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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 10. 1963.

Let's Direct Our Democracy

page 2

Let's Direct Our Democracy

A Recent Editorial in Canta regurgitates the age old arguments on Communist rights in a democratic country. "The Communist abuses the rights he enjoys in a democracy, since he employs them to a perverted end—the destruction of those very rights, that very democracy" (Canta July 19). The writer goes on to claim that the value of freedom lies in the "use we make of it. As members of a society we are bound to aim for the benefit of that society as a whole."

However, to make his argument hang together, Mr. Ward is forced to conclude "our democracies rely too greatly on the worth of individual judgment, on the free (and generally uninformed) conscience." He adds that some "firm authority" should "determine what is beneficial for society." He avoids stating that his argument would pervert democracy even more surely than any Communist efforts.

The attitude displayed by Mr. Ward is merely a watered down version of Burke's "swinish multitude." This well-known mistake fortunately gave rise to extensive and justified indignation among the so-called pigs. It should be in these even more enlightened times that Mr. Ward's utterances receive the derision they deserve.

Mr. Butler, printed below, attempts to disprove G. Hawke's argument that the Communists should be allowed election rights. He gives himself and his kinsman Mr. Ward, away when he admits, in his closing lines, of the sound commonsense of the people of New Zealand."

W.A.