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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 15. 1972

Moral Revolt

Moral Revolt

Dr. Nicholls saw student revolt as the actions of those functioning at a high level of moral development, (Stage V or VI) where they saw the immorality of "accepted" authority, eg. Marshall's stance over the issue of the French Tests. Here action taken has been based on expediency rather than morality, hence at a Stage II level. Therefore, it is no wonder that when an individual reaches Stages V or VI, they begin to question issues judged for expediency rather than morality. At this point Dr. Nicholls posed the question — "How important is democracy if all those involved in the democratic process are functioning at a pre-conventional level?" Here, it is tempting to revert to the statements made at the opening of the Seminar, by the two M.P's, Mr Pickering, Minister of Education, and Mr Amos, the Labour spokesman on Education. Mr Pickering, in opening the Seminar, stressed the need for a clarification of goals by the educators, in relation to moral education of children. However, he was obviously subjected to political, rather than moral requirements in his statement, emphasising the quantities of money being spent by the government on education. His attitude seemed to be that the government was playing its role quantitatively and that it was up to the educators to play their role qualitatively. He also spoke of the individual's freedom to protest, yet questioned this "right" in relation to the question of indoctrination, implying that those who protest do so as part of a group, rather than as an individual revolt against conventional morality. The Minister expressed a need to re-examine the fundamentals of education, and to establish values among those being educated, and although he raised the question of avoiding indoctrination, he enlarged on the content of the Seminar by suggesting that values could be imposed "mind on mind, character on character." Relating these statements to those later expressed by Dr. Nicholls one is faced with the problem of a stunted growth in moral judgement, due perhaps to the subjections of a conformist institution. Mr Amos stressed the role played by young protestors as constituting a "great service, continuing to remind "us" of the right to protest hence as a reminder of democracy. Should a person holding such a position in a so-called democratic government, need a reminder of the very basis upon which he is functioning. However, one could possibly give quite a high rating on Kolhberg's scale to such a statement. But, in light of Dr. Nicholls statement concerning expediency rather than morality, one could perhaps question the political circumstances provoking a statement of this nature.