Salient Special Issue, April 17, 1969.
The function, as we see it, of a New Zealand security service should be to prevent efforts to subvert our political system. Our system is ostensibly democratic. Perhaps the most clear expression of the philosophy of democracy is embodied in the' Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens' recognised and declared by the French National Assembly at the time of the Revolution. Two of the Rights of Man are particularly relevant to the events outlined in this special issue of Salient. They are:
|10.||No man ought to be molested on account of his opinions, not even on account of his religious opinions; provided his avowal of them does not disturb the public order established by law.|
|11.||The unrestrained communication of thoughts and opinions being one of the most precious Rights of Man, every citizen may speak, write, and publish freely; provided he is responsible for the abuse of this liberty in cases determined by the law.|
We believe that these words are held to be true by most New Zealanders, even today. Citizens should have the right to hold whatever views they choose -- whether these be racist, communist, fascist or anything else -- and the right to disseminate, by any means, these ideas; provided that the expression of their ideas does not conflict with the rights of other members of society. There have been many instances where free speech has threatened the rights -- including freedom of speech itself -- of others in society. In these cases, somebody must determine whether a threat is sufficiently great to justify denial of right. If a man were to attempt to persuade New Zealanders to exterminate our Jewish population -- and had some prospect of success -- a conflict of rights would arise. In such a case, the rights of one man would have to be subordinated to the rights of others. The basis for determining the ranking of rights is provided in utilitarian principles.
The raison d'etre of a university, in Western society at least, is the free exchange of ideas. As it is implicit in the concept of democracy that man is a rational being, it is in the universities -- which are considered the primary focus in society of rational thought -- that democracy is most clearly evident. However this view of the university is clearly contrary to the concept of democracy. Democracy implies perceiving all men as rational beings -- not just the members of universities.
We cannot, therefore, raise any arguments against the activities of Security Service personnel in universities which will not have equal application to society at large. However, the presence of a security service recruiter on this campus suggests that the service is unaware of what it is that it should be defending. These activities cannot help but inhibit the free exchange of ideas. And if the free-exchange of ideas cannot be permitted to take place in universities we will be unable to say -- even of this special preserve -- that any real suggestion of democracy exists in New Zealand.
S.A. & D.H.