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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 7. June 23rd, 1948

The Witch Hunt

The Witch Hunt

In U.S.A., the notorious "Loyalty Clearance Investigations" have been denounced by Dr. David Inglis, John Hopkins University physicist, and a leading atomic scientist, in the following words: "There are large implications to these attacks; first those pertaining to science and scientists—the contributions of scientists to national welfare—and second those pertaining to the constitutional liberties of all citizens. Such techniques of character assassination mean that scientists will be very reluctant to enter federal research agencies . . . and the witch hunt may even be extended to embrace all scientists as a class."

Czechoslovakia is not the only European country where Nazi collaborators have received surprisingly lenient treatment at the hands of their reactionary friends in office, and it is to be expected that the Czech people, being among the first to suffer from middle-class collaboration with the Germans, should resent the freedom of such people and seize the first opportunity of setting the Courts in motion again to deal with those accused.

It is likely that further attacks on academic freedom will be made by those who set themselves up as champions of freedom, and it is well for university workers to realize that even in democratic universities the mode of thought is controlled by the existing social system so that otherwise progressive university spokesmen may become the unwitting instruments of reaction.

—W. Haldane Oliver.

(This is not the W. H. Oliver who is junior lecturer in History.