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  • Editor's Introduction
  • Arien Mack

social research has been the journal of the new school for social research since 1934, when it was created by the members of the first University in Exile faculty 15 years after the founding of The New School itself in 1919. As the university's earliest publication, we thought it important to mark this centennial year and have done so with this issue, which harks back to the school's founding.

The New School was established by a group of prominent intellectuals, among them Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen, who resigned from Columbia University in protest over the demand that its faculty not speak out against World War I. In the eyes of the Columbia administration at the time, to vocally oppose the war was to be disloyal to the United States; in the eyes of its departing faculty, the demand was an infringement on their academic and political freedom. From the outset, the "new school" they founded was a place which championed academic freedom and decried the imposition of implicit or explicit loyalty oaths.

Not only is the subject of loyalty thus fitting to mark our centennial, it is also, sadly, perpetually timely. The imposition of loyalty oaths returned during the McCarthy period and the enactment of the McCarran Act; demands for demonstrable loyalty were central to the disgraceful internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. And in the current moment, such demands are being made by Donald Trump of his followers in campaign-style rallies, and of his employees and advisors in the government. However, unlike the events of the twentieth century, the loyalty being demanded in 2019 is not to the United States, its Constitution, or the rule of law, but rather to Trump himself as he seeks to forestall personal betrayals and consolidate his [End Page xxvii] power. All of these cases have a paradoxical twist where the loyalty demanded is an act of disloyalty to the deeply democratic values of free speech and thought enshrined in our Constitution.

Loyalty to and betrayal of political leaders, political parties, and the state are, of course, not unique to the US but rather are worldwide phenomena. They were seen in show trials in the USSR and in the imposition of martial law in Poland; and they are now evident in demands for loyalty imposed by China's Communist party and in Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán's consolidation of power by crafting a political party built on loyalty to him—and these are only a few of the many examples that could be cited.

The duality of loyalty and betrayal is stark. They are mutually exclusive and yet seemingly inextricably bound: a stated loyalty would seem to assume a corresponding, if unstated, threat of betrayal. Hannah Arendt, former colleague at The New School and an acute commentator on totalitarian regimes, hints at the threat that accompanies absolute loyalty: "Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise."

This issue acknowledges and celebrates The New School's centennial by exploring loyalty and betrayal in some of their many guises as a way of grasping their importance in the political and cultural history and life of the US and other countries. We hope our readers will find the papers in this issue interesting and thought-provoking, and we hope that our parent institution, The New School, remains a champion of and haven for academic freedom for the next 100 years and beyond. [End Page xxviii]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-768X
Print ISSN
0037-783X
Pages
pp. xxvii-xxviii
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-21
Open Access
No
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