No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority What Is The Motive To The Secret Ballot This, And Only This Like Other Confederates In Crime, Those Who Use It Are Not Friends, But Enemies And They Are Afraid To Be Known, And To Have Their Individual Doings Known, Even To Each Other They Can Contrive To Bring About A Sufficient Understanding To Enable Them To Act In Concert Against Other Persons But Beyond This They Have No Confidence, And No Friendship, Among Themselves

Lysander Spooner was an American individualist anarchist, entrepreneur, political philosopher, abolitionist, supporter of the labor movement, and legal theorist of the nineteenth century He is also known for competing with the U.S Post Office with his American Letter Mail Company, which was forced out of business by the United States government He has been identified by some contemporary writer

[Reading] ➶ No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority By Lysander Spooner –
  • Paperback
  • 48 pages
  • No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
  • Lysander Spooner
  • English
  • 13 April 2018
  • 9781419137198

10 thoughts on “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority

  1. says:

    I once saw Lysander Spooner s No Treason described as the most subversive thing ever written in the United States Whoever thought this obviously missed the point that Spooner was trying to make when he wrote No Treason The word subversive means that one is advocating the overthrow of a legally constituted government The whole premise of No Treason is that the United State is not a legally constituted government because people can only be governed by consent and no one consented to the social contract we call the Constitution Spooner writes, The constitution not only binds nobody now, but never did bind anybody It never bound anybody, because it was never agreed to by anybody in such a manner as to make it, on general principles of law and reason, binding upon him If the United States is not legally constituted, as Spooner argues, than his treatise can hardly be described as being subversive.Spooner spends little time defending the idea that people can only be governed by consent He states it as a matter of fact Instead, he goes about providing evidence that no single person consented to the Constitution He does this rather convincingly, but I will not go into the details of that here I would rather discuss a couple of the other ideas he presents.Spooner was a staunch abolitionist, but he was also staunchly opposed to Lincoln s war to prevent Southern independence He states in No Treason If it really be established, the number of slaves, instead of having been diminished by the war, has been greatly increased for a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave And there is no difference, in principle but only in degree between political and chattel slavery The former, no less than the latter, denies a man s ownership of himself and the products of his labor and asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure I think this brilliantly sums up why many libertarians think Lincoln was a tyrant and that the Civil War was unjustified With slavery, you can not quit your master The master can govern over you as long as he sees fit without your consent If you can not quit your government, how is that not slavery Why can so many Americans see the evils of a master owning a slave but can not see the evil in a territorial monopoly of the law without the consent of those who live within those boundaries Would we accept a slave owner who said that a majority of his slaves consent to work for him, so he does not need the consent of all of them Of course not But is this not what we accept from our government Spooner, of course, was also an anarchist I think he sums up non anarchists those who support the idea of government as being necessary well when he says they come in three groups 1 Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth 2 Dupes a large class, no doubt each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a free man, a sovereign that this is a free government a government of equal rights, the best government on earth and such like absurdities 3 A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change It is amazing that it has been than 100 years since this was written, and we pretty much have the same three groups in this country today My favorite point made in No Treason is made almost in passing He spends little time on it, but it is none the less thought provoking He wrote, If any considerable number of the people believe the Constitution to be good, why do they not sign it themselves, and make laws for, and administer them upon, each other leaving all other persons who do not interfere with them in peace Plainly the reason for absurd and inconsistent conduct is that they want the Constitution, not solely for any honest or legitimate use it can be of to themselves or others, but of the dishonest and illegitimate power it gives them over the persons and properties of others If the system you advocate or believe in is so great why must you use coercion to force it upon me Why don t you just institute it for yourself and any others that consent As long as I do not aggress against you, leave me and my property in peace By what natural law can you justify using a document I did not sign to claim a territorial monopoly over me and my property If you look at the Constitution this way, it is not the great protector of liberty but instead little than a power grab.This book actually it is better described as a pamphlet is at times difficult to read because you really have to stop and think about every line For this reason I would not suggest it for light reading, but instead suggest you read it with pen in hand so you can make notes Statist will most likely find it absurd, but minarchist may find themselves flirting with the ideas of anarchy when they are done.

  2. says:

    Long before the the Civil War started, Lysander Spooner was a strong abolitionist and was extremely active in supporting efforts to free the slaves Despite this, when war broke out, he strongly opposed it Spooner contended that the Civil War was less about freeing the slaves than it was about maintaining the union For him, keeping the South in the union meant violently forcing a large group of people the Southerners to be subjected by a government to which they no longer consented No Treason was written in 1867, shortly after the Civil War It is in that context that Spooner uses such strong language when he refers to the government as robbers and murders he uses the phrase, or some variation on it, 38 times in the pamphlet From his perspective, the government of the United States had just killed hundreds of thousands of men who were defending their right to be governed by consent The result of this bloodshed was that while the slaves were freed, the surviving Southerners were no longer free to withdraw from the bonds of a government that no longer acted as their agent Again, Spooner was anti slavery and at times even advocated using violence to end slavery, but he felt the motivation for the war was not freeing the slaves, but the preservation of the union and consequential suppression of the South and that the principal reason for conserving the union was greed.Not content to simply denounce the government s use of violence to force the Southerners to stay in the United States, Spooner also attacks the authority of the constitution How can a document that nobody has signed or voted for maintain authority over anyone He argues that a social contract like the Constitution, one that is not explicitly agreed to like every other contract which must be signed, cannot be binding One way to think of it is to ask yourself if you were born into a country with an extremely repressive constitution would you accept its authority to oppress you solely by virtue of your being born into the geographical area over which the constitution claimed to exert authority Essentially that is what happens with the US constitution, only because it is not considered repressive by most, its authority is generally accepted on these nebulous grounds.Spooner addresses the position that the constitution and government is authoritative because the votes of the majority support it by questioning how elections held by secret ballot can pretend to have any power over a person s life and property He poses it as a group of men at this time only men could vote that gather, and by secret ballot vote to rob and plunder through taxation and the threat of violence for resisting taxation their fellow man for their own benefit Spooner s logic is complex and deals with many of the nuances of voting for a document and agents congressmen etc to exercise the authority of the document No Treason is tough reading, not because the it is hard to follow, but because for most people, myself included, the content is jarring, hard to refute, and goes against a lifetime of beliefs Whether or not he is right is a decision that the reader will have to make, but either way, his arguments should not be ignored They are just as relevant today as they were than 140 years ago when he made them.

  3. says:

    As much as I d love this to be a sound critique of the state, I cannot overlook the weaknesses of this lengthy self absorbed rant.First of all, much if not most of Spooner s argument rests on the belief that every contract needs to be physically signed in full form by publicly disclosed parties in order to be valid This extremely legalist approach is simply not applicable to the real world Think of a restaurant I do not sign anything when I dine in one and I usually do not even disclose my name or other personal information but I would nevertheless never argue that I therefore have a right to leave without paying.Second, his claim that no one has ever signed the US constitution or had it signed by his duly appointed attorneys is only partially true and to say it is partially true is already quite charitable There are at least two cases in which one can reasonably be considered to accede to the social contract One is when parents, acting as legal guardians, register their baby as a citizen The other is when a naturalized citizen recites his pledge of allegiance.Third, Spooner s style is severely lacking, as demonstrated by his obsessive use of the phrase secret band of murderers and thieves in about every third sentence of this pamphlet.Only one of Spooner s major arguments holds true in my opinion that the people of the United States is an imaginary entity and thus not a valid party of any contract It is obviously debatable but a valid point as far as I am concerned.Spooner was seemingly too obsessed with legal peculiarities of social contract to strike at the real root of the problem the state s initial claim of monopoly on governance over its territory As long as this sovereignty is recognized, Spooner s arguments are weak at best and hopelessly moot at worst But as soon as we question it the arguments of Spooner become unnecessary for their purpose is already served.

  4. says:

    Spooner cuts through the religion of constitution worship like no other He holds no punches, even to the point where he openly advocates defensive violence against agents of the State.He is perhaps the first Libertarian to use the against me argument What do you advocate being done to me if I don t want to participate in your organization Great essay Must read of any Libertarian, or anyone who has an iota of faith in the US Constitution.

  5. says:

    Spooner, writing in 1867, heavily criticizes the constitution While we would hope today that our government would try to live within the restrictions of the constitution, the government of his day had used that document as a justification for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people.It is especially an interesting read for Mormons For he logically proves that our government is a secret combination of murderers and thieves.It is a short read, available as a free mp3, and very provocative.

  6. says:

    A short thought provoking work which will definitely get your brain thinking.Even though this was written during the civil war era, Spooner lays out a clear argument in this work of literature that will definitely have you questioning authority It s very entertaining and easy to read and it will certainly be something that I will read multiple times Highly recommended.

  7. says:

    Refutes the common fallacy of accepting constitutional government, which has no basis in any sound legal tradition.

  8. says:

    Holy hell Spooner was a beast.Shortly after the American Civil War concluded Spooner penned this scathing repudiation of the social contract and the contractarian view of the state in general He didn t hold back in the slightest He referred to the amorphous federal government as robbers and murderers about 40 times throughout The numbering of the essays can be tricky No Treason 3 5 were never published so all we have to read are I, II, and VI I believe he s mostly known for the last piece which was finished in 1870, the others earlier in 1867 Spooner is rabid and lucid here I would hate to have been on the receiving end of any of his writings.Highly recommended to see a different point of view within the framework of the Civil War era He was an intense abolitionist because he was a very principled individualist anarchist Once the Civil War took hold he defended the South as being victim of Northern aggression and for being forced to comply to a government they wished to split with This is still in line with his principles as he also advocated for using violence to free slaves from Southern oppressors He was a radical even within radical abolitionist circles He had a very unpopular opinion that the secessionist South derived its rights from the natural rights of slaves to be free Neither the Union or the Confederacy agreed with this sentiment.I ll add some quotes below The principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals In short, the North exults beyond measure in the proof she has given, that a government, professedly resting on consent, will expend life and treasure in crushing dissent, than any government, openly founded on force, has ever done The principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves a contest, that however bloody can, in the nature of things, never be finally closed, so long as man refuses to be a slave A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.

  9. says:

    The beginning of this starts out as a warning This essay may contradict some of your basic ideas about the world even if you are a most advanced Thinker, Libertarian, or Anarchist It didn t and fuck you don t tell me how to feel REEEEI thought some of these conclusions were valid and well thought out Part 17 about fraudulent debts is 100% accurate but even then I was thinking this doesn t go far enough but then again this was written in the mid 1800 s so how much could he really know about it I think to really understand debt and banking you should check out Ken O Keefe for a modern take on it Even though I like what he said about taxes and debt I still am left with the same questions you get from most of these people who rail against itnamely, how do you fix it When he writes this As long as mankind continues to pay national debts, pretended that is, so long as they are such dupes and cowards as to pay for being cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered so long there will be enough to lend the money for those purposes and with that money a plenty of tools, called soldiers, can be hired to keep them in subjection But when they refuse any longer to pay for being thus cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered, they will cease to have cheats, and usurpers, and robbers, and murderers, and blood money loan mongers for masters There s no solution offered You can t just move out to the woods or I guess you can but that s not a solution for everyone so what is it The part of this that is dumb is the part that not every single person signed the constitution so therefore it is an invalid document is so dumb though It was just too lawyer ey of an argument for me and again, didn t offer any solutions Imagine having to sign a document every time you entered into an agreement with anyone We have enough bullshit lawyers running around ruining things for normal people This is not a solution And also, I love America and its superior culture and people so if you re proposing to tear it all down you sure as shit better have something a hell of a lot better to replace it with.

  10. says:

    The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man Your money, or your life And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account and it is far dastardly and shameful.The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit He does not pretend to be anything but a robber He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a protector, and that he takes men s money against their will, merely to enable him to protect those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these Further, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will assuming to be your rightful sovereign, on account of the protection he affords you He does not keep protecting you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that by robbing you of money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

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