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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 20. Thursday, September 7, 1950

Means and ends

page 2

Means and ends

Possibly the commonest criticism of the "Russian Way of Life" made by the ordinary man (quoting his newspaper) is that "these Reds will stop at nothing—any means are held to be justified by the ends thev desire." This vicious doctrine, he thinks, is alien to the sweetness and gentleness of Western thought.

He may be right, but recent events—a whole series of them—make one think that the opponents of Communism, too, are prepared to use any and every means to achieve their ends. The shortsightedness of this policy can only be seen when we take a long look at the means; inevitably we must conclude that they are very likely to corrupt the high-chosen ends of "preserving democracy." Or can one preserve democracy, perhaps, by upholding in other countries forms of government which are totally alien to democracy, by spreading in our own countries practices which make nonsense of our protestations of "freedom v. subjection"?

Quoting only from American sources, we may see the pattern of foreign policy which is prepared to countenance any form of government, however anti-democratic, however corrupt and inefficient, just so long as it is also anti-Communist. "Time" says of the present Bao Dal regime in Indo China (our "front" against Viet-Nam) that it is perhaps "the last and worst example of white man's armed imperialism in Asia." The government is, "Times" says, corrupt and inefficient. It has alienated sympathy from the people. In the same issue, the government of the Phillipines is summed up as "corrupt and inefficient" too. Not even "Time" has ever dared to contest the fact of the corruptness of the kuomintang regime. Another issue of "Time" states quite clearly that South Korean intelligence officers are using torture as a routine method of getting information: only a day or so ago, Reuter's correspondent in Korea proved—and American officers "Justify"—the use of the" press gang to recruit men in South Korea who are unwilling to "defend democracy." The Greek Government has been palpably weak and corrupt, sustained in its place largely by the grace of American aid. The "Evening Post," talking of the new ruler of Persia, says that he may (though they seem to doubt it) end the reign of corruption which has been rampant there; the British refuse to back this man yet.

The pattern everywhere is the same. And it has the same faults as an answer to this "Communist aggression." First that the obvious viciousness of almost every Government which is being used as a front against Communism is the best possible argument in the hands of any Communist: why, he will say, you talk democracy, but look as your results! There need be no invention in their arguments. The second fault is yet more serious. In the effort to hold the bulwarks, as some statesman or other puts it every week, we are likely to foster revolution, not to stop it.

We might well suspect that, since American upholding of the Chiang-Kai-Shek inefficiency was the force which persuaded the Chinese of the need for a new Government, and since every day people are—in these countries-—persuaded of the Tightness of Communism by the corruptness of its opponents, that in fact all the chief policy makers of America are disguised Communists who are trying to drive the world left.