Mondays with Murray: Rothbard on Lysander SpoonerSubmitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 03/11/2013 - 10:51
The Rand Paul filibuster, while it accomplished nothing in the way of policy changes and was clearly a politically calculated maneuver, did make for some excellent political theater. For starters, if nothing else, it did bring to the forefront the issues of Presidential assassinations and the ongoing, unchecked drone war. While those of us mired in the internetverse are well aware of these issues, the vast majority of mainstream Americans are still relatively unaware or unconcerned about these topics, and the fact that Senator Paul’s theatrics have thrust the issue into the national spotlight is certainly something to celebrate.
The best part about Rand Paul’s filibuster were the various references he cited throughout the 13-hour ordeal. From Lewis Carroll to F.A. Hayek to Glenn Greenwald, Senator Paul had a cornucopia of authors and philosophers on the ready when he walked to the Senate floor last week. To this anarcho-capitalist however, Paul’s filibuster will always be known as “That Time Lysander Spooner Was Referenced On The Senate Floor”. Spooner is one of the great anarchist philosophers of all-time, and his brief reference in Paul’s filibuster perked my ears up a bit.
Lysander Spooner is just plain awesome for several reasons. One is that he was an outspoken abolitionist long before it was cool. Not only did he advocate against the institution of slavery, he was also consistent in his opposition to the State and was able to separate the political issue of slavery from the Civil War. This led him, despite his virulent opposition to slavery, to defend the South in the Civil War 150 years before a bunch of “impressionable libertarian kids” would start doing the same.
Another awesomely anarchist thing Lysander Spooner did was start a mail service company intended to compete with the U.S. government’s claimed monopoly on mail service. In 1844 he founded the American Letter Mail Company. Legal challenges and harassment from the U.S. government would eventually force the American Letter Mail Company into bankruptcy.