Everyone interested in individual freedom, should take a moment on Sunday, January 19th, to remember the birth of entrepreneur, lawyer, abolitionist, and scholar Lysander Spooner, born in 1808 in Athol, MA. In his prodigious corpus of work, Spooner emerges as an uncompromising champion of individual freedom, which he grounds in a robust understanding of Natural Law, what he came to call the “Science of Justice.” His strong belief in the liberty of the individual manifested itself in a number of ways.
Spooner operated a highly successful private postal service (soon shut down by the Federal Government). He developed a startlingly original and sophisticated argument that the US Constitution does not condone slavery (which greatly impressed, among others, Frederick Douglass). Next, he posed a powerful defense of personal freedom in Vices are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty (1875). Perhaps his most famous work was a series of essays entitled No Treason (1867, 1870) in which he makes a bold argument against the legitimacy of the US Constitution and, by implication, of State power in general.
For more information on the life and work of Lysander Spooner, please visit the excellent website www.lysanderspooner.org and the exhaustive collection of Spooner’s work at the Online Library of Liberty http://oll.libertyfund.org/person/4664.