30 Years of Treason, Spooner

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 26 17:12:51 PDT 2019


"But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this
much is certain --- that it has either authorized such a government as
we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it
is unfit to exist." - Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner was a 19th century entreprenuer, scholar, radical
abolitionist, and principled believer in natural law and liberty.
Lysander Spooner came form the flinty farmland of rural New England.
He was born January 19, 1808, on his father's farm near Athol,
Massachusetts, the second child and second son in a family of six sons
and three daughters. Before opening the American Mail Company, he sent
a personal letter informing the Postmaster General (January 11, 1844),
that he proposed "soon to establish a letter mail [company] from
Boston to Baltimore. I shall myself remain in this city, where I shall
be ready at any time to answer to any suit…" Accompanying the letter
was a copy of Spooner's pamphlet, The Unconstitutionality of the Laws
of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails. When his company began business
on January 23, Spooner openly advertised in all the major newspapers,
soliciting business. The American Letter Mail Company printed its own
stamps, hired agents, and was soon conducting a busy trade. Hoping to
drive Spooner out of business without raising any constitutional
questions, the Postmaster General resorted to some extra-legal
measures. Under a barrage of harassing legal actions, the company
could not survive; for all practical purposes it had ceased to exist
by July 1844. After his post office venture failed, Lysander Spooner
returned to the family farm in Athol. Spooner had a clear notion of
"the principles of natural equity." Although lacking formal ties
before 1870 with other American anarchists, Spooner knew many of them
well. The key question for an anarchist is how to combine complete
individual freedom with some form of effective social co-operation.
Spooner answered that community service and other social action could
be realized voluntarily. He argued that "under the principle of
individual consent, the little government that mankind need, is not
only practicable, but natural and easy…" Spooner died “at one o'clock
in the afternoon of Saturday, May 14, 1887... surrounded by trunks and
chests bursting with the books, manuscripts, and pamphlets which he
had gathered in his active pamphleteer's warfare over half a century

More information about the cypherpunks mailing list