A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.— Lysander Spooner
The most charming Lysander Spooner quotes you will be delighted to read
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.
Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property.
Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.
If any man's money can be taken by a so-called government, without his own personal consent, all his other rights are taken with it; for with his money the government can, and will, hire soldiers to stand over him, compel him to submit to its arbitrary will, and kill him if he resists.
Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.
A man's natural rights are his own, against the whole world;
and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, (or by any other name indicating his true character,) or by millions, calling themselves a government.
These so-called governments are in reality only great bands of robbers and murderers, organized, disciplined, and constantly on the alert.
But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.
Taking a man's money without his consent, is also as much robbery, when it is done by millions of men, acting in concert, and calling themselves a government, as when it is done by a single individual, acting on his own responsibility, and calling himself a highwayman.
The apology, that is constantly put forth for the injustice of government, viz.
, that a man must consent to give up some of his rights, in order to have his other rights protected - involves a palpable absurdity, both legally and politically.
It is self-evident that no number of men, by conspiring, and calling themselves a government, can acquire any rights whatever over other men, or other men's property, which they had not before, as individuals.
A traitor is a betrayer - one who practices injury, while professing friendship.
Benedict Arnold was a traitor, solely because, while professing friendship for the American cause, he attempted to injure it. An open enemy, however criminal in other respects, is no traitor.
Now a slave is not 'held' by any legal contract, obligation, duty, or authority, which the laws will enforce. He is 'held' only by brute force. One person beats another until the latter will obey him, work for him, if he require it, or do nothing if he require it.
To deprive mankind of their natural right and power of creating wealth for themselves, is as great a tyranny as it is to rob them of it after they have created it. And this is done by all laws against honest banking.
A government that can at pleasure accuse, shoot, and hang men, as traitors, for the one general offence of refusing to surrender themselves and their property unreservedly to its arbitrary will, can practice any and all special and particular oppressions it pleases.
A slave government is an oligarchy; and one, too, of the most arbitrary and criminal character.
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.
One essential of a free government is that it rest wholly on voluntary support.
And one certain proof that a government is not free, is that it coerces more or less persons to support it, against their will.
Majorities, as such, afford no guarantees for justice.
They are men of the same nature as minorities. They have the same passions for fame, power, and money, as minorities; and are liable and likely to be equally - perhaps more than equally, because more boldly - rapacious, tyrannical and unprincipled, if intrusted with power.
If taxation without consent is robbery, the United States government has never had, has not now, and is never likely to have, a single honest dollar in its treasury. If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.
Legally speaking, there are no such things as 'public rights,' as distinguished from individual rights. Legally speaking, there is no such creature or thing as 'the public.'
The trial by jury is a trial by 'the country,' in contradistinction to a trial by the government. The jurors are drawn by lot from the mass of the people, for the very purpose of having all classes of minds and feelings, that prevail among the people at large, represented in the jury.
A man's 'original and natural right' to make all contracts that are 'intrinsically obligatory,' and to coerce the fulfillment of them, is one of the most valuable and indispensable of all human possessions.
The right of revolution, which tyrants, in mockery, accord to mankind, is no legal right under a government; it is only a natural right to overturn a government.
All these cries of having "abolished slavery," of having "saved the country," of having "preserved the union," of establishing a "government of consent," and of "maintaining the national honor," are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats - so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.
All restraints upon man's natural liberty, not necessary for the simple maintenance of justice, are of the nature of slavery, and differ from each other only in degree.
The mental capacity of a person to make reasonable contracts, is the only criterion, by which to determine his legal capacity to make obligatory contracts. And his mental capacity to make reasonable contracts is certainly not to be determined by the fact that he is, or is not, twenty-one years of age.
It is manifest that the only security against the tyranny of the government lies in forcible resistance to the execution of the injustice; because the injustice will certainly be executed, unless it be forcibly resisted.
And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen. And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that ever lived.
It is a natural impossibility for any man to make a binding contract, by which he shall surrender to others a single one of what are commonly called his 'natural, inherent, inalienable rights.'
The right of absolute and irresponsible dominion is the right of property, and the right of property is the right of absolute, irresponsible dominion. The two are identical; the one necessarily implying the other.
The commerce of a free people is many times more valuable than that of slaves.
Freemen produce and consume vastly more than slaves. They have therefore more to buy and more to sell. Hence the free states have a direct pecuniary interest in the civil freedom of all the other states. Commerce between free and slave states is not reciprocal or equal.
If two individuals enter into a contract to commit trespass, theft, robbery or murder upon a third, the contract is unlawful and void, simply because it is a contract to violate natural justice, or men's natural rights.
If men were but to read the New Testament with the same tone and emphasis, with which they do other books, and were to keep out of mind the idea of its being sacred, they would be disgusted with the credulity, and the want of intellect, reason and judgment, that is apparent in it.
In reality there is no such thing as an inflation of prices, relatively to gold.
There is such a thing as a depreciated paper currency.
The number who actually consented to the Constitution of the United States, at the first, was very small. Considered as the act of the whole people, the adoption of the Constitution was the merest farce and imposture, binding upon nobody.
Majorities and minorities cannot rightfully be taken at all into account in deciding questions of justice.
Any government, that is its own judge of, and determines authoritatively for the people, what are its own powers over the people, is an absolute government of course. It has all the powers that it chooses to exercise. There is no other or at least no more accurate definition of a despotism than this.
But that the people are stronger than the government, and will resist in extreme cases, our governments would be little or nothing else than organized systems of plunder and oppression.
The imaginations of believers have dressed up and exaggerated the excellence of the style and matter of the New Testament generally, in the same manner, in which they have the moral instructions of Jesus.
To measure prices by a currency that is called by the same names as gold, but that is really inferior in value to gold, and then - because those prices are nominally higher than gold prices - to say that they are inflated, relatively to gold, is a perfect absurdity.
There is not, in the Constitution, a syllable that implies that persons, born within the territorial limits of the United States, have allegiance imposed upon them on account of their birth in the country, or that they will be judged by any different rule, on the subject of treason, than persons of foreign birth.
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.
The very idea of law originates in men's natural rights.
There is no other standard, than natural rights, by which civil law can be measured. Law has always been the name of that rule or principle of justice, which protects those rights. Thus we speak of natural law.
If a jury have not the right to judge between the government and those who disobey its laws, and resist its oppressions, the government is absolute, and the people, legally speaking, are slaves.
It is with government paper, and bank paper, as it is with the paper of private persons; that is, it is worth just what can be delivered in redemption of it, and no more. We all understand that the notes of the Astors, and Stewarts, and Vanderbilts, though issued by millions, and tens of millions, are really worth their nominal values.
Vices are not crimes.
Jesus never instructed men to do what was right because it was right;
yet this is the true reason why they should do it.
The only security men can have for their political liberty, consists in keeping their money in their own pockets.