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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, September, 1922

Free Discussions Club

Free Discussions Club.

This session we have been exceptionally fortunate in getting several well-known outsiders to address us and thus help to widen our narrow horizon by presenting problems which are agitating the world at large. It is difficult for students to realise this when they are moulded by a system, whose sole purpose is the passing of examinations.

At the second meeting Professor McKenzie gave an arresting address on "Ireland: the Despair of Rational Religion and the Empire." He showed how the national characteristics of the Irish had been altered and in his opinion altered for the worse, since the advent of the Catholic religion. Such a transformation had been wrought that he feaivd least the only hope of ending the chaos was for England to repeat the stern and ruthless measures recommended by Spencer long ago". In the discussion which followed, other speakers were inclined to believe that the root of the problem was political and the inevitable heritage of centuries of oppression.

A fortnight later Dr. Gibb addressed a woefully small audience on Disarmament" and eloquently denounced all Statesmen who were willing to slide back into the wicked and disastrous methods of heaping up armaments. Unless we did strive to bring about a better spirit among nations the fate of Western civilization was sealed, for Cod could carry out His plans by means of the coloured races, just as well as by us. Luckily the influence of this speech was greater than one could have hoped from the small audience, for a detailed report in the papers started a controversy which lasted several weeks.

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Miss Moncrieff who had just returned from a World's Christian Union Conference at Pekin, opened the next discussion. She showed how of late years the attitude of missionaries had changed from one of bigotry to one of sympathy and tolerance, especially since it was realised that the nations of the East were already practising doctrines of peace and non-resistance which we preached so loudly and acted on so little. She also gave amusing little details of Chinese social life and exemplified the truth of the old adage that there is honour among thieves by mentioning that Robbers' Guilds and Beggars' Guilds were quite acknowledged institutions there.

On August 12, Mr. Nash. National Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party, and delegate to the Second International Conference at Geneva, spoke on "Unemployment—Why?"He showed that though unemployment was to the fore at present, it had always formed part of the Capitalist system. So long as labour was regarded as a commodity for the capitalist to make profit from, so long would there he unemployment. The only way out was a system founded on service rather than profit-making, and that spelled Socialism. The sanity and breadth of the speaker's remarks must have come as something of a revelation to many of us, who are perhaps too prone to accept the newspapers' valuation of Labour men. There was a lengthy and interesting discussion.

At our last meeting we had the honour of an address by Principal Goode. There was an extremely large audience and many of us were carried away more than our sober selves desired by Mr. Goode's eloquence and enthusiasm for the new Russian regime. For the hour and a-half at least one could not help feeling that the Russian Revolution marked the birth of better times in which more scope would he given to all the creative impulses which the present system crushed in the people. It was interesting to notice how Mr. Goode corroborated all Miss Thorpe's statement a

So far no scheme has been devised to prevent the periodicals placed in the Common Room from being destroyed within a day.