"The strong are always free by virtue of their superior strength. So long as government is a mere contest as to which of two parties shall rule the other, the weaker must always succumb. And whether the contest be carried on with ballots or bullets, the principle is the same; for under the theory of government now prevailing, the ballot either signifies a bullet, or it signifies nothing. And no one can consistently use a ballot, unless he intends to use a bullet, if the latter should be needed to insure submission to the former."
by:
Lysander Spooner
(1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist
Source:
No Treason. No. II The Constitution, (Boston: Published by the Author, 1867)
http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2213&layout=html
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Reader comments about this quote:
That is the beauty of the Constitution in its design to protect the weak (the minority of one) from the whims of those with superior strength that would enslave the one. In a world consisting of self governing individuals no government is needed and so the reason why the Constitution was set up as a system of administrations with the only ball the administrators were supposed to have their eyes on was the protection of the rights of the individual, the country (America) they lived in, and the processes to punish those who would, (because of the evil nature of some men) violate the individual's rights.
 -- Anon     
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    The strength Spooner should be talking about in a civilized society is the strength of logic, argument and debate. Those with the superiour position in such a society who have the hearts and minds and votes of the majority should and do form the government. While there is an aspect to the term self-government which means that individuals should look to themselves to do right and be right it does not nor was it meant to exclude the right of the self same folk to form a government and to codify laws as a majority of these self-governer folk desire. As I am sure all know that from the very beginning of our experience we have had some who have failed in governing themselves, they would get drunk, or spit on the floor, steal horses etcetera. Against these minority the majority saw fit to set up laws, etcetera. Again for lack of a better word I think Lysander is silly.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Seems significant considering the rise in conceal carry permits is up 500 to 700% in some counties and the American public in the last 3 months of 08 bought enough fire power to re arm the Chinese AND Indian armies...there's definately something in the wind...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Spooner is right, and as usual, Waff is nuts.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Waffler has said it well...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
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    Yes, and we have had wonderful examples recently... Obama is a Mole, a Trojan Horse, The Manchurian Candidate, The CIA must have something on him. And I'm much to blame as I voted for him.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I always laugh when I hear Waffler talking about "logic, argument, or debate." ;-) RBESRQ, I think you will find agreement with Spooner here:
    "In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having ever been asked, a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practise this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man attempts to take the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot—which is a mere substitute for a bullet—because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency, into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him." - Lysander Spooner
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, would it be fair to say that voters may be voting because they suffer from "Stockholm Syndrome"? ;-)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    LOL, Carlton, you've nailed it! Why do you think the slogan is used "winning the hearts and minds of the people"? Even the tormented will defend their tormentor eventually -- it's called 'breaking their spirit' and cognitive dissonance. It creates a false logic, a twisted consciousness, and a fierce defense of their captors because it can be dangerous to offend the captors. (Yes, it is a mind f@ck.) Cowardice is no way to keep a free nation together.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    That's a fact. I was asked to speak at a Libertarian convention here in Canada. My opening remark drew applause - "We're all Libertarians until we are 5, then it takes twelve years of state funded education to beat it out of us" And once they've done that to us, very few seem to realize we've been programmed. Have a good one.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    By hearts minds and votes I only meant to imply that if 51 percent say no spitting on the sidewalk they have the right to enforce it even against the likes of an Archer or Carlton. If Libertarians insist on spitting on the sidewalk string 'em up high I say.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Hat tip to J Carlton and E.Archer. J., you really did nail it with the Stockholm Syndrome line. A light went on bright and clear in my mind after that one. Well said.
     -- Anon     
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    I agree with Carlton about the age 5 thing. Have you ever driven past a school bus and the children make funny faces at you or otherwise disrespect others. Respect and moral uprightness comes after the age of 5. I think that respect for others and their rights is what the 5 year olds are unaware of and Carlton and the Libertarians choose to ignore. Some people never grow up.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waff, again you miss the point (big surprise). Children automatically understand natural law. The state spends your money and takes 12 years to twist their thinking into something more compliant to their overt interests. And judging by yourself, it can be devastatingly effective ;-)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Children do not understand how to relate to others. It is something they learn once they have siblings, friends, school mates, and teachers. A baby, infant, toddler and pre-schooler sees the world very self centeredly. As they grow and venture out they become social creatures. I love being in the woods and being a child again looking out only for my own essential needs but alas unfortunately I must return to the society, culture, and mutual respect of others. Something the libertarians or some of them don't seem to understand.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    J Carlton, I've had a family member shrink with a specialty in Stockholm Syndrome. Their analyses of government actions can be documented point by point showing how to implement such sick subservience. The dumming down of Amerika, sexual education to an ever younger child, the propaganda based media, the violation to the being that is governmental compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, etc., etc., etc. are all greatly deeped in enhancing a Stockholm Syndrome.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, that makes sense for sure. When we are inundated from a very young age, with ideas coming at us from every angle and in every regard that we need to comply "for the good of all" to everything the government tells us to, we are being brain washed. And its actually a very easy thing to do what with people being basically good of heart and wanting to help others. The underlying evil though is that we assume the people doing the brain washing are benevolent and want to protect us. They don't, they want to control and exploit us...with our our own cooperation and willing compliance. The scheme does not work unless we "want" to comply.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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     -- Penny, garden Grove      
     
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