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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 2. March 16, 1938

Inter - College Debate

Inter - College Debate

I cannot say whether the Committee of the Debating Club intended that the subject—"That the good old days were bad"—should be treated seriously or otherwise. In the result, several speakers endeavoured to show that the subject involved a logical absurdity—quite true, but that was scarcely an excuse for the lack on the one hand of an evening punctuated by the "thrust" of debate, or on the other hand, the absence or sound views on the advancement or retrogression of the world. Even Mr. Scotney's attempted humour was fit rather for the C.B.S. than for a University debate, and the attempts of all speakers to deal with the vital facts of the present era were evidenced only by vague generalities.

As it was, the speakers failed lamentably from either angle, the climax in my opinion being the effort of Mr. Saunders, Claiming that the world had advanced in the sphere of science and medicine, he asked—"What was the use of the good old days if the people were not able to combat disease?" Does Mr. Saunders really believe that the health of the community depends on medical services? If so could he explain the condition of "the distressed areas" in Britain, or even the fact that 79 per cent. of the children in London County Council elementary schools are affected, from a medical viewpoint, by ricketts—a disease fundamentally connected with under-nourishment?

We are living in a world distraught with mass unemployment, fascism, war, intense class struggle, etc., etc.. and to put it mildly, considering even elementary matters, the further claim of Mr. Saunders that the inter-relations of society are now much improved is questionable. However, he was correct in his claim that the people of the world are now better able to appreciate the truth of the world around them. But is this due to our advance in "science and education?" How much indebted to "education," in the sense that Mr. Saunders used the word, were those who initiated those crucial struggles for the freedom and betterment of the masses-how much indebted to "education" are even the present leaders for their Inability to visualise the true nature of those struggles?

Those who venture on to a debating platform to deal with a serious subject, would be well advised first to obtain a tittle direct knowledge on and a few facts relative to the realities of life at the present day.