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Thread: No treason: The constitution of no authority!!!!

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    No treason: The constitution of no authority!!!!

    Has anyone read Lysander Spooner "NO TREASON: THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY" What do you think?

    http://lysanderspooner.org/node/64

    Short introduction: " 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. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but “the people” then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves. Let us see. Its language is: http://lysanderspooner.org/node/64
    Last edited by wolfeinstein; 01-18-2011 at 03:57 AM.

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    The third sentence renders the whole thing a silly pile of trash.

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    Regular Member pooley's Avatar
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    That's exactly the sort of mindset we're up against. Some people think the constitution is just some sort of essay to written up to look good & has no bearing on modern America. Only problem with that is the constitution is America.

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    His arguement fails when he brings up 'We The People'. The group 'The People' changes membership by its very nature. 'The People' authorized such an agreement thus anyone who is a member of 'The People' is upholding the original agreement. Should 'The People' wish to change it, there's a means to do so. Should someone disagree but cannot effect their desired change, they have the option to leave the group 'The People'.

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    So, factually, what is the Constitution?
    Last edited by wolfeinstein; 01-18-2011 at 02:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfeinstein View Post
    Has anyone read Lysander Spooner "NO TREASON: THE CONSTITUTION OF NO AUTHORITY" What do you think?
    Great essay.

    For the detractors to this point in the thread, you want to actually read the essay before jumping to any conclusions.

    Written in 1870, its context was motion by some to try various Confederacy officials for treason. Spooner dissassembles the constitution with much the same methodical, relentless resort to reason and principle that Paine used against George III. To be more precise, he doesn't dissassemble the components of the constitution. He dissassembles the underpinings of the constitution.

    A few from memory:

    The constitution cannot be binding because it has no consent. The consenters have long since died, and of the people existing at that time only a small fraction of the people actually consented.

    The constitution cannot be binding because it does not have the signatures of the consenters. No court would even think of enforcing an unsigned contract. To paraphrase Spooner, "Where would be the end of fraud and litigation if unsigned contracts were binding?" Well, 140 years later we can look to the putrid, festering mass called the federal government to see exactly how that sort of fraud and litigation worked out. Still no end in sight for the fedgov malignancy.

    Spooner points out [paraphrase] that it is illegal and immoral for a highwayman to point a gun in your face and demand money or property. And, he points out that when Mssr's. A, B, and C deputize D (via secret ballot voting) to do the threatening it is just as illegitimate. Merely casting a ballot can in no way suddenly legitimize it, nor can being appointed by ballot.

    There is more.

    Quite interesting essay actually. Lotsa food for thought.

    Another good Spooner essay is: An Essay on the Trial by Jury. If you just read Section One you will know more about the jury, its function in the scheme of government, and its rights and powers, than 99% of the population.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-18-2011 at 07:35 PM.

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    Thx citizen, I was going to explain it in as much detail as you did, after my question was answered! "Factually, what is the constitution?"

    I think non of the people who responded read the whole essay! They have to protect that unsigned four pieces of paper. Ohhh damn i just answered my question! it's just paper and ink that you cannot connect to me in any shape or form!
    Last edited by wolfeinstein; 01-18-2011 at 07:11 PM.

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    There is no need to read the whole essay. The third sentence, which would serve as a postulate for the rest of the essay is silly. It would, therefore, make the whole essay silly.

    Conclusions based on false postulates are not to be trusted. Why read them?

    But, why rely on logic, when snark serves your purpose so much better?

    Moving on.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pooley View Post
    That's exactly the sort of mindset we're up against. Some people think the constitution is just some sort of essay to written up to look good & has no bearing on modern America. Only problem with that is the constitution is America.
    Not so. Those who have elected to serve the Republic, and have been elected by the people to so serve, must swear an oath to the Constitution, in effect binding themselves to the agreement it represents, at least where their servitude to the Republic is concerned (for example, the laws politicians seek to pass, or the means by which Law Enforcement Officers enforce those laws).

    So, our government, all its agents, and anyone who wishes to function as a member of it, are bound by the agreement. They may presumably withdraw from the agreement by terminating their tenure of servitude.

    The mass of the people, as born and until so swearing, are not bound by any such agreement.

    Therefore, the Constitution protects us against the government, but it does not protect itself, or the government it describes, against the free and unfettered people. While we may elect at any time to seek a new agreement, the government may not, in turn, reject any aspect of this agreement, as government is defined in its very essence by the agreement.
    Last edited by marshaul; 01-18-2011 at 07:37 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    There is no need to read the whole essay. The third sentence, which would serve as a postulate for the rest of the essay is silly. It would, therefore, make the whole essay silly.

    Conclusions based on false postulates are not to be trusted. Why read them?

    But, why rely on logic, when snark serves your purpose so much better?

    Moving on.
    To those reading: expect no consideration of my arguments by eye95, who has determined them so unmanageable as to necessitate my being added to his ignore list. Presumably he is aware that he otherwise lacks the self-restraint to avoid rebutting, which inevitably results in his being shown for the sophist he is.

    However, the third sentence to which he is referring is the following:
    [The Constitution] purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago.
    This postulate is neither inherently false, nor true. I would submit that, in either event, it would require an analysis of the document in question to ascertain with certainty what the document does or does not, in fact, purport.

    Unlike eye95, Mr. Spooner did carry out such an analysis. In fact, he argues the position quite convincingly, I think you'll find, if you read it.

    It would be redundant to replicate the entire essay here (unless it would encourage the interested to actually read it, or discourage naysaying in ignorance!). However, I'll share the core of Spooner's analysis:

    That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but "the people" then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves. Let us see. Its language is:

    "We, the people of the United States (that is, the people then existing in the United States), in order to form a more perfect union, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    It is plain, in the first place, that this language, as an agreement, purports to be only what it at most really was, viz., a contract between the people then existing; and, of necessity, binding, as a contract, only upon those then existing. In the second place, the language neither expresses nor implies that they had any right or power, to bind their "posterity" to live under it. It does not say that their "posterity" will, shall, or must live under it. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their posterity, as well as to themselves, by promoting their union, safety, tranquility, liberty, etc.

    Suppose an agreement were entered into, in this form:

    We, the people of Boston, agree to maintain a fort on Governor's Island, to protect ourselves and our posterity against invasion.

    This agreement, as an agreement, would clearly bind nobody but the people then existing. Secondly, it would assert no right, power, or disposition, on their part, to compel, their "posterity" to maintain such a fort. It would only indicate that the supposed welfare of their posterity was one of the motives that induced the original parties to enter into the agreement.

    When a man says he is building a house for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of binding them, nor is it to be inferred that he is so foolish as to imagine that he has any right or power to bind them, to live in it. So far as they are concerned, he only means to be understood as saying that his hopes and motives, in building it, are that they, or at least some of them, may find it for their happiness to live in it.

    Thanks to Citizen for the articulate defense of Spooner, who was himself certainly no sophist.
    Last edited by marshaul; 01-18-2011 at 07:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    There is no need to read the whole essay. The third sentence, which would serve as a postulate for the rest of the essay is silly. It would, therefore, make the whole essay silly.

    Conclusions based on false postulates are not to be trusted. Why read them?

    But, why rely on logic, when snark serves your purpose so much better?

    Moving on.
    You're right, Eye. Don't read it. Even though the introduction is written by somebody else, probably over a century later. There is no possible way the author himself, giving full explanation and context...

    So, whatever you do, do not read it. Just don't. It would be a total waste of your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    SNIP Thanks to Citizen for the articulate defense of Spooner.
    You're welcome.

    ------------

    You quoted: "[The Constitution] purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago."


    Interestingly, our third President, Thomas Jefferson, thought along the same lines. In a letter to James Madison dated Sep 6, 1789 he wrote:

    The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of reflection in which we are immersed here on the elementary principles of society has presented this question to my mind; and that no such obligation can be so transmitted I think very capable of proof.--I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, "that the earth belongs in usufruct[*] to the living": that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it...

    On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct.


    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/found.../v1ch2s23.html

    * "Usufruct" means the right to use and derive profit from property belonging to someone else provided the property is not damaged in any way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfeinstein View Post
    I They have to protect that unsigned four pieces of paper. Ohhh damn i just answered my question! it's just paper and ink that you cannot connect to me in any shape or form!
    Considering how many people have given their lives for that piece of paper I have only one question.

    What country are you moving to?
    (and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out)
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 01-18-2011 at 07:59 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Considering how many people have given their lives for that piece of paper I have only one question.

    What country are you moving to?
    (and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out)
    Those lives were given to protect my freedom to engage in voluntary government, and to protect the possibility of that volition leading to my acceptance of the Constitution.

    I would ask nobody to give their lives to see that I am enslaved to the will of a tyrannical government acting in the name of dead men who would never support its atrocities. Further, I would insist that any lives given for such a reason were given at my expense, not my benefit.
    Last edited by marshaul; 01-18-2011 at 08:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Considering how many people have given their lives for that piece of paper I have only one question.

    What country are you moving to?
    (and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out)
    The point isn't that the constitution is completely valueless; the point is its shortcomings.

    As long as we idolize that parchment, we are prey to every shortcoming.

    For example, what if the Constitution was the best agreement* that could be achieved among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Men of ambition, some selfish, others mistrusting, others who literally wished for a monarch and nobility. What if the Constitution was the best agreement the "good" delegates could wrest from the others? Are we forever stuck with compromises that benefitted the selfish and ambitious? Never to achieve higher or better because we may not, dare not look past the parchment idolatry?


    * Ben Franklin's was the final address to the Constitutional Convention. Here is what he had to say: "...I doubt, too, whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution; for, when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?..."

    http://www.thisnation.com/library/accepting.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    The point isn't that the constitution is completely valueless; the point is its shortcomings.
    My post is not directed towards the linked essay.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    My post is not directed towards the linked essay.
    Yes. I understood that.

    Wolf's error, if you can call it one, is perhaps to overlook that Man has been moving towards greater freedom for millenia. The Constitution is just a way-point on that path. It has several flaws, and the biggest is that, while it pretends to derive its power from the "consent of the governed", it gives no man--not one--the right to refuse consent to be governed at all. You can consent by vote to this or that representative and his promises; but, you are going to be governed, buster. And, you are going to get a lot of it. Oh, yes! Guns in your face and all.

    Same for moving to another country, renouncing citizenship. In a way that would be a way the constitution allows you to refuse consent; but, not truly. Because no matter where you moved, you are still governed, consenting or not, which is emphatically not consent. A genuine consent provision would first require you to expressly consent to be governed by the federal constitution, in full awareness of all the implications, and allow you to later withdraw your consent to be governed at all while remaining in this country.

    If Wolf, or any man, in frustration points out the obvious disconnects between the Constitution, freedom, and himself, I won't criticize. Truly, given what the fedgov has become, would you, could you, refuse any man the right to refuse consent to be governed?

    We can blame politicians all day long--for 221 years--for not following the Constitution. Or, we can ask ourselves, "Hmmmm. If we keep getting screwed at this game, I wonder if the rules are rigged?" The rules are the Constitution. And, it has either given us the government we have, or was powerless to prevent it. Blaming men for not following it is circular reasoning; it was put in place to barrier selfish, ambitious men. Of course! they are not going to follow it.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-18-2011 at 08:46 PM.

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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    If Wolf, or any man, in frustration points out the obvious disconnects between the Constitution, freedom, and himself, I won't criticize.
    I have no issue with that. I have a big issue with snarky comments directed towards supporters of the Constitution.

    Every man has a right to engage in mental masturbation. I suggest the crosswords as apposed to Sunday quarterbacking Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin... unless one's brain is so big his shoulders can't support it.
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 01-18-2011 at 08:46 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Considering how many people have given their lives for that piece of paper I have only one question.

    What country are you moving to?
    (and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out)
    I simply asked a question to define it factually what the Constitution was! You couldn't... What ever you say or how much you love it it always be four pieces of paper and ink!
    Last edited by wolfeinstein; 01-18-2011 at 09:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    I have no issue with that. I have a big issue with snarky comments directed towards supporters of the Constitution.

    Every man has a right to engage in mental masturbation. I suggest the crosswords as apposed to Sunday quarterbacking Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin... unless one's brain is so big his shoulders can't support it.
    As contrasted to, say, blind supporters of the Constitution who are not even willing to read the essay to see if there is anything valid in it? Meaning people with fixed ideas? Which is what these arguments are really about--fixed ideas. Unwillingness to learn, read, or hear something that might or does threaten the fixed ideas.

    So, lets focus on Spooner's words. That is what the thread was about, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfeinstein View Post
    I simply asked a question to define it factually what the constitution was! You couldn't... What ever you say or how much you love it it always be four pieces of paper and ink!
    You're not helping. You're gonna derail your own thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfeinstein View Post
    I simply asked a question to define it factually what the constitution was! You couldn't... What ever you say or how much you love it it always be four pieces of paper and ink!
    It's more than anything you have posted.

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    Citizen!
    I like your responses very eloquent! Thank you for contributing to this post... You made so many great points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pooley View Post
    SNIP That's exactly the sort of mindset we're up against. Some people think the constitution is just some sort of essay to written up to look good & has no bearing on modern America...
    Different animal. Spooner is dissassembling the constitution's underpinings because some claiming constitutional authority wanted to go after Jeff Davis and others for treason after the Civil War. You can argue all day whether the Jeff Davis and Co. fit the definition of treason, maybe win, maybe lose.

    But, if you cut the legitimatacy right out from under the Constitution, you also cut out their authority to try Jeff Davis for treason. Much harder argument for your opponent to win intellectually. Much harder.

    Spooner rests on Locke and Jefferson.

    Today, those who want to undermine the constitution are seeking to install their own socio-economic utopia. Liberal this and that. At everyone else's expense. Any who use Spooner's ideas will, I bet, carefully omit everything he said about consent to be governed and government being robbery and extortion, since the only way they can achieve their utopia is if the rest of us are forced to accept their ideas, flowing as they do from "superior" and "enlightened" intelligence.

    The trick is to distinguish between the two animals. This is why one would want to read the essay. The distinction becomes apparent fairly quickly in the essay.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-18-2011 at 11:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    As contrasted to, say, blind supporters of the Constitution who are not even willing to read the essay to see if there is anything valid in it? Meaning people with fixed ideas? Which is what these arguments are really about--fixed ideas. Unwillingness to learn, read, or hear something that might or does threaten the fixed ideas.

    So, lets focus on Spooner's words. That is what the thread was about, anyway.
    Your words not mine.
    I did read the essay.
    If the thread in about Spooner then why does to OP continue to post?
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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