"For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be a falsehood, or falsehood a truth."
Lysander Spooner
(1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist
Vices are Not Crimes, A Vindication of Moral Liberty (1875).
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Reader comments about this quote:
Lysander Spooner was a RABID adolitionists. His main contribution was the collapse of America's greatest invention: Federalism. In "freeing" the slave they ensalved us all under the yoke of a general government. Which is now a far cry from what the Framers intended. Because of him an those like him, We got a Lincoln at a time when the country needed a Wilberforce............ As yourself a simple qestion; What did the Abolitionists have to abolish to be successful? They make Bernie Madoff look like a petty thief.
 -- Anonymous, Easthampton, NY     
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    You can not legislate morality.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    It's true how radicals like Spooner helped the Feds to begin taking all power to themselves. Federal power is a great cancer that just keeps growing.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    The statement is absolutely correct and a foundation of the statist theocracy that now infests this land.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Absolutely true. I am afraid Anon from Easthampton is out to lunch -- not even commenting on the quote. Spooner was an abolitionist indeed -- and he wanted to abolish more than one type of slavery...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Kimo, USA      
    Isn't "Lysander Spooner" a great name. This quote is right on target.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    The siege upon "unalienable rights" for the purpose of plundering  the forced "welfare box"
    is one of the oldest games in town. Spooner was an advocate of Individual contracting vs "wage slaves" of a democratic socialist form of government. 
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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    Vice is to be governed by moderation, for those set at Liberty. 
    Natural law, natures way, affords reward or punishment.
    Hence, Licentious liberty with moral constraint affords happiness of the individual. Regardless if your religious neighbor, thinks you should not, dance, drink, smoke or play cards, i think coffee is now on the list for some religious zealots, all though, they don't mind capitalizing on the sale and promotion of vice. 
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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    It is not necessary to make a record of criminals and the accompanying punishment.  The wrong and rights of  behavior must be explained to the community and an expression of consequences must be fully outlined and accompanying conduct reinforced. The community will follow through with the right path as long as a reasonable path is realized, understood, and popularized.  To paraphrase a famous verse in a pleasant little song: "we are the world, we are the adults."
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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