Discover more from David Moscrop
It's Launch Day!
I'm starting a blog to ask questions about politics and policy, interrogate power, and challenge orthodoxy
I’ve been thinking about launching a Substack for months. There are a lot of them out there. Some of them are good. Some are great. I’ve been hesitant to join the fray.
Before writing something, I try to ask myself three questions: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said right now? Does this need to be said right now by you? If I can answer ‘Yes’ — or at least ‘Probably’ — to all three questions, I go for it. I asked myself those questions over and over again while I considered launching this project.
In the last few weeks, I decided the answers to those questions were ‘Yes’ and that I could add some value to the world of political writing with a Substack that would go beyond what I’m able to do with the platforms I have now. I love writing for the outlets I write for. I’m going to continue writing for them. But having a space where I can do that work in long form without the time, resource, and issue constraints of outlets means I can ask and answer more questions in different ways.
This blog will feature long-form articles, book reviews, interviews, the occasional quick hit, and more. It'll also support me in researching and writing my next book, since some of these posts and bits of the research I do for them will end up a part of that project. In the future I'm considering guest essays, weekly or monthly roundups, and maybe even a bonus podcast. We'll see how things go. For now, my focus is on writing good stuff with a critical lens.
A critical analysis and interrogation of politics, policy, democracy, and economics around the world is valuable. It helps us decide what is good and right and true. It helps us decide how we ought to live together and how we can make that happen. Good critical analysis is less common than you’d think—or hope. The thing that makes critical analysis good is curiosity, capacity, and incredulity, or at least skepticism. Great writing starts with wondering what’s going on and why. A writer then uses their capacity and incredulity (or skepticism) to interrogate a question or claim or phenomenon, gather evidence, consider different perspectives, and then share the best of what they find and learn with other people. In good political writing, a writer asks What is happening and why? Who benefits? Who loses? What could we do better? How could we do it better?
There are countless questions about politics, policy, democracy, and economics to be asked in Canada, the United States, and around the world that require a mix of academic rigour, journalistic curiosity, normative commitment to justice, and a capacity to write accessibly. The point of this newsletter is to ask and answer as many of those questions as possible while refusing to play insider politics games, compromise principles for access, or settle into the parochial trap of thinking the political world ends at one’s country’s borders or one writer’s doorstep.
Good political writing should interrogate power and challenge the status quo. People should learn from it, too. It should also go without saying, but, alas, can’t, that folks should be able to understand your stuff. They should enjoy it, too. Having more writing like that in the world is good. I can produce some of it. That’s why I launched this Substack and I’m excited to have you here with me as part of the project.