Written March 17, 2010, in response to an editorial regrettably removed from the all-seeing eye of Google:
Few tactics in debate are more devious or condescending than that of claiming the side of reason while accusing the opponent of being overly emotional. A classic example can be found in the March 17 editorial (“Emotional allure replacing reason”), where it is argued that American conservatives traditionally base their argument in emotional terms, while we blessed Canadian folk are more prone to “use reason over passion in developing public policy.”
The worst thing about this editorial is not that it generalizes more than 300 Americans – and 35 million Canadians – to fit an arbitrarily defined political spectrum, nor that it reveals the arrogant bias of the editorial author, who would rather talk down to the S-P readership than consider an opposing viewpoint.
No, the worst part is the blatant hypocrisy. The editorial denounces the American Tea Party, a movement reasonably in favour of limiting the size of government, for their supposed emotionalism in speaking out against Chinese nationals commenting on domestic policy. But where, to use one example, was the editorial several years ago that denounced the entire American left, which reasonably wanted to stop the war in Iraq, for overt emotionalism when many of them compared George W Bush to Hitler and suggested that the administration was behind 9/11?
As for Canadians – specifically, the Canadian left – being more reasonable than Americans or Canadian conservatives, if you truly want to see hysterical outrage, simply mention the words “Medicare reform” to a socialist and watch the spittle fly. Or say “privatization” to a Saskatchewan public union member.
The truth is that reason and emotion go hand-in-hand in political discourse no matter the ideology or locale. That the editorial tried to claim otherwise speaks either to the author’s naiveté, ignorant bigotry, or lack of journalistic integrity, none of which are qualities deserving of column space in the S-P.
This letter remains unpublished for reasons I’ll leave to your imagination.