Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 11. 1965.
Mandy and Morals
Mandy and Morals
Mr. Shand's main reason for keeping Miss Mandy Rice-Davies out of the country appeared to be that if she were allowed in to New Zealand her presence would give offence to a large section of the community.
And so the ruling came down that she must be kept out, and New Zealand as a result will not be offended. It all sounds as if the Honourable T. P. Shand is protecting a twin-island paradise against a wicked greater world.
It is everyone's privilege to define his or her own terms, and so a definition of morality will not be imposed here. But definitions must, to be useful, be consistently applied, and indeed we can demand that they should be. It therefore follows that if one defines Miss Davies's past behaviour as immoral, one must also describe as immoral the behaviour, in New Zealand, that leads to one birth in 10 being illegitimate.
One in 10. The highest illegitimacy rate in the world. Yet is there public clamour at this fact? Does the offence-taking sector of New Zealand get upset by the behaviour of its own society? There is little evidence to suggest that it does.
A portion of society (and it could be a very big portion) can keep Miss Davies out through Mr. Shand's good offices. This stops delicate sensibilities from being upset. The good citizens of New Zealand can (and do) produce illegitimate children at the rate of six thousand a year. Very few people seem offended.
The Minister, then, has taken a very pious stand to avoid offending a pious section of the community. This section of the community, one suspects, attempts to exorcise the rottenness of many members of its own society by snorting at the behaviour of one member of another.
The Puritans, it is said, disapproved of bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
There is no evidence that they bear-baited in their back yards.
Many New Zealanders disapprove of Miss Rice-Davies and immoral behaviour.—G.E.J.L.