Jul 30, 2019
Welcome to Mutual Exchange Radio, a project of the Center for a Stateless Society. Joining me today is Will Gillis. Will is the director of the Center and is a second generation anarchist who’s worked as an activist in countless projects since getting involved in the lead-up to N30. He studies physics and writes regularly on the egalitarian potential of markets. His writing can be found on his website, humaniterations.net, as well as on C4SS.org.
Today’s discussion centers around a technical topic in political philosophy that has utmost importance for real-world political movements and many ideological debates: the distinction between positive and negative liberty. Will positions himself as defending a universalist conception of positive liberty as primary and against particularly neo-Lockean libertarian views that place negative liberty as fundamental, but in many ways he comes at it from a different, more highly consequentialist perspective than most theorists. He also has some interesting theories for how a heavy priority on negative liberty has lead many American libertarians towards alt-right and fascist perspectives. This was a fun, philosophically exciting conversation and I hope it is as thought-provoking for you as it was for me. Be warned though, it is a long one which is necessary since we covered a lot of ground and Will takes a lot of great philosophical sophistication and thoughtfulness into his views, which I hope comes across here.