August 23, 2013
Lysander Spooner was a 19th century anarchist and staunch abolitionist.
Every once in a while I run into those who’ve given up on the constitutional system in America. They argue that the whole thing suffers from fatal flaws, and they will often quote Spooner to make their case.
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
I understand the frustration, but I think those who make this argument miss an important point. They almost act as if the Constitution should enforce itself, or self-execute. They seem to think that because waving the document in front of rogue federal officials fails to compel them to stop usurping power, we should simply abandon the constitutional system altogether. But a contract doesn’t enforce itself. Some power must stand behind the ink and parchment to ensure compliance with its terms.