Student Book Features: Anarchist Political Theory

‘Anarchy,’ writes April Carter, ‘means literally “without government,” and the lowest common denominator of anarchist thought is the conviction that existing forms of government are productive of wars, internal violence, repression and misery.’[1] The last few years of political history have provided a good deal of evidence to support the anarchists’ conception of government, and with this has come a resurgence of the language of anti-politics: opposition not just to specific regimes, but to the very idea of authority that they embody.

In this review I discuss two recent paperback re-issues of old books on anarchist (or, at least, anti-government) political theory. These are Carter’s The Political Theory of Anarchism (hereafter PTA), which first appeared in 1971, a year that seems all the more distant when we consider that Rawls’s game-changing A Theory of Justice was published the same year; and De Jasay’s Against Politics: On Government, Anarchy, and Order (hereafter AP), which is comparatively new, having seen the light in 1997. Even so, the essays contained in it are older, having been published between 1989 and 1996, though in one case slightly shortened for inclusion in the volume. No substantive changes or additions have been made to either book, and PTA is conspicuously a facsimile of the 1971 original. Plainly, then, existing experts on anarchy and anti-politics will not find anything new here. Yet it would be churlish of me to discount the books because those who have read them already know what they have to say, so I opt for a more charitable interpretation: it is telling that these books have been re-issued after a delay of years or decades, and their revivals give us an opportunity to dust off the arguments of two well-known anarchist political theorists and see how well they bear scrutiny in 2013.

Carter coverPTA is a slim volume of just over 100 pages. It is easily accessible and mercifully free of jargon. Carter’s express aim is ‘to explore anarchist ideas in relation to a number of important themes in political thought,’ without assuming any ‘prior knowledge of anarchist history and philosophy’ on the reader’s part.[2] Carter is not an entirely impartial guide, but for most of the book she restricts her role to reporting the views of notable anarchist thinkers and connecting these with ideas from mainstream – non-anarchist – political theory. She also remarks occasionally on what were, in 1971, recent developments in anarchist thought and activism. Unsurprisingly, it is these features that feel most dated. The forty-year divide between us and Carter makes no real difference to her readings of nineteenth-century anarchists, for example, but we have the advantage of knowing what would become of debates that were for her still emerging. The reprinting of PTA would seem an obvious opportunity to add a new introduction or supplementary essay to place the book in its context, and the absence of either smacks of a regrettably missed opportunity. Still, since Carter’s remarks on then-recent developments are fairly rare, this is by no means a problem, although the prospective reader must bear in mind that the book has this limitation.[3]

The bulk of PTA is divided into four main chapters. In the first, ‘The Political Theory of Anarchism,’ Carter locates some of the major struts of anarchist thought by reference to Hobbes. Her justification for this move is that Hobbes addresses ‘some of the key problems of politics,’ ‘with exceptional clarity and incisiveness [… and] at a high level of abstraction which gives his philosophy a relatively timeless quality,’ as well as providing the ‘ingredients of a consistent theory of anarchism,’ such as William Godwin’s.[4] Plainly Hobbes’s conclusions are far removed from anarchism, but his individualism, his ideas about the basic equality of persons, and his conception of liberty as the absence of external restraints are all congenial to the anarchist project. There are pros and cons to Carter’s decision to focus on Hobbes. On one hand, it enables her to show that anarchist thought shares some of its core commitments with a major political thinker with whom readers are likely to be familiar. On the other, the need to redirect Hobbes’s argument toward a radically different conclusion makes the justifications for the anarchist position look rather flimsy. Consider:

The impact of Hobbes’s theory lies partly in the image he evokes of the violence, chaos and fear which ensure when there is no government to enforce law and order. If his assumptions are reversed, and one argues that men are by nature – when uncorrupted by the perverting influence of government and evil societies – co-operative, peace-loving and activated by spontaneous sympathy towards others, then the logic of the situation is reversed.[5]

This is undoubtedly true. However, we would need a reason to reverse our assumptions, and this is conspicuously absent. Hobbes’s view of human nature may be mistaken, but it is at least non-arbitrary. While we may think that the tendency for persons to be competitive, diffident and even hostile is the result of some ‘perverting influence,’ as thought Rousseau, we cannot decide that he was mistaken without addressing his argument for holding his position in the first place. There may be reasons for choosing the more optimistic view of persons as basically ‘co-operative [and] peace-loving,’ but these are not forthcoming, and in their place we are presented with a smattering of epigrammatic utterances, from anarchists and others, including Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare, who express scepticism about political authority. While these bon mots give the reader a flavour of the ideas underlying anarchist political theory, they are more effective as slogans than as philosophy. Unless the anarchists can spell out their arguments and provide compelling evidence to support them, the case for anarchy appears not only unconvincing but unmade.

Similar problems abound elsewhere in the book. In the second chapter, on ‘Anarchism and the State,’ Carter describes the development of the modern concept of the state as an entity distinguishable from government. She then discusses the anarchist interpretation of some of the state’s features, including bureaucracy, the police and the law. Familiar objections are raised against each: bureaucracy is equated with compromise and ‘an excess of red tape’;[6] laws as ‘ideological justifications for the existing hierarchy’;[7] and the police as henchmen of the state, whose task of suppressing ‘crime’ (Carter’s scare quotes) amounts to ‘political repression directed at the poor.’[8] In support of these interpretations, Carter provides examples from the writings of Camus, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, de Tocqueville and Marx, as well as some statistics based on empirical research.[9] Here again we see a variation of the technique employed earlier in the discussion of Hobbes: certainly we may think that the state is an inefficient bureaucracy, the law weighted in favour of privileged elites and the police repressive. Specific cases of inefficient practice, partial legislation and repressive policing are not hard to find. But the anarchist case, at least as Carter presents it, seems to rely on us accepting that this these descriptions obtain for all states, laws and police forces; the anarchists’ targets are not inefficiency, partiality and repression, but instead the institutions in which these are (in the anarchists’ view, inescapably) bound up. We find a lacuna and some suggestive remarks where we need an argument. We could accept the anarchists’ diagnoses, but it is far from clear that we should.

The third chapter is probably the most useful for understanding the aims of anarchist political theory. Here Carter discusses ‘Anarchism and Society,’ discussing the prospects for the ‘self-regulating social order’ that anarchists offer as a replacement for the state. This is the decisive moment in the argument for anarchy’s place at the high table of political theory, since if it yields a workable and otherwise desirable alternative to the traditional conceptions of state and society, it gives us something to talk about. In the first half of the chapter, Carter takes us through some of the various disputes between anarchists and Marxists concerning the proper end product of revolution, and especially the envisioned social system that operates without reproducing the repressive features of the state. This is an interesting and pacy account, albeit a little too thin to enable us to see which version of events we should accept. Again the dispute dissolves into an exchange of slogans (‘There is only one kind of freedom: total freedom. It cannot exist within the framework of someone’s state[.]’)[10] and dubious assurances of what a stateless society would give us: no government, so no concentration of power in the hands of a few; no bureaucracy, so no inefficiency or compromise; and no centrally-administered police force and judicial system, so a form of justice that is more ‘flexible, socially realistic and humane’ than the ‘barbarity of existing modes of punishment.’[11] To her credit, Carter is circumspect about endorsing any of the accounts on offer (those of Proudhon, Kropotkin and De Jouvenal), acknowledging that ‘[u]nless one can assume social homogeneity there may be passionately held divisions on issues of moral and social conduct and appropriate penalties.’ She also notes that some of the ‘less punitive’ branches of modern law, and especially those designed to prevent ‘racial, religious [and] sexual discrimination,’ are better fitted to the aims of anarchists, since they rely ‘on individuals and local communities to make the law effective,’ and may even ‘influence public opinion in an egalitarian direction.’[12]

The fourth substantive chapter is the strangest. Having finished the previous chapter by describing how ‘anarchists reject “politics,”’[13] Carter turns to ‘Anarchism and the Individual,’ presenting ‘a spectrum of anarchist elements which appear to stand right outside the normal political sphere and assert the primacy of non-political virtues[.]’[14] These include ‘The Egoist,’ for which Carter turns to Max Stirner’s The Ego and His Own; ‘The Artist’ who, in a ‘corrupted society’ whose social ideals are ‘perverted by power,’ ‘faces an agonising dilemma [as he] is cut off from the public he needs for his own creative work; and at the same time has a special and often dangerous responsibility to provide the creative impetus which may break down the barriers hemming in his society.’[15] Elsewhere we meet ‘The Moralist’ who feels ‘a social responsibility to rebel’ (Tolstoy);[16] ‘The Hero,’ ‘The Coward’ (Shakespeare’s Falstaff!) and ‘The Citizen.’ These represent different kinds of person who might be led to favour something like the anarchist vision of a stateless society. This chapter most strikingly exemplifies both the strengths and shortcomings of the book. It is stirring and romantic: Carter appeals to poets, novelists and their characters as well as (comparatively) cold-blooded theorists. In this way she shows anarchism in the light most appealing to politically engaged folk without much knowledge of political theory. By the same token it is hollow in the areas where rigorous theory is most needed; supporters of the state have arguments in favour of their positions, and if they are to be persuaded to abandon them, they need better arguments from the opposition.

To sum up: there are two real problems with PTA. One, as discussed already, is its tendency to present anarchists’ views (or views congenial to anarchism, though not expressed by anarchists as such) without the support of compelling reasons or arguments. Since this is only an introduction to anarchist political thought, which, as Carter makes clear, represents a diverse and complex array of different ideas, it might be thought that it is less important to offer the details of why anarchists think what they think than it is to give readers their conclusions and at the same time a few choice cuts of anarchist language. (After all, readers can always go away and read Proudhon or Godwin or Kropotkin for themselves.) There is some truth in this, and Carter’s strategy does at least enable her to discuss an impressively wide range of thinkers in a short space. Regrettably, though, this strategy ultimately backfires, leaving the reader with the impression that anarchism relies more on impassioned sloganeering than careful argumentation.

The first problem leads to the second, which concerns Carter’s aim to establish ‘links’ between anarchist political thought and its mainstream rivals. She rightly notes that the anarchists share with Hobbes a commitment to individualism, with de Tocqueville an opposition to centralisation, and with Marx (among other things) a belief in revolutionary change and equality. The mere existence of such links does not amount to a justification of anarchism. The sources to which Carter appeals might be used to construct a more robust case, but this is not what she sets out to do. As it is, PTA is interesting but in the end disappointingly unpersuasive, offering not so much a glimpse of the deep waters of anarchist political thought as a strong suggestion that they might all run shallow.

de jasay coverAnthony de Jasay sometimes aligns himself with ‘liberals,’ although this self-ascription should be treated with caution. He is an out-and-out right-libertarian, arguing not so much for the restriction of the state as for its dismissal as the result of a gross mistake. In its place he is in favour of individualism, property rights, a hard-edged epistemology (on which more later), and a society based on free interaction, unconfined by coercive government. As such he shares a great deal with the anarchist tradition, and at times he makes claims explicitly in favour of its aims. However, he does not rely on Marxist language or principles to drive his argument, and for that reason his defence of anarchism, so far as it goes, is rather indirect: he doubts that we can justify conventional political authority, and suggests, if only tentatively, that we would be better off without it. This is not an argument about revolution or emancipation, but instead about dispelling myths that pervade contemporary intellectual culture.

In keeping with his training as an economist, de Jasay’s main tools for mounting these arguments are versions of rational-choice game theory. His prose is usually clear and its predominant tone peevish as time and again he picks out what he takes to be baseless assumptions, ‘twistable’ concepts and spurious guesswork in both conventional wisdom and the high-end theory of political philosophers.

De Jasay opens one of the eleven essays in AP with the following declaration:

All is not well with our politics. Never before in history, perhaps with the exception of ancient Greece, has civil life been politicised to quite the same extent as today. It might appear that society should be better, more fully served by its government than ever before. Yet few would think that this is the case. The principal product of more intrusive, more caring, and more comprehensive politics seem to be disaffection with, and dysfunction of, government. Where the process has gone furthest, under “real existing socialism,” failure reached staggering dimensions. But whether governments now profess to live by democratic or socialist precepts, or by the near-ubiquitous, ungainly crossbreed of the two, their relations with the governed are sour.[17]

In the introduction he writes that ‘the great bulk of political philosophy from antiquity to our day [has] revolved around the legitimacy of politics and the justification of the state,’ and he identifies three broad positions in the debate: ‘[t]he state is either a necessity, or a convenience; or it is an imposition shored up by the delusion that it is necessary or convenient.’ He goes on to claim that

Which of these characterisations of collective choice and its justification is more plausible and closer to experience, is liable to be judged by gut feeling, intuition and existential stance. The resulting judgement, moreover, is apt to be biased by the accumulated weight of apolitical culture going back to the Enlightenment […], in which governments have inculcated hope and faith in their own meliorist vocation – and did so in all sincerity.

To ground our assessments of the state and collective choice in something more reliable than ‘gut feeling,’ we need to avoid ‘soft, malleable concepts such as “fairness,” “reasonableness,” “acceptability,” “solidarity,” and “equality of opportunity” that can signify almost anything while still preserving their positive emotional charge and wide appeal. These essentially twistable words,’ he continues, ‘are the pivots of a loose doctrine that, as one would expect, feels comfortable as a pair of carpet slippers.’[18] In their place we need to employ the methods of rational choice, which, while neither ‘a particularly persuasive assumption’ in itself, nor ‘easy to apply to society and its politics in anything but the loosest, most informal manner,’ has no tenable alternative.[19]

These passages serve as neat illustrations of how de Jasay understands his project and what he sees himself to be reacting against. Some of the characteristic features of his writing are on display. This is bold, provocative stuff, making explicit the author’s wish to clear away the intellectual rubbish that he thinks has permeated mainstream political theory and conventional wisdom. In this respect his aims are entirely respectable: if political theory is to hinge on something more substantive than our intuitive responses to ‘twistable’ concepts, we cannot hope to decide, with even provisional certainty, what kinds of political orders are worthy of rejection or support. However, there is a conspicuous undercurrent of rhetoric in de Jasay’s claims. Consider his claim, in the first quotation, about what ‘few would think.’ He is not so much inviting the reader to agree with him as assuming that they already do and think it obvious that they should. No doubt readers of whom that is true – confirmed right-libertarians, perhaps – will find de Jasay’s polemical arguments stimulating and encouraging. The rest of us, I suspect, will find him challenging but just as often exasperating. Key points in his arguments are supported only by the author’s firm convictions that he is right, and relevant opposing views are sometimes ignored or presented in forms so far reduced as to be scarcely recognisable to their supporters.

The book is divided into two parts. The first consists of seven essays exposing the fallacious arguments underlying the ‘Excuses’ for coercive political authority, and the second gives us four on ‘Emergent Solutions’ to the problems previously identified. These discuss such topics as collective rationality, the dubious assumptions underlying social contract theory, the prospects for limited government (about which de Jasay remains remarkably circumspect),[20] Hayek’s excessive and unsupported claims for the authority of the state, and the wrongheadedness of the idea of ‘group rights,’ in both multicultural and broader communitarian versions.

Especially interesting is ‘The Twistable is not Testable: Reflexions on the Political Thought of Karl Popper,’ in which de Jasay applies the Popperian test of falsifiability (viz. that in order for us to call a proposition true, we must also specify the conditions under which it could be called false; otherwise it is ‘immune to rational criticism and useless except as a piece of gratuitous self-expression’)[21] to Popper’s arguments in favour of a social-democratic ‘open society.’[22] While he plainly admires Popper’s principles, he thinks that they are misapplied in his political thought, since Popper’s descriptions of the kind of society we ought to have include twistable terms and unfalsifiable claims. It would be better, thinks de Jasay, for Popper to give us a ‘deontology of the state,’ or a set of stipulations about what the state ‘must, may and must not do.’[23] De Jasay confesses that he does not know what conclusions a proper application of Popper’s principles might yield, but plainly he expects most of the social-democratic features to be wrung out as the political ideas pass through the falsificationist mangle.

Perhaps the most revealing essay in AP is the first in the second half, entitled ‘Before Resorting to Politics.’ Here de Jasay sets out a manifesto for the kind of politics or political principles we could reasonably support, searching for ‘the rock-bottom of liberal logic’ and weeding out ‘parasitic ideas alien to its ethic.’[24] One of his major targets is the idea that persons’ goods are commensurable or open to aggregation when trying to specify terms of collective rationality, the good of the community, the general will and so forth. The false belief that this can be achieved, he plausibly maintains, is the major defect of consequentialism. For the state to do well by some people means that it will do less well by others, and there is no way, without resorting to dubious metaphysics, that the respective benefits and burdens received by the affected parties can be resolved into a single calculus to the satisfaction of all.[25] Since consequentialists cannot coherently want to limit the scope of government – that would be effectively to endorse the limitation of the benefits that government could potentially bring about – they are also committed to the acceptance of the coercion that government entails.[26]

De Jasay’s next step is to lay out his commitment to freedom. His reasoning here is a little puzzling:

The question of whether freedom is valuable or a free society is good ought not to enter at all into a properly thought-out political doctrine, liberal or other. It should be resolutely ignored. Whichever way the question were answered would […] steer us in a teleological direction, and undermine the foundations on which the society that we could consider free might stand and survive.[27]

At the same time he concedes that ‘[a]n answer that freedom is not valuable is eccentric, [and] nobody (or as good as) is prepared openly to voice it[.]’ The problem, he thinks, is that while there is not much point in debating whether freedom is valuable, to accept it unanalysed leaves it open to ‘the most devastating kind of relativism,’ and without ‘the force […] to colonise other, less free, polities.’[28] While it is true that ‘freedom, whatever else it is, is also the absence of deliberate man-made obstacles to action,’ it is hard to separate freedom per se from ‘the set of alternatives among which we are free to choose,’ with the result that ‘richer, more attractive alternatives, as well as greater knowledge and the ability to discern them, mean more freedom,’ which becomes ‘a spreading umbrella concept that swallows up much that ordinary language knows by separate words.’[29] To keep freedom from becoming a nebulous catch-all term covering things of which we just happen to approve, he favours the clearer, less controversial, negative conception. As he puts it elsewhere, ‘in the matter of liberties[,] the onus of proof is on those who propose to obstruct or curtail them, [and] in the matter of rights the onus is on those who claim a benefit from others, for [the claimant] has to show why the putative obligors should have to contribute to it.’[30]

It is also in ‘Before Resorting to Politics’ that de Jasay gives us three simple (though, he thinks, untwistable) political principles. These are: ‘in doubt, abstain,’ meaning that political actors should seek to do less whenever the grounds for doing more are insufficiently firm; ‘the feasible is presumed free,’ meaning that endless and insoluble debates about what people should be free to choose should be curtailed as far as possible by the assumption that they should be free to do what they can, with the burden of justification shifted onto those who mean to restrict that basic freedom; and ‘let exclusion stand,’ which similarly stipulates that ‘[t]he role of politics, if there is one, is confined to upholding the customs of law and contract,’ and should not intrude into the endlessly controversial practice of redistribution to correct unfair the ‘exclusion’ of certain groups in society.[31] These reveal the extremity of de Jasay’s position. While he fits his theory into a ‘deontological frame’ familiar from the right-libertarianism of Nozick, for example, de Jasay makes liberty the foundation of liberal politics. Anything more than that, including Nozick’s natural rights,[32] demands a powerful argument.

I assume that it is clear that I am neither an anarchist nor a right-libertarian. Before summing up, let us ask: do Carter and de Jasay give us persuasive arguments? Are their positions seriously tenable? Have we reasons to return to their respective books forty-two and fifteen years after they were originally published? Whether already-convinced right-libertarians and aspiring anarchists will approve of them is beside the point: that readers who already occupy a position continue to do so after reading a book in support of it tells us nothing about the persuasiveness of the relevant argument.

As the older of the two books, PTA is more obviously a period piece. It represents a kind of anarchist thinking that prevailed in the 1960s and early 1970s, distinguished by the enthusiastic and fairly uncritical uptake of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century views of liberty and authority. Even when PTA was published, ‘analytical’ or ‘philosophical’ anarchism, propounded by theorists such as Robert Paul Wolff and A. John Simmons, had begun to emerge. These authors went on to address the problems of political authority using arguments that their opponents could not so easily dismiss. Carter can hardly be criticised for failing to see into the future, and PTA does give readers a suggestive and concise overview of the main themes and currents in a previous era of anarchist political thought. However, since she never lays out a coherent or distinctive case for anarchy, and her account of anarchist thought excludes the more forceful versions that have been articulated since, PTA is of limited use to serious political philosophers today.

De Jasay’s book shows its age through its method. Rational choice theory is no longer the default tool of political theorists, and we have good reason to limit our expectations of what this kind of theory might be able to tell us. The reductive tendency of rational choice informs the major problem with de Jasay’s theory, which, as far as I can see, is the lack of interpretive charity that the author offers his opponents. He characterises the state, and politics generally, in terms that his opponents, including socially-minded liberals, will hardly recognise. If the state is solely an oppressor and enemy of liberty or the advantaged participant in some game with just two participants, then of course we can do without it. However, this is not what supporters of the state think they are arguing for, and de Jasay’s reliance on game theory, combined with the acid of the Popper-esque principle of rejecting ‘twistable’ concepts, means that the standard justifications for political orders either come apart or are left out of the equation. This is part of the point, of course, since de Jasay wants to eliminate the admittedly woolly, circular and self-serving arguments that sometimes appear in philosophical discourse. In that, at least, I agree with him. But he does not really take seriously the thought that the state could have a desirable role that cannot be reliably filled by any private individual.

I remain unconvinced by the arguments against politics and for anarchy. Nonetheless these arguments cannot be dismissed out of hand, and their advocates are keenly aware of the injustices that politics can bring about. However, I am confident that they misdiagnose the root problem. The institution of state might be more fruitfully imagined as an impartial arbiter and guarantor against the frailties of individuals. The value of liberty depends upon the conditions in which it is exercised. If there is to be any robust justification for social and political institutions, it is likely to be that they make and enable their members’ lives go better rather than worse. This aim does not give rise to a detailed political programme, but neither does it rule one out. The difficulties we have in accommodating persons’ actual and diverse values do not mean that we can or should do without them. Since we cannot know in advance what kinds of lives people might find valuable, we have one at least compelling reason to grant them the freedom to pursue their ends. But there is no reason to think that freedom simpliciter will make them any better able to live lives that they consider worthwhile. To describe principles or institutions that meet this aim is the challenge for political philosophers, and so far, at least on the evidence of these two books, the anarchist reply to that challenge is in need of careful refinement.

James Wakefield holds a PhD in Political Theory from Cardiff University. His thesis, entitled ‘Giovanni Gentile and the State of Contemporary Constructivism,’ is now being re-developed as a book. His research interests are in political and moral theory, and include Kant, the ethics of education and liberal perfectionism.


[1] PTA [14]

[2] PTA [vii]

[3] Carter has published widely since then, most recently in 2012 with People Power and Political Change: Key issues and concepts. London: Routledge.

[4] PTA [13, 17]

[5] PTA [16]; emphasis added

[6] PTA [34-35]

[7] PTA [44]; note that on [45], Carter acknowledges that there is still ‘a very strong case for seeking to maintain the role of law in society, at both a theoretical and immediately practical level.’

[8] PTA [39]

[9] She refers to one study in which it was claimed that eight out of ten men ‘in communities in Western Sicily’ had spent at least one year in jail, and another four percent were ‘outlaws.’ [39]

[10] Carter here quotes an unspecified ‘contributor to [the journal] Anarchy.’ [75]

[11] PTA [82]

[12] PTA [82]

[13] PTA [88]

[14] PTA [89]

[15] PTA [92]

[16] PTA [93]

[17] ‘The rule of forces, the force of rules,’ in AP [131]

[18] ‘Introduction,’ in AP  [1-2]

[19] ‘Introduction,’ in AP [2]

[20] ; ‘Abstract theory,’ he writes, ‘allows us to reduce the question of limited government to its essentials, [but it] has little or nothing left to contribute to the answer. How people get to feel the way they do is beyond political philosophy and economics. History and social anthropology may have to take over at this point[.]’ [61]

[21] AP [107]. Popper’s principle is described in his works on the philosophy of science, including Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge.

[22] On [108-109] we a treated to the following anecdote about his time in the Communist-controlled Second Hungarian Republic: ‘The present writer, when a subject of a “people’s democracy,” used to taunt his political masters that capitalism had never existed anywhere, that it was yet to come, it was the “wave of the future” – a taunt that reduced them to fury but naturally failed to provoke any refutation. This sort of game […] is more than playing with words. Pseudo-descriptions positively ask for being twisted in this way. Room for play with words is a sign that the words are out of joint, unconnected to each other and to reality, perhaps adding up to effective rhetoric but falling well short of being bona fide statements, testable for their information content or their consistency with the context.’ This is a sound summation of the thinking behind Popper’s principle, but it reveals, in passing, at least one of the reasons that de Jasay is so deeply suspicious of the idea of democratic impartiality.

[23] AP [118]; emphasis in original

[24] AP [147]

[25] As de Jasay puts it, ‘there is […] no balance to be struck. The good of different persons is commensurable.’ [150]

[26] AP [148]

[27] AP [158]

[28] AP [158-159]

[29] AP [159]

[30] AP [237]

[31] AP [171-172]

[32] AP [160 and170]

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