Over the Sliprails
Mitchell on the "Sex" and Other "Problems"
"I agree with `T' in last week's `Bulletin'," said Mitchell, after cogitating some time over
the last drop of tea in his pannikin, held at various angles, "about what they call the `Sex
Problem'. There's no problem, really, except Creation, and that's not our affair; we can't
solve it, and we've no right to make a problem out of it for ourselves to puzzle over, and
waste the little time that is given us about. It's we that make the problems, not Creation.
We make 'em, and they only smother us; they'll smother the world in the end if we don't
look out. Anything that can be argued, for and against, from half a dozen different points
of view -- and most things that men argue over can be -- and anything that has been
argued about for thousands of years (as most things have) is worse than profitless; it
wastes the world's time and ours, and often wrecks old mateships. Seems to me the
deeper you read, think, talk, or write about things that end in ism, the less satisfactory the
result; the more likely you are to get bushed and dissatisfied with the world. And the
more you keep on the surface of plain things, the plainer the sailing -- the more
comfortable for you and everybody else. We've always got to come to the surface to
breathe, in the end, in any case; we're meant to live on the surface, and we might as well
stay there and look after it and ourselves for all the good we do diving down after fish
that aren't there, except in our imagination. And some of 'em are very dead fish, too -- the
`Sex Problem', for instance. When we fall off the surface of the earth it will be time
enough to make a problem out of the fact that we couldn't stick on. I'm a Federal Pro-
trader in this country; I'm a Federalist because I think Federation is the plain and natural
course for Australia, and I'm a Free-tectionist because I'm in favour of sinking any
question, or any two things, that enlightened people can argue and fight over, and try, one
after the other, for fifty years without being able to come to a decision about, or prove
which is best for the welfare of the country. It only wastes a young country's time, and
keeps it off the right track. Federation isn't a problem -- it's a plain fact -- but they make a
problem out of every panel they have to push down in the rotten old boundary fences."
"Personal interests," suggested Joe.
"Of course. It's personal interest of the wrong sort that makes all the problems. You can
trace the sex problem to people who trade in unhealthy personal interests. I believe in
personal interests of the right sort -- true individualism. If we all looked after ourselves,
and our wives and families -- if we have any -- in the proper way, the world would be all
right. We waste too much time looking after each other.
"Now, supposing we're travelling and have to get a shed and make a cheque so's to be
able to send a few quid home, as soon as we can, to the missus, or the old folks, and the
next water is twenty miles ahead. If we sat down and argued over a social problem till
doomsday, we wouldn't get to the tank; we'd die of thirst, and the missus and kids, or the
old folks, would be sold up and turned out into the streets, and have to fall back on a
`home of hope', or wait their turn at the Benevolent Asylum with bags for broken
victuals. I've seen that, and I don't want anybody belonging to me to have to do it.