When it comes to checking tyranny, the jury box beats the ballot box.
Spooner argues in this radical essay that the Constitution, which he frames as a legal contract, is not binding.
Spooner begins his most important work by attacking the idea that we have consented to be governed by the United States government.
Having dispensed with the idea of consent to government, Spooner pivots to ask—Whose Constitution is it, anyway?
Spooner disabuses us of the notion that paying taxes or voting is equivalent to offering one’s consent to be governed.
Spooner exposes the great Government Conspiracy and seeks to assign moral responsibility for the actions of a criminal gang shielded by mythological legitimacy.
In his conclusion, Spooner targets the shadow-governing class of elites who use civic religion to manipulate a public unwilling to govern themselves.
Smith discusses the influence of puritanism, the religious revival in the early 19th century, and Spooner’s disagreements with Christian ethics.
Smith explains how Spooner reconciled his theory of nonvoting with his view that the Constitution is antislavery, and how he treated discussions of slavery during the Constitutional Convention.
Smith discusses Spooner’s critique of taxation.
Smith discusses Spooner’s secular theory of natural law and his belief that no legislation is valid unless it conforms to natural law.
Smith explains why Spooner believed that defending the unconstitutionality of slavery was essential to abolitionism.
Smith begins his discussion of Lysander Spooner’s libertarian classic, “Vices are not Crimes.”
Matt Zwolinski joins us for a discussion on Lysander Spooner’s “Letter to Grover Cleveland,” which Spooner wrote in the last year of his life.
Lysander Spooner was an American legal theorist, abolitionist, and anarchist.
Some abolitionists saw the state as complicit in slavery and tried to fight slavery without its help.
Smith discusses Lewis’s rare insights on Spooner’s personal life, and his libertarian case against prohibition.
Smith summarizes Spooner’s basic arguments for the unconstitutionality of slavery.