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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here ever read any of his views on law and government?

I read some of his stuff many years ago and I suppose I did not know enough then to grasp what he was saying.

I've been reading some so his works lately and they really make you rethink some very basic assumptions.
 

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Nope I have not. The name does ring a bell but thats about all it does.
 

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Was he the one that questioned whether or not the constitution had any authority????
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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19,433 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yep, among other things. Very mind stretching stuff and most of it is well over 100 years old.

Lysander Spooner (1808 - 1887) was an American individualist anarchist political activist and legal theorist of the 19th century.

Life
Spooner was born on a farm in Athol, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1808, and died "at one o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, 1887 in his little room at 109 Myrtle Street, surrounded by trunks and chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he had gathered about him in his active pamphleteer's warfare over half a century long." -- from Our Nestor Taken From Us by Benjamin Tucker

Later known as an early individualist anarchist, Spooner advocated what he called Natural Law ? or the Science of Justice ? wherein acts of actual coercion against individuals were considered "illegal" but the so-called criminal acts that violated only man-made legislation were not.

His activism began with his career as a lawyer, which itself violated local Massachusetts law. Spooner had studied law under the prominent lawyers and politicians, John Davis and Charles Allen, but he had never attended college. According to the laws of the state, college graduates were required to study with an attorney for three years, while non-graduates were required to do so for five years.

With the encouragement of his legal mentors, Spooner set up his practice in Worcester after only three years, openly defying the courts. He saw the two-year privilege for college graduates as a state-sponsored discrimination against the poor. He argued that such discrimination was "so monstrous a principle as that the rich ought to be protected by law from the competition of the poor." In 1836, the legislature abolished the restriction.

After a disappointing legal career ? for which his radical writing seemed to have kept away potential clients ? and a failed career in real estate speculation in Ohio, Spooner returned to his father's farm in 1840.

Postal rates were notoriously high in the 1840s, and in 1844, Spooner founded the American Letter Mail Company to contest the United States Postal Service's monopoly.

As he had done when challenging the rules of the Massachusetts bar, he published a pamphlet entitled, "The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails".

(As an advocate of Natural Law Theory and an opponent of government and legislation, Spooner considered the Constitution itself to be unlawful, but he nevertheless used it to argue that the government was breaking its own laws, first in the case of the Postal Monopoly, and later arguing for the Unconstitutionality of Slavery.)

Although Spooner had finally found commercial success with his mail company, legal challenges by the government eventually exhausted his financial resources. He closed up shop without ever having had the opportunity to fully litigate his constitutional claims.

He wrote and published extensively, producing works such as "Natural Law or The Science of Justice" and "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery." Spooner is perhaps best known for his essays No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority and "Trial By Jury." In No Treason, he argued that the Constitution of the United States could not legitimately bind citizens who refused to acknowledge its authority; in "Trial By Jury" he defended the doctrine of "Jury Nullification," which holds that in a free society a trial jury not only has the authority to rule on the facts of the case, but also on the legitimacy of the law under which the case is tried, and which would allow juries to refuse to convict if they regard the law they are asked to convict under as illegitimate.

Lysander Spooner died in 1887 at the age of 79. He had influenced a generation of abolitionists and anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker who published Spooner's obituary in the journal Liberty.
 
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