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Dear Brian;

In part you wrote: twisted it into the "states' rights" concept, and then used it to argue that individual states have the "right" to violate the constitutional liberties of others.

The repercussions of these arguments reverberate even today. Every time "libertarian" Ron Paul, for instance, argues that the Lawrence versus Texas law that struck down "sodomy" laws is an unconstitutional violation of "state rights," I cringe. We should be defending the rights of the individual from predation of all levels of government as well as other individuals.

Actually what took place is the state saying it had the right to dictate morals and write laws against vices thereby enslaving its citizens with its dictatorial powers. It's like the states who had laws against adultery or laws against miscegnation or even laws saying who has the right to get married.

Every time I see a new law passed by the tyranny of 50% plus one I think of this partial statement from Lysander Spooner.

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

Lysander Spooner has much to say about this in his essay, "Natural Law; or The Science of Justice" (1882) in his powerful concluding paragraph:

"What, then, is legislation? It is an assumption by one man, or body of men, of absolute, irresponsible dominion over all other men whom they call subject to their power.
It is the assumption by one man, or body of men, of a right to subject all other men to their will and their service.

It is the assumption by one man, or body of men, of a right to abolish outright all the natural rights, all the natural liberty of all other men; to make all other men their slaves; to arbitrarily dictate to all other men what they may, and may not, do; what they may, and may not, have; what they may, and may not, be.

It is, in short, the assumption of a right to banish the principle of human rights, the principle of justice itself, from off the earth, and set up their own personal will, pleasure, and interest in its place.

All this, and nothing less, is involved in the very idea that there can be any such thing as human legislation that is obligatory upon those upon whom it is imposed."