A Summary of: No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner
Compiled and Edited by Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume
The first and second numbers of this series were published in 1867. For reasons not explained, the sixth was published in advance of the third, fourth, and fifth.
No one, by voting, can pledge himself for any longer period of time than that for which he votes. Even then, it cannot be said that a man pledges himself to support the Constitution by voting. Voting is not proof of even temporary consent.
A man is subjected to government without so much as being asked for his consent. That government takes his money by force and coerces him into rendering his services. It takes away so many of his natural rights that he cannot resist for fear of severe punishment.
Furthermore, he sees that other men acquire this position of lord over him through the ballot. He also realizes that he might be able to gain relief from this tyranny (and even subject others to his own) by using the ballot himself.
In short, he is, without his consent, placed in a situation where he only has two choices: 1) If he uses the ballot, he has a chance of becoming a master; or 2) If he does not, he will become a slave. Since there is no real option, he rationally resorts to the ballot in self-defense.
Since the ballot is his only chance of self- preservation, it cannot be concluded that his voting is “voluntary.” Since he is forced into the situation and provided no other means with which to defend himself, he uses the only option he has. To repeat, because a man votes under the Constitution is not evidence that he freely assents to it, “even for the time being.”
Taxation, by definition, takes a man’s property without his consent—he has no other rational choice but to pay. So, he votes in an attempt to keep that property from being used to his own harm. This is simply not sufficient proof of his consent to support the Constitution.
There are three classes of government supporters: knaves, dupes, and a third class.
The third class recognizes the evils of government but do not choose to do anything about them either because they do not see how or they do not want to jeopardize their private interests by working for change.
Knaves see government as a means through which they can aggrandize and/or enrich themselves.
Dupes are the ones stupid enough to buy the propaganda. They believe they are “free men,” “sovereigns” and that this is a “free” government of “equal rights,” the “best on earth,” and other such absurdities. They have arrived at these beliefs because they are allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what they can do with their own person and property. They are satisfied to have the same voice in “robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering” them.
Paying compulsory taxes is not evidence of voluntary support of the Constitution. The theory (emphasis in the original) of the constitution is that all taxes are voluntary and that government is like a mutual insurance company. Each man freely enters into a voluntary contract with all other men to pay so much money for so much protection. It follows that each man is equally free to not pay tax and, therefore, not be protected under the contract.
But, in this case, theory is completely different from reality. The government is just like an armed robber who says, “Give me your money or I will take your life.” Taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.
Indeed, government is far more “dastardly and shameful” than the common thief or armed robber. The highwaymen takes upon himself the responsibility and danger associated with his criminal act. He offers no pretense of a rightful claim to your money. Nor does he pretend his intentions to use it for your benefit.
Moreover, after he takes your money, he leaves you alone. He does not follow you against your will and assume himself to be your rightful “sovereign” because of the “protection” he provides you. He does not command you to bow down and serve him. He does not require you to do this or forbid you to do that. He does not rob you of more money as often as he pleases. He does not brand you a rebel or traitor and an enemy to your country. He does not shoot you down without mercy if you dispute his authority or resist his demands. In short, he does not try to make you his dupe or his slave. He is too much of a gentleman.
The thieves and murderers who call themselves “government” are the direct opposite. They do not make themselves individually known or take personal responsibility for their crimes.
As Spooner said himself:
“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:
Go to A_____ B_____, and say to him that “the government” has need of money to meet the expenses of protecting him and his property. 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 dares to inquire who the individuals are, who have thus taken upon themselves the title of “the government,” and who assume to protect him, and demand payment of him, without his having ever made any contract with them, say to him that that, too, is our business, and not his; that we do not choose to make ourselves individually known to him; that we have secretly (by secret ballot) appointed you our agent to give him notice of our demands, and, if he complies with them, to give him, in our name, a receipt that will protect him against any similar demand for the present year. 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. If he should call upon his neighbors, or any others who, like him, may be disposed to resist our demands, and they should come in large numbers to his assistance, cry out that they are all rebels and traitors; that “our country” is in danger; call upon the commander of our hired murderers; tell him to quell the rebellion and “save the country,” cost what it may. 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.”
The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic.