Charles T. Sprading Quote

“Custom may suffice as the basis of law, but is inadequate as the basis of justice. Tyranny, not liberty, has been the custom in the past; and so Libertarians reject custom as a guiding principle, just as they reject power or might. They know that justice is not something that was, or is, but that is to be.”

~ Charles T. Sprading

Charles T. Sprading's Introduction to Liberty and the Great Libertarians; An Anthology On Liberty; A Hand-book Of Freedom (Los Angeles: The Libertarian Publishing Company, 1913)

Ratings and Comments


Mike, Norwalk

It is the basis of custom that may or may not be the basis of law. The entire set premise is flawed, so the conclusion isn't much better.

Mann, Kalamazoo

Libertarians aren't any more perfect in their positions or pronouncements than any other collection of philosophical like-thinkers. But as with most serious political theorists/activists, some of their concepts are quite pure nonetheless. Considering the wide scope of the issues encapsulated/simplified by the quote, perhaps Sprading may be criticized for being too ambitious. But the truth of his varied conclusions is undeniable - and completely heart wrenching.

E Archer, NYC

I like it. The primary reason corrupt governments get away with tyrannical acts is that the 'law' need not restrain them if the majority of people agree with the traditional form of knavery and deception. Custom and tradition are generally the culprits of war and servitude since these customs are thousands of years old and deeply ingrained in the consciousness of those indoctrinated by church and state. I agree, "justice is not something that was, or is, but that is to be."

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