Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

November 21, 2011

Lysander Spooner and Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 10:59 am

Having written a scathing blog yesterday on the inablity of the “Constitution” to reign in an out of control federal government, I thought I should reveal my sources and simultaneously give you a Christmas idea.  Have a friend who thinks they know everything about U.S. history?  Have a friend who thinks he is a conservative “radical?”  Get them this book by Lysander Spooner.  Your friend will be rethinking lots of things after reading just part of this stuff!  There are so many gems inside this book whose author was a  19th century northern abolitionist, secessionist. His writings on the Constitution are radical even for the anti-federalists that preceded him.  He says for instance that he doesn’t have to obey the Constitution because…ready?…he didn’t sign it.  He goes on to say that he defies anyone to show him a contract to which he can be legally bound by a third party’s signature, long since dead.  He says that the Constitution simply doesn’t apply to him.  It only applies to the government. 

He recognized the legal right to secession while adamantly opposing slavery.  His brilliant writings in opposition to the fugitive slave laws (where escaped slaves had to be returned to the south..interestingly supported by Lincoln) are rivetting reading.   His brilliant essay “On Vices and Crimes” represents the start of libertarianism in the social arena according to many scholars.  His equally brilliant essay on jury nullification is must reading for anyone that might ever serve on a jury (almost everyone!).  Jury nullification is the simple concept that juries sit to evaluate not only the facts in a case, but the law itself.  If the law which a man is accused of breaking is determined to be unjust, then even if the facts show that the law was broken the jury is obligated to find him not guilty by reason of an unjust law, no matter the instructions of the judge.  This is how many tyrannical laws were overturned during colonial days.  The prosecutor would prove that a man had violated The Stamp Act, for instance, and the jury would agree that he had indeed violated the act but would render a not guilty verdict because they thought the law to be unjust!  This “jury nullification” concept was well known to the founders and was thought to represent the last and ultimate check on federal power.  If the feds rained unjust laws down on the people, juries could simply nullify them using this approach.  That is why judges now give strict instructions to juries that “if you find that the defendant did indeed commit this or that act then you must render a  verdict of guilty.”  The founders would cry foul, as judges were never to be given this type of power and juries were never to be denied theirs. 

Introduce yourself and a friend to Spooner this Christmas.  You won’t be sorry.  Here is the website devoted to this man  and his writings.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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  1. Kindle versions of some of his works are free!

    Comment by Paul Harris — November 21, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  2. Did not know that. I laugh out loud when I read this guy. It is so radical but his logic is airtight.

    Comment by surgerycenterok — November 22, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

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