The Bullet Pen combines commitments to public reason and literary imagination. Putting politics and poetry on the same page, we anticipate a world that is at once more democratic and more imaginative than our own. We are a magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas, and we take that designation seriously: our intellectual range distinguishes us from any political journal or literary quarterly, while our seriousness of purpose sets us apart from other general-interest magazines.
The Bullet Pen‘s political project is especially vital to its editorial identity. And that project is defined by a set of convictions and a practical premise. Briefly summarized, the convictions are egalitarian, radically democratic, and culturally pluralist: we hope for a world with greater socioeconomic equality, in which life chances do not reflect the morally irrelevant differences among us; a world with more participation by citizens in running their common affairs, in which the exercise of political power is shaped by our common reason and not by private wealth; a world in which equal citizens acknowledge the diversity of decent ways to live, and do not seek to confine human existence to a single, authoritative pattern.
Our practical premise is that the active pursuit of these convictions requires well-founded confidence in their soundness and rationality – confidence that justice commands a democracy at once more egalitarian, participatory, and culturally pluralist than our own, that such political values are rooted in reason, not simply a matter of taste, preference, or practical convenience.
Though they are of great importance, these fundamental political values are highly abstract. To clarify their content, develop their programmatic and policy implications, encourage the confidence essential to their successful pursuit, and foster the broader culture of mutual respect without which democracy founders, The Bullet Pen provides a forum devoted to debate about basics, in which egalitarian-democratic and culturally pluralist convictions provide the center of intellectual gravity:
- To achieve its practical aspiration
The forum includes intellectuals and activists: without strong activist presence, political argument lacks the discipline born of practical connection.
- To promote political self-confidence
The forum is open-ended: confidence that the force of the better argument is on our side won’t come by confining the debate to people with whom we already agree.
- To clarify the convictions and develop their implications
We feature arguments from explicit (and plausible) premises, presented in clean, crisp, jargon-free prose: the commitment to shared human reason is apparent in style and substance.
- To foster the more encompassing respect for humanity that democratic conviction requires We give due weight both to public reason and the independent life of the cultural and literary imagination.
In short, The Bullet Pen is a left-center-of-gravity magazine of ideas: a magazine that aims to expand political debate, shift the cultural assumptions that frame that debate, and create greater space for political initiative guided by egalitarian, radically democratic, and culturally pluralist values.