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Another year done: Our responsibility

| Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:39 p.m.

Nearly 1,000 editorials later, another year draws to a close. And it has been another year of this newspaper's opinions and commentaries being, as Benjamin Franklin noted in another era, “frequently censured and condemned by different persons for printing things they say ought not to be printed.”

In 2012, that would include many “leaders” — those in private commerce and those supposedly doing the “public's business” — who have dishonored the very concept of leadership.

But unlike old Ben, whose words come from a 1731 editorial in The Pennsylvania Gazette, we offer no apologies for our views. For they have remained a steady and trustworthy beacon illuminating myriad paths regularly turned foggy by purveyors of government-knows-best command economics, aficionados of “progressivism” (i.e., socialism) and “national industrial policy,” cackling corporatists and their acolytes defending their diving into your pockets, all believing liberty and free markets are but quaint and outmoded precepts.

The evergreen debate regarding the proper role and function of government — made ever sharper by the re-election of Barack Obama, the still-rapidly expanding nanny state, this coming year's mayoral election in Pittsburgh and the beginnings of the next gubernatorial race — remained chief among the issues on which we've editorialized this year.

The Trib's positions have been consistent and clear. Never have you found — nor ever will you find — weasel words masquerading as opinion here. And as 2013 bows, we'll continue to expose and opine on the mountebankery that's sure to follow, be it around the nation, around the commonwealth, around the region or around the corner.

If criticism is deserved — and sometimes stinging critiques we have offered — it will be delivered in the appropriate meter. If praise is due — and praise, sometimes profuse, we generously have bestowed — it will be delivered in proper measure as well.

But dissent, dear friends, must never be mistaken for disloyalty to the cause of finding solutions to our mutual challenges. For we firmly believe that the negative consequences of unchallenged misguided “solutions” are a far greater threat to our liberties and fortunes than healthy dissent and robust debate ever could be.

Hence, it is in this spirit in which we wholeheartedly subscribe to Mr. Franklin's directive in that same 18th-century dispatch to “request all who are angry” with us “on account of printing things they don't like (to) calmly consider these following particulars”:

• “That the opinions of men are almost as various as their faces ...''

• “That the business of printing has chiefly to do with men's opinions; most things that are printed tending to promote some, or opposite other ...''

• “That it is unreasonable in any one man or set of men to expect to be pleased with everything that is printed ...”

• “Printers are educated in the belief that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public; and that when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter ...''

• “That if all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.''

Indeed.

Our commitment to you, as it has been for more than a century and a quarter, is to fight the worthy battle against avarice and contemporary iniquities, wherever they occur and no matter their convention. You expected no less of us in 2012. And we promise not to shrink from our sacred responsibility in 2013.

Happy New Year!

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