||22 TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL REYNOLDS LECTURE . . . the overthrow of the United States government by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional means." While such a declaration may appear harmless, the real problem it raised was discerned by Justice Jackson in the following words: . . . The serious issue is whether Congress has power to proscribe any opinion or belief which has not manifested itself in any overt act. While the forepart of the oath requires disclosure and disavowal of relationships which depend on overt acts of membership or affiliation, the afterpart demands revelation and denial of mere beliefs or opinion, even though they may never have matured into any act whatever or even been given utterance. In fact, the oath requires one to form and express a conviction on an abstract proposition which many good citizens, if they have thought of it at all, have considered too academic and remote to bother about.30 While the majority of the Supreme Court disagreed with Justice Jackson's conclusion that this portion of the oath violated the Constitution, his argument has considerable appeal to those concerned with the status of the individual. If an oath is to be any more than an empty utterance, sanctions must be available to prosecute those who make false affidavits. The only possible legal sanction is punishment for perjury; but how can perjury be proved other than by speculation and conjecture when the alleged falsification relates to beliefs. The Taft-Hartley oath requirements were but the beginning of a vast number of such enactments. Naive in purpose, they, nonetheless, were adopted by cities, states, school boards, and many other official and semiofficial bodies. Impelled by objectives which were for the most part commendable, proponents of these measures failed to realize that they represented serious inroads into traditional freedoms; that they in fact placed individual speech, thought, and beliefs in jeopardy. Such infringements would be serious if it could be ascertained with precision what speech, what thoughts, what beliefs were prohibited; but oaths, like the loyalty orders, were frequently vague and directionless as to meaning, liberally sprinkled with such ambiguous terms as "affiliated with," "Communist front organization," and "subversive." The result was that all that was unorthodox, all that did not conform to the current intellectual pattern was placed under suspicion. Because of this, Justice Black aptly called test oaths "implacable foes of free thought." 31 Other actions which reflect a loss of respect for human dignity are found in the excessive utilization of various listening and recording devices by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. Wire tapping, once 30. See Justice Jackson's separate opinion in American Communications Assn. v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 436 (1950). 31. See Justice Black's dissenting opinion in American Communications Assn. v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 448 (1950).