Lysander Spooner's Bicentennial:
January 19th was the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Lysander Spooner, lawyer, abolitionist, entrepreneur, legal theorist and scholar. You can read a short bio and description of his approach to constitutional interpretation here. Professor Helen Knowles of SUNY Oswego and Spooner scholar (yes there are at least 2) baked the following cake in his honor:

Happy Birthday Lysander

Here is a photo of the monument at his birthplace in Athol, Massachusetts:

Spooner's Birthplace

Spooner Plaque

Here is the apartment house in which he died:

Spooner's Last Home

Here is the monument on his grave at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston:

Champion of Liberty

Spooner's grave

Happy Birthday Lysander!
what do you think (mail):
Prof. Barnett, as one of the few Spooner scholars out there, I wonder if you could say something (in a nutshell) about his influence on constitutional theory, American political thought, etc. I'm not asking your assessment of the merits of his views, but rather Spooner's impact. He is, of course, fairly obscure today, which doesn't necessarily mean much. Also, what book would you like to see someone write related to Spooner's life or thought?
1.22.2008 2:16pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
A great Honor, and this looks very interesting.

But, Gee Whis, before i read the finer print, after seeing the pics, I thought it was ANOTHER home in foreclosure!
1.22.2008 2:34pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr: "whis" = Whiz
1.22.2008 2:36pm
Good stuff, I rembmer this from last year as well.

You can certainly do worse than have "Champion of Liberty" on your tomb stone.
1.22.2008 3:12pm
John Kindley (mail) (www):
Lysander Spooner is indeed one of my two greatest inspirations. The other is Henry George. Your book "Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" persuaded me that, even if one agrees with Spooner that the Constitution is of "no authority," government actions pursuant to the Constitution which merely conform to natural justice and do not violate natural rights (e.g., laws proscribing murder and robbery) are, almost tautologically, just. Your book does not address, however, the essential and unavoidable question of how such government actions could conceivably be funded legitimately. Henry George, on the other hand, provides a compelling answer to this question: a "single 'tax'" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would both protect natural property rights and fund such protection. In George's words:

"The right of property does not rest on human laws; they have often ignored and violated it. It rests on natural laws—that is to say, the law of God. It is clear and absolute, and every violation of it, whether committed by a man or a nation, is a violation of the command, 'Thou shalt not steal.' The man who catches a fish, grows an apple, raises a calf, builds a house, makes a coat, paints a picture, constructs a machine, has, as to any such thing, an exclusive right of ownership which carries with it the right to give, to sell or bequeath that thing.
But who made the earth that any man can claim such ownership of it, or any part of it, or the right to give, sell or bequeath it? Since the earth was not made by us, but is only a temporary dwelling place on which one generation of men follow another; since we find ourselves here, are manifestly here with equal permission of the Creator, it is manifest that no one can have any exclusive right of ownership in land, and that the rights of all men to land must be equal and inalienable. There must be an exclusive right of possession of land, for the man who uses it must have secure possession of land in order to reap the products of his labor. But his right of possession must be limited by the equal right of all, and should therefore be conditioned on the payment to the community by the possessor of an equivalent for any special valuable privilege thus accorded him.
When we tax houses, crops, money, furniture, capital or wealth in any of its forms, we take from individuals what rightfully belongs to them. We violate the right of property, and in the name of the State commit robbery. But when we tax ground values, we take from individuals what does not belong to them, but belongs to the community, and which cannot be left to individuals without the robbery of other individuals."
1.22.2008 3:55pm
And we all know who Lysander Spooner would support for President in 2008: Ron Paul.

Happy Birthday indeed.
1.22.2008 4:25pm
What flavor was the cake?
1.22.2008 5:34pm
Brian E:
1.22.2008 7:03pm
Rahul (mail):
Amen HappyLee - ironically some folks who do appreciate Lysander Spooner find it difficult to support Ron Paul. One of the mysteries of this election cycle to me has been the abandoning of Ron Paul by most influential libertarians. Sad, but true.
1.22.2008 8:52pm
Randy Barnett wrote January 22, 2008 at 1:41pm:
Happy Birthday Lysander!

And thanks for this little party, cake and all!
1.23.2008 12:48am
Pon Raul:
Why didn't any Ron Paul supporter organize a mass donation to Ron Paul on the 200th anniversary of Spooner's birthday?

Someone should be sacked!!!
1.23.2008 10:37am
John M. Perkins (mail):
Is Michael Curtis at Wake Forest the other Spooner scholar?
1.23.2008 1:01pm
Roderick T. Long (mail) (www):
I'll take this opportunity for a shameless plug of my paper Inside and Outside Spooner's Natural Law Jurisprudence.
1.23.2008 2:02pm
Roderick T. Long (mail) (www):
Oh, and check out my favourite picture of Spooner (courtesy of B. K. Marcus).
1.23.2008 2:06pm
Roderick T. Long (mail) (www):
Oh, one more thing: it seems pretty clear that Spooner, at least in his No Treason years, would not have supported anyone for President, and certainly not someone who brags about "taking marching orders from the Constitution."
1.23.2008 2:11pm