Education does not simply mean the compulsory getting of a stock of knowledge. Knowledge is good; but wisdom is better. It is the way a man's mind works that matters. To be educated is to have learned how to think; to have acquired self-discipline; to have understood duty and the rights of others.
These tasks are not merely scientific or mechanical. A man may be a great scientist, and be uncivilised. He may have mastered the technique of the law, but have no real understanding of its spirit. Education must produce a sense of values, high ethical standards, and a spirit of tolerance, or it fails.
Now, please don't tell me that all this is obvious. Because it isn't. You know as well as I do that the easiest and quickest way to score in a political argument is to appeal to intolerance, hatred and prejudice. Such appeals are, perhaps, good politics;
but they are detestable statesmanship. And in the long run we need statesmanship, don't we?
Let me take a current example. We have had a bitter war with the Japanese. They were a treacherous enemy, as our American friends discovered at Pearl Harbour. They were a cruel enemy, as many thousands of prisoners of war learnt in death or misery. We have no reason to love them and Christ's great injunction 'love your enemies' is, as yet, beyond our reach. Indeed, even some professing Christians go so far as to say that it is bad politics.
But the war is over. We are at peace with Japan. The United States of America, which lost so many thousands of young lives in the bloody wars of the South-West Pacific, has just made a defensive agreement with Japan under which Japan is, up to a point, to re- arm. The American reasoning is clear enough. They say-'If Japan is not to fall, with all her industrial strength, into the hands of Communist Russia and China, she must be able to be defended. Who is to defend her? Are we, and the Australians to defend Japan, or is she to defend herself?'.
This is the conduct of a grown-up nation, which knows that the greatest stumbling-block to peace is the perpetuation of enmities.
The conduct of foreign affairs is not a job for children.
Come back home on this matter-are we to trade with Japan? Well, in fact, we are. Last year we sold Japan 80m. in worth of goods, notably wool; and we bought no more than 5m. in worth from Japan.
This, of course, cannot go on forever. No trader can buy unless he can sell. If Japan stopped buying Australian products tomorrow, our income and our standard of living would fall. Yet to talk sensibly of Japanese trade is to expose yourself to the offensive and silly charge of being pro-Japanese.
Would you like a short answer to that poisonous allegation? Here it is. I have the honour to be supported in the Commonwealth Parliament by about 100 members. Of these, 69 are ex-members of the armed services. Their love of Australia is proved in action.
Of these, no fewer than 32 served against the Japanese in the recent war. Of these, five were prisoners of war in Japanese hands. Are these members pro-Japanese? Or have they realised that the happiness of the future depends upon the future, and not nursing the bitterness of the past for cheap political gain?