Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 1. March 02, 1950
The disillusionment from this happy looking-ahead into the plot was not rude and sudden. Maybe one shouldn't have forgotten the little talk given first (before the play started) when we were told that unity (that word again) would provide for us the surest defence against any menace, with a dark reference to Asia. Maybe we should not have overlooked the significance of the name of the movement itself—Moral Rearmament.
For in a fine peroration, the labour leader convinces the mob that only by unity and understanding can—a stronger America be reached. Why, in the name of the Lord? Why, in the name of logical thought, stop this fine idea of co-operation short at the boundaries of national unity? Might it not even be that international disharmony is caused by the same "forgotten factor"? The programme which we were provided with should have prepared us for this too, for it noted that this unity, moral rearmament, was the ideology which was necessary for us in the fight of good against evil. Hadn't the play been trying to preach that, when genuine understanding existed, we found that those whom we thought evil were, in fact, pretty much like ourselves?
And then, I'm afraid, one started to see through this thing.
Many—no, all—of the cast were obviously sincere. Most of the back-era for this movement in New Zealand are probably also sincere. But are their feelings, genuine desires for peace and tolerance and understanding not being used viciously to create a well disguised hatred, a reformed national pride on an ideological plane?
And anyway, one started to wonder, is the trouble with the world only that people won't admit error. Are the words "I'm sorry" quite such a panacea? Maybe there are other factors—economic, social, biological or what have you—which also help to create this situation; perhaps a social and economic revival and overhaul is indicated, too? And anyway, after it was all over and everyone was jolly good friends, would the labour leader not go back, with his crushed-in-spirit wife, to the poverty-stricken home, to the leavings of those ham and eggs, while the millionaire returned to that comfortable chair there in the corner to enjoy his after breakfast coffee? Maybe, in fact, this movement could be used to ensure the evils of our system—mal-distribution of income and living needs.
We were not morally rearmed.
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