Jason Lee Byas on Methodological Anarchism
Joining me today is Jason Lee Byas. Jason is a fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society. He is also a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Michigan. His academic work focuses on punishment (and its alternatives), rights theory, and justice beyond the state. He approaches that work from within the liberal, libertarian, and anarchist traditions -- all of which broadly construed. Today, we discussed some recent work he’s been doing on “methodological anarchist” approaches to political philosophy as well as the nature of violence and its relation to a theory of just property rights and distributive justice. The first part of this conversation centers on a bias a lot of analytic political philosophers have of myopically focusing on the realm of justice applying to the state and what political theory and discourse would look like if we adopted a “methodological anarchist” framework that sees the nexus of justice as existing in social norms writ large rather than just official institutions. The second part goes into a libertarian theory of violence that, when combined with normative presumptions against violence, can accommodate and generate property rights claims. We then tried to work through the implications of this theory for intellectual property, absentee landownership, and the relations of such rights claims to concerns about equity.