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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 8. May 31, 1939

All is Not Lost

All is Not Lost

Amidst the tumultuous chorus of praise which rose to greet this year's Extravaganza, foremost of all were the sweet, cool wood notes of Mr. Trevor Lane.

Need it be said we were deeply touched?

We have long admired that great instrument of emancipation and enlightenment. Long admired that noble, that high-principled, that (if we may say it) Miltonic mind which, heedless of popular opinion, never panders to convention, never dabbles in sentimentality, never traffics in sensationalism.

Because of this admiration, heart-felt as it is, we were deeply moved by Mr. Lane's restrained and liberal laudation of ourselves. Such a tribute is all the more touching in that it was quite spontaneous.

"What a pity," writes Mr. Lane, "that these callow youths, whose manners and outlook have been conditioned by a too tolerant and kindly democracy, couldn't be transported to Europe, disciplined under a Nazi flag, controlled in word and thought and deed by a Hitler or a Mussolini or a Stalin."

Before such moderation, such forbearance, one is well-nigh speechless. Seldom, in all the wide sweep of history, is one privileged to encounter so exalted and magnanimous a tolerance. Reminiscent it is of Milton, of Shelley, of John Stuart Mill. Reminiscent of Voltaire and his famous aphorism, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." which, together with Mr. Lane's impassioned words, will stand for all ages as the perfect utterance of the tolerant ideal.

In a world rampant with oppression and tyranny. Mr. Lane's words stand as a beacon in the darkness. We need but glance at Italy and Germany to realise how precious the virtue of tolerance has become to us, and how desperately we must struggle to keep it alive.

But all is not lost. Mr. Lane is yet with us. Let us rejoice that he at least cannot be numbered among those unenlightened people, so constantly in our midst, who are notoriously confident that they have a monopoly on all truth—those who deny to others the right of freedom in speech.