In a lengthy career as a writer, you write on an endless variety of subjects. From pies to politics, computers to condoms, from x-rays to xerography, a career in public relations and writing for newspapers, magazines as well as radio and television scripts, you go where the client, the editor, the mood or the whim sends you. You write for your audience. That is why feedback is encouraged.
But the one thing you know for sure is that what you write will not please, enthrall, bemuse, excite, interest or otherwise entertain all readers. It cannot be done.
Nor will there ever be 100 per cent agreement among readers that you know what you are writing about. There are always differing viewpoints. While we can bask in the brief adulation of sycophants, we know that there is likely to be strong disagreement just around the corner. It is ever thus.
We sometimes have to defend what we write as something that we believed to be so at the time of writing. Even the courts have accepted that as a defense from libel when there is no malicious intent or pecuniary advantage to be gained. What is a fact today is not necessarily a fact tomorrow.
The most difficult defense to mount is the one against those who criticize what you are about to write or publish. They are quick to condemn without taking the trouble to consider evidence. They assume what you will write or publish will be something with which they will disagree. And, in light of that attitude, you probably will.
But nobody has the right to tell you what you can or cannot write. If you write pornography or incite people to violently overthrow a legally constituted government, they might have a reason to object. If you only wish to stimulate intelligent conversation and discussion, you wonder what the problem is.
Over the past few months, there has been considerable editing done to the articles written in this blog under the key words: The Democracy Papers: Part II. The blogs were a discussion of the need for Canada to have a constitutional assembly to discuss our country’s political future. Some of the articles were dropped or combined with others. A few of the proposals were simplified. The language has been taken to a lower FOG Index to enable people with an average education to easily read and understand it. The concerns of a few Alpha test readers were addressed. Discussions will start soon on the need for a French-language version.
We all have a responsibility in life to leave this world better for the opportunities we were afforded. We who care must seek to improve, to help, to be of service to mankind.
Hopefully, The Babel Manifesto is just that. It will soon be available in print and on-line. It is an honest attempt to contribute to a process in which Canada flounders and fails. Instead of making it easier to achieve consensus, politicians have built barriers to agreement. They have created a vested interest in failure. Their self-importance is their problem. Only the selfless can gain ground.
If The Babel Manifesto is to be born in controversy: so be it.
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