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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 21, No. 8. 2nd July, 1958

Readers Reckon

page 8

Readers Reckon

Postage stamp and postmark with the heading Readers Reckon


The Editor.

Dear Sir,—It is with regret that I tender my resignation as Sports Editor of your paper. This has been brought about by the resignation of Mr. F. Wallis from the position of Publications Officer of N.Z.U.S.P.C.—the position which I have accepted.

My association with the 1958 "Salient" has not been a long one but I assure you that the enjoyment in that short period makes it very difficult to forego.

It has become obvious that your Editorial policy, though violent, has created an interest in the newspaper that has been lacking for a considerable period. You will thoroughly deserve the credit that you and your staff receive through this progress.

Finally it but remains for me to wish "Salient" a continuing prosperity for the remainder of the year and to express the hope that your successor will be as progressive.

D. B. Kenderdine.

["Salient" wishes to thank Don Kenderdine for his services on the staff. Don has worked selflessly for many months, writing the sports page and the executive section, reporting meetings, and assisting in the lay-out. His assistance has been invaluable and it is regretted that his work for the Press Council makes it no longer forthcoming. "Salient" owes him a debt of gratitude which can not be entirely expressed in words. Any progress made by "Salient" this year is due, to a considerable extent, to Don's unfailing efforts, and any credit is due to him as much as to the rest of the staff.—Ed.]


The Editor,

Sir,—May I be permitted to offer further thoughts on the subject of military training in this country? We can no longer consider ourselves remote enough from the troubled situations on this shrinking planet to disregard our military responsibilities which in view of the size of the country, amount to co-operation with Commonwealth or allied nations and participation in military activities involving these nations. Ideally (and ideals should act as guides in the life of individual and nation in a practical and realistic manner, such activities should play a minor part in the affairs of the world and her constituents. The obliteration of the established material and social assets of the community in the interests of progress and ultimate social welfare during the uncontrolled flood of an international war which overwhelms both good and bad is surely inferior to the slower but directed effort which, aims at the removal of the undesirable characteristics of our civilisation and the improvement of living standards and amenities without the loss of life and the great discomforts which have characterised former attempts at solving human problems.

Bearing in mind the general fact that the accomplishment often falls short of the ideal and applying general principles to the solution of a local problem, we should be led to a practical decision whose value is enhanced because of its association with a broader stable frame. Thus, at a time when overseas resources and capital are dangerously ebbing and the demand for essential local services, in particular, electricity, is increasing, the Government is obliged to spend a large amount of local and overseas funds on military equipment whose value lies in its potential usefulness rather than its real usefulness since few hope that the full potentials of destructive military equipment will ever have to be applied. It is doubtful whether, as some suggest, the discipline imposed on the trainee by his superiors is of lasting value, and the general lack of enthusiasm and the doubt the trainee feels regarding the worthwhileness of his duty all reduce the chances of the system turning out a good soldier. A failure to appreciate the reality of a potential threat has placed New Zealand in an uncomfortable position in the past, and still does, as is demonstrated by the recent power cuts, the lack of overseas funds and ineffective use of existing military training facilities and permanent, experienced staff who could form the nucleus of a quickly mobilised force in the event of the actual outbreak of war. This staff would not attempt the difficult task of training a large group of men under conditions of peace, unspurred by the realisation that the threat to themselves, their family and country is real.



Smarten Up!

The Editor.

Sir,—As soon as the weather becomes the least bit cold in Wellington, we see all the women at Victoria bringing out their dowdy winter clothes. How can the men students study when their surroundings are so dull and dismal. In common with all my friends, I hate grey skirts and faded jumpers, and most of all, I hate Flat Shoes.

Why don't the girls at Victoria lay down their poetry books for a while, and read the latest "Vogue"? Don't they know that skirts are getting shorter– Smarten up, young ladies, or you will never get a man, which, I presume, is the reason you are here at all.

I am etc.,

Ivor Grudge.


The Editor.

Sir,—I was indeed surprised at the attitude taken by your correspondent "Young John" in your 4th issue of "Salient" this year. What particularly amazes me is the attitude taken by "Young John" in commenting on my article entitled "Lest We Forget". The purpose of the article was merely to point out that certain people whose past actions show them to be most definitely enemies of democracy, are, because of their usefulness (or rather apparent usefulness) to the Western cause in the struggle against the Soviet bloc, once again rising to prominent positions, thus alienating the uncommitted millions in the world. The fact that there may be some equally bad people on the other side in no way alters this alienation from the West, as it only reaffirms the decision of the uncommitted to be neutral. I am sure that this letter will make clear to "Young John" that I am not a "professor of hate". If it does not then "Young John" must be as he wrote, a "backward, subnormal" person.

—I am, etc.,


Fire !

The Editor.

Dear Sir,—I noticed at the beginning of the year that emergency exit notices were put up all over Vic. But despite this the Biology Block remains a potential death trap. Why is it that the exit from the Biology Block has been nailed up all the year? I am fully aware that this exit cannot be used normally because of wind danger, but is that any reason why it should be nailed and boarded up so that it cannot be used in an emergency?

What would happen if an earthquake rendered the bridge from the Biology Block to the old Chemistry Block unusuable? What if the Chemistry Block caught fire? How then could the Biology Block be speedily evacuated? There is one small rear exit with absolutely no signs to betray its presence and of whose existence many students are unaware. There are absolutely no notices to inform one that a fire escape even exists, much less as to how to get on to it.

Also, why is the door on the Western side of the ground floor or the old Chemistry Block not marked as an emergency exit??

Are the faults going to be remedied, or do I rest quite satisfied that in an emergency to evacuate, say, 323, I have to
(1)descend three flights of stairs, asuming that they are still in existence;
(2)then pass a door which could lead to freedom if I knew that it were there;
(3)pass another door that leads to freedom but is nailed up;
(4)cross a bridge which is quite likely to be badly damaged or made unusable in the case of an earthquake;
(5)enter into another building which could very easily be on fire;
(6)descend another flight of narrow stairs (crowded enough between lectures let alone in an emergency) which are quite likely to be damaged or on fire;
(7)eventually, if I am lucky enough to be alive, to emerge outside into comparative safety.

If this is the best that we can do in the nature of emergency arrangements I suggest that the Fire Brigade be asked to inspect them as they do with picture theatres and public halls. I would be most interested to know their comments, if they were printable.

—I am, etc.,


Life is Grey

The Editor,

Sir,—I would like to comment on Mr. Preston's emotional article: "Crime and You".

The writer says that the work of the law is not to adjust emotionally lawbreakers, but to protect the community from crime.

A system of punishments or sanctions, however, is one way to do this—social adjustment another.

Mr. Preston accuses the [unclear: criminologists] of emotionally adjusting [unclear: to] lawbreakers. He proves [unclear: nothing] but only assumes.

I do not think that [unclear: psychiatric] generally act emotionally.

Incidentally, Mr. Preston [unclear: apparently] does not know the [unclear: difference] between a psychiatrist and a [unclear: psychologist].

Logic has nothing to do [unclear: with] breaking the society's rules. [unclear: Has] Mr. Preston ever tried to [unclear: analyse] the psychological factors which [unclear: go] into the making of a criminal?

He categorically states three [unclear: reasons] why people commit [unclear: crimes]. He seems to think that life in [unclear: all] its intricacies can be divided [unclear: into] pigeonholes.

When he has grown up a bit, [unclear: he] may perhaps realise that life [unclear: is] neither black nor white, but [unclear: grey].

Mr. Preston does not [unclear: explain] what a moral code is based on [unclear: and] apparently thinks that morality [unclear: is] destroyed by atheism.

It is submitted that this is not necessarily so: to behave as a decent man or woman can be its own justification.

Hell and heaven are pretty poor motives for behaving decently.

Mr. Preston is a pessimist and seems to have lost faith in mankind.

His suggestion of ruling the country by fear reminds me of Russia.

Mr. Preston seems to be a great believer in statistical logic, apparently ignorant of the fact that statistics lie and never fully explain.

Has he ever thought of the possibility of educating the people as a means of reducing the rate of crime?

Mercy is not the policy towards first offenders. The idea is that they are not as dangerous as inveterate criminals, so that the punishment they deserve should be less.

Mr. Preston is a Christian and thinks that only Christianity can maintain a moral code.

Yet he advocates a system that is morally indefensible.

Slums and poor social conditions are more likely to cause crime than conducive surroundings, reasonable comfort and happiness.

What about improving the living conditions and teaching the people the art of living in the widest sense, Mr. Preston?

I can only throw out a few suggestions because time and space are limited.

Laotse said this: "The more prohibitions there are, the poorer people become. The more sharp weapons there are, the more prevailing chaos there is in the State. The more skills of technique, the more cunning things are produced. The greater the number of statutes, the greater the number of thieves and brigands."

Therefore the sage says: "I do nothing and the people are reformed of themselves. I love quietude and the people are righteous of themselves. I have no desires and the people are simple and honest by themselves."

—I am, etc.,

John C. Hendrikse.

The Papacy & Fascism

Mr. R. G. Hall is obviously a person in whose bonnet a large number of lively bees are buzzing, so that a general discussion of his remarks would be likely to lead to protracted controversy without fruitful results.

Instead, I propose to devote most attention to his remarks on two quite specific and concrete matters, the statements of the Papacy about Italian Fascism and German National Socialism. I say "concrete" because this is essentially a matter of what is and what is not contained in certain documents.

Mr. Hall asserts ("Salient," 6/5/58) that, contrary to popular belief, Pope Pius XI never condemned Fascism and Nazism in his page 9 [unclear: als] "Non Abbiamo Bisogno" [unclear: d] "Mit Brennender Sorge" [unclear: nd] that, as he puts it, "the [unclear: its] were wholly ecclesiastical, [unclear: ng] the lost privileges of the without condemning "poli-[unclear: d] social totalitarianism."

[unclear: e] it that Mr. Hall is not [unclear: g] to the Pope's defence of [unclear: rch] against these attacks but absence, as he believes, of [unclear: cern] for interests other than. [unclear: f] the Church. Of course, if [unclear: oking] for a condemnation of dictatorships (or autocracies) as of government he will not It has been the constant [unclear: ng] of the Church that no form [unclear: ernment] is good or bad in it-[unclear: hat] is, as a form. Its good-[unclear: or] badness depend upon the that pervades it, upon its lying philosophy, its purpose [unclear: its] methods. (This, I thnk, is [unclear: nly] reasonable interpretation of passage from "Non Abbiamo [unclear: no]" which Mr. Hall quotes: have not said that We wished [unclear: condemn] the [Fascist] party as Our aim has been . . . to [unclear: lemn] all those things in the pro[unclear: nme] and activities of the party [unclear: h] [are] contrary to Catholic [unclear: rine] and . . . practice . . .")

[unclear: The] Church's purpose is primar-other-worldly and it attempts to [unclear: e] to terms as far as possible, [unclear: hout] compromising its principles, [unclear: h] the governments of the various [unclear: untries] in which it finds itself; tries to establish a modus vivendi which its primary work—the [unclear: sal-tion] of souls—may be [unclear: accom-plished.] Mr. Hall asks why the [unclear: 37] encyclical did not break off [unclear: plomatic] relations with Germany. [unclear: ut] Concordats do not necessarily [unclear: xpress] approval of the other gov[unclear: rnment]—indeed they are usually [unclear: made] when relations are difficult—[unclear: nd] it is surely in times of great [unclear: crisis] that greater efforts should be [unclear: made] to retain the normal diplomatic links, despite the current habits of modern governments in this matter.

"Non Abbiamo Bisogno" is, of course, primarily a defence of Catholic Action against the actions of the Italian Government which Pius XI regarded as a breach of the Lateran Treaty of 1929. But it also contains a qualified disapproval of the Fascist Oath together with a condemnation as "eroneous and false doctrine" of the complete monopolisation of the young, "from their tenderest years . . . for the exclusive advantage of a party and . . . regime based on an ideology which clearly resolves itself into . . . a real pagan worship of the State—the "statology" which is no less in contrast with the natural rights of the family than it is in contradiction with the supernatural rights of the Church." Is this not a condemnation of totalitarianism as it is usually defined, that is, a situation in which all or most of the associations within a country are subordinate to or controlled by the State? Indeed, Mr. Hall himsel says that the Pope "simply (sic) denounced . . . fascist doctrines . . . which tended to place the supremacy of the State above everything' including the Catholic Church"!

"Mit Brennender Sorge" is also primarily a defence of the Church against the actions of the German Government which Pius VI regarded as contrary to the 1933 Concordat, but it, too, contains a condemnation of "whoever transposes Race or People, the State or Constitution, the executive or other fundamental elements of human society (which in the natural order have an essential and honourable place), from the scale of earthly values and makes them the ultimate norm of all things, even of religious values, and deifies them with on idolatrous cult, pervert[ing] and falsify[ing] the divinely created and appointed order of things" (para. 10). The Pope also condemns "certain contemporary prophets" of the "so-called myth of blood and race" (19) and those who "refuse to recognise the fundamental fact that man as a person possesses rights given him by God which must be preserved from every attempt by the community to deny, suppress, or hinder their exercise" and maintains that "society is willed by the Creator as a means to the full development of the faculties of the individual . . . for his natural and supernatural development and perfection" (3.4). Yet Mr. Hall claims that Pius XI "never protested against Nazism as such" (whatever exactly he means by this) and makes the quite unsupported and absurd assertion that the Vatican "could not afford to offend such a valuable political ally"!

In his first letter, Mr. Hall asserted that the Vatican promoted the Spanish Civil War. In his second letter, replying to Mr. Kelliher's effort to refute this contention, he claimed that "Spanish Catholics had contacted Mussolini with a view to planning it as early as 1933".

He thus adroitly shifts his ground by identifying the Vatican with Mussolini! This statement in the second letter—with its reference to the "Manchester Guardian" of 4/12/37 (which, incidentally, is unobtainable from any public institution in Wellington)—is completely irrelevant to the original assertion.

Russell Price.

Rome, Sweet Rome

The Editor:

Sir,—Even though Mr. A. J. MacLeod has chosen to make guesses at the identity of his adversary, and really put himself outside the pale of decent controversy by doing so, his letter in your issue of 28th May makes statements that cannot be allowed to go by unchallenged. For that reason alone, I will consent to take issue with him, on condition that he replaces his offensive references to "Mr. Bollinger" by any references he chooses to make about myself.

The facts I quoted concerning incidence of crime among Roman Catholics were 44 years old solely because, as I said, they were "the last figures to be published in New Zealand." From the suppression of the subsequent figures, it can be assumed that they show a similar tendency. Father Engler's figures, quoted by Mr. MacLeod, were produced, as he will know, in a desperate attemp to explain the fact that official figures in America show a similarly high incidence of crime among Roman Catholics. In quoting the explanation without quoting what prompted it, Mr. MacLeod is not putting himself in a good position to accuse other people of "plain deception".

Mr. MacLeod is disappointed that I failed to produce facts supporting the view that too much, rather than too little, religion was responsible for certain adolescent behaviour in the Hutt Valley. Some of the worst cases of anti-social revolt which actually came before the Mazengarb Committee's attention were from fanatically religious homes. I could quote the names of several families, if that would please Mr. MacLeod, but I am hopeful that the youngsters concerned may live to find more wholesome influences and free themselves from a past stain which was not their fault.

Mr. MacLeod's Catholicism borders on megalomania when he assumes that my sweeping generalisation about religiously-based morals was intended to refer specifically to the teachings of his own sect. I am also surprised, considering Mr. MacLeod's enormous advantages in this matter, that he so completely oversimplifies and misrepresents what he is pleased to call "the worst excesses of Calvin." We have the best authority for lumping together "monkish and evangelical superstitions." The weird aberrations of flagellants and other mortifiers of their own and other people's flesh, were learned by the "Puritans" from the monasteries of the Middle Ages: And it is the Roman Catholic faith which today believes the last word on marital relations can be spoken by a man who has taken vows of celibacy!

"The idea of the strong right arm is not the basis of Catholic teaching"—then I take it the demented pictures of hell-fire current among my Roman Catholic playmates when I was young, have ceased to be the central nightmare of the faith.

"The Church has always shown a firm approach on moral matters"—well, really! I would to God it had—and in those small areas where it has (belatedly on H-bomb tests, for example) I applaud it sincerely. But what are we to say of Rome's flirtations with Hitler and Mussolini, of the murder of Giordano Bruno, of the massacre of the Waldensians, of the whole bloody night of the Inquisition,?

An institution that ignores the immoral horrors of movements it cares to make expedient alliances with, and reserves its denunciatory blasts for contraception, has no claim whatever to be considered the pillar of Christian morality.



The Editor:

Sir,—Mr. A. J. MacLeod has commited the unpardonable offence of assuming that an article published over the initials "C.V.B." was written by myself.

It is true that he may have been misled by the strange manner in which the editor crammed the article concerned, a letter signed by me, and a letter purporting to be about me, all onto a single page of the issue of 6th May. And while on the subject of the editor, it must be said that his action in publishing Mr. MacLeod's brash explosion in the issue of 28th May without correcting the references to myself throughout, is quite as unpardonable as the letter itself.

Can this be the Mr. MacLeod who served a term as editor of "Canta", and was appointed Publications Officer of the NZUSPC this year? One would expect someone with this amount of Press experience to know better.

In the event, it can only be said that his irrelevant and offensive ad hominem arguments (he takes the liberty of mentioning my name ten times in his foolish letter) fall very flat.

C. V. Bollinger.