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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 9. 1961

Airotciv Illogical

Airotciv Illogical

Sir,—I wish to express my hearty disgust at the opinions of your correspondent W. P. Airotciv as expressed in "Salient" No. 8. He takes it upon himself to fill the role of a prophet with his blatantly nonsensical observation that "there can never be equality." Quite apart from the fact that he gives No examples to support his assertions, the very basic logic of his argument is at fault. His hypothesis, viewed critically is this:
(1)Complete human rights cannot exist while there is inequality.
(2)At the moment there is inequality in the world.
(3)Therefore, human rights can Never exist.

The fallacy of this argument is obvious. One might as well say that the sky can never be clear because at the moment it is partly cloudy.

Quite apart from this, your correspondent is wrong when he claims that "human rights are nonexistent." To be sure they are incomplete. but to assume that this means they are non-existent is quite ridiculous. Yet this is what W. P. Airotciv does. He points to the state of inequality in the world (an abuse of human rights) and then proceeds to prove, apparently to his own satisfaction, that the fact that these rights are being abused proves their non-existence. I would be intrigued to hear how one can abuse a non-existent quality. The very fact that they are abused proves their existence in an imperfect form whereas your correspondent denies their existence in any state at all.

Other fallacies in his letter are obvious. "To admit that there are human rights would be to construe that man can achieve perfection," he says. Grossly untrue. I would be the last to claim the perfection of man, but I consider that in any country man possesses his rights, pathetically small though they may be. Then again, he says: "There shall always be despair for some." This to me, seems to mean that his idea of human rights would be a series of magic barriers guarding man from any harm. The very idea is disagreeable. Who would wish to spend one's life in an unhealthily lukewarm Utopia without any tempering in the fire of adverse conditions?

The tone of the whole letter is deserving of condemnation.

The attitude of careless resignation, the destructive jibes, the warped cynicism—all are only too typical of that obnoxious class, who, seeing the world imperfect, immediately assume that toil towards a better goal is useless, and sink back into a morass of petulant complaining.

Yours, etc.,

Clive McLeod.