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The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1918

Vacation Studies—"The War and Its Issues"

Vacation Studies—"The War and Its Issues"

This year's vacation studies roused very great interest among students and ex-students. The speakers, in each case, attacked the problem very earnestly and thoroughly, and the ensuing discussions brought to light not a few informing illustrations and improving opinions.

The first discussion, on "International Issues," was introduced by Mr. J. H. Sheat. The discussion ranged around the following points:—
(1)Should the proposed League of Nations include the Central Powers, and if so, on what conditions?
(2)Is nationalism, as commonly understood, included in, or opposed to the Christian teaching of "The Kingdom of God"? (Burgoyne Chapman's article in "Intercollegian," July, 1917.)
(3)It is frequently maintained that all wars are caused by quarrels concerning trade. Is it part of the natural order that nations can develop only at the expense of a neighbour, or could trade be internationalized?
For the second discussion, Mr. B. Blake, M.A., wrote a paper. The following considerations came up for discussion:—
(1)Prosperity, poverty and charity have existed together since the dawn of history; they are the cause of all our social troubles. Are they essential factors in human development?
(2)Competition is said to be a necessary adjunct to our commercial life, and yet it is the cause of rising prices and of much consequent suffering. Might society reconstruct its business life on other and better lines, i.e., co-operation?
(3)Is it compatible with the Christian conception of man's relation to God that society should be divided into two classes, i.e., those who serve and those who are served? Will the division continue in the Kingdom of God?
Miss M. England introduced the "Educational Issue." Special attention was drawn to Prof. Hunter's address, "Education or Downfall." The points at issue were:—
(1)In what way does the attitude of a State towards education prove the real conception of the meaning of life?("E. or D." pp. 6-9.)
>(2)Note Lord Bryce's comment on "that vast reserve of undiscovered talent" (ibid. p. 15).Does the N.Z. National education system deal effectively with (a) the discovery, (b) the training of such talent? If not, what reforms are necessary? (cf "Spike" p. 24.)
(3)"True discipline is based on liberty; otherwise, the individual's personality is annihilated; the work of liberating the race must begin in the primary schools." (Montessori.)
page 42
Mr. D. J. B. Seymour, MA., took in hand the "Military Jesus." Discussion centred in the following questions:—
(1)When all the factors have been allowed for, is violence ever justified by the moral result? Is there a fallacy in "loving your brother with a stick"? Consider justification or necessity for force in dealing with (1) children, (2) intoxicated persons, (3) criminals.
(2)Which is final—the authority of the State or the moral responsibility of the individual? Are there rights of conscience? If so, what are their limits, and whence do they derive their authority? Should the State punish the individual whose conscience cannot sanction its action?
(1)Can war be moralised, or is it essentially unmoral? Is it possible to describe it as an unmoral necessity? If so, what are the ethical consequences of admitting such a principle?
(2)Are the methods of war determined solely by the urgency of the situation on the view of the combatants?
(3)Could you instance methods of war which you would rather see the Allies vanquished than descend to?
(4)Given full realization by the nation of absolute extremity, what methods do you believe British opinion would refuse to sanction, even if victory or defeat hung in the balance?

The discussion on the "Religious Issues" was introduced by Prof. Sommerville. A good deal of discussion ranged around the ideas of Mr. G. H. Wells, whose solution of the religious problem commended itself to the Professor.

An address was given by Mr. F. G. Dalziell on "National Reconstruction." Mr. Dalziell had recently returned from the Old Country and brought with him some new ideas of reconstruction. His address was most interesting.

The chair was taken in all the discussions by Dr. Gibb.