Publisher’s Note: 29 July was the death day for one of the inspirations for this site, William Wilberforce, who graces the masthead of this blog for many reasons. A tireless abolitionist and moral man of the highest water, he is the kind of spiritual apex I seek to emulate; absolutely relentless in his pursuit of freedom for the chattel slave and the termination of that horrific institution. Unfortunately, whether lack of moral imagination or the temporal constraint of the time he lived in, he suffered the same limitations of all 19th century abolitionists save one. He asked the right questions but failed to address the self-ownership issue to the man behind the curtain in the first place, the state.
Wilberforce and I propitiously share the same birthday, which happily coincides with the British burning of the Offal Office in 1814.
That single abolitionist who asked the questions to my satisfaction mining the very legitimacy of the state in a moral universe was Lysander Spooner.
I also suggest you listen to Prof CJ’s Dangerous History podcast on Spooner. Outstanding explication on the man.
You can find all his works in PDF here. I happen to be a lucky soul who owns the entire corpus of his works in a six-volume hardback collection. -BB
“The “National” system so called, is in reality no national system at all; except in the mere fact that it is called the national system and was established by the national government. It is, in truth, only a private system; a mere privilege conferred upon a few, to enable them to control prices, property, and labor, and thus swindle, plunder and oppress all the rest of the people.”
Lysander Spooner is the patron saint of this site. Months ago, I was amused to be with friends and at one point one of the fellows was haranguing us about “getting back to the Constitution”. As if we ever left that wretched compact with leviathan government. At one point, another worthy said that maybe we should pay more attention to Lysander Spooner. Indeed. For plenty of freedom advocates, it begins with Rand or von Mises or Rothbard and a host of other luminaries who saw through the collectivist sham. For me, Spooner was a primary gateway to abolitionism.
He proves your mind is the primary weapon against the state.
For others, Lysander Spooner is the strike of the match. I was introduced to Spooner through a great book by the magnificent James J. Martin in Men Against the State. Among the several forgotten heroes from the 19th century, Spooner stands as a titan. He made a rather interesting point concerning the Constitution in that he claimed that no document could bind a man if he is not an active signatory. You can see where this would be rather problematic for a government and why the concept is roundly condemned in a court system staffed by robed government employees for whom honor and fidelity for justice will be observed as long as their masters approve.
Spooner is the gateway drug for maximum liberty and freedom. If you pay close enough attention to his arguments and patterns of thinking, you come away thinking that the entire rotten collectivist project is not only desperately lacking in intellectual rigor but is founded first and foremost in an evil premise. The premise of all collectivist and statist projects is initiated violence against ALL humans. For the system would collapse if the fear of the monopoly of force were not the schwerpunkt of all actions from the enforcement of tax collection and aggression to the most banal of offenses, if one citizen not a member of the nomenklatura got away with it, revolution would follow shortly.