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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 4. March 23rd, 1950

No Man's Land

No Man's Land



Opinioch has continued to overlook the conclusion—genuine internationalism: it has slipped through his fingers while he juggled with ideas.

Could he not even trouble to quote me correctly? To say that the play was 'lousily done' is hardly to say that the play itself is 'lousy'. I made no mention of the Oxford Group: I made no mention of conversion "on the spot" with which he juggles. Shifts of this sort are an old sophistic trick—and there are too many of them.

1. It shouldn't have been necessary, to over characterise so blatantly, to a "selected" audience least of all. The idea should stand without much doctoring.

2. O. merely equivocates on "national boundaries." Certainly MRA has spread to "selected" countries. If we can choose who we are to co-operate with, who is to be a priori "evil," then we make hay of the ideal of co-operation. By condemning any ideas out of hand without attempting to understand them, we are sowing hatred, and being guilty of Stubbornness and Absolute Dishonesty. My point remains: call them 'supranational blocks.'—The hatred and the lack of international understanding are still there.

3. I should have more faith in O's "faith devoid of dogmatism" if he hadn't gone on so hastily to stigma. Use "materialism" in that dogmatic way. He makes the answer not "simple" but facile.

4. Considering the amount of space Salient devoted to the existence of God last year, I doubt whether the Editor will allow this one to be reopened here. Opinioch, may, if he wishes, admit that he is too small to get himself out of his own messes without an invisible means of support. The idea of God as the Universal Mechanic in times of breakdown amuses me; it does not convince me. The conclusion remains overlooked. The danger of hatred implicit in MRA is not to be dispelled by a Battery of Virtues with Capital Letters.

Jiminy Critic

(This, as a reply to an article, has been allowed to exceed 250 words Opinioch may reply at exactly the same length.—Ed.)


Sir,—The following is taken from your leading article in "Salient" dated March 2, 1950: ". . .with a return ... to weekly issue. . . ."

The following, however, was taken from "Salient" dated March 9, 1950: "... 'Salient' should appear 24 times per year. ..."

To settle an argument, please tell me which is correct. I find that consistency is appreciated by the majority of people.


(Both of the quotes you give are right. We do come out once a week: we do come out 24 times per year. For five months in the year, there are no types round the place, and we would find it a bit hard to sell if we did print. And there is not much on to write up. So we leave out that time. Twice in the year, the place is shut for two weeks at a stretch; once, too, for a week in mid-term break. It would be hard to print when all firms close down at Easter, so we leave out that time as well. Take off all those weeks, and you should find that you have near to 24 weeks, which was what we said.

We hope that this will quell the fight you were in.

We did not want to make this too hard for you to see, so we have not used big words: there are but two with more than one syllable—Easter and syllable.—Ed.)

Practical Reasons

Sir,—In accusing the executive of "a grave breach of principle" (see "Salient," March 9) you have given a misleading interpretation of the facts.

The primary obligation of any duly elected executive is to administer the affairs of the association in the most efficient manner possible. To help them with this the executive is given the power to co-opt an assistant secretary—the person whom they consider will be of most use! Co-option is entirely unconnected with the elections and is a matter for the executive only. There can be no obligation, "moral" or otherwise, to co-opt a person who was defeated, by however narrow a margin, in the elections if that person would not be the best possible addition to the executive. As it happened, the defeated candidate was considered before others and it was for practical reasons—for instance, he was not then on the telephone either at home or at business—that his nomination was defeated.

Surely the clause which says a coin should be tossed in the event of two candidates getting an equal number of votes was written into the Constitution with the express purpose of avoiding the impractical solution of electing both?

Alison J. Pearce,

Women's Vice-president.

[We thank Miss Pearce for the reasonable tone of her letter in all except the first paragraph.

Miss Pearce's letter may be paraphrased—there was no moral obligation, and even if there were, we didn't accept it as important

The moral obligation is made much clearer by the tone of her letter. It is quite clear that the attitude of the executive was that it alone was to be judge of the fitness of anyone for assistant secretary. That the candidate (who had not been "defeated" by any "margin" at all) was favoured by exactly one-half of the association did not seem so important to the executive as the fact that they didn't like him—to put it in crude terms. What the association thought was "entirely unconnected" with the co-option. Really? The last paragraph, of course, doesn't make sense at all.

Miss Pearce then advances the justification—a "practical reason" apparently outweighing the candidates excellent experience on Executive and on club committees—that the person was not on the phone at home or at work. At the time of the first appointment he was on the phone at [unclear: work] the executive were aware of this. At the time of the second [unclear: appointment he] was on the phone both at home and at work—and the executive were aware of this again. And now what is the [unclear: story]

The sum of it is [unclear: that] the [unclear: executive] considers itself a better [unclear: judge] of suitable administrators than the people who are to be administered. Elite theories of this type are dangerous in VUC as elsewhere, even when, as in this letter, they are only implicit.—Ed.)


Sir,—With the present critical international situation as it is, I do feel that it is time the students of VUC gave some serious thought to the activities of the leftist clubs of the college. Over 3000 students have allowed a handful of revolutionaries to completely dominate them in all student activities of a political nature for at least the last six years, earning for Victoria an unenviable reputation. Opposition clubs have been created, but their actions seem negligible. The only way to quell this detrimental activity is by the combined forces of every student who has a respect for himself, his college and his country. [unclear: This] year, let us all join to eradicate this pest from our midst. At tend every meeting and oppose them with sweat, tears and blood.

R. D. Kingsley.