Lysander SpoonerLysander Spooner, (1808-1887) Political theorist, activist, abolitionist

Lysander Spooner Quote

“The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.:
1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth.
2. Dupes—a large class, no doubt—each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a “free man,” a “sovereign”; that this is “a free government”; “a government of equal rights,” “the best government on earth,” and such like absurdities.
3. A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change.”

Lysander SpoonerLysander Spooner
~ Lysander Spooner

No Treason. No. VI The Constitution of no Authority, (Boston: Published by the Author, 1870)

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

OK, I like it.

jim k, austin

Number one describes perfectly the members of our current Congress, and number two, the people who voted for them. Number one pretty well describes government back at least as far as Lincoln, maybe farther.


The man is so limited in his thinking...

Waffler, Smith

Lysander has shown himself to be a** in every quote he has made, but this is the worse. I wish we could ask him what government he would like. How can Mike in Jim who always defend and would like a return as they call it to The Constitution defend this quote and this quy who says all defeneders of it are of1, 2, or 3 classes of imbicility.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, by way of illustration but, not by way of limitation: you say you defend the Constitution because you are allowed one voice out of millions in choosing someone to represent the statist theocracy that now infests this land, that said representative may decide what you may do with your own person and such property as you claim title to, and, because you are permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering you, is stupid enough to imagine that you are a "free man," (never go as far as a sovereign); that this is "a free government"; "a government of equal rights," "the best government on earth," and such like absurdities. And me, having some appreciation of the evils of government.

Waffler, Smith

Lysander has shown himself to ba an ass. When did government actually go bad Mike and become all the things that you say it is, in your opinon?. Thoreau in 1830 and Lysander 20 or 30 years later felt the same way as you do today 150 years or so later. I have told you once and I will tell you again, it is not the government now and it was not the government in Thoreau's or Lydander's time it is simply a personality type that you have in common with these guys and a certain penchant for a certain phiolosophical outlook. None of your or their observations or feelings have much to do with reality, now or then.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, thanks, you are absolutely right. My reality does not encompass slavery, tyranny, or despotism as does yours. That's part of what makes this blog so fun, people who don't agree with me help to sharpen my personal beliefs.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Waffler, you're "first class".

E Archer, NYC

Change the word 'Constitution' to 'democracy' and it is bang on! This explains politics to a tee.

  • Reply
rbesrq    11/13/09

You all make good points but, I must on this occasion side with Waffler for his sincerity - a good example would be TS Elliot's "Cocktail Party." Sadly, I fall into cat 3 though, with hope and optimism, this may change into cat 4. Mike, please realize that we are not out to change your belief or have you agree with opposing opinions - all we can do is share our thoughts and this will make us better human beings. Let not those who disagree sharpen your beliefs but allow you to discuss more openly and objectively others beliefs - sharpening your own beliefs is only half the equation.

Waffler, Smith

And you Ken are a personality type. Nothing you say ever has any evidentiary support you like Mike and Lysander are just nuts with a warped personality. It is really great to be seen as sincere I wish I could see some of these others that way, RBESRQ.

Jordan Hoiberg

The OSTENSIBLE supporters of Constitution without a doubt fall into these three categories. I've seen the Constitution be used too many times as leverage to effect a personal goal. The saddest thing is that I have met VERY few people that have not had one of these three mentalities ground into them. As a final point, I would like to confess, that in all honesty, I belong to the third category.

Howard Romano, Bangkok

Love Spooner.  Very Frederic Bastiatish.  I wonder if Waffler ever read No Treason?  It's free on the internet and a short read.  Spooner's logic is irrefutable to any one with an open mind to ponder the truth.

E Archer, NYC
  • Reply
E Archer, NYC Howard Romano, Bangkok 10/26/18

Spooner makes himself perfectly clear from the very first page.  It is hard to argue with such facts, especially as Spooner expresses them!  No 'tough love' here, just hard fact.

Ronw13, OR

4) sovereign independent patriot, willing to sacrifice.

E Archer, NYC
  • Reply
E Archer, NYC Ronw13, OR 10/26/18

There would have to be a 4th class, right?  If the 3rd class are those that will not "sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change" then either there are or there aren't ever some of those who DO.  Granted the 4th group is only as big as those that know who they are  if only that small minority could become a majority, the consciousness of America would reverberate around the world.

E Archer, NYC

In 'No Treason' Spooner makes a very fine point: our ancestors cannot bind us to their words spoken in their time, they do not have the authority to do so.  I always felt that an American, when reaching adulthood, should sign the Declaration of Independence and make the words their own — that would be my agreement to be a responsible citizen.  Those that choose not to sign will continue to be treated as wards of the state until they are declared competent. ;-)

I've certainly been 'duped' into working for 'knaves' alongside a few who can see the naked truth but believe themselves powerless to do anything or even what to do.  Interesting that so many of us have no Civics training or simple understanding of Common Law  without that we are but inferiors to lawyers and made perpetual wards of the state.

Mike, Norwalk
  • Reply
Mike, Norwalk E Archer, NYC 10/27/18

Very well said, thank you.

Mike, Norwalk

I would add at least a 4th class; i.e., Competent Sentient Sovereigns that love liberty, comprehend "the laws of nature and of nature's God" and understand that the Constitution "was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." I really like Archer's sentiment of each individual signing the Declaration of Independence  it is held self evident by those awake Sovereigns that patrons of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land are uniquely helots, serfs and slaves (inclusive of Spooner's here 3 classes) not knowing or understanding the principles being addressed in the Constitution.

Addressed by Spooner above, all rights are equal  and — are also inalienable / unalienable, being outside the reach of man's limitations.

Mike, Norwalk

Editor, you may be interested: I've been traveling and going into public libraries. The internet in many of these public libraries do not offer access to your blog for a multiple of reasons. One reason is "Liberty Quotes" is blocked because of IP Attack. ? ? ? I'm probably considered a hostile to you ;-)  Thank you very, VERY much for your here efforts and all you do.

Editor, Liberty Quotes
  • Reply
Editor, Liberty Quotes Mike, Norwalk 10/29/18

Thank you, Mike.  Our site(s) have been banned for years in many places.  I check our domain trustworthiness regularly to make sure we haven't been added to any banned lists.  I can say that there has been a concerted effort over the years to censor sites and pages that promote 'liberty'  it is a trigger word for 'hate speech' because it offends the ruling class and their dependents.  Let's hope that the cause of Liberty does not entirely depend on this site. :-)  Mike if you wouldn't mind sending me an email, I'd like to get more details about the messages you've been getting when trying to connect to the site, maybe figure out how to get 'approved' again.  Cheers.


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