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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 8. 1961.

Phipps Pounced Upon

Phipps Pounced Upon

Sir,—Mr Phipps's naivete about world affairs would be most touching, did he not imagine that his naivete was cynicism.

Mr Phipps appears to believe that Communists are wicked and omnipotent beings who can turn any protest, demonstration or public action to their own use. Mr Phipps is out of date.

Even more out of date is his belief that Moscow is using the "idealists, zealots, and their hangers-on in this university." Does Mr Phipps really believe that idealism and zeal are such dirty words? One had believed only Senator McCarthy thought in those terms.

It may well be that Moscow can use people who "race protesting in the streets just because there is an issue which they may or may not take the trouble to understand." It seems dubious, however, to me. What evidence does Mr Phipps give that anybody anytime, anywhere, has participated in any demonstration unthinkingly? None. And if people have understood the issues about which they demonstrate, what objection has Mr Phipps to this? Does thinking about politics somehow help Moscow?

Mr Phipps, unhappily, gives us no details: the matter is no doubt self-evident to all good anti-Communists.

Does a demonstration help Moscow by challenging government policy? Mr Phipps gives no evidence that it does. If Mr Phipps prefers not to participate in demonstrations because they are non-U, I have no objection to his saying so. What I do object to is an incompetent rationalisation of his subconscious prejudices. Even Mr Dulles rationalised his prejudices intelligently.

A demonstration, surely, is an act of faith in democracy. Mr Phipps has obviously not much faith in the common sense of the ordinary man. If he has no faith in the ordinary people how can he believe in democracy? If he does not believe in democracy, must he not believe in dictatorship? And if he believes in dictatorship, is he not—in all sincerity, of course—a tool of Moscow?

The not should not call the kettle black.

Owen Gager.