Writer’s Guide

Palladium is happy to accept outside submissions. Writers should be familiar with the project, having read our opening essay and a few of the articles, as well as this writer’s guide. Take note especially that we strive for a tone of adventure, accessible but rigorous analysis, and insightful theory. We aim for charitable neutrality without polemics, but we are happy to be challenging, controversial, and critical.

Why We Write

We should start with our aims in mind. Palladium’s primary aim is to build a new post-liberal synthesis worldview, an improvement on American liberalism, incorporating the strengths of liberalism while transcending its weaknesses.

Our approach is “Governance Futurism,” that is, we write articles about topics important or adjacent to the future of government and society, to build models of the world, and a view of what the future could be.

Ideologically, we both critique and defend liberalism, and both cheer for and caution against various post-liberal possibilities, aiming to discern where each is appropriate. This follows from our aim to produce a positive post-liberal vision.

As such, articles should contribute new evidence, insights, concepts, and arguments to this debate.

Palladium’s secondary aim is to build a high quality intellectual community around the project. Ideas are only as useful as the people who use them, so we aim to gather talented people and give them a new way of thinking.

To this end, articles should aim to attract careful thinkers, and teach them something useful. They should be innovative, energetic, rigorous, and adventurous within our way of thinking.

Palladium’s target audience is young, well-educated, open-minded, and urban. Well-positioned pragmatic idealists. They are a small remnant that appreciates new ideas, is open to justified large changes in worldview, and has the talent and energy to act on the world.

Topics

There are three types of content that we’re looking for. Any given article will be some mix of these:

  1.  Investigation & Analysis. We paint a clear picture of some part of the world, with facts, some journalistic reporting, and interpret it through our theoretical frameworks. Our big question is: what’s happening? What’s the future here? For an example of ideologically generative journalism and analysis: “Jair Bolsonaro And The Populist Crisis In Brazil.
  2.  General Theory. We make a generalized model of some set of phenomena. Models should be useful, explanatory, and falsifiable. This is harder to get right, as it requires more conceptual clarity and context, and can be falsified by unknown counterexamples. Critiques of theory are much easier, as you only have to show how something is wrong, not show that something is not wrong. For example: “The Rise And Fall Of Liberal Democratic Peace Theory.
  3.  Ideology. We make claims about what our society should be doing, or how it should be organized, or what we should find important. These should be serious ideas that would actually work to accomplish good ends. For example: “Towards The Post-Liberal Synthesis.

Within the general project of building a new worldview, construe these broadly. Anything relevant to our understanding of how the world works and how we should proceed as human civilization is fair game. Pick a topic you know enough about to say something interesting and new.

We are very skeptical of existing grand theories, narratives, and high level ideologies. We prefer to dig down into first principles, common sense, and case studies. We don’t care about schools of thought; we care about “who, what, why.”

We prefer investigation and analysis, where the article centers around a case study of some part of reality, so that everything can be grounded in facts and real occurrences. This is the best way to make sure our concepts and arguments are connected to reality.

Detail and Argument Depth

A Palladium article is never just your opinion. If you can write this piece in the darkness of your basement with no internet access or books, then the piece is too vague, abstract, and unsubstantiated for print. We can be speculative and exploratory, but never sloppy. We will reject articles that just feel like someone’s opinion.

Even if someone disagrees with your conclusion, they should learn something from the facts, concepts, and arguments you brought. Make sure there is enough detail.

Factual claims should be true and relevant. We don’t care about whether it’s officially double-blind randomized Science(tm), “reputable source,” or whatever, though those things are sometimes strong evidence of truth. Just make sure it’s true in a way a careful audience can trust.

Don’t just provide your core argument. Flesh out background, examples, what’s wrong with alternative views, implications of your thesis, etc. But make sure to keep it tight, shoring up and strengthening your core thesis, rather than overextending into just a bigger set of claims.

Ideological Stance

We don’t publish content that is polemical or rabidly partisan. We’re trying to synthesize many different points of view, which requires being able to interface with those points of view in a friendly and charitable way.

We will edit out or reject alienating language, insults and caricatures, and ideological polemics. That stuff isn’t useful to our intellectual mission, and just alienates people.

We’re not here to fly our gang colors, make excuses for our friends, or insult our enemies. Don’t write to resentment, edginess, partisanship, or underdog narratives. Write to ambition, duty, optimism, understanding, talent, charity, and agency.

Form, Tone, Style

Articles should be more than 1500 words, and less than 4000 words. If you need more space, pick a smaller part of your thesis to focus on, or write with more brevity. If you need less space, expand on your thesis.

Provide an interesting hook at the beginning, and a good narrative and logical flow throughout. Articles should be tight, dense, and high energy. If it sounds like a think tank report, or a boring study, we don’t want it. Give the reader reason to read all the way through.

Personal style and voice is fine, good even. But avoid gratuitous and irrelevant references to self. “I think” is useless. “I talked to” is good.

Do citations inline. Hyperlink stuff that’s online. Note author and book name. Don’t bother with a “Works Cited” section unless necessary.

Editorial Process

We like to work closely with authors at all stages to make a piece as strong as possible, though this is often not necessary. Some of our best content is the result of significant editing and brainstorming.

This can include brainstorming a thesis and outline, reviewing drafts and discussing the direction and conclusions a piece should take, making our own significant additions and subtractions, and final editing passes for tone, writing flow, and phrasings.

Our goal is always to preserve the voice of the author, and produce the strongest possible article.

We’re happy to pay for finished articles, especially when there is serious investigative journalism or intellectual work involved. Talk to us about details.

Send submissions or pitches to editor@palladiummag.com.