This editorial webzine presents the considered opinions of many, not just our own. To prevent out-of-context abuse, editorial writings are presented in toto and fully attributed to author and source. Authors or copyright holders who feel this policy is a violation of fair use are encouraged to contact us. We normally do not reproduce photographic works unless they are fundamental and specific to the written content, are public domain, or of undefinable origin, as opposed to a gratuitous inclusion.
Editorializing is an intensely personal business, as those who have written editorials and blogs have discovered, and like the self-awareness analysis required of newly minted therapists, it forces you to confront who you really are, and what you actually believe. This is important and necessary in order to deal with every journalist’s Achilles heel: confirmation bias – the telling of a story bent by your own world or life view. We all have it; writers and photojournalists who strive to be journalists constantly have to check their baggage. Editorialists and op-ed writers have a slightly easier time of it. Both are opinion writers; sometimes its their own, often as not, it’s that of the pay cheque.
American journos and editorialists can revel in the use and abuse of their First Amendment, but no less than a staff investigator for Canada’s Human Rights Commission declared that “freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value” (page 4793).
Regardless, while certain political, corporate and entrenched journalistic interests would like certain viewpoints to go away, the thorn of dissent is the flower of democracy, and the right to express disagreement must remain inviolate in a free-speaking democracy. The sentiments expressed in these pages are valid; however, you may choose to agree or disagree with them, as is your right, as it is theirs to express them.
The Editorial Times webzine was originally started in 2003 as a print handbill, and came to the web at the dawn of blogs. and had to be manually updated in HTML. Eventually, it was moved to various blog platforms, embracing the ability of modern blogging software and the “cloud” to make light(er) work of the online editorial process. As most web authors and bloggers have discovered, using the web for contemporary awareness is a thief of time, and, in true Windows tradition, once gone, never regained.
Our interests, and consequently those of The Editorial Times, tend to congregate around the North American political and social scene, although we have increasing affinities for certain world events as well. We’re somewhat right of centre politically (mea culpa), with tangentially spasmodic lefty episodes from time to time, and anchored in the belief that the words rights and privileges can’t co-exist in the same democratic lexicon.
Recently, in a urbane conversation with a colleague about driving, he maintained adamantly that it was a privilege (he has a biased viewpoint somewhat, having been the victim of a terrible car accident that took years to recover from). Equally adamantly, we insisted that, on public roads, paid for by public funds, that it was unequivocally a right, freely granting that constraints on the right would be appropriate for matters of safety, when (and only when) appropriate. Living in Canada, for those born of this land (and by extension, to those granted citizenship, with qualification) is not a privilege, it’s a fact of existence. The Government isn’t given a mandate to assign or denigrate our rights on behalf of someone else, regardless of who they are, or where they came from.
Nor are democratic governments entitled to assign privileges to disparate groups who aren’t also burdened with a specific mandate to serve the public interest in a very narrowly entitled bureaucracy; government’s role is to protect rights uniformly, absolutely. “Special deals” for “special people” must end if democracies are to survive as free and open societies. We’re not talking about wheelchair ramps for disabled folk, but rather, aiming at the practice of awarding legal, cultural and social privileges to narrowly defined groups, to the exclusion of others. Arguably, we would maintain that “multiculturalism” as it is practiced politically is inherently discriminatory, and cannot, and should not be sustained.
It is intellectually naive to believe that all cultures are compatible. They’re not; it’s why they exist in the first place. In the vastness and luxury of space, dichotomies of culture can co-exist, but as we relentlessly strive to fill up the space on this planet, it becomes clear that they can’t unless there is a common and fundamental agreement on the social humanity. It’s not at all clear that’s possible either.
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