation, indivisible”

      Our Founding Fathers might take issue with the assertion that a nation once constituted is indivisible. Just ask the Queen of England.

    2. “Stop, stop, stop. I don’t give a fuck about the truth. I just want to get the fuck out of this school, preferably not by expulsion.”

  25. But who is going to force anyone to take the oath? Doesn’t ‘defending the Constitution’ require defending students who invoke their First Amendment right *not* to recite the oath? Wouldn’t attempting to force a student to recite the oath be failure to defend the Constitution?

  26. Compulsory oaths suck, but everyone seems to be missing the point. This is an oath to THE CONSTITUTION, not a leader or a flag. If anyone takes this oath seriously it can only be a good thing.

  27. Here’s the Canadian Oath of Allegiance, that I had to recite back when I was a 17-year old infantry recruit, and then again as an 18-year old officer cadet:

    “”I (full name), do swear that I will be faithful
    and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen
    Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her heirs
    and successors according to law. So help me God.”

    Not quite the same thing as swearing to uphold a constitution.

  28. I’ve got a better idea. Let’s require all officeholders, military and law enforcement to take an improved oath to defend the Constitution. The only change being the last few words. Instead of ‘so help me God’ we put in ‘on pain of death for treason’ because obviously fear of God’s wrath hasn’t been a deterrent for politicians and cops who trample the Bill of Rights on a daily basis.

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