Lysander Spooner’s Letter to Grover Cleveland
This week Matt Zwolinski joins us to talk about the fascinating life of one of the most radical libertarians of the nineteenth century: the lawyer, abolitionist, political philosopher, and entrepreneur Lysander Spooner, who believed adamantly that we have no obligation to do what the government tells us to do just because the government is telling us to do something.
Near the end of his life Spooner wrote a letter to then-president Grover Cleveland. We discuss this letter and it’s implications on Spooner’s political philosophy, and the similarities between Lysander Spooner’s principles of natural law and contemporary philosopher Michael Huemer’s ideas on ethical intuitionism.
Show Notes and Further Reading
Lysander Spooner’s 1886 “A Letter to Grover Cleveland, on His False Inaugural Address, The Usurpations and Crimes of Lawmakers and Judges, and the Consequent Poverty, Ignorance, and Servitude of the People” (Online Library of Liberty link).
Lysander Spooner’s other, more popular works on slavery and vice, “The Unconstitutionality of Slavery” and ”Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty“ (Online Library of Liberty links).