No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. December 9, Lysander Spooner. The greatest case for anarchist political philosophy ever written. Narrated by. No Treason has ratings and 56 reviews. Marcus said: Long before the the Civil War started, Lysander Spooner was a strong abolitionist and was extreme. 31 quotes from No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority: ‘But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that i.
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Refresh authoritg try again. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — No Treason by Lysander Spooner. No Treason Quotes Showing of In either case it is unfit to exist.
The Constitution of No Authority. The necessity for the consent of “the people” is implied in this declaration. The whole authority of the Constitution rests upon it. If they did not consent, it was of no validity.
Of course it had no validity, except as between those who actually consented. No one’s consent could be presumed against him, without his actual consent being given, any more than in the case of any other contract to pay money, or render service. And to make it binding upon any one, his signature, or other positive evidence of consent, was as necessary as in the case of any other-contract.
If the aurhority meant to say that any of “the people of the United States” would be bound by it, who did not consent, it was a usurpation and a lie. The most that can be inferred from the form, “We, the people,” is, that the instrument offered membership to all “the people of the United States;” leaving it for them to accept or refuse it, at their pleasure.
Neither are a people any the less slaves because permitted periodically to choose new masters. What makes them slaves is the fact that they now are, and are always hereafter constitutiion be, in the hands of men whose power over them is, and always is to be, absolute and irresponsible.
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
Either “taxation without consent is robbery,” or it is not. If it is not, then any number of men, who choose, may at any time associate; call themselves a government; assume absolute authority over all weaker than themselves; plunder them at will; and kill them if they resist. And one certain proof that a government is not free, is that it coerces more or less persons to support it, against their will.
All governments, the worst on earth, and the most tyrannical on earth, are free governments to that portion of the people who voluntarily support them. And all governments—though the best on earth in other respects—are nevertheless tyrannies to that portion of the people—whether few or many—who are compelled to support them against their will. A government is like a church, or any other institution, in these respects. There is no other criterion whatever, by which to determine whether a government is a free one, or not, than the single one of its depending, or not depending, solely on voluntary support.
With money they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort money. And, when their authority is denied, the first use they always make of money, is to hire soldiers to kill or subdue all who refuse them more money.
Or what government, except one resting upon the sword, like the one we now have, was ever capable of maintaining slavery? And why did these men abolish slavery?
No Treason Quotes
Not from any love of liberty in general—not as an act of justice to the black man himself, but only “as consttution war measure,” and because they wanted his assistance, and that of his friends, in carrying on the war they had undertaken for maintaining and intensifying that political, commercial, and industrial slavery, to which they have subjected the great body of the people, both black and white.
He knows it only through its pretended agents. All he knows is that a man comes to him, representing himself to be the agent of “the government”—that is, the agent of a secret band of robbers and murderers, who have taken to themselves the title of “the government,” and have determined to kill everybody who refuses to give cinstitution whatever money they demand.
Until they have tried the experiment for themselves, how can they have the face to impose the Constitution upon, or even to recommend it to, others?
Plainly the reason for absurd and inconsistent conduct is that they want the Constitution, not solely for any honest autyority legitimate use it can be of to lysandeg or others, but for the dishonest and illegitimate power it gives them over the persons and properties of others. But for this latter reason, all their eulogiums on the Constitution, all their exhortations, and all their expenditures of money and blood to sustain it, would be wanting.
The Constitution itself, then, being of no authority, on what authority does our government practically rest? Constiitution what ground can those who pretend to administer it, claim the right to seize men’s property, to restrain them of their natural liberty of action, industry, and trade, and to kill all who deny their authority to dispose of men’s properties, liberties, and lives at their pleasure or discretion?
The most they can say, in answer to this question, np, that epooner half, two-thirds, or three-fourths, of the male adults of the country have a tacit understanding that they will maintain a government under the Constitution; that they will select, by ballot, the persons to administer it; and that those persons who may receive a majority, or a plurality, of their ballots, wuthority act as their representatives, and administer the Constitution in their name, and by their authority.
It would be very curious to see a man indicted, convicted, or hanged, otherwise than as an individual; or accused of having committed his treason otherwise than as an individual.
And yet it is clearly impossible that any one can be personally guilty of treason, can be a traitor in fact, unless he, as an individual, has in some way voluntarily pledged his faith and fidelity to the government. Certainly no man, or body of men, could pledge it for him, without his consent; and no man, or body of men, have any right to presume it against him, when he has not pledged it, himself. But nothing of that kind can be said now, if the principle on which the war was carried on by the North, is irrevocably established.
If that principle be not the principle of the Constitution, the fact should be known. If it be the principle of the Constitution, the Constitution itself should be at once overthrown.
Open despotism is better than this. The single despot stands out in the face of all men, and says: I am the State: My will is law: I am your master: I take the responsibility of my acts: The only arbiter I acknowledge is the sword: If anyone denies my right, let him try conclusions with me.
But a secret government is little less than a government of assassins. Under it, a man knows not who his tyrants are, until they have struck, and perhaps not then.
A tacit understanding between A, B, and C, that they will, by ballot, depute D as their agent, to deprive o of my property, liberty, or life, cannot at all authorize D to do so.
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority | Mises Institute
He is none the less a robber, tyrant, and murderer, because he claims to act as their agent, than he would be if he avowedly acted constitutioj his own responsibility alone. Each one can say for himself: I have evidence satisfactory to myself, that there exists, scattered throughout the country, a band of men, having a tacit understanding with each other, and calling themselves “the people of the United States,” whose general purposes are spoonet control and plunder each other, and all other persons in the country, and, so far as they can, even in neighboring countries; and to kill every man who shall attempt to defend his person lyaander property against their schemes of plunder and dominion.
But if, on the other hand, when the Constitution says treason, it lysandder what the Czar and the Kaiser mean by treason, then our government is, in principle, no better than theirs; and has no claim whatever to be considered a free government. 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.
This idea was the dominant one on which the war was carried on; and it is the dominant one, lgsander that we have got what is called “peace. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.