The Collected Works of Lysander Spooner

Astonishingly, Lysander Spooner has been very active during our hiatus. One of the most welcome developments is that the wonderful Online Library of Liberty has published The Collected Works of Lysander Spooner (1834-1886) in five volumes of facsimile pdf. On Amazon you can currently find sellers offering complete hardcover collections of Spooner’s work for $350-$425. I’m delighted with this free version.

The contents:

Volume I (1834-1850) [473 pp.]

1.The Deist’s Immortality, and an Essay on Man’s Accountability for his Belief (Boston, 1834).

2.”To the Members of the Legislature ofMassachusetts.” Worcester Republican. -Extra. August 26, 1835.

3.The Deist’s Reply to the Alleged Supernatural Evidences of Christianity (Boston, 1836).

4.Supreme Court of United States, January Term, 1839. Spooner vs. M’Connell, et al.

5.Constitutional Law, relative to Credit, Currency, and Banking (Worcester, Mass.: Jos. B. Ripley, 1843).

6.The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress, Prohibiting Private Mails (New York: Tribune Printing Establishment, 1844).

7.Poverty: its Illegal Causes and Legal Cure. Part First. (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1846).

8.Who caused the Reduction of Postage? Ought he to be Paid? (Boston: Wright and Hasty’s Press, 1850).

9.Illegality of the Trial of John W. Webster. (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1850)

10.A Defence for Fugitive Slaves (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1850).

Volume II (1852-1855) [463 pp.]

11.An Essay on the Trial by Jury (Boston:John P. Jewett and Co., 1852).

12.The Law of Intellectual Property; or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in their Ideas, Vol. 1 (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855).

Volume III (1858-1862) [488 pp.]

13.To the Non-Slaveholders of the South (1858).

14.Address of the Free Constitutionalists to the People of the United States (Boston: Thayer & Eldridge, 1860).

15.The Unconstitutionality of Slavery (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1860).

16.The Unconstitutionality of Slavery: Part Second (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1860).

17.A New System of Paper Currency. (Boston: Stacy and Richardson, 1861).

18.Our Mechanical Industry, as Affected by our Present Currency System: An Argument for the Author’s “New System of Paper Currency” (Boston: Stacy & Richardson, 1862).

Volume IV (1863-1873) [306 pp.]

19.Articles of Association of the Spooner Copyright Company for Massachusetts (1863).

20.Considerations for Bankers, and Holders of United States Bonds (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1864).

21.A Letter to Charles Sumner (1864).

22.No Treason, No. 1 (Boston: Published by the Author, 1867).

23.No Treason. No II.The Constitution (Boston: Published by the Author, 1867).

24.Senate-No. 824. Thomas Drew vs. John M. Clark (1869).

25. No T reason. No VI. The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: Published by the Author, 1870).

26. A New Banking System: The Needful Capital for Rebuilding the Burnt District (Boston: A. Williams % Co., 1873).

Volume V (1875-1886) [294 pp.]

27.Vices are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty (1875).

28.Our Financiers: Their Ignorance, Usurpations, and Frauds. Reprinted from “The Radical Review” (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1877).

29.The Law of Prices: A Demonstration of the Necessity for an Indefinite Increase of Money. Reprinted from “The Radical Review” (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1877).

30.Gold and Silver as Standards of Value: The Flagrant Cheat in Regard to Them. Reprinted from “The Radical Review” (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1878).

31. Universal Wealth shown to be Easily Attainable (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1879).

32. No. 1. Revolution: The only Remedy for the Oppressed Classes of Ireland, England, and Other Parts of the British Empire. A Reply to “Dunraven” (Second Edition, 1880).

33. Natural Law; or the Science of Justice: A Treatise on Natural Law, Natural Justice, Natural Rights, Natural Liberty, and Natural Society; showing that all Legislation whatsoever is an Absurdity, a Usurpation, and a Crime. Part First. (Boston: A. Williams & Co., 1882).

34. A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard: Challenging his Right – and that of all the Other So-called Senators and Representatives in Congress – to Exercise any Legislative Power whatever over the People of the United States (Boston: Published by the Author, 1882).

35. A Letter to Scientist and Inventors, on the Science of Justice, and their Right of Perpetual Property in their Discoveries and Inventions (Boston: Cupples, Upham & Co., 1884).

36. A Letter to Grover Cleveland, on his False Inaugural Address, the Usurpations and Crimes of Lawmakers and Judges, and the Consequent Poverty, Ignorance, and Servitude of the People (Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, Publisher, 1886).

Gold, Guns, Ammo, and Food – That’s Crazy!

I love Nevada.  We have wild horses, slot machines, legal brothels, and guys who die leaving $7 million in gold bullion stored in their garages.  We also value a certain arms length congeniality.  So when Carson City resident Walter Samaszko, 69,  passed away in his home in June of a heart attack, it was a few weeks before anyone started wondering where he was.

“He was a good neighbor.  I never saw him that much,” said Joe Baxter.

The men had exchanged waves on occasion from across Mountain View Street,  a modestly quiet area in the northeast part of town.  Baxter didn’t know Samaszko very well, but recently accepted an offer from a real estate agent friend to go through some of the dead man’s possessions  prior to putting the house on the market.  Imagine their surprise when they came upon a couple of ammo cans filled with 4000 ounces of gold coins.  They contacted the Carson City County Clerk Alan Glover and that’s when the clucking started.

“The amount of it was what was overwhelming.  They had to use a wheelbarrow to move boxes and boxes of gold from the house,”  claims Glover, but while 4000 ounces is 250 pounds, the volume only occupies the space of about 1.5 gallons of water.  I may well have used a wheelbarrow, too, but boxes and boxes?  This sounds like something of an exaggeration of the facts.  Easy to do in a case like this, but Glover continues.

“He was a hoarder.  He had cases of salmon.  Cases of tunafish.”

Apparently Glover doesn’t shop at Costco, where it’s common to see customers rolling Kirkland tuna out of the store by the case.  And because Mr. Samaszko possessed what Clerk Glover characterizes as conspiracy books along with some guns and cases of ammo, he concludes that:

“It appears he did not like government very much.”

It’s not apparent in print, but if you watched the KRNV video, Glover clearly comments with some disdain about a man who really can’t correct any of Glover’s conclusions or possible misconceptions.  For example, the use of the term “hoarder” in today’s vernacular connotes crazy people from reality TV who cram their homes with junk, but gold, guns, ammo, and food are not junk.  We like that sort of thing out here in these parts.

And just what does Glover mean by conspiracy books?  Did Samaszko have a copy of The Creature From Jekyll Island or, God forbid, Ron Paul’s End the Fed?  Is that where he got the whacky idea that gold bullion might be a valuable thing to keep around.  Wow.  How crazy is that?


Billy Beck’s Articles Removed From No Treason

In resurrecting No Treason, which has been off the web since 2008, I’ve decided to remove Billy Becks articles from the site, since I no longer have any use for them. This deserves some explanation since Beck was once a major contributor to the site. In 2006 Beck claimed that I was no longer authorized to host his articles:

Kennedy: you are no longer authorized to keep any of my articles here. This has been the fact since the very last thing I ever posted here. You can look it up, although you will refuse to understand it. You have said that *I* said that you can could keep that stuff here as long as the site existed. I didn’t argue with you, and I am not interested to, now. You know what I said: if I actually made that agreement, then I would live with it. I don’t believe that I did, but I’m not interested in the fight, because it would mean dealing with your fucking bullshit exactly one second longer than I care to. But none of that is to the point: that stuff is mine, everybody knows it, and now everyone is clear about it.

At the time I was in no mood to indulge Beck in this matter, since I had paid for the rights to host the material. I’ve decided to explain how I acquired those rights. The following timeline has been reconstructed from memory and context, since I no longer have the original emails, and is probably not completely accurate. But the substance of the agreements is accurate.

Around the time I launched No Treason in June 2001 I sent John Sabotta $50 for the No Treason logo you see above and for design work that went with it. I also sent Beck $50 for three articles he would write for No Treason, articles along the lines of those he had written for Union Square Journal. I never paid another writer for articles, but at the time I considered Beck a draw for the audience I was going after and I thought It would help the site to get him involved. Beck never actually submitted the three articles agreed upon, but the contract was eventually satisfied by mutual agreement. By early 2002 Beck had still submitted nothing. I saw a piece on abortion he’d posted, probably on Usenet, called “You’d Bloody Well Do It Without Me”. I offered to publish this as an article on No Treason as the first of Beck’s three articles. He agreed.

In June of 2002 I started the first blog at No Treason. Beck blogged there but had still not submitted the final two articles by the end of 2002. In early 2003 I offered to accept, in lieu of the two contracted articles, the right to publish a bunch of articles Beck had originally written for Laissez Faire City Times and Union Square Journal, along with a few articles that were on Beck’s own web site.

Mindful of the fact that Beck had withdrawn his articles from Union Square Journal over a disagreement with editor Martin McPhillips, I made it clear to Beck that I was purchasing the right to host those articles on No Treason in perpetuity, along with any blog posts he contributed – I wasn’t paying for material that he could withdraw at whim, as he had done in the past. Beck agreed, retaining the right to publish any of his NT contributions anywhere else he liked.

Beck claims to not remember making such a deal (though note that he stopped short of saying it didn’t happen), and I’ll take him at his word on that. But I do remember, and I retain the rights I purchased. At this time I have no further desire to host the material and and have removed it. It’s possible that I’ve missed stray posts, so if you find a Beck contribution on No Treason please bring it to my attention.

Gene Callahan Joins The Smearbund

(Smearbund – I just can’t get enough of that word lately. That’s why I read Lew’s blog.)

A writer from Lew Rockwell’s stable finally (!) breaks ranks. Gene Callahan has had enough:

The final straw: “Last week, a statement was prepared by Ron Paul’s press secretary Jesse Benton, and approved by Ron Paul, acknowledging Lew Rockwell as having a role in the newsletters. The statement was squashed by campaign chairman Kent Snyder.”

Man, Paul’s behavior regarding these newsletters has been awful. His “I don’t know who wrote these” is about as slippery as a politician can get. Everyone who was around libertarianism in the early 90s knows Lew was in charge of these and knows Rothbard and his crew were into race-baiting back then. (By the way, notice that the longer Lew has been away from Rothbard’s influence, the more decent he’s become? I personally have found him very affable, and I can’t imagine him putting out material like this today. Just shows what hanging around Rothbard can do to you.)

Paul’s got a decent message, but he’s the wrong vehicle for delivering it.

In comments there, co-blogger Bob Murphy farvors a more traditional (*) approach, one that he likens to a blue wall of silence:

I think you are overreacting in the opposite way here, Gene. I.e. yes, I totally agree that (a) certain things in those newsletters were inexcusable, (b) RP is clearly lying about it now when he says he has no idea who wrote it, and (c) it is silly to just dismiss the inquiries as smears.

Having said all that, I do kinda wonder why Sanchez and his co-author decided to write that particular article, when the damage had already been done by the TNR one. If next week some anti-Irish magazine came out with a story that you did a bunch of drugs when you were younger (outlandish, I know), and this was getting you in trouble with your PhD committee, I wouldn’t comment to any reporter who called me up about it. And I sure as heck wouldn’t spend a few days doing research on it because “Callahan won’t come clean on this!”

Does that sound so crazy? If I were to do that, don’t you think some of your buddies would think, “Jeez, I thought Bob was Gene’s friend!” ?

I realize this sounds like cops and their blue wall of silence whenever one of them beats up a suspect, and maybe my view is just that wrong / tribal / petty. But I understand why longtime fans of LRC are lashing out at Reason on this, and don’t view Sanchez as Bob Woodward.

(* Traditional among Rockwell’s writers, that is.)

The Ron Paul Flap – Short Version

One thing that has been virtually absent from the whole Ron Paul Newsletter shitstorm is the simple fact that racism per se is not incompatible with libertarianism. That fact, brought to light when the newsletters were publicized, would have short-circuited weeks of yelling by both sides. So why hasn’t anyone prominent in the debate taken notice of it? The answer is that the public outrage to such a defense would be enormous.

Neither side in the newsletter flap cares to discuss this, because doing so would be very unpopular. Both sides would rather avoid unpopular truth – it’s of no use to them.

The Ron Paul flap basically boils down to two camps of liars, each of whom claims that the other is, well, …lying.

I’m slightly underwhelmed.

The Law Is The Law. Or Something.

I saw Ron Paul on CNN’s Situation Room today, he was filibustering to burn up any time during which he might have to face more questions about his newsletters. One thing he said was that he would pardon anyone convicted of a non-violent drug crime. That’s pretty sweet.

But in the Fox debate tonight when the subject of illegal immigration came up he said, “The law is the law and it ought to be enforced.”


If the law is the law for wetbacks why shouldn’t the law be the law for tweakers?

Grab That Gas With Both Hands

Winning an argument is not enough if you win it by conceding your opponent’s erroneous ideas. JTK illustrated this at the start of the recent invasion in Iraq:

This is the argument libertarians need to make, not that war is evil, but that it can never be moral to force others to participate. It will do no good to win the argument that a war is evil while implicitly accepting that it is legitimately a collective decision; that’s the wrong hill. The right hill is the one where we reject the collectivist premise first.

Recently, a blog post at The Last Free Voice posted a link to a letter. The Governor of Connecticut recently chided Chesapeake Energy for refusing to sell some of its natural gas, since Chesapeake would lose money. Cheapeake’s CEO responded with a letter outlining why the Governor was wrong. The Last Free Voice, which hosts the letter, said that the letter “explain[ed] all the ways in which Governor Rell was wrong.” I read the letter, and it was entertaining. But the letter did not explain all the ways that Governor Rell was wrong. In fact, although the letter may have won on its various arguments, it ultimately lost, because it conceded Governor Rell’s fundamental premise: that the State of Connecticut has any business telling Chesapeake what to do with the gas it drills.

And there’s the problem. Even when you win an argument, if you concede the wrong premises, you lose. Chesapeake nowhere argued that Connecticut has no business messing with its gas. Chesapeake, then, has implicitly conceded that Connecticut does have business messing with its gas. Chesapeake may win this battle, but it has already conceded the war.

Immigration Debate Flaring Up Again

Don Boudreaux’s column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has restarted some of the libertarian immigration debate over at the LRC blog. One of the more interesting posts comes from Ryan McMaken:

Yes, we’ve established that many libertarians, including Rothbard and Mises favored controls on immigration, but as far as I can see neither of them offered specific policies either. I can’t imagine Rothbard supporting REAL ID or greater punishments for business owners, so what’s the answer? Mises speaks vaguely of controlling the borders, but what does that mean exactly? And perhaps Mises was wrong? Mises wants to keep out fifth columnists as quoted by Stephan below. Fine. But how? How exactly does Mises propose that be done? National ID cards? Secret police? What? And if we think national ID cards and secret police are necessary for a functioning society, then why are we libertarians?

Unsurprisingly, No Treason is ahead of its time:

My basic point is that preventing free immigration requires targeting peaceful individuals with deadly force. There is no other way to prevent what they oppose.

Those advocating such immigration control ought to be willing, in principle, to go down and patrol the Mexican border themselves and employ deadly force against a peaceful individual who wants to come mow my lawn.

Indeed. Controlling the borders of the state requires using force, potentially deadly force, against someone who is violating no one’s rights. Furthermore, McMaken is right: our rights will have to be violated in order to close the borders – more taxes, more programs, more agents. And of course, anyone here of Mexican descent becomes immediately suspect and ripe for harassment, both locally and federally.

So, what is the libertarian way to close the borders and enforce it?