Book Review: No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority (1870)

The Constitution of No Authority
by Lysander Spooner
Review by Brian Wright first posted July 20, 2009

…”on principles of law and reason”

No Treason: The Constitution of No AuthorityIn No Treason, Lysander Spooner uses the above expression on practically every page. On those foundations, he makes his case that the US Constitution—and by universal extension, any other formal written document that aims to set up a compulsory central government—cannot be morally or legally justified. Primarily Spooner focuses on the weaknesses of the “social contract” argument. He puts the Constitution to the test of contracts, as prevailed in his time and place, and concludes that it does not meet the basic criteria for a contract at all… hence is not valid or binding on anyone.

Editor’s Note 4/01/11—I’ve decided to use this book review in lieu of the normal scheduled review for today. Lysander is an essential resource for understanding what we as freedom people must overcome if we are to achieve the New Paradigm of peace, liberty, and abundance and leave the Old Paradigm of the nation-state. We must come to the awareness that the day of the nation-state and its coercive governments—especially the US government—has come to an end. Time to let go of the state and all its accouterments: flags, emblems, insignia, anthems, you name it. Toast. On a world wide scale, humanity must discard coercive governments en masse. I suggest my newly created ‘religion’ as an aid in making the change. — bw

No Treason is a great book to reread, because over time one tends to forget the incisive quality of the anarchist case… or at least freedom from being bound up by the Constitution. It’s a short book, so let us proceed with the main steps of his deal:

  1. To begin, the framers of the Constitution only intended to apply the document to the human beings in the United States then existing, and only voluntarily to their descendants.
  2. To the question of whether the descendants voluntarily bound themselves to the Constitution, some represent that we do so thru a) voting and b) paying taxes. Then he proceeds to carefully dissect the reasons why neither of these acts may be properly considered authorization.

The language Mr. Spooner applies is inimitable and refreshingly candid, as an example pertaining to both voting and taxes:

“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 against 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. To take a man’s property without his consent, and then to infer his consent because he attempts, by voting, to prevent that property from being used to his injury is a very insufficient proof of his consent to support the Constitution.” — page 16

  1. He continues with the argument that the Constitution not only binds nobody now, it never did bind anyone. It was not agreed to by anybody in such manner to make it, “on general principles of law and reason,” binding upon him. [Basically, not everyone for whom it is claimed to be bound signed the document.]
  2. Valid contracts must be both written and signed by the parties to the contract.
  3. By Article I, Section 6, none of the representatives of the US government “shall be questioned in any other place” for any action they take in their duties. Which means—and the courts have so held—that “… the whole power of the government is in their hands, and they are made utterly irresponsible for the use they make of it. What is this but absolute, irresponsible power?”
  4. The oaths and authority claimed by the administrators of the Constitution have no validity. As the lawyers say, they lack “privity:”

“If I go upon Boston Commons and in the presence of a hundred thousand people… with whom I have no contract on the subject, take an oath that I will enforce upon them the laws of Moses, of Lycurgus, of Solon, of Justinian, or of Alfred, that oath is, ‘on general principles of law and reason,’ of no obligation. It is of no obligation, not merely because it is intrinsically a criminal one, but also because it is given to nobody, and consequently pledges my faith to nobody.” — page 35

This privity point will be important to my upcoming column on the broader social issue, in particular, Zionism. Then after a couple of references to other less obvious problems of monopoly government (secret ballot, minority rule), Spooner questions the legitimacy of the public debt.[1]

  1. “On general principles of law and reason,” Spooner contends that debts contracted by the government in the name of the “people of the United States” are clearly not valid.

And this is where it gets interesting, because we’re touching on modern international finance-capitalist issues. Indeed, we’re touching on much the same set of longstanding family banking megacartels (on the ultimate wealth-transfer recipient side):

“Who, then, created these debts, in the name of ‘the United States’? Why, at most, only a few persons, calling themselves ‘members of Congress,’ etc., who pretended to represent the people of the United States,’ but who really represented only a secret band of robbers and murderers who wanted money to carry on the robberies and murders in which they were then engaged, and who intended to extort from the future people of the United States, by robbery and threats of murder (and real murder, if that should prove necessary), the means to pay these debts.” — page 44

Okay, Lysander, quit beating around the bush with all these pleasantries and sloppy sentimentality; tell us how you really feel. I haven’t had this much fun since rereading and reviewing Albert Jay Nock (Our Enemy the State). By my reckoning, Spooner and Nock are the ultimate libertarian tag team in the seemingly eternal battle to counter/undo every last piece of bullcrap from the Kleptocon propaganda and mind-control miasma.

Ain’t nobody here but us chickens

Chapter XVIII of Lysander Spooner’s monograph contains the material most relevant to the modern era. Continuing with the explanation of the nature of government financing, and starting with the role of European bankers in the still monarchy-laden governments there:

The Rothschilds, and that class of money-lenders of whom they are the representatives and agents—men who never think of lending a shilling to their next-door neighbors, for purposes of honest industry, unless upon the most ample of security, and at the highest rate of interest—stand ready at all times to lend money in unlimited amounts to those robbers and murderers, who call themselves governments, to be expended in shooting down those who do not submit quietly to being robbed and murdered.

… These money lenders, the Rothschilds, for example, say to themselves: If we lend a hundred millions sterling to the queen and parliament of England, it will enable them to murder twenty, fifty, or a hundred thousand people in England, Ireland, or India, and the terror inspired by such wholesale murder will enable them to keep the whole people of those countries in subjection for 20 or perhaps 50 years to come; to control all their trade and industry, and to extort from them large amounts of money, under the name of taxes, and from the wealth thus extorted from them, they (the queen and parliament) can afford to pay a higher rate of interest for our money than we can get in any other way…

… When these great lenders of blood money, like the Rothschilds, have loaned vast sums in this way, for purposes of murder, to an emperor or a king [or to the government of the North], they sell the bonds taken by them, in small amounts, to anybody and everybody, who are disposed to buy them at satisfactory prices, to hold as investments. They (the Rothschilds) thus soon get back their money, with great profits, and are now prepared to lend the money in the same way again, to any other [government] robbers and murderers…

And here’s the clincher:

This business of lending blood-money is one of the most thoroughly sordid, cold-blooded, and criminal that was ever carried on, to any considerable extent, by human beings. [Hence the suspicion these men are actually alien space lizards.] It is like lending money to slave traders, or to common robbers and pirates, to be repaid out of their plunder. 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 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.

So it appears Mr. Spooner was ahead of his time… or he was aware at the highest level of international finance how governments are enabled to rob, enslave, and kill their citizens (and the citizens of other countries). He was aware of the specific “whos” behind the curtain of finance capitalism. Funny how no one in the media or academia today—with an exception here and there—seems to understand these “whos” that are walking away with the productive class’s cookie jar. Goldman-Sachs sure does!

A great book, one for the ages, a classic. Final memorable quote:

… whether the Constitution be one thing or another, this much is certain—that it either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

SunFLOWerPS: By way of transition, I think we should hold out for the Bill of Rights and support Ron Paul’s effort to audit the Fed.

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[1] In those years, the Civil War debt was a major issue.


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1 thought on “Book Review: No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority (1870)

  1. One little problem, though. . . we have to hope the current generation of people feel bound by the contract because what the Statists want is far worse and the Constitution stands in their way towards tyranny.

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