Observer, Volume XXXIV, Issue 20, 24 January 1914, Page 2
An Immoral Florin
A TRIFLING minority of excellent- Auckland people affect to believethat the morals of the community will decay lamentably if individuals chance two shillings in an endeavour to achieve by lottery a substantial prize. We respect the views of the local clergymen who decided tocall on Mr Massey to revoke his permission to a lottery promoted to raffle prizes at the Exhibition. Zeal is a very fine virtue. It enables a comparatively small body of people such as the Home Mission Executive of the Methodist Church to counsel a deliberate breach of agreement between two parties, one being the Government of New Zealand and the*
other the said promoter. The point of course, is "Do the people, of Auckland want lotteries ?" If the people <of Auckland want lotteries and the •Government of New Zealand gives permission to hold lotteries, should the people be debarred from indulging in the most ancient form of speculation by a fractional percentage of zealots who object to this particular form of gambling ?
Admitting that it is a part of the Tausiness of organised religious bodies ■to assert dissatisfaction with most commonplace human activities, it is to be regretted, for the sake of the zealots, that their demands never have the effect they desire. To kill the speculating tendency in human -beings is to destroy a part of the human being's nature. All human activities are speculative. If it is a moral crime to buy a two shillng chance of a nugget, it is a moral crime to spend £1 on a dish, pick and shovel to dig for nuggets in ground that does not necessarily carry gold. Yet the zealots wouldn't call on the Government to -prevent the storekeeper from selling shovels to speculative fossickers. A mental speculation occurs. An enormous proportion of people chance mon•ev for a problematical return from the totalisator, from the land, from trade, from anything. The last Auckland totalisator figures show how very large a proportion offend the susceptibility •of the zealots. The small minority object very much." They are always objecting. The speculation is : does the large proportion or the small proportion represent human normality? Is it to be believed that the majority are bad and abandoned people, while the protesting minority are m very fact the Elect ?
Don't you think that professional and industrious protesters are sometimes less concerned with the inferiority of everyone to themselves, than in -pandering to their own self esteem P What partcular quality does a theological education give to a man that he should always consider himself •fitted to judge his fellow man and lay down rules for his conduct ? What authority, for instance, does any organisation assume for its dictation to i;he majority of the people ? The assumption of the anti-ordmary-maii -zealot is that the ordinary man is of -poorer mental calibre than the zealot, without right to direct his own acts. He is always pained and surprised that ■humanity doesn't see through his eyes. The periodical attempts of small organisations of all kinds in New Zealand to dictate to the whole population are always grotesque. In many cases they have, however, induced governments to frame irritating regulations. To expect a government which holds to 'the "ballot or gamble system in land •settlement, legalises the totalisator and above all subsidises sums raised for -charitable purposes, to break a covenant is rather abßurd. Who shall say that the two large building funds -raised in Auckland for two charitable institutions and blessed by the zealots were not the very finest examples of the lottery system we have ever had in this city ? The committee who so object to the speculation by citizens of a Tuodest florin saw nothing immoral about the raising of those many thou•sands. Neither do we. But both appeals are twin brothers.