Lysander Who????

LysanderSpoonerThe article The Good Is The Enemy Of The Perfect continues to attract some excellent comments from readers. The topic touches the very concept of society and civilization itself. Specifically, it opens up the issue of whether government, at least as we know modern forms of government, is even possible without a degeneration into an oppressive State where an elite expands and abuses the power granted.

The latest commentary is from a new reader (or at least a first-time commenter), Denny Jackson. Mr. Jackson raises some very pertinent issues. Further, he brings up the name Lysander Spooner, one of the early and true libertarians in this country. Spooner is virtually unknown. Awareness of him and his philosophy would have made it much harder, if not impossible, for our government to achieve the stranglehold it currently possesses.

Here is Mr. Jackson’s take:

Actually there is a lot wrong with the US Constitution, just as there is with all governments, even with those formed supposedly to protect the rights of their subjects as that of the US does.

If governments are formed to protect the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property and the “just powers” of government are derived from the “consent of the governed,” as we are told in the Declaration of Independence, the nation’s founding document, then how is it that our government may legally violate all these rights, i.e., our property may be taken by force without our consent by the government (taxation, forfeiture, etc), our liberty may be taken–imprisonment–if we fail to obey the arbitrary commands(“laws”) issued by so-called legislators, and even our very lives may be taken if we sufficiently resist those “officials” who forcefully impose their opinions on us?

If all governmental powers are not inherent but delegated by “we the people” then exactly how and where does this supposedly delegated authority originate?  I cannot issue commands to my neighbor and take his property against his will to enforce them so how can I possibly hire someone else to do it for me?  How is it possible for my agent to have more power than I do?

The sad thing is that so few constitutionalists are familiar with Lysander Spooner, the 19th Century abolitionist lawyer who laid down the irrefutable logic that exposed the fallacy underlying all claims to authority by any constitution.  I spent many years as a hardcore constitutionalist until I stumbled onto Spooner.  No education can be complete without studying the arguments against the state as well as those in favor.  I heartily encourage everyone to read Spooner’s “No Treason,” particularly “No Treason No. 6, The Constitution of No Authority,” which can be found free online here:

“No Treason” is a real eye-opener which reveals how deeply the religion of statism has been embedded in virtually everyone’s thinking.  If you are not a different person after reading Spooner you are a statist beyond hope of redemption.

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.” ― Lysander Spooner

I highly recommend readers explore the writings of Lysander Spooner. Here is one of my posts regarding this interesting man.

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  1. Unlike Spooner, Mr. Tyler makes neither an eloquent nor even sensible argument. He rests his elbows on the oldest, entirely reckless and most meaningless of canards – that of the historical failure of pure democracies – and simple claims that he 1) recognizes and fully accepts his status as an inconsequential serf – the given that governments/nations are anything more than power plays and therefore legitimate, functional entities and 2) is not sovereign.

    Arguments concerning the 2d amendment (or any other for that matter) are ridiculous. What human being can accept that any right may be granted by another without their explicit permission?

    I obviously was not, and would not be a signatory to the constitution; neither was I ever asked. I am therefore not bound to it.

  2. I have decided that no matter WHAT form of gov’t is created, the end result will be a bloated society destroying Leviathan that will threaten the very people who created it. Why? People get elected to office. Once there they feel they must do “something”. Unless that something means cutting gov’t agencies or size, those actions, BY DEFINITION, will increase the size, scope and power of the gov’t. Over time, the gov’t becomes what we have today. A behemoth consuming everything in its path.

  3. Mr Spooner argues eloquently against government and its abuses of power but (at least in the recommended article) offers no alternative- he simply attempts to make the case that those who did not (or would not) personally sign the Constitution, are not bound by it. In doing so he:
    1. does not mention that governments and therefore nations have developed over millenia and will not simply go away.
    2. does not acknowledge that there are legitimate purposes for governments- both local and federal which benefit those whom they govern.
    3. asserts the principle that every law is to be held as non-binding on those individuals who did not personally sign it.
    And thus makes a case not for Liberty but either pure democracy (which historically always fails) or anarchy.
    Yes, our Constitution is imperfect because it was written by imperfect men. It is an instrument that admits to imperfection otherwise would not have its own provision providing for a method of change. And especially in these days, it is essential to note that the founders foresaw the possibility of needing to change the government through violent means when it became oppressive; thus the inclusion of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

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