LET'S ALL HAVE TEA
It is unfortunate that Harvard and Oxford are having difficulties finding a debating subject other than the two already suggested. One of these is trivial; the other, non-debatable before an American or British audience. Neither question commands great public interest. The subject: "Resolved: that this house favors a government censorship of news.", is not debatable for either Americans or Englishmen. The First Amendment to our Constitution provides: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . of the press." Popular opinion in both nations is overwhelmingly in favor of the negative on the censorship resolution. It is significant that this is the side of the question each team wishes to uphold.
To break the impasse caused by the worthlessness of this question, Oxford has proposed the resolution: "that the first function of a biographer is to reveal feet of clay." Is this bit of dilettantism the best topic two liberal universities can find to discuss before an international audience? Are Harvard and Oxford so secluded from the world, so steeped in the academic cloister, that they can find no more fundamental problem to argue? Such a triviality may serve for a literary tea, but so important an event as the Harvard-Oxford debate merits a more vital subject. Harvard and Oxford hold a significant position in both America and Great Britain. Their common spirit of friendly inquiry and intelligent criticism should find play in such a contest.
The Harvard Debating Council has refused to discuss over a transatlantic network a subject suitable only for a minor English A theme. Since both teams desire the same side of the censorship question, it remains to suggest a better theme. "Resolved: that the United States and Great Britain should immediately act to stabilize the dollar and pound sterling" is eminently debatable, of great public interest and important enough to merit the serious attention of the representatives of two great universities. Indications are that the debate will not take place unless some such vital question is discussed.