LYSANDER SPOONER NO TREASON THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY PDF

Lysander Spooner, No Treason. No. II. The Constitution [] The whole authority of the Constitution rests upon it. If they did not consent, it was of no validity. Lysander Spooner, No Treason. No. I. (Boston: Published by the Author, ). If that principle be not the principle of the Constitution, the fact should be known. That two men have no more natural right to exercise any kind of authority over . No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. December 9, Lysander Spooner. The greatest case for anarchist political philosophy ever written. Narrated by.

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The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago.

And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years.

And the constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. We, the people of the United States that is, the people then existing in the United Statesin order to form a more perfect union, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our treadon, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It is plain, in the first place, that this language, as an agreement, purports to be only what it at most really was, viz. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their treasoj, as well lysandr to themselves, by promoting their union, safety, tranquillity, liberty, etc.

This agreement, as an agreement, would clearly bind nobody but the people then existing.

No Treason. No. II. The Constitution – Online Library of Liberty

It would only indicate that the supposed welfare of their posterity was one of the motives that induced the original parties to enter into the agreement. When a man says he is building a house for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of binding them, nor is it to be inferred that he is so foolish as to imagine that he has any right or power to bind them, to live in it.

So far as they are concerned, he only means to be understood as saying that his hopes and motives, in building it, are that they, or at least some of them, may find it for their happiness to live in it. So when a man says he is planting a tree for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of compelling them, nor is it to be inferred that he is such a simpleton as to imagine that he has any right or power to compel them, to eat the fruit.

So far as they are concerned, he only means to say that his hopes and motives, in planting the tree, are that its fruit may be agreeable to them. So it was with those who originally adopted the Constitution. Moreover, no body of men, existing at any one time, have the power to create a perpetual corporation.

A corporation can become practically perpetual only by the voluntary accession of new members, as the old ones die off. But for this voluntary accession of new members, the corporation necessarily dies with the death of those who originally composed it.

If, then, those who established the Constitution, had no power to bind, and did not attempt to bind, their posterity, the question arises, whether their posterity have bound themselves. If they have done so, they can have done so in only one or both of these two ways, viz.

And first of voting. All the voting that has ever taken place under the Constitution, has been of such a kind that it not only did not pledge the whole people authirity support the Constitution, but it spioner not even tue any one of them to do so, as the following considerations show. In the very nature of things, the act of voting could bind nobody but the actual voters. But owing to the property qualifications required, it is probable that, during the first twenty or thirty years under the Constitution, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or perhaps twentieth of the whole population black and white, men, women, and minors were permitted to vote.

Consequently, so far as voting was ljsander, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or twentieth of those then existing, could have incurred any obligation to support the Constitution. At the present time, it is probable that not more than one-sixth of the whole population are permitted to vote. Consequently, so far as voting is concerned, the other five-sixths can have given no pledge that they will support the Constitution. Of the one-sixth that are permitted to vote, probably not more than two-thirds about one-ninth of the whole population have usually voted.

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Many never vote at all. Many vote only once in two, three, five, or ten years, in periods of great excitement. No one, by voting, can be said to pledge himself for any longer period than that for which he votes.

If, for example, I vote for an officer who is to ov his office for only a year, I cannot be said to akthority thereby pledged myself to support the government beyond that term.

No Treason The Constitution of No Authority – LewRockwell

Therefore, on the ground of actual voting, it probably cannot be said that more than one-ninth or one-eighth, of the whole population are usually under any pledge to support the Constitution.

It cannot be said that, by voting, a man pledges himself to support the Constitution, unless the act of voting be a perfectly voluntary one on his part. Yet the act of voting cannot properly be called a voluntary one on the part of any very large number of those who do vote. It is rather a measure of necessity imposed upon them by others, than one of their own choice. On this point I repeat what was said in a former number, viz On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments.

He sees, too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, lysnder must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two.

In authoroty, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, it lysader not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in which no authorit means of self-defense offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.

But it would not, therefore, be a legitimate inference that the government itself, that crushes them, was one which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented to.

Consequently we have no proof that any very large portion, even of the actual voters of the United States, ever really and voluntarily consented to the Constitution, even for the time being. Nor can we ever have such proof, until every man is left perfectly free to constituhion, or not, without thereby subjecting himself or his property to be disturbed or injured by others.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe Best Price: As we can have no legal knowledge as to who votes from choice, and who from the necessity thus forced upon him, we can have no legal knowledge, as to any particular individual, that he voted from choice; or, consequently, that by voting, he consented, or pledged himself, to support the government. Legally speaking, therefore, the act of voting utterly fails to pledge any one to support the government.

It utterly fails to prove that the government rests upon the voluntary support of anybody. On general principles of law and reason, it cannot be said that the government has any voluntary supporters at all, until it can be distinctly shown who its voluntary supporters are.

As taxation is made compulsory on all, whether they vote or not, a large proportion of those who vote, no doubt do so to prevent their own money being used against themselves; when, in fact, they would have gladly abstained from voting, if they could thereby have saved themselves from taxation alone, to say nothing of being saved from all the other usurpations and tyrannies of the government.

It is, in fact, no proof at all. And as we can have no legal knowledge as to who the particular individuals are, if there are any, who are willing to be taxed for the sake of voting, we can have no legal knowledge that any particular individual consents to be taxed for the sake of voting; or, consequently, consents to support the Constitution. At nearly all elections, votes are given for various candidates for the same office. Those who vote for the unsuccessful candidates cannot properly be said to have voted to sustain the Constitution.

They may, with more reason, be supposed to have voted, not to support the Constitution, but specially to prevent the tyranny which they anticipate the successful candidate intends to practice upon them under color of the Constitution; and therefore may reasonably be supposed to have voted against the Constitution itself.

This supposition is the more reasonable, inasmuch as such voting is the only mode allowed to them of expressing their dissent to the Constitution. Many votes are usually given for candidates who have no prospect of success. Those who give such votes may reasonably be supposed to have voted as they did, with a special intention, not to support, but to obstruct the execution of, the Constitution; and, therefore, against the Constitution itself. As all the different votes are given secretly by secret ballotthere is no legal means of knowing, from the votes themselves, who votes for, and who votes against, the Constitution.

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Therefore, voting affords no legal evidence that any particular individual supports the Constitution. And where there can be no legal evidence that any particular individual supports the Constitution, it cannot legally be said that anybody supports it.

It is clearly impossible to have any legal proof of the intentions of large numbers of men, where there can be no legal proof of the intentions of any particular one of them. As a conjecture, it is probable, that a very large proportion of those who vote, do so on this principle, viz.

As everybody who supports the Constitution by voting if there are any such does so secretly by secret ballotand in a way to avoid all personal responsibility for the acts of his agents or representatives, it cannot legally or reasonably be said that anybody at all supports the Constitution by voting. No man can reasonably or legally be said to do such a thing as assent to, or support, the Constitution, unless he does it openly, and in a way to make himself personally responsible for the acts of his agents, so long as they act within the limits of the power he delegates to them.

As all voting is secret by secret ballotand as all secret governments are necessarily only secret bands of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, the general fact that our government is practically carried on by means of such voting, only proves that there is among us a secret band of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, whose purpose is to rob, enslave, and, so far as necessary to accomplish their purposes, murder, the rest of the people. For all the reasons that have now been given, voting furnishes no legal evidence as to who the particular individuals are if there are anywho voluntarily support the Constitution.

It therefore furnishes no legal evidence that anybody supports it voluntarily.

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So far, therefore, as voting is concerned, the Constitution, legally speaking, has no supporters at all. And, as a matter of fact, there is not the slightest probability that the Constitution has a single bona fide supporter in the country. That is to say, there is rhe the slightest probability that there is a single man in the country, who both understands what the Constitution really is, and sincerely supports it for what it really is.

The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.: Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which aughority can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth. 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.

The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution. It is true that the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

The fact is lyzander the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: 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 more 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 constituiton, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber.

He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. 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.

In the first place, they do not, like him, make themselves individually known; or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the responsibility of their acts. On the tue, they secretly by secret ballot designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf, rhe they keep themselves practically concealed.