Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 15. 1969.
The intolerance of many professing liberal ideals towards those whose ideas or beliefs are at variance with their own has already been explored. It may not yet, however, be realised to just what astonishing lengths this venom can go.
At a Special General Meeting of the Victoria University Students' Association held in late April this year, various people showed their willingness to apply standards of censorship which would have brought a cynical smile to the faces of George Orwell's 1984 propagandists.
The movers and seconders of three different motions sought to use the sanctions of the association to punish one of Victoria's most eminent graduates, the Chief Justice of New Zealand, Sir Richard Wild, In the course of debate it emerged that they were not even trying to penalise him for what he had said, but rather for what he had not said.
And all this in a university, supposedly that most "liberal" of institutions, devoted to the free acquisition of knowledge by free debate in a Tree society!
Thus it becomes apparent that in the liberal stale one is not only not permitted to criticise the "right" views, but one must actively parrot them to the exclusion of all others. Said the mover of the first motion, with regard to a reported remark of Sir Richard Wild: "This is a notably tolerant statement. It is not good enough."
One would not accuse some of those active in this rather sordid little affair of being "liberal" in any sense of the word. But others had pertained to the attitudes and outward appearances of the campus liberal, and as such they must be judged.
When the S.G.M. of the students' association voted overwhelmingly against these three motions, it threw out the spectre of thought control, as practised by our juvenile liberals. But the warning was clear: in their own search for the perfect world, liberals have no hesitation in trampling on the rights of others.
For those who are not convinced, or for those who would wish to apply the suggestions outlined above in their own manner, to see if the liberal threat is nearly as bad as I have painted it, I would suggest two further fields of study. One is a genera! topic, the other is more specialised.
The first is the liberal attitude towards demonstrations. Consider the justifications advanced by liberals for short-circuiting the democratic processes with a touch of violence, all in the best possible cause, of course. Watch how the liberal, secure in his belief that he is the "conscience of the country", ignores the rights of our freely elected representatives in parliament to run the country during their term of office.
He knows, does our liberal, shouting at the back of a mob of students and workers outside parliament, that his cause is so righteous that it must prevail—and heaven help he who stands in the way. Encased in his coccoon of arrogance, he can happily forget that the majority of his countrymen have shown that they want a particular policy, or are content to let a certain group of men decide for them. Our liberal has the right to change this, he thinks, because of his superior moral attitudes.
The other suggested study is the agitation over the N.Z. Security Service, culminating in the submissions to the statutes revision committee. All the usual groups are there, from the civil liberties outfits to the student "representatives". The study should not forget that peculiar orgy of mutual back-patting that went on under the guise of a teach-in, at Victoria, referred to earlier, during the course of which several speakers contended for the "Most-spied-upon" prize. (It appears to be a point of liberal pride to have one's telephone lapped—or at least to imagine this.)
He who follows this more particular study could well end up believing, unless he demands proof at every stage, that 50% of New Zealanders live in dread of a midnight knock on the door, and that the cellars of the Security Service offices in Wellington's Taranaki Street are in fact a rather well kitted-out torture chamber. Alas for wishful thinking. No-nne has yet come forward to substantiate this. Do I hear a liberal somewhere saying that this is because the Service is so efficient?
"The end justifies the means" may have been a Jesuit motto, but it is true of liberals as well. By their actions liberals show how false is their alleged devotion to the ideals that liberalism professes to adhere to.
Although it gives them strength, the technique of selective indignation is also the weakness of liberals. The logical fallacies that inevitably stem from over-use of the selective process, coupled with the lack of theoretical framework, expose them to the derision of both the left and the right.
It is sometimes claimed that when a liberal grows up, he moves towards either conservatism or socialism. The implied definition of liberalism in that statement assumes the infancy of political development in the liberal position.
The liberal is "underdeveloped"—the word being, of course, the liberal substitution for "backward". He is underdeveloped in that his political stance has no stability, for it has no framework.
Bearing this in mind, it becomes easy to understand why so much of the liberal's glitter is mere dross. His intentions are so often golden, but the basis is lacking.
To sum up.
The liberal illusion is: that man is intrinsically good.
The liberal delusion is that [unclear: man] will happily co-operate as his world is made belter— whether he wants it that way or not.
The liberal delusion is as contrary as its definition, for liberalism has its counterpart in the animal world, with the ostrich, who hides his head in the sand to make the wicked world go away.
The liberal constructs his fantasy-world in his own image, selects the facts that seem to prop up the shaky edifice of opinion on which it is founded, and ignores those deemed inconvenient. Unfortunately, the "inconvenient" facts are as mortar to his rubble— which is why no edifice, no civilisation, no philosophy, no complex rationale of human behaviour, has ever stood the test of time if constructed in a wholly liberal mould.