Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 14. 1966.
Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor
Sir, Criticism to often necessary but never tasteful, and therefore, so as not to lessen the chances of this letter being minted, I will adress it to Mr. James K. Baxter himself, and not to you for publishing an article featuring his statements.
Mr. Baxter: I have read your statements and must admit that, though a university student, I prefer our present New Zealand way of life to that of which you suggest (And I have been assured that I am not a paranoid!). The idea of abolishing compulsory education to provide an illiterate population and re-vitalize art, I cannot accept. How many artists have illiterate peoples produced? And moreover, many of us owe a debt of gratitude to the present education system—including the boarding schools—and though we may not all become poets, we are able to appreciate the arts as much as we wish, and, I hope, question the views of a name.
I applauded your recommendations about advertising (censorship, too—with qualifications) but your ideas on sex and homosexuality leave a bad taste even in my "Colgate-tended" mouth. To me they are the ideas of a frustrated, dirty, old man —I hope you got them from someone else.
Your suggestion that everyone be allowed to take a spell of economic insecurity every now and then, would certainly make New Zealand a land of paranoids, though hardly a paradise. And as for immigration, drugs, grogshops, and bull-fights, I give no reply: a ship with no bottom will sink without being torpedoed.
You know some funny policemen ail right, James, but I must remind you that there have been some strangetype poets too—I mean, do you want me to condemn all artists because of your statements?
No, I cannot agree with your plan for New Zealand until I see some practical and better alternatives, I am prepared to defend our present education system, our various laws, and their means of enforcement. Your suggestions were not alternatives and fall to win my vote. But I must qualify this: at least a New Zealand under your system could produce many artists—there would certainly be plenty to protest about.
David M. Roughan.
Sir,—I would be pleased if you would mention in Salient the election of officers to the Kelburn Group of Amnesty International.
Amnesty is an international organisation which has no political or religious affiliations, but which seeks to relieve the distress of "prisoners of conscience" who have been imprisoned or otherwise restricted in their, activities as a result of political or religious views.
The Kelburn group has "adopted" three "prisoners": Vladimir Bykovsky, a writer in Russia who has been detained at a mental institution in Moscow; Mohamed Saleh Ali, who has been imprisoned in Bahrein; and John Aitchison, a theological student who has been banned under the Suppression of Communism Act in South Africa.
The Kelburn group of Amnesty is one of more than half a dozen groups that have. been set up in New Zealand. It meets monthly at the university. The meetings last about an hour.
The outgoing members of the committee were Mr. R. S. Clark (chairman), Mr. K. Willis (secretary), and Mr. H. B. Roberta (treasurer). The members of the incoming committee are Mr. J. R. Boyes (chairman), Mrs. Louise Clark (secretary) and Dr. M. Griffin (treasurer).
Sir,—It was with disgust that I read in "Critic" Mr. R. J. King's statements (for the NZ-Rhodesia Society) condoning and supporting Australian Fascist, Mr. Eric Butler, and also the articles on Butlers "campaign" in Critic and Salient.
It seems to me that Mr. King in supporting Butler (be it anti-Semitism or Rhodesia) is in itself a step made with ignorance; as are any Antisemitic statements. Too many people make statements against the Jews, without knowing a thing about the Jews (whether it is social, economic, political or religious). Here lies the important basis for anti-semitism —lack of knowledge: and what people don't know about, they fear and use as an excuse for anything — for the international use of the Jew as a scapegoat. Ignorance has been the cause of anti-Semitism since its first appearance - from the "blood libels" of the 18th century, the Dreyfus case of the 19th. to Hitler's crude propaganda in our century.
How can a person support such statements of Butler's as "Hitler's murder of six million Jews is a lie" when firstly, they know nothing about it and secondly they are facts; in fact six million was a conservative estimate of those who died by or through the effects of Nazi persecution!
How can a person on one hand be "pledged to God' and or "a sober member of hit church" and on the other hand, support anti-Semitism racism, white supremacy at in Rhodesia and South Africa; the things that Christian and Jew, black and white, alike abhor as human beings?
(Perhaps Mr. King before supporting Butler would read the Ten Commandments — which are for Christian and Jew alike.)
Today the western world cries out against left-wing Communist movements as the great danger (a farcical example is our own Auckland spy case); yet to me this is not the "clear and present danger" of today but the right wing, Fascists, Conservatives (call them what you like!) with men like Butler. Mosley, Rockwell and seemingly Mr. King (I might add also, a number of New Zealand's present MP's). I Just hope Mr. King's sentiments don't spread especially amongst university students; for if they did, then we who believe in individual freedom and equality would have something to worry about.
I would like to add finally that "One of my best friends is an Anglican"— one is also a Buddhist and one a South African Liberal.