"The 'nations,' as they are called, with whom our pretended
ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators
profess to make treaties, are as much myths as our own.
On general principles of law and reason, there are no such 'nations.'...
Our pretended treaties, then, being made with no legitimate or
bona fide nations, or representatives of nations, and being made,
on our part, by persons who have no legitimate authority to act for us,
have intrinsically no more validity than a pretended treaty
made by the Man in the Moon with the king of the Pleiades."
by:
Lysander Spooner
(1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist
Source:
The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870)
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Reader comments about this quote:
Spooner is obviously an anarchist -- anti-Govt.-- with no real altrnative to propose. I went to the spooner website & mucked around in economic gibberish for a while -- stuck in the 19th century --probably relevant then but unaware of the now obvious effects of technology which make "small business" as viable as "big business." Spooner certainly has the right to criticize, but if he can't come up with anything better than Social Anarchy, his bleating is just so much Gorilla Dust.
 -- Senor Reek, Corozal, Belize, Central America     
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    A little wordy but it gets the point across that all treaties and US legislations formed outside the boundaries of the Constitution are Non-binding on sovereign citizens of the US Republic. The only rights that you have truly lost are the rights you have voluntarily relinquished.
     -- KS., Queensbury,NY.     
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    Spooner addresses the fundamental point that a few men elected by a few people have obligated all the rest to obey their agreement. I often felt that somewhere along the line every American would reach a point when they are presented with the Declaration of Independence and asked to sign it. Only then does that document mean anything. We ought to take full responsibility for our agreements and the obligations that come with them. Spooner's assessment is right -- most power is completely arbitrary followed by newspeak to appease the masses.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Our minds have been captive to the thinking of Francis Bacon, Renee Decartes, spin doctors of the 20th Century, Ivey lee, Edward L. Bernay. This incidious indoctrination continues by all of the media. As Thomas A. Edison, one of the greatest "salesmen of all time," put it, "The Average American, does not know 1/10 of 1% about anything". Easily Proven.
     -- John F. Galbraith Jr., Carmel     
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    I know, that Lysander Spooner, was ahead of his time, but the Cooberative Evidence, all over the place, bares witness to his take, "on the way that it is." Should anyone doubt this. Just read, "Why most Americans Will Believe Almost Anything." This should give you the first clue, about how little you know, and the Myths, that most have been indoctrinated with.
     -- John F. Galbraith Jr., Carmel     
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    Spooner is like the kid who says the Emperor is wearing no clothes! You know, he is right. The government assumes its legitimacy -- I have not authorized any of them to represent me. It appears that my birth obligates me to whatever tyrant is on the throne -- not much has changed in 10,000 years. Today our government rules by arbitrary de facto diktat -- like Boss Tweed, "What are you gonna do about it, huh?!"
     -- Orazio Puglisi, Washington, D.C.     
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    Wonder if Spooner ever had to defend himself, his family or property against anybody in his entire life.
     -- Dougmcr8, s     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    Spooner called himself a Christian anarchist, which is a contradiction in terms in and of itself. Today's quote showed his frustration in no known government being a keeper of the God of Nature's laws or being a true representative of the sovereign individual. Spooner was an advocate for as small and close to the sovereign as possible government. I also believe that no government is legitimate unless it uniquely represents the individual sovereign of 'We The People', thus making all de facto treaties arbitrary. AND, contrary to popular propaganda, treatises do not exceed the the Constitution's authority (for those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, to suppose that there authority exceeds that of the Constitution makes all relevent acts treasonous and nullifies the crime committed).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    That was a different day a different dollar...
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    Hitler and Osama thought America was a myth or crowd without a backbone etcetera. They both found out different. I have earlier disparaged Spooner and he has done nothing to change my mind here.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I wonder if Dougmcr8 thinks that Securitas (one of the largest providers of private security in the world) ought to have the authority to rob men at gun point to force them to pay for their protections. Or if he thinks those who fall victim to mafia protection money schemes are implicitly consenting... Lysander Spooner may have been off in his economic analysis in many ways, but this does not invalidate any of his major contributions to individualist thought.
     -- DSK, Falls Church VA     
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    Great Quote @Waffler, I don't understand your point, because America can kill people efficiently, therefore government is legitimate? I have not seen you in any post actually raise a point, or show that you have read any of the works you criticize.
     -- eric, pittsburgh     
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     -- Anonymous      
    As L.Neal Smith said,"Government is a disease masquerading as it's own cure".
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    The " Reconstruction period " where the folly is played out, The civil war, and the coercive, hypocritical, dishonest interest of the union and its bolstering of business intentions. No treason committed by the South, but the fight for States rights. The right to " Dissolve the political bands " had been denied. Coercive policies contrary to Natural law and to the consent of the governed. Radical republicans such as Sumner behind said policies. "The rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence no longer held true ". The true Republic under siege by a tyrannical governing body. The hiding of true historical fact, by fast talkers and politicians. Knowing well their treasonous acts committed against the Liberty and Freedom of the individual and State sovereignty. Tar, feathers and swing sets anyone ?
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    I knew right off the bat, I like this guy, Spooner. He has an Ax to grind ! The right to [ Contract ] is gravity in a court of law. But, must be signed. Myself, as an independent contractor, unprivileged, ( Not exercising corp privilege ) still exercise my God given right to do so. I was ask one day by a Judge, to right something down, and sign it ! The art and Craft of contracting, determines the nature of the responsible party. Now mind you, this takes place in the current environment. The fulfilling of the contract, equal trade. Without oppression ! Grace. Liberty lived among a sea of slaves. Right now, barefoot. without security, but for the grace. All parties test the water. To see, if it be true.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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