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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 4. April 7th, 1948

Stampeding the Ignorant

page 2

Stampeding the Ignorant

Our new President, Mr. McArley, has unwittingly supplied us with a phrase which succinctly sums up the atmosphere of international events as well as that atmosphere of current events in the University.

At Victoria College "the ignorant" who constituted a large part of those who thundered "Yes" at "The Meeting" are beginning to enlighten themselves on the real issues involved. The tumult and the shouting has died, but it has left in its wake something to think about. I expressed dismay in the last editorial that the University seemed "No longer a bastion of reason." It is promising to see some of the "ignorant" rationalising their attitude to the motion which was forced through the meeting on a wave of political fervour.

"Democratic principles," said Mr. O'Connor in the debate on Czechoslovakia, "are in essence two—free secret elections and the existence of an opposition. If we accept these principles, then the meeting was not democratic, for though an opposition existed, it was howled down at first and later prevented from voicing its opinions by a hastily passed motion of closure. When the motion of no-confidence had been passed, a large number of "the ignorant" clattered out of the hall pointedly illustrating their all-absorbing interest in who runs our affairs for us. Mr. O'Connor then moved that a "ticket" of previously selected candidates should be voted in and despite protests at the undemocratic character of such a motion, it was hurriedly pushed through without permitting discussion, on the same wave of fervour. Free, secret elections!

Fortunately, "the ignorant" have matriculated and can presumably read and argue. If these zealots around the college read and compare the "stampeding" leaflets with the carefully reasoned analysis of the meeting on our front page, we may hope that they will be able to reason when next an important matter comes up before the Association. There are undoubtedly many good reasons for a no-confidence motion, but there are many just as good, for a censure motion.