Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 2, March 16th, 1949.
The overwheiming logic of practical events and the sheer [unclear: commonsense] of a Socialist solution to the anarchy into which capitalism has driven the world, had made him a Socialist, said Mr. F. L.. Combs in his talk to the Socialist Club on Friday, March 4th. A re-ordering of our education system so that New Zealand's young people came out of our schools able to develop fully was the necessary prerequisite to the re-ordering of society. Mr. Combs was emphatic on this point. "Educate or perish," said Wells; capitalism makes education a farce, commented Combs.
Society unbalanced . . .
Mr. Combs told us how through his sixty-odd years of working in New Zealand, he had come to the inevitable conclusion that our social set-up was lopsided. He compared society with a boat in which a very fat man sat on one side causing such a list that the water was coming in. Common-sense drove the other people in the boat to the other side to prevent the boat sinking. Similarly, capitalism has almost sunk society, and common-sense is driving the people to the other side—to Socialism—to save society.
... by miseducation
The waste inherent in capitalism was stressed by the speaker. As an example of the waste and maldistribution of man power, he showed how in his suburb there were twelve grocers, each with, on the average, three assistants, making in all forty-odd, plus all those in the wholesale trade and distribution behind them. All these to serve one suburb with groceries, while only twelve teachers were expected to educate the children of primary school age in that suburb. Each teacher therefore had to teach two or three times us many children as a proper education required, and as a result, most of the children left school glad to get away from "education" as they knew it, and ready to absorb all the misinformation supplied by our daily press.
. . . misinformation
Our education system does a fair job in turning out people whose main interest in the newspaper is in the races, the comic strips and the latest murder. Neither our schools nor our newspapers are interested in educating the people to a realisation of the faults in our society. Both are instruments Of an anarchic society. Instead of being fact-finding and probing into social probelms, the press is leading the people further into the bog into which society has been pushed by capitalism.
All important as they are to a full development of the individual, the cultural things of life are deadened by education for a capitalist society. The popular third-rate fiction, the films, and our other leisure activities are degrading in their influence on the mind. In fact most of our cultural and leisure activities save us the trouble of thinking about society and help to make us satisfied with the fact that even in a wealthy country like Now Zealand we are not a quarter developed. Anyway, under capitalism, the average man spends all his energies making a living, and is therefore unable to develop himself on the cultural side even if the opportunities were available.
We are told that another war is imminent, and the U.S.S.R. is getting all the blame: but as Mr. Combs pointed out, war is inherent in capitalism. Until capitalism is destroyed the real causes of war will remain and wars will continue to occur.
Capitalism is anti-social and it must go if society is to progress to better times. It must be removed before the blight of its system has destroyed that life, liberty and pursuit of true happiness which is the goal of all decent people. Anarchy must be replaced by a society planning and striving for social betterment through the public ownership of all those things which affect society. Competition for profit must be replaced by a competition for excellence individually and for excellence in serving one's fellow-men. In short, capitalism must be replaced by socialism.