Yesterday, Areo said “goodbye” to its creator, Malhar Mali. In his farewell, Malhar said,
“I started Areo because I was frustrated; I was disappointed at what many outlets deemed to be intelligent criticism when in my view it was just a manifestation of base tribalism. One thing which perplexes me, even today, is that many hold their ideological opponents to higher standards than they hold their own group: It’s ok for us to behave poorly because we’re the good guys!
I thought I could do better. I thought people were in search of something else, a different voice, something that cut through the bullshit. Maybe I was naive (and maybe that’s what a lack of awareness feels like), but in my view you sometimes just have to put yourself out there and do something to make an impact. That something for me was Areo.”
Malhar has now had to move on. I have taken on Areo and I intend to remain true to his vision. The polarization we are experiencing is only escalating, and reasonable, ethical people are feeling obliged to take a stance on one side or the other but, in so doing, they perpetuate the problem. We are in need of outlets which resist this and publish arguments from thoughtful and balanced people on both sides and neither; people who are willing to criticise their own side and the other with nuance, depth, knowledge, balance and charity. That is what Areo was intended to be and consequently, it has become something of an outlet for the politically homeless. Areo was Malhar’s baby and he made it thrive, but he found it was time to move on. I have been its doting aunt almost since its conception and I intend, with the help of a small team and many subscribers, supporters and readers to see it continues to thrive.
Areo will continue to seek out and encourage a widely ideologically and intellectually diverse range of authors and publish a variety of (often conflicting) views which are well-evidenced, well-argued and well-written. This will sometimes include positions and arguments the editors don’t agree with, but we will grit our teeth and publish anyway and leave you to be convinced or otherwise!
Areo will now continue with the help of Iona Italia as subeditor and with technical and administrative support and expert fact-checking from our friends and supporters.
It will also, I hope, continue with the help of you. Here is how you can help:
You can write for us
Are you a thoughtful person with knowledge of a relevant topic who makes good arguments and writes well? Send us a pitch, a draft, a submission. My brief experience as assistant editor has revealed that there are many excellent writers out there with a strong understanding of a topic who research thoroughly, argue soundly and write beautifully but never send their writing anywhere. They doubt themselves because they understand their subject so well, they know how complicated it is, they can anticipate objections and they are never too certain of their own rightness. They admire established writers who address their area of interest and think that their work will be found facile in comparison. Meanwhile, genuinely poorly researched, poorly argued, poorly written, trite, biased and overconfident think-pieces get published all over the place. Areo seeks you self-questioning, knowledgeable and thoughtful people, so give us a try.
Write us a piece, ideally of 1000-3000 words, although we will consider longer more detailed essays. Write it as though talking to bright and engaged first-year undergraduates with little knowledge of your topic. Make it informative, substantiated, well-reasoned, engaging and persuasive. This is what we want to publish.
You can support us
If you are more of a reader than a writer, there are a number of ways you can support us.
If you have expert knowledge of a subject, you can write to us and offer to be available for fact-checking submissions on that subject from time to time. This kind of support enables us to publish pieces we could not otherwise be confident about.
You can become a patron here even if it is only a dollar a month. This enables us to pay more of our writers, commission more essays, edit them all and promote them.
You can read our publications, comment on them, share them and start civil and thoughtful conversations about them, whether you agree or disagree. If you find a piece particularly illuminating or thought-provoking, particularly if it made you change your mind, you can message or tweet the author and tell them so and, in this way, increase the amount of goodwill in the world, just a little.
It is very exciting to be taking Areo into a new phase and I look forward to meeting many new authors and reading a lot of new work and sharing it with all of you. I am very grateful to the 45 patrons who have already pledged their support. I promise to work out tiers and rewards for everyone who has enabled Areo to continue in the next few weeks.
Areo was born and flourished in the hands of Malhar Mali with the mission statement:
“We believe in the unfettered freedom to explore, think, and challenge ideas and concepts, and we’re intent on taking part in the conversations that will shape our tomorrow.”
Let’s make that mission continue.