Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961
"The Secret Ambitions of Mr Lloyd-Thomas"
"The Secret Ambitions of Mr Lloyd-Thomas"
Prior to the nineteenth century one of the relaxations of the political scientist and philosopher was in depicting the future political system. Marx, however, made the un-pardonable error of adding a blue-print of political action to his Utopian ideal and since then what was once a pastime has become the ludicrous and lucrative occupation of the political philosopher, The secret is to describe a trend within present-day society, take it to its illogical conclusion, ignore the practicalities of attaining this conclusion, write a book and fame, a Ph.D. and fortune is yours.
The last of the talks presented at Little Congress was given by Mr Lloyd-Thomas on the "Rise of the Meritocracy," a book by the British sociologist Michael Young. Young "thinks (British) society will be deeply divided into two classes, the Meritocracy and the rest. The Meritocracy is the governing class, it has all effective power; its members are rich, well I educated, and very intelligent. The rest are the governed, they have no effective power, they are neither rich nor well educated . . . This deep class division is not based on family prestige, nor on wealth. It is based on merit and a person's merit is determined by his I.Q. plus the effort he is willing to expend."
The book was described as a political fantasy and despite the earnest presentation of Young's thesis and his own development and extension of it. Mr Lloyd-Thomas failed to convince some of his audience that his paper was not just an elaborate leg-pull. The paper provoked a lively, if limited discussion with the majority of students seizing the opportunity to sleep off the effects of their Saturday night revelries. This was a pity ac once the most vocal critics got over their indignation a worthwhile examination of the merits of Lloyd-Thomas's thesis took place.
In reply to questions Mr Lloyd-Thomas explained that those with merit gained power because it was seen that in order to obtain a continued increase in production merit would be given its due. This faith in the basic rationality of man is touching but somewhat questionable. Further because the meritocracy would find it easy to capture the reins of power. If we look at our present world leaders it would seem that political power is not of necessity wielded by those with intelligence.
The call to lunch cut short the discussion on what was a provocative. stimulating, limited and naive analysis of world trends.
On Saturday night we had a panel discussion. After each of the panel—Mrs Gay Maxwell, Miss Elizabeth Barnao, Mr Armour Mitchell and Mr Steve. O'Regan—had put forward their views the chairman, Mr Val Maxwell threw the discussion open for speakers from the floor.
First subject: "The consumption of alcohol is the basis of society's ills."
Mrs Maxwell said alcohol was I primarily a lubrication of human relationships; a form of release from aggressions.
Miss Frost declared that drinking methods are outdated and that we should be taught how to drink—how many glasses of what are likely to make you high.
Mr Flude spoke of a friend—"alcohol was the only thing that kept him going for 10 years."
Mr Torins argued against the subject but Mr Knight asserted that in New Zealand in 50 per cent, of all crimes alcohol was a contributing factor.
General opinion approved the consumption of alcohol but deplored its misuse.
The second topic was "that the present position in New Zealand regarding capital punishment is ethically wrong and an insult to national intelligence."
Mr O'Regan summarised public' opinion when he said that every individual has a right to life. By violating another's right he forfeits his own, but if it is wrong for him to kill it is equally wrong for others to kill him.
Mrs Maxwell deplored the vindictive nature of capital punishment, the blood lust and public pressure for revenge.
Mr Flude reminded us that innocent men had been hung.
The gathering decided to send a protest against capital punishment through N.Z.U.P.A.
"Is love or lust the basis of man-woman relationships?"
Mr O'Regan professed himself to be an idealist. Body and mind are complementary, he said, so it is love which is important. He claimed to be looking for the perfect woman, though admitted he was enjoying the search.
Mrs Maxwell declared that love I was overrated in our society and this "love theory" a mistake. (Mr Maxwell: "I agree with her.") Love, she said, is a warm close relationship for which lust is the basis. She didn't believe in a union of souls.
Mr Knight criticised the mass media of radio, films and advertising that has saturated our society with a misguided conception of love.
Miss Latham gave us a psychological definition of love consisting of a number of composite elements, Iust being but one of them.