Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 12. September 19, 1945
No Man's Land
No Man's Land
Dear Sir,—I should like to comment on the write-ups of debates in Salient, which I think are unintelligently and unfairly done, especially this last debate reported, of the SCM v. the Debating Club. Speeches on both sides have been misrepresented in the effort of the writer to be witty, one small point or slip being emphasised while all the main ones are neglected, or the argument being put in such a way that only those who were present could possibly understand it, and although this happens with people from both sides, it does so more with those on the side opposite to the writer, e.g.. Miller. O'Brien. MacIntyre, etc.
There are other remarks on that page which should not, I think, appear as statements, being only the writer's or editor's personal and prejudicial opinion. However. I will pass over the fact that Bill Newell is reported entirely on what he is known to believe, not on what he said. That the fact that a large body of SCM-ers turned up and voted maybe stated, that only a small body of anti-SCM bothered to be present. And the insinuation that the Rev. Bates's judgment was unfair or prejudiced (by special mention of his recent SCM activity) which is an argument that any loser can put against any judge. And go on to what I take exception to most on that page of Salient, which is the remark at the top of the write-up of an SCM discussion. The editor, when Salient ls criticised for not being a real organ of student opinion, says he publishes what he gets, but here he is giving prejudiced and prejudicial comments on what is a clear account of a university event, on which there should be no remarks from the editor. He gives the impression that he is doing a favour to a minority with outlandish ideas, and although he may believe this himself, it is not his job to say so, when publishing an organ of student opinion, where a college activity should have a fair and unprejudiced representation. Apart from this his statements display an attitude that was very prevalent in some, anyway, of the antt-SCM speeches at the debate, i.e., he is attributing to the Christians the most exaggerated of ideas so that he can knock them down, but by doing this he is spoiling his case because to be accused of fantastic things, as they were at the debate, can by their ridiculousness only blind them to their real faults. If this sort of exaggeration is the only kind of case they can put, perhaps it is because no better exists.
P.S.—If the editor makes a re mark at the bottom of this when (if) publishing it, please don't try to make it "pithy" but say what you mean.
Dear Christian Communist.—As a token of your own good faith, would you please include your name with any future letters, and furthermore, would you endeavour to write reasonably coherent English. Then we will answer your arguments.
Dear Sir.—In the last issue of Salient there is a report about the recent debate on the motion that Christianity is the only solution to present day chaos. I am supposed to have said at this debate that Christianity is the shortest route to Buchen-wald. May I object strongly against this gross mis-statement of my remark. Let me put the matter straight.
One of the speakers who had been on the platform before me had painted a rosy picture of the rule of Christianity during the Middle Ages, and had claimed that unless we accept Christianity as the only solution to our present day problems, we could look forward to a reign of terror and Gestapo methods in the future. In my own speech 1 took exception to the use of the word "only" in the text of the motion and in answer to the previous speaker I described the far from "rosy" conditions that prevailed in those days of the Inquisition, when people were forced to accept Christianity as the "only" solution. And I finished up by saying that to adopt the motion as it stood, to grant any "one" dogma the monopoly of all grace, whether this dogma was Christianity or any other creed, was the nearest route to Buchenwald. Surely, this is far from saying that Christianity as such leads to Buchenwald, as your report suggests.
I am quite prepared to answer for any statements which I did make, but I have no intention to stand by statements which I did not make.
(Dear Sir.—We sincerely apologies for the unintentional misrepresentation of your remarks in the report of the SCM debate. It was due entirely to negligence on our part.)