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The Lysander Spooner Reader Paperback – May 1, 1992
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It has been nearly 20 years since I read Spooner in high school, and my life has not been the same since. After wrestling with Spooner's tightly reasoned arguments against the state in "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority," you'll never look at the government the same way again.
Lawyer, abolitionist, radical, friend of liberty, one of the most fascinating figures in American history: that was Spooner. A ferocious opponent of slavery, he supported the right of secession. An ardent enemy of statist legislation, he was a brilliant jurist who put his faith in the law. An eloquent foe of prohibition of alcohol or drugs, he offered a moral defense of liberty.
Includes "Vices Are Not Crimes," "Natural Law," "Trial by Jury," "Letter to Thomas Bayard," "No Treason," and the eulogy for Spooner by American individualist-anarchist publisher Benjamin Tucker. -- Tom G. Palmer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
from the Introduction by George H. Smith
Somewhere, sometime a person will open this book not knowing what to expect, but curious about a man with the curious name of Lysander Spooner. I envy that reader, for that was me nearly twenty-five years ago when I encountered No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.
I could scarcely believe my eyes. Here were ideas radical yet commensensical, subversive yet quintessentially American. Spooner challenged and excited me. Such experiences are rare because truly original thinkers are rare, and you can discover them but once. Alas, my days of innocent discovery are over, the casualty of too much reading. I have read libertarian writers so obscure that even obscure libertarians have never heard of them. I doubt if my future holds many surprises, but it does hold many pleasures. This is one of them: introducing others to Lysander Spooner.
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Who are the others? The ones that this book will turn into a bible for? Anyone who has suffered at the hands of a judge, a policeman, a social worker, a prison warden, etc. Anyone who has literally never harmed a hair on anyone's head or their property, but yet found themselves bound up and charged with a crime in real life, prosecuted or imprisoned for mere vice or offense that the outcome had severe implications on the rest of their life.
This book will forever make you understand what words like consent, crime and vice really are and what they mean socially. What justice really is and why it is impossible under any compulsory system of government. I only wish that the volume was a little larger to include a few more essays like A New Banking System (as the idea is still valid today) and Poverty, It's Illegal Causes and Legal Cure. Maybe even A Letter to Grover Cleveland.