Via Ruth O., here's a thoughtful piece in The Guardian about the changing role of editors. It's mostly a sad story, but not entirely.
It reminds me of why I love editing other people's work. It's the deep engagement with another person's thoughts, which you also get in reading--except you then usually get to talk to the other person, and together you bring those thoughts out into the open.
Also to be an editor means to believe in the promise--rather than the inevitable failure--of language. One person can't always find the right words, but two (or maybe more) together sometimes can.