Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 15. July 26, 1939
Joynt Scroll — "A Little Lenin—"
"A Little Lenin—"
"Does education in New Zealand equip us for everyday life?" This was the question which teams from the six University Colleges debated at Dunedin last Friday. A reasonable person, looking at the subject dispassionately, would have thought that Victoria's team, which had to prove that education does equip us for life, would find it rather difficult to prove. Nevertheless, Messrs. Edgley and Meek returned with the Joynt Scroll on Sunday morning.
V.U.C.'s victory was due to the excellence both of the matter and the manner of our representatives. Mr. Edgley commenced a fine speech by admitting that almost all the arguments of the affirmative were unassailable, and developed a thesis, turning on the meaning of "everyday life." which used the affirmative's arguments in its own support. This thesis, which was ex plained in greater detail by Mr. Meek, was the typical Marxian view of education. "Everyday life." said our speakers, "doesn't mean an ideal or a Utopian life; it means life as it is lived to-day—wage slavery, materialistic in out look, regimented. Now, the fact that our educational system is basically and fundamentally unsound, is due primarily to the prevailing social philosophy. The form and content of education are dependent on and determined by society—that is, by everyday life, and thus education can never do otherwise than fit us for everyday life. No radical reform in education is possible without a radical change in the social system."
This ingenious argument was entirely unexpected by the Otago team. Messrs Tichener and Smith, against whom V.U.C. debated. Despite an excellent [unclear: summing] up by their leader. Otago railed to shake the logic and meticulous accuracy of our speakers. Mr. Edgley's summing-up was one of the best "Salient" has ever heard delivered on a debating platform. Both speakers made full use of irony and wit, culminating in Mr. Meek's inspired maxim "A little Lenin is a dangerous thing."
The judges, representing the law, the church, and the university, placed Victoria first and Massey second, while of the individual speakers Mr. Meek was placed first and Mr. Smith of Massey second.
Reports of the other two debates, which "Salient" was unfortunately unable to hear, will, we hope, be published later when material comes to hand from the N.Z.U. Press Bureau.
Our speakers wish "Salient" to place on record their sincere appreciation of the courtesy and kindness afforded to them by Otago.
By the way, why did Mr. Edgley visit the Law Courts on Saturday morning?