Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 11. August 1, 1957
|(1)||Letters Should be as sort as possible.|
|(2)||They should be written legibly, of still better, typewriting using one side of the paper only.|
|(3)||Preference will always be given to a better to a letter bearing the writer's signature for publication.|
In all affairs students have a tendency to snipe at men who are really outstanding in some field This juvenile attitude is one which most grow out of, Meantime the community has to endure these ill-informed attacks. I hope, Sir, that when your contributor Keith Walker has reached Eliot's maturity, he too may appreciate better those whom once he threw off with childish arrogance.
Footnotes to Story
I have found "Victoria Story" very interesting- and would like to add some footnotes to the fourth instalment ("She Sold Naughty Books," "Salient." l3th June). Tried together with Miss Weitzel, and putting up a rather more impressive defence, was a man called Wilkinson, whose son has, within the last few years, done some good work in cementing friendly relations between China and New Zealand with Rewi Alley.
Of even more lasting importance was the Park Case, which followed the WeitzeI-Wilkinson case, and was resolved by a more august legal tribunal. Miss Park was a teacher at a Wairarapa primary school who made known the tact that, though not agreeing with Miss Weitzel's politics, she believed her to have been very shabbily treated. The local school committee dismissed Miss Park, but the Education Board after clearing her name of the charge of "subversion" levelled against her by the committee, re-employed her at another school. The Minister (Mr. Parr) intervened to dismiss her again, and the case see NZ Law Reports. 1921) is concerned with Miss Parks [unclear: successfull] appeal against the Minister's claim that he had power to dismiss her regardless of the decision of the board. The judgment at this case is still law and embodies a valuable protection against local McCarthyism
I am fascina Jed by Keith Walker's assertion that in verse I show "the influence of Milton at its worst." 'Being totally unaware of the influence, but acknowledging that if it exists I probably do show it at its worst. I would still like to take issue with his implication that Milton's influence is always deplorable (citing Johnson and Eliot in support) and that Milton was not one of the great intellects in our literary tradition.
First, Johnson certainly did not deplore Milton's influence in fact, his famous essay on Milton contains the sentence "He was master of his language in its full extent: and has selected the melodious words with such diligence that from his book alone the Art of English Poetry might be learned."
Secondly, Eliot makes it abundantly clear in his 1936 essay (which, incidentally, he at least partially retracts in another of 1947 that his real argument with Milton is that he finds him "unsatisfactory" as a thinker. (It is in this that Eliot agrees with Johnson, who described Milton's political ideas as those of "an acrimonious and surly republican." but way too big-minded to let this prejudice his respect for Milton as a poet.)
All Eliot's literary judgments are similarly coloured by his peculiar views on the ideas of the people whose work he judges There is no doubt that the work of a writer cannot be considered apart from his basic outlook on moral questions. Often his greatness is integrally connected with his attitude to the predominant issues of his time And I believe that all the great literary figures at whom Eliot has sniped at one time or another—Thomas Hardy. Bums. Shelley, Milton, even Shakespeare—were all m a humanist tradition which Eliot himself is well outside, and that there is m his judgments quite a bit of spiteful realisation that their greatness will continue to be recognised long after Eliot has been forgotten.
Finally, I would point out that the only really scholarly statement of the Case against Milton's allegedly bad influence on subsequent English poetry has come from Dobree. And he has been adequately knocked on the head by Grierson in "Milton and Wordsworth" 1937 ("It is so easy to attribute to the influence of one man what is due to a more general movement") and [unclear: Pearsill] Smith m "Milton and His Modern Critics" 1940 ("His syntax, his diction, by enriching the poetry of Gray. Thomson Cowper, and above all, Keats, was one source of the splendour of our great Romantic movement")
—C. V. Bollinger.
A Reply from C.S.O.
We have been asked by the Committee of Christian Science Organisation to publish the following statement:
In an editorial in "Salient" of 19th July there appeared certain comments which, read in relation to the Christian Science Organisation (which is specifically named in the context of the editorial) are unfortunately quite inaccurate. The burden of the editorial, thus read, is that the C.S.O. is willing to admit only a select group of persons to its activities, and that there is accordingly, no "free interchange of views" about Christian Science. It is only fair that the correct situation should be stated.
First, all students at V.U.C. are entitled and welcome to take part in the meetings and other activities of the Organisation. This is written into our Constitution, and it would be completely inconsistent with our aims and objects for the position to be otherwise.
The next meeting is in Room A.2 on Friday. 9th August, at 7 p.m.; and we will move to a larger room if necessary.
The only limitation that exists is that only bona fide Christian Scientists may hold office (a similar position obtains in three other religious societies at V.U.C.) or cast a vote at general meetings (a similar position obtains in one other religious society, in practice, this limitation rarely comes into play, and is only a check). Bona fide Christian Scientists are those who are members of The Mother Church. The first Church of Christ. Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
On the other hand, as distinct from decision-making, there is full opportunity for the expression of views on Christian Science by all.
In the first place, at any of our for nightly meetings (to which, we repeat, all are welcome) time is allotted for "experiences, testimonies and remarks" on Christian Science.
Secondly, individual Christian Scientists are glad to listen to informed criticism and to exchange views with others on the subject of their belief.
It should be added, for those who wish to obtain basic information on the teachings of this religion, that there iv now available in the College Library the text book, of the movement. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Also available is "The Cross and the Crown: The History of Christian Science" (Alien and Unwin. 1953), an unofficial history by Norman Beasley, an Anglican clergyman.
It is hoped that a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church will soon be able to visit the College.
It will be seen, therefore, that, so far from having "closed doors" this Organisation, in common with the other 173 Organisations at Universities in other countries, is anxious to open them as widely as possible.
More on Doors
G.A W . was not telling us anything new when he wrote m his article "Closed Doors" that the real strength of an organisation comes from discussion and interchange of ideas. No society wants to ban that. But a society does want to ensure that its discussions do not become arguments G.A.W. is surely aware of the fact that it is very difficult for people to reason correctly about religion without their passions and prejudges being involved. Unfortunately this state of affairs is not confined to the man on the street. It applies equally well to "intellectuals" in a University. These prejudices and passions which "atheists and reactionaries" would naturally bring with them into religious society if they were granted membership would mar rather than promote worth-while discussion, Inevitably discussions would develop into endless arguments and harangues. If a reactionary or atheist is genuinely interested in a society by all means he should be allowed to join that society and if his interest is genuine he will probably add to the efficacy of the society, in all walks of life a person is barred from a society if his ideas are diametrically opposed to the aims and ideals of that society. If a person's sole aim is to be destructive rather than constructive I cannot see how he can add to the health of a society.
I am convinced that if religious societies opened their doors to all and sundry' there would be people who are ruled by prejudice and passion entering the society for destructive purposes only. To take a very extreme view of the matter what is to stop several atheists walking into a society and voting it out of existence? And that is not as facetious as it sounds. It has happened several times in the past that the wrong people have packed themselves on to an organisation and forced legislation completely at variance with the aims of the organisation. That is precisely what had happened to our watersiders' union prior to 1951. Communists gained control of the union and caused perhaps the worst and certainly the most unjust strike of our history. Our religious societies could suffer similar things if there was no check on membership.
G.A.W.'s opinion seems to be based on the assertion that truth is relative. He says "Everything true is only relatively so." What does he mean by relativity of truth? If he means that there is nothing which of itself is true—nothing which really conforms to reality but only our thinking makes it so. then surely his very statement contradicts his belief. if truth is relative, no one has the right to make that or any other statement.
In case no one else tells you, let me assure you "Salient" is better this year than it has been for a long while. You expect something lively and argumentative from a student journal, and the front pages on secret police, newspapers, and so on are just the thing.
One criticism—you devote far too much space to religion. It is a subject about which everyone has deep-seated prejudices, none of them rational or open to reason. No one is interested in any view except his own and if you open your columns to it as you are doing, you will logically have to go on till everyone in the College has had his say.
Congratulations on the editorial "Closed Doors." We ought to refuse to pay Stud. Ass. fees next year if clubs are going to benefit which all of us cannot join and take full pan in. Why should sectarian log-rollers use the name "V.U.C."?
Also. I believe the official title of members of the R.C. Church in England is Popish Recusants" How about using this?
The standard of Salient" this year has degenerated issue by issue and your latest effort with "People's Voice" headlines demands a general protest. It would be consistent with the remarkable and original logic of your editorials to condemn my criticism as censorship. In fact, however, my plea, unlike yours, is simply that "Salient" reflect the political and social opinions of students generally At the present time "Salient's" policy is completely independent of and indeed irreconcilable with, student opinion. It is an example of the evil that inevitably results from irresponsible minorities gaining control of the main mouthpiece of the student body. Their temporary dictatorship achieved, they wage a policy completely unrepresentative of student opinion; employing nevertheless the financial resources of the entire student body.
I am unaware whether "Bollinger" is a pseudonym, or whether he or she is a fresher. If not the latter, then your cartoonist can only be at the other end of the chronological scale. None the cartoons yet published has the artistic merit to warrant the production of expensive blocks. And of course, they cannot be excused on political grounds, regardless of whether your political views are Right or Wrong.
The only claim your article on New Zealand s supposed "secret police" could have to publication is as an example of Orwellian fiction. It like your other sensational yellow Press outbursts, can be criticised and cogently refuted in detail. However. I cannot expect the same space that you so gratuitously grant to yourself. Further, your search for "truth" apparently requires that you exercise the "right" to conclude arguments you never even initiated.
—G. N. Cruden.
(Salient' is "an organ of student opinion. Its columns are open to all who care to contribute. Miss Cruden is presumably a fresher, and will probably find her outlook broadens a little when she has been at V.U.C. longer.—Ed.)
Noises on the Left
If ever I have been puzzled and disappointed by an article, it was by Conrad Bollinger's "Noise of Battle" in " the Spike," in this account of recent political activities at V.U.C, two fundamental assumptions are made by the author; one of them is, unfortunately, quite correct, but the other is so wrong that it should not be allowed to pass unchallenged, although only heaven knows how often it has been made in the past—made with that naivete born of childlike faith which characterises a blinkered and fanatical approach to an "ism."
The article recalls the various "noises" that have vibrated or blasted the V.U.C. political scene since 1949, and no one can quarrel with the author's assumption that all the loudest "noises" have been engineered by the Left and that therefore the present account should deal exclusively with Leftist activities and the counter-measures they provoked. Apart from "Time" like attempts to colour the tone of the article to favour his point of view, including the studied, repetition of the name "O'Brien" (is the reader to believe that all opposition to the Left has come from such an admittedly vindictive quarter?), Mr. Bollinger has given us a short survey which is factually sound.
However, his second, and to me deplorable, assumption is that Communist and Socialist groups at V.U.C., which have agitated for such causes as world peace, freedom of speech, the banning of germ warfare and atomic and nuclear weapons, better working conditions, equal pay for equal work, anti-segregation laws in South Africa, and closer relations with Asian countries, have necessarily championed these causes as a matter of far-seeing doctrinal policy, and that the causes are doomed to failure without Leftist guidance and support. It is an assumption that, as part of a unique world-saving ideology, these causes constitute "big issues of the time" ("The Spike." page 43) over which Left must struggle against Right. Nothing could be farther from the truth and more insidiously calculated to widen the breach between the two camps. It is a constant puzzle to me why there should exist in our little welfare State of New Zealand educated men and women who are persuaded that Communist or Socialist ideologies have something of additional benefit to offer, and who sincerely believe that, by a process of rationalisaion, the ideologies have logically become the raison d'etre of causes which in fact have already been espoused by other individuals, peoples, and nations, though perhaps not with the same "religious" fervour. I am irresistibly drawn to the conclusion that, in their search for "noise"-making material. Leftist promoters in New Zealand during the past decade have been obliged to rely on these popular causes, either because of a fundamental flaw in Communist or Socialist doctrine (about which we hear so little), or because the idea of applying the doctrine to a smugly educated society, such as ours, is manifestly grotesque.
While Mr. Bollinger's article does not profess to champion any cause other than that of "battle." In which I wholeheartedly support him, the opening quotation from Milton sets one on one s guard, and I was disappointed to discover that, in the underlying concept and basic premise of the article, truth has not been given a sporting chance.
—C. G. Powles.
It is hard to throw cold water over such a sincere piece of writing as John Fenyhaugh's editorial in the new-born "Left Review." but we must criticise three points which appear to be central in his argument.
First, his rather uncritical regurgitation of the Marxist analysis of economic systems on page three (paragraph one). The only attempt he makes to justify his bald statement that "Just as feudalism gives way to capitalism, so too must capitalism give way to socialism." is to instance the "factions in the capitalist camp." So what? The "Left Review" itself illustrates a fundamental split in socialist thinking, let [unclear: one] the many factions mentioned by the editor on page two. When he says "Capitalism must give way to socialism" does he [unclear: ot] mean to say, [unclear: N] the rest of his additional seems to suggest, that capitalism should give way to socialism? An unexceptionable statement of opinion, but the transition is hardly established as inevitable by the editorial.
Next we have the hope expressed that "our cherished democracy" should be extended to all fields of national life. Again a worthy ideal. Yet in the same paragraph he condemns piecemeal "controls, "the delicate wrangling of economists," etc. Surely such "delicate wrangling" is essential to democracy as we know it. Perhaps we do the editor an injustice to suggest that the editor has not read k. R. Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies." But if he has, can he afford to ignore Popper's cogent arguments for "piecemeal social engineering"?
Lastly, we would question his dictum that a society owning its own instruments of production "would produce a social environment which would foster the moral development of man." Why should socialism be any more moral than capitalism? Russian dockers (under a "form of socialism") still pillage cargo, as one of us can vouch for. Also, the idea that "narrow mental outlooks" and "materialist and egotistical views" can be remedied by "a reorientation of society" is perhaps too much of a Rousseauist retreat from reality.
While we believe that capitalist society has faults in plenty, we believe that they can be remedied without the wholesale uprooting advocated in the editorial. If a moderate and undogmatic approach to the problem is "expediency," we plead guilty.
J. J. Fordham.
May I accept the invitation of 'the V.U.C. Social Democrat Society to comment on their recent publication "Left Review"? While I found their clarification of their own aims and of Socialism in general very enlightening and satisfying, may I humbly suggest that they descend from the Olympian heights of principle and grapple with the thickets of evil within their own city, within their own institution even.
Bach could conceive and give to the glory of God some of the mightiest works of art even to stir the souls of men with wonder that such greatness could dwell amongst them. But he could also write the bread and butter music of church and social life, husband there wives and rear a many numbered brood of offspring. So then let the Social Democrats vilify the rapacious landlords who exploit the weak and struggling in out midsts Let them not be mealy-mouthed with false shallow loyally towards the spiritless, even malicious carrion that roost within their hills, but remember that as the tutor of our future leaders in New Zealand and abroad the University must be not only the intellectual centre of the community but the moral one.
May I conclude. Sir, by recording my appreciation of the opportunity your paper gives me of coming into contact with the more thoughtful and expressive minds of our small community.
—B. C. Walsh.
The recent collection held on behalf of the College branch of World University Service realised the sum of £35 16/4.
The local committee feels that, considering the fairly numerous demands made upon the student purse, and the absence of publicity (and collection) in 1956, the response to the 1957 collection was quite good.
On behalf of the committee I would like to thank very much all those who contributed so generously.
Brian G. Quin,Hon. Treasurer, V.U.C.W.U.S.
Keep Doors Open
It is with pleasure these I note the refusal of the College authorities to install a door on the women's cloakrooms. The passing male, on entering the Common Room, can with a sideways glance, obtain a view which is without equal throughout the college, not even the women's basketball team at practice equals it in visual "pleasures.
At the same time I would like to add my protest to any move made by the authorities to install a door on the aforesaid cloak room. Interference with ones pleasures nowadays is becoming increasingly more obvious, what small excesses the present-day male has left to indulge in are constantly being frustrated.
I call upon all those interested in permitting simple civil liberties to add their support to this campaign. Our slogan will be . . . Closed Doors lead to Closed Minds. .