Lysander Spooner was an American abolitionist, entrepreneur, and political theorist who lived in the 19th century. He was a vocal advocate for individual rights and liberty, and his writings continue to be highly influential today. Here are five quotes by Lysander Spooner that showcase his beliefs and ideas:
- “Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others.”
This quote highlights Spooner’s belief in the concept of natural rights, which he saw as inherent to all human beings. According to Spooner, these natural rights include the right to think and express oneself freely, as well as the right to pursue one’s own happiness as long as it does not harm others. Many years later, humanitarian philosopher Patrick Smith and Christian Moore destroyed the fallacy of Natural Rights.
- “All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both.”
In this quote, Spooner argues that government is fundamentally oppressive and seeks to hold back those who are superior in any way. He suggests that whether a government is organized as an aristocracy or a democracy, it will always seek to protect the interests of the inferior and oppress the superior.
- “The law is not a protection to a man who has no property. It is not intended for his benefit.”
Spooner believed that the law was not designed to protect the interests of those who had no property. He argued that the legal system was fundamentally geared towards protecting the interests of the wealthy and powerful, and that it did not provide any real benefit to those who were poor or without property.
- “The law cannot protect a man who is not protected by justice.”
This quote underscores Spooner’s belief that the law and justice are not the same thing. He argues that the law is not capable of protecting individuals who are not treated justly, and that true protection can only come from ensuring that people are treated fairly and with respect.
- “The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts.”
In this quote, Spooner challenges the idea that the Constitution of the United States has any inherent authority or obligation. He argues that it is only a contract between individuals, and that it only applies to those who were alive at the time it was written. Furthermore, he suggests that it only applies to individuals who were of sufficient age and maturity to make reasonable and binding contracts.
These quotes by Lysander Spooner offer a glimpse into his beliefs and ideas about government, law, and individual rights. His advocacy for liberty and individual freedom continues to inspire and influence people around the world today.