No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority [Lysander Spooner] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. But whether the Constitution really be . No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. December 9, Lysander Spooner. The greatest case for anarchist political philosophy ever written. Narrated by. Treason by Lysander Spooner · No. 1.→ Spooner issued three pamphlets carrying the title of No Treason, numbered 1, II, and VI. Spooner.
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Introductory No Treason No. The Constitution No Treason No. For reasons not necessary to be explained, the sixth is now published in advance of the third, fourth, and fifth.
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. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their posterity, as well as to themselves, by promoting their union, safety, tranquility, liberty, etc.
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. 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.
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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 lysanrer to them. A corporation can become practically perpetual only by the voluntary trdason 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 they have done so, they can have done tresson in only one or both of these two ways, viz.
And first of voting. Nno 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 concerned, not more than one-tenth, fifteenth, or twentieth of those then existing, could have incurred any obligation to support the Constitution.
Consequently, so far as voting is concerned, the other five-sixths can have given no pledge that they will lyxander 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. Many never vote at all. Many vote only once in two, three, five, or ten years, in periods of great excitement. If, for example, I vote for an officer who is to hold his office for only a year, I cannot be said to have thereby pledged myself to support spoooner government beyond that term.
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 lyssander 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, 1 viz.: On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without lyxander 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 treasob 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, he must become a slave.
And treasn has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, 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 epooner himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, spoonee is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot — which is a mere substitute for lysandfr bullet — because, as his only spooer of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers.
On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in hreason no other means of self-defence 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 lsander, was one which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented to. Consequently we lgsander 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 consent, or not, without thereby subjecting himself or his property to be disturbed or injured by others. 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 tteason 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 trewson 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 spooner 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 lydander 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. 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.
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner
There being no legal proof of any man’s intentions, in voting, we can only conjecture them. As a conjecture, it is probable, that a very large proportion of those who spoonr, do so on n principle, viz.
Teason 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 spopner 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 lysadner 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.
It therefore furnishes no legal evidence that anybody supports it voluntarily.
That is to say, there is not 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. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they 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.
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 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 that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. 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 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. On the contrary, they secretly by secret ballot designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf, while they keep themselves practically concealed.
They say to the person thus designated: If he presumes to say that he has never contracted with us to protect him, and that he wants none of our protection, say to him that that is our business, and not his; that we choose to protect him, whether he desires us to do so or not; and that we demand pay, too, for protecting him.
If he refuses to comply, seize and sell enough of his property to pay not only our demands, but all your own expenses and trouble beside. If he resists the seizure of his property, call upon the bystanders to help you doubtless some of them will prove to be members of our band.
If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our band who are assisting you, capture him at all hazards; charge him in one of our courts with murder; convict him, and hang him. Tell him to kill all who resist, though they should be hundreds of thousands; and thus strike terror into all others similarly disposed. See that the work of murder is thoroughly done; that we may have no further trouble of this kind hereafter.
When these traitors shall have thus been taught our strength and our determination, they will be good loyal citizens for many years, and pay their taxes without a why or a wherefore.
He knows it only through its pretended agents. He knows indeed, by common report, that certain persons, of a certain age, are permitted to vote; and thus to make themselves parts of, or if they choose opponents of, the government, for the time being. But who of them do thus vote, and especially how each one votes whether so as to aid or oppose the governmenthe does not know; the voting being all done secretly by secret ballot.
Of course he can make no contract with them, give them no consent, and make them no pledge. To save his life, he gives up his money to this agent.
To say, therefore, that by giving up his money to their agent, he entered into a voluntary contract with them, that he pledges himself to obey them, to support them, and to give them whatever money they should demand of him in the future, is simply ridiculous. All political power, so called, rests practically upon this matter of money. It is with government, as Caesar said it was in war, that money and soldiers mutually supported each other; that with money he could hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort money.
So these villains, who call themselves governments, well understand that their power rests primarily upon treqson.