A Summary of: No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority by Lysander Spooner
Compiled and Edited by Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume
No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of no Authority
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.
All political power arises from money. Any group of “scoundrels” can declare themselves a “government” if they have enough money. They can hire soldiers with money and subsequently, with soldiers, extort more money and compel obedience. These criminals understand that their power rests upon money. Any time their authority is denied, the first thing they do is hire soldiers to kill or subdue everyone who refuses to give them more money.
Anyone who will take a man’s money without his consent in the first place, will have no qualms about robbing and enslaving him further. Thus, the only security men have for their political liberty is keeping their money in their own pocket. No (so-called) government can be trusted or assumed to have honest purposes at the point where it ceases to depend completely upon voluntary support.
Until an instrument is put into writing, its precise legal meaning cannot be known. In addition, neither law nor reason requires a man to agree to an instrument until it is written. Furthermore, a general principle of law and reason is that a written instrument binds no one until he signs it. In addition, in law and reason dictate that a written instrument must also be delivered to the party (or his agent) in whose favor it is made before it can bind the party making it.
Notice the contradiction between these general principles of law and reason and the actions of the judges who profess to derive their authority from the Constitution—an instrument that nobody ever signed. Said judges would spurn any other instrument brought before them if it were not signed. Further, not only was the Constitution never signed by anybody, it was never delivered by or to anybody. Therefore, it is of no more validity as a contract than any other instrument that was never signed or delivered. This conclusion is consistent with the general sense of mankind that all important contracts should be both written and signed.
Out of common prudence, individuals take precautions to put their contracts in writing, and have them signed in order to guard against uncertainties with regard to their validity. But, as Spooner states it:
“And yet we have what purports…to be a contract – the Constitution – made …by men who …never had any power to bind us , but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of …many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions …to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons…that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see. And of those who ever have read it, or ever will read it, scarcely any two, perhaps no two, have ever agreed, or ever will agree, as to what it means.
“Moreover, this supposed contract, which would not be received in any court of justice sitting under its authority, if offered to prove a debt of five dollars…is one by which …all men, women and children throughout the country, and through all time, surrender not only all their property, but also their liberties, and even lives, into the hands of men who by this supposed contract, are expressly made wholly irresponsible for their disposal of them. And we are so insane, or so wicked, as to destroy property and lives without limit, in fighting to compel men to fulfill a supposed contract, which, inasmuch as it has never been signed by anybody, is, on general principles of law and reason …the merest waste of paper, binding upon nobody, fit only to be thrown into the fire; or, if preserved, preserved only to serve as a witness and a warning of the folly and wickedness of mankind.”
Under the Constitution, as it is interpreted by those who pretend to administer it, the properties, liberties, and lives of the entire people are unreservedly surrendered into the hands of men who will never be “questioned.” Senators and representatives act by a two-thirds vote which protects them from the responsibility for all the laws that they make. The whole absolute power of government is in their hands and they are irresponsible for its use. (Editor’s Note: It should be kept in mind that Spooner was writing in the 1860s at the beginning of the [Lincoln] usurpation of power by the Executive Branch.)
But the men who hold this absolute and irresponsible power over us dare not be truthful and claim to be our masters or own us as property. Instead, they claim to only be our “servants, agents, attorneys, and representatives.” But this is an absurd contradiction. “No man can be my servant, agent, attorney, or representative, and be, at the same time, uncontrollable by me, and irresponsible to me for his acts.”
Another reason they are not our “servants, agents, attorneys, or representatives” is that we are not responsible for their acts. I am responsible for the acts of any “servant, agent, or attorney” within the limits of the power I have delegated to him. So, if nobody is individually responsible for the acts of Congress, then its members are agents for nobody and are, therefore, individually responsible for their own acts.
On the general principles of law and reason that we all act upon in courts of justice and in common life, the Constitution is not a contract. It binds nobody and never did and all those who pretend to act by its authority are really acting without any legitimate authority. Based on general principles of law and reason, they are “usurpers and everybody not only has the right, but is morally bound, to treat them as such.”
If the people wish to have such a government, let them sign the instrument and thereby make known their wishes in an open, authentic manner and “make themselves…individually responsible for the acts of the government.” But the people have never been asked to sign and the reason is that they never would. “(I)t is not what any sensible and honest man wants for himself; nor such as he has any right to impose upon others. It is, to all moral intents and purposes, as destitute of obligations as the compacts which robbers and thieves and pirates enter into with each other, but never sign.”
If a number of the people believe the Constitution is good, they should sign it. Then they could make laws for and administer them upon each other while leaving the rest of us alone. Why don’t they? The reason is because they do not want the Constitution for any honest or legitimate purpose. They want it “for the dishonest and illegitimate power it gives them over the persons and properties of others.”
So, the Constitution being of no authority, upon what authority does government rest? The most that can possibly be said is that some “majority” of male adults have a tacit understanding that they will maintain a government and select its administrators by ballot and that those administrators will act as their representatives and administer the Constitution in their name, and by their authority.
But this tacit understanding is not justified by its logical conclusion. A tacit understanding between A, B, and C, that they will select D as their agent for the purpose of depriving me of my property, liberty, or life, does not authorize D to do so. Just because he claims to act as their agent, D is no less a robber, tyrant, and murderer.
I am not bound to recognize him as their agent nor can he legitimately claim to be their agent for he brings no written authority from them. Since he has no credentials, I can say he has no authority and am under no obligation to accept his word as to who his principals are.
The ballots by which they select their agents avail no more than their tacit understanding because they are cast in secret. Thus, they avoid any personal responsibility for the acts of their agents. Open despotism is better than the secret ballot for the secret ballot makes a secret government which is nothing but a secret band of robbers and murderers—only a little less than a government of assassins.
This is the only kind of government we are likely to have until men are ready to say: We will consent to no Constitution except one we are neither ashamed nor afraid to sign and “we will authorize no government to do anything in our name which we are not willing to be personally responsible for.”
Those who use the secret ballot are not friends but enemies of each other. They act in concert against other persons but have no friendship between them. They plunder each other and it is understood among them that the strongest party will, under certain circumstances, murder the others by the hundreds of thousands in order to accomplish their purpose. As a result, they do not dare to be known even to each other. This is the sole reason for a secret government and we are ignorant enough to call it liberty. In fact, it is considered a privilege to be a member of this secret band of robbers and murders. With membership, a man is considered a free man because he has the same power to secretly rob, enslave, and murder other men and this is what they call “equal rights.”
If any man claims the right to govern, let him make and sign an open compact so as to make himself individually known and can legitimately be held responsibility for his acts. Of those who currently support the Constitution, there is not a single one that will ever do this.
No consent, compact, or agreement of or between “the people of the United States” exists. The only consent is between a few individuals who act in concert and call themselves “senators, representatives, presidents, judges, marshals, treasurers, collectors, generals, colonels, captains, etc., etc.” These few individuals can show no credentials from “the people” and do not know their “principals” (as they call them) individually. So consequently, they cannot have any principals at all.
Even if the alleged “principals” did appoint these pretended agents, it was done secretly in order to avoid personal responsibility for their crimes. The only authority for this plunder is a tacit understanding between them that they will “imprison, shoot, or hang every man who resists.”
Thus, the only visible government we have is composed of professed agents of a secret band of robbers and murderers who have assumed the title of “the people of the United States” and assert their dominion over all property and persons.
FOLLOW LAND & LIVESTOCK INTERNATIONAL ON FACEBOOK
Check out our WebSite
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.