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This month, we talk political philosophy with Mark Lance, Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Anarchy. Sounds like the wild west or something, doesn’t it? Lawlessness indeed sounds pretty terrifying. But our guest argues that anarchism isn’t at all about lawlessness; that anarchists are indeed very much in favor of society being governed. The difference is that the ideal is one of self-governance. Start with small groups of people coming to a reasonable arrangement on the basis of compromise and discussion, and only scale up whatever you have to in order to keep the bare minimum up and running. Many aspects of our modern life might even be preserved under anarchism: for example, there would still be law enforcement, and there would still be a body of representatives in charge of maintaining basic infrastructure. But what there wouldn’t be is a stable class of people in whom the power to rule is vested over the long term. Instead, different people would regularly rotate through the role of being political representatives, to ensure that when they act in their capacities as spokespeople, they truly are speaking on behalf of the groups they represent.

Implementing such a political arrangement is obviously a monumental task, and when it comes to political policy, the devil is always in the details. Join us as our guest walks us through some of these details, and shows how an anarchist can address the reasonable objections one might have to such a proposal.

Matt Teichman