The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1890. SUPPREESION OF INDECENT PUBLICATIONS.
We are pleased to see that public attention is- being directed to the suppression of indecent publications. It is a well-known fact that a weekly publication from one of the neighbouring colonies finds an extensive sale m this colony, and that m consequence thereof the morals of the vising generation are being grievously corrupted. Attention was drawn to this fact during the session of Parliament, but, like almost everthing else of a character calculated to promote legislation for the elevation of the race, was shelved by our Legislature. The wrangling of parties and the strictly commercial tone which characterises the proceedings of our national assembly leaves little opportunity for the discussion of subjects directly bearing upon the moral welfare of the people. Any reforms necessary m this direction must therefore spring from the people themselves, and be forced upon the statute law of the colony. This has been the history of the past, and will doubtless be the history of the future, until a preponderance of men are sent forward to Parliament who are not so distinctly commercial and money-grabbing m their ideas as to be totally blind to everything else. \ Social reform is a plant of slow growth under existing conditions of Government, and it is only by persistence that the few can force their views upon the many. This the social reformers of New Zealand appear to thoroughly realise, and m face of many discouragements go on ploddingly m the endeavour to elevate the race. We are therefore glad to see that, although the Legislature has refused to take decisive action tosuppressindecent publications, the people have not lost sight of the matter. At a meeting of the Otago branch of the New Zealand Medical Association, held on Wednesday evening, the following resolution was unanimously carried—" That this branch of the New Zealand Medical Association views with alarm the spread of immoral and corrupt publications, and would urge on the other branches the question of how the growth of indecent advertisements and literature can best be met, with a view to taking concerted action m the matter." It may be taken for granted when an important body like the Medical Association take this matter up there is something more m it than meets the public eye. The experienced physician is m a better position than anyone else to speak with authority on a subject of this kind, as, m following his profession, he is daily brought into contact with the results of any change m the morals of the people. No one knows so well as the studious physician the after consequence of a vicious and profligate life on the part of his patients ; and a note of warning coming from such a quarter is well worthy the attention of the public ear. Not only are the results of vice and profligacy, fostered and encouraged by the publication of indecent literature, an an open book to him, but lie is called upon to correct the evil consequences of sensational advertising. In this latter particular the medical man knows better than anyone else the "tricks of trade" m compiling a sensational medical advertisement. He is aware that the simplest symptoms of ordinary ailments arising from natural causes are magnified by advertising quacks into symptons of serious and complicated disorders, and that the simple-minded are thus beguiled into swallowing dangerous medicines, the after effect of which it is almost impossible to get rid of. In this lies a grave danger to the general health of the people and any attempt on the part of thetEedical profession to secure legislation against the indiscriminate advertising of these deadly drugs would meet with hearty public support. The way m which the morals of the people are concerned m this matter, is m tho peculiarly suggestive and offensive manner m which these advertisements, published m nearly all newspapers, are worded. Many of these advertisements are quite as unfit for publication m newspapers as the wore indecent publications to which Parliamentary attention has been called; and it is high time that something was done to prevent this class of advertising. One branch of the Medical Association has already taken the matter up, and we hope to see the example followed by the remainder of the branches throughout the colony. Their efforts can be considerably strengthened by the cooperation of the Press and public, and it is to be hoped that the importance of this matter will not bo altogether lost sight of at the forthcoming general election.