Welcome to Arc Digital — again.
I put “again” there because we’ve already had a launch. It was back in 2016. We’re in 2021 now — so what gives?
This is our relaunch. This is Arc reimagined, Arc 2.0, Arc entering its second phase. And we’re doing it on Substack — our new, permanent home.
It’s an exhilarating time for us. We are striking out on our own. In a frighteningly real sense, our long-term viability now fully rests in our hands. But we are up for the challenge.
Our optimism stems from two sources: our confidence in the quality of our work, and the remarkable community we’ve been growing since our founding. The second is proof of the first. But it’s more than that. It’s also proof that there is something about our method that is connecting with people, something about our approach to commentary and analysis that is resonating with readers and writers alike.
We’re witnessing a movement of news consumers who—you’re going to want to sit down for this—prefer to actually listen to opposing arguments than to shut their ears to them, readers who actively prefer to be challenged than to remain in their echo chambers in blissful repose. These are people who don’t believe for a second that having strong convictions and engaging in good-faith dialogue with those who disagree are incompatible values.
This is invigorating. If Arc’s place in the discourse landscape of the future depends on there being a robust community of readers committed to the epistemic value of viewpoint pluralism, if such a readership exists and can even be said to be growing, the sky is truly the limit for us.
If you’re one of these longtime readers of ours, the rest of this post will cover information about us that you probably already know. To support us straight away, click here.
If you’re hearing about us for the first time, please read on.
Maybe you end up thinking our approach isn’t the right one — that’s fine. But you can’t know that until you go a bit deeper into what we’re trying to do.
What is Arc?
Arc is a publication of ideas — the ideas that are most pressing now.
We can’t ignore either of those elements.
Arc is not an academic journal on abstract theory, unconcerned with what’s going on today. Nor is it a newspaper that simply tells you, without any deeper analysis or insight, what’s happening in the world.
What we do is analyze and comment on items of interest in a way that is informed yet accessible. We believe it’s possible to cover current events in a manner that respects the complexity of the world and the time our readers put in to understanding it.
Arc is a daily publication. Our content gets published on this website, some of it sent out in newsletter form, and then it gets promoted on our various social channels.
What is Arc’s Approach?
Our core value is responsible intellectual pluralism.
The pluralism part means we are committed to publishing a variety of perspectives. Ours is a platform for omnidirectional opinion. That’s a non-negotiable for us. But the responsible part means we set certain editorial parameters so that our pages don’t turn into a bad-faith free-for-all.
Our media landscape is suffused with echo chambers. But the way out isn’t to become intellectually indiscriminate. The answer isn’t to journalistically operate under the assumption that every view is equally valid.
The solution is a publication that simultaneously retains an openness to perspectives from across the spectrum while remaining committed to important editorial constraints. That’s what we’ve built Arc to be.
A shorter way to say this is we’re after the smartest takes on the issues most worth discussing. That’s our simple-but-lofty mission: to be the best destination for analysis and commentary on the internet.
What Does Arc Focus On?
If you’re looking for a publication that restricts itself to a narrow lens, I’m afraid Arc won’t be the place for you. There’s nothing wrong with taking a niche focus—it just isn’t us.
Our areas of focus include politics, policy, social and cultural issues, world affairs, economics, science, technology, religion, and philosophy.
Since we’re a general interest publication, we’ll tend to cast a pretty wide net. We hope to cover, as Walt Whitman once put it, “all the pulses of the world.”
We’ll do so across newsletters, articles, podcasts, and more.
What is Arc’s Place in the Discourse?
The world of news and opinion is structurally hostile to what we’re trying to do. It isn’t built for sites like ours. This is not a plea for pity — it’s just reality.
The architecture of internet discourse is designed to have each participant stake out a particular position. It doesn’t know what to do with a venue that functions more like a roundtable. There are constant pressures on us to relax our commitment to pluralism and to narrow in on a single perspective.
But we’re not interested in doing that. Plenty of sites already do that. Some of them even do it quite well. Our thing will be to remain committed to a politically and philosophically panoramic output. We think this approach serves our readers best.
It isn’t always easy to stay the course. It’s not lost on us that the surest path to social media growth and massive website traffic is to continually send out signals to the public that you will be a reliable defender of, a tireless advocate for, a particular point of view. A powerful mechanism for growth in the commentary space is to dependably champion a single perspective, to rigidly take a side — we understand that. But, well … we’re going to continue to do things our way.
If you think Arc represents something good, something worth backing in the world of digital media, join us. For 8 bucks a month, you help us prove that a better way exists.
The media is one of the least trusted institutions we have — doesn’t it make sense, then, to give oxygen to the outlets you think are doing things the right way?
The Benefits of Membership
Want something more than the satisfaction that comes from backing a project you believe in? That’s fair. Here’s what Arc membership comes with.
Complete access to Arc Digital content. Includes all our articles, newsletters, podcasts — everything. Subscribers on the free plan will be able to access the odd post here and there that we make public. Full members will get it all.
Exclusive access to a discussion community where we keep the conversation going. Everything we publish will have a comments section underneath, available only to members, where Arc editors and writers will look to join you in discussion.
An invitation to recurring virtual meetups with Arc personnel. In the not-too-distant future, we’ll add live video- and audio-based meetups to the schedule. These chats will be exclusive to members.
What’s our current content lineup?
DiscRep: The Discourse Report is a daily guide to the public conversation about politics, policy, and society, written by Berny Belvedere.
Cathy Young: A weekly newsletter on politics and culture from one of the sharpest and most even-handed commentators in the world of ideas.
Arc Conversations: Interviews with thinkers, creators, and public figures on the issues that matter.
Point/Counterpoint: Arc’s debate newsletter. The format is in the name: you’ll get a take and then a countertake on an issue of importance.
The Arc Digi Review of Books: Arc's shrine to the greatest ever invention: the book. This is where we’ll engage with, review, and discuss books new and old.
Polyarchy: A newsletter about political theory. In between the extremes of antiwoke fanaticism and prowoke triumphalism is a space for us to productively discuss the most explosive elements in political thought.
Arc Digicast: The Arc Digital podcast. Hosted by Berny Belvedere and Nicholas Grossman. New episodes each week.
Belvyland: Berny Belvedere invites guests to discuss the biggest issues of the day. New episodes each week.
That’s quite a bit of stuff. Arc is, as one person put it, “multiple Substacks in one.” Thankfully, managing the flow of content is easy.
Suppose you wanted to receive some of that content but not all of it. No problem. The beauty of Substack is that you can go into the settings and specify the posts you’d like to receive in your inbox. You’ll continue to have unrestricted access to all the other content offerings — they just won’t be sent to your email.
Ready to join? Click here.
Got questions? Comments? Pledges of undying allegiance to our project?
Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading.