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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 1. 1962.


Is the development of culture more restricted under a Socialist system or under Capitalism? This problem is causing great conflict amongst followers of the New Left, Fabian Society members, and various intellectuals. Although this aspect of Socialism is not regarded by some as important as the economic, moral or the political issues of left-of-centre theorizing, to my mind it warrants closer attention.

With some sense of foreboding I put the question to the "Common-room crowd," and later to some other students around Vic Their views ranged from the rational to the irrational, from traditional bias to fashionable ignorance. Far too often, though, the "No views on the subject whatsoever" attitude prevailed. Typical of the views expressed were: Culture is independent of politics; A Socialist state ruins the independence of the individual; more leisure time under Capitalism; under Capitalism the writer has to prostitute his work in order to live; Russia has full-time poets; culture thrives best without regimentation; and others similar. A certain young lady, well-known for her pro-catholic orations, said she felt sorry for Russia because "You couldn't have 'beats' there." Evirently, to her, the 'beat' writers are the avant garde of to-day's literature.