Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 4, No. 1 March 12, 1941
More Class-Conscientiousness — Mr. Menzies and Moral Rearmament
Mr. Menzies and Moral Rearmament
The presence of Mr. Ivan Menzies in Wellington has made the question of moral rearmament and the message of the Oxford Group a topical one. Here "Salient" bring you the case for the movement in Mr. Menzies' own words.
We were ushered into the presence of Mr. Menzies during a matinee at the Opera House. Clad in the uniform of the "Ruler of the Queen's Navee," he discoursed ex tempore in the time betwen his appearances on the stage, on Moral Rearmament, especially in its relation to social questions of to-day.
He began with the slogan—"Less class-consciousness—more class conscientiousness." Most students will agree with his opinion that after the Great War the old order was dead, that mankind made a costly mistake in endeavouring to resuscitate it, rather than to build a new one. Again, he said, fear and materialism dominate; the spirit of "get" is everywhere, the spirit of "give" is lacking. A world where everybody shares is not only possible but necessary.
Change the Individual.
Mr. Menzies would begin and carry out all social change in the individual. He instanced several results from personal experience. Labour agitators as much as factory owners have been morally rearmed with the result that their home life, no less than their social life, has been revolutionised.
If the moral revolution does not come about universally a material revolution is inescapable, said Mr. Menzies. Thus the Movement may be regarded as an escape from a bloody proletarian rising.
"Salient": "Would you say that history shows that moral change precedes material and social change?"
Mr. Menzies: "I think that history does show that. We see for example that the moral decadence of Rome led to its down fall."
"Salient": "Would you care to give any comment on Soviet Russia, the great exponent of the antithetical doctrine of material and political change?"
Mr. Menzies: "I myself have never been in Russia, but many of my friends have gone away keen and have returned sadly disappointed."
At last the Lowdown!
Mr. Menzies gave his opinion that there were places for tourists to see, but that the messes of Russia were far from happy. He instanced the case of a friend who carrying provisions with him on a journey through U.S.S.R. took pity on the hungry crowds and decided to give them a loaf of his bread. Before he had passed the bread through the railway carriage window the fighting mob had crumbled it to waste, so starving were they.
Mr. Menzies was then obliged to return on the stage, and so "Salient" left, strongly impressed by his personality and friendliness. Whether we differ or agree with his opinions we must admit that they are the opinions of an undoubtedly sincere man.