The state can impose laws on you, because in the end, the state wields physical power.
To lawyer about, even with odd ideas, within the framework of your state, to try and change it, or by interpreting existing laws wildly differently makes some sense.
But to pretend that the laws of a state don't apply to you, because you deny the whole state legitimacy, means you are putting the physical power of you and your fellow dissidents against the power of the state.
That makes some sense in some situations I guess, but to try and do that so half-assed semi-within the legal framework of the state you are in and often enough just to get out of traffic tickets... I guess I just don't seem the end-game.
That sort of story is often about contract law (the devil ones especially) so the freemen focus on that. And "social contract" has contract in the name, which gives the laws-are-magic-spells thinking a fertile place to start out . The rest follows from wishful thinking that knowing the law is made of magic spells will work out in your favor.
Their claim is that the 1% / the lizard people / the illuminati / whatever have used trickery to create a legal system in which certain laws only apply to the unenlightened. If you understand how the system works, you can claim the same impunity that the elite do.
For example, when a police or court officer asks you, "Do you understand?" they are really asking if you "stand under (the law)" -- i.e. they are tricking you into consenting to be bound by the law.
Utter nonsense, of course, but very attractive nonsense if you're poor, powerless and pissed off.
The Freemen look around and see that the world appears to be run by means of legal chicanery, little of which they understand. They feel helpless and lost in the face of this gargantuan machine of State.
So when someone proposes some theory which:
a) contains legal-sounding words, and
b) posits that these Freemen can use their own brand of legal chicanery to magic their way out of their debts
... then they latch on to it with gusto, proudly parroting back the legal-sounding nonsense because it helps them feel better about the vast, dark horror of life in the modern world.
EDIT: also, what jtolmar said.
While true, imposing laws by exercising supreme physical power is not a unique feature of states, and is a matter of degree. For instance, in a state that doesn't maintain that level of power, such as Afghanistan, someone else will fill the vacuum, such as the Taliban. And there could be states that are even less tolerant of those movements than the liberal democracies where they seem to flourish. There are no such billboards in China.
So I think those movements are to some extent a product of situations where a state wields supreme physical power but does not exercise that power in totality.
I agree with you that these radical ideas stand no chance before a judge who will not hesitate to send you to jail for not respecting the authority of the court.
While I agree that these theories are ineffective and sometimes false, in a general sense they are true.
According to the US Code, the United States organic law is comprised of the Declaration of Independence(1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777), the Northwest Ordinance (1787) and the Constitution (1787). While mainstream academia says these have no legal or constitutional force, I'd disagree. In France, the organic law does have constitutional force and thus overrules statutes.
In essence, the United States is based on the natural rights acknowledge in the Declaration that says we have the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". And any government whether, local, or state or national that diminishes these natural rights, we have a duty to alter or abolish them. This is the Right of Revolution, although the establishment would say this is now invalid since we have democratic methods to change the government.
Regardless, American rights pre-existed the Constitution, the government and the Declaration. Our rights are derived by the nature of our humanity and a natural "God" in the context of Deism, not religion.
And there are endless moderate abuses of the state; wholesale denials of civil rights, aggressive and unjust actions by judges, prosecutors and police. It's akin to Chinese water torture, a mild form of oppression that has a cumulative effect resulting in gangs, distrust between the public and the police and endless crimes.
Becraft doesn't want to pay income tax and has developed some lunatic theories which, to his mind, allow him to not pay income tax. He's done time in prison because, surprise of surprises, his nutball theories don't change the actual law. He "fought the IRS" in much the same way as an ant might "fight" a ten-pound sledgehammer.
> According to the US Code, the United States organic law is comprised of the Declaration of Independence(1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777), the Northwest Ordinance (1787) and the Constitution (1787).
"Organic law" apparently does not mean what you think it means:
The Declaration of Independence does not have the force of law and it never has. It was a justification for the rebellion, and that's it.
The Articles of Confederation have not had the force of law since they were replaced by the Constitution, so saying they have force of law along with the Constitution is incoherent. The latter totally superseded the former.
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress under the Articles of Confederation which was subsequently recognized as valid law by the courts after the ratification of the Constitution. As an act of Congress, however, it can be modified by further acts of Congress and by the courts. It is not on an equal footing with the Constitution by any means.
> While mainstream academia says these have no legal or constitutional force, I'd disagree.
It isn't just the academics which disagree with you, but the government itself, and the government gets to decide what law is. You lose.
To be clear, you are stating that "mainstream academia" purports to hold that the "Constitution for the United States of America" does not have constitutional force? I find that more than a little hard to fathom.
(By the way, you do note that the Articles of Confederation were superseded by the Constitution through the acts of the state legislatures at the time and subsequent resolution of the Continental Congress, yes?)
This may be a shocking revelation to you, but countries that aren't France aren't France.
I tend to disagree with the ASA here. The Sovereign Citizen movement is associated with severe harm -- people lose their money and their possessions, sometimes ending up in jail, because they associate with This One Weird Trick to stop paying tax or drive without insurance and licence.
US tax authorities have a list of frivolous tax arguments. These are often used by SC/FoLs.
There are a bunch of Youtube videos of people making incoherent arguments using these themes.
Here's one of my favourites: police seized a camera. The people went to the station to get it back. The police want to give it back, but can only give it back to Mr Allen. Since the people don't have names they can't claim to be Mr Allen.
It's a pretty fascinating cataloging and dissection of every fringe legal quackery he's seen or is aware of. Great read, as legal decisions go.
If you'd like to read a rather well done paper on it, check out this one from the UCLA Law Review: http://www.uclalawreview.org/pdf/57-1-7.pdf
(By way of example, I was born "Firstname Middlename Lastname." I use an abbreviated form of my middle name in common usage, so let's say "Mid Lastname." A couple of my credit accounts have "Mid Lastname" on them, as does one of my utility bills, because they accepted my preference for using that name. Others have "Firstname Lastname" or "Firstname M. Lastname" because that was the policy of the business when I opened them. They are all equally valid and equally binding on me because I am the one who did those acts and I can demonstrate that I am. Why have I not done the statutory name change process in my state to formally adopt "Mid Lastname" as my recognized name? Eh, haven't felt like it.)
If the people running the government are trying to enslave you via the law, they're really not going to leave (or honor) a loophole that sets you free.
You could probably be stateless if you absolutely wanted, but I hear that's not very fun. A more realistic alternative is to get citizenship in another country. Apparently these people think that their current country is the greatest, but not quite great enough. I mean, it can't be that bad, then, can it?
In many cases that isn't true anymore, since modern law generally disfavors statelessness. In many countries, you can't renounce your citizenship unless you have another citizenship. Alternatively, they may accept the renunciation but with legal effect conditional on receipt of a replacement citizenship.
Countries who've ratified the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness agree to that explicitly:
Laws for the renunciation of a nationality shall be conditional upon a person's acquisition or possession of another nationality. (Exceptions: not to frustrate freedom of movement of nationals within a country, not to frustrate return of nationals to their country, not to frustrate a person's ability to seek asylum.)
People use them to "pay" their taxes; car loans; utility bills; etc.
(There's a BBC programme about this, I'm trying to find it now)
See also Guy Taylor at Bodenham Manor - these people can rack up huge amounts of debt before the system catches up.
Also: Someone can become rich before they become mentally ill. (If we're assuming these billboards are a result of mental illness).
This does not occur to their gullible students, who take their teacher's continued lack of indictment as proof that the methods work.
I think the show's host matches one of Daniel Kahneman's warnings about how being very confident in one's pronouncements can be so dangerous if we don't ask what record of success they have in their recommendations.
TLR used to be a broadcast station (now internet only), just strong enough to pick up about an hour outside of Austin. It was fascinating to listen in on another complete world view when I was traveling by car. The commercials, in particular, were targeting a subset of the population that is clearly terrified of the future: preparing for the collapse of society, special cleansing medicines to remove toxins, etc., etc.
And then there is Adelaide, AU where there are dozens of blue and white signs on buildings saying 'POLITES'. It seems something official at first, until you notice how many there are. Turns out these are all buildings owned by a single guy of (IIRC) Greek decent who just likes to show his accomplishments as a real estate mogul by putting his name on all buildings he owns.
Sometimes it's a weird world we live in.
Lots of low budget Youtube video stills in there.
Watching the videos, seems to reveal a clean-shaven man with long hair, in a dress, named Kate.
BRB letting /r/AmIBeingDetained in on this.
There is one of these boards round the corner from me, and that is quite close to the one that appears in the Birmingham news page - both in lower rent working class areas, perhaps the billboards are cheaper in our kinds of area?
I shall just treat it as eccentric urban art from now on...
By the time you are trying to turn bailiffs and cops away from your door by chanting some weird mantra based on a profound misconstruction of some dusty old legal principle or other and uploading it to YouTube while your life burns to the ground around you, it's not really a question of if you have MH issues, rather one of whether they were the chicken or the egg.
Agree totally with DanBC up thread, people who get into this hardcore do themselves permanent and irreparable harm. Shattered credit records, home repossessions and jail time are all on the cards.
Kids. Don't try this at home.
I'd be very interested in learning who funded this.
Just out and out say it: you're bigoted against the strange idea that this person is presenting. Just because people don't live like you do, doesn't mean they are mentally ill.
Seriously, this "oh, mental illness" trope is really a drag. Please, whenever you consider "oh, mental illness" as a way of writing off someones opinion, check yourself. Not everybody agrees with the ideals proposed by the mental-health cult that currently has the West in its grip ..
It's not the idea that made me question their mental health. It's the sheer incoherency of their presentation, e.g. on their website (http://legalnamefraud.com/). The style strikes me as the written equivalent of a schizophrenic person standing on a street corner shouting inanities at passersby. You wouldn't want to have a shouting match with that person on the street and draw a crowd around them, and I don't think we should do the same here.
The speed and ease with which someones' mental health is called into question is just as alarming and .. frankly .. disturbing, as the idea that we are not subjects of the States in which we dwell. "That person is mentally ill" is the clarion call of establishment doublethink, and I put anyone who uses it as a means of justifying their bigotry against anti-establishment thought in the same bin as the loonies who think they can change their name to get out of a parking ticket ..
Alas, its quite acceptable behaviour to call into question someones mental health if they propose an idea non-mainstream/aligned with establishment ideals. I think this, in itself, is a more destructive social response which, unfortunately, doesn't require expensive billboards to propagate throughout society ..
Might these folks be minorities, or under-represented segments of society, who nevertheless have as much of a right to their opinion as you do?
There is nothing here that demonstrates these people are harming themselves. Do you have such evidence? In a free society, people are free to be stupid and live their lives according to how they see it. People are free to interpret the law, personally and socially, however they wish. This doesn't mean they need to be classified as "ill" by all and sundry, for the sake of a few differences of opinion. Or .. does it?
You know who else was good at calling 'unsavory elements' mentally ill for the sake of social isolation? Stalin.
I don't think you really have any idea who you're trying to defend as "differently normal" here. This is a movement that tells its adherents, "repeat these legal incantations, and you get out of speeding tickets or paying property taxes". And its adherents actually try that nonsense out, and invariably go to jail or whatever. (Occasionally they end up in shoot-outs with cops, and end up dead.) Delusion? Check. Self-harm? Check.
I really suspect you just haven't heard or read anything about these folks. I think you're barking up the wrong tree in this case, buddy.
Its kind of like, the Quakers were 'insane' in the eyes of many, too. But look how that turned out.
Anyway, I see you don't care for my point, which is this: you can't just call people you don't agree with "mentally ill" and think this doesn't make you a bigot.
Maybe you want to take the stance that there is no such thing as mental illness (there is), or that the term is bigoted (it isn't), or that I'm a bigot for thinking these people need help (I'm not, and they do), and in that case, go nuts, you're certainly free to do so!
But this just isn't a situation where I'm trying to disparage people by calling them mentally ill. I just wish they'd stop hurting themselves (and their families, and occasionally others, like the cops they occasionally end up in shootouts with; and also enriching the few who lead this scam) by buying into this delusion and breaking the law (in such eminently avoidable ways! like registering their car or buying car insurance!) and suffering the consequences, but it is, after all, a mostly free country.
You might do well, too, to reflect on why you feel so strongly about this stuff.
Have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJXPlxMb0gs
It's hard to say that's not illness or drugs, right?
This is Hannah Rose Shotbolt, (of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, UK). She threw a bottle at someone, wounding them. She went to prison, and came out, and then got involved in Freewoman stuff.
She wrote to all the people (The Queen! The Arch-Bishop of Canterbury!) to tell them that she was no longer under their contract, and that she de-registered her car. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCdMHwqT39c
(Here's the reply from DVLA) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wkpSiJ3HfY
Her and her friend were driving, and one of them was smoking cannabis. They passed a police car, who spotted the lack of insurance and registration, and pulled them over.
Here's one video of her being pulled over: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSGLGByRYE8&index=17&list=PL...
And another: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gULUQTUREwk&index=18&list=PL...
It's so extreme that people feel the need to explain it somehow. These aren't just odd ideas. These are bizarre ideas, that lack internal coherence (she's in the UK but makes extensive use of Black's Legal Dictionary -- a US reference book about US law) and that cause harm.
Here's a channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC81FiNbYl92EIl7Zx5G8v9w
Here's another channel that contains some of her videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCELFsi-Defp1GyOEeLZaSzw
Broadly speaking, yes. Yes it does. Which is why - knowing this particular response was inevitable - I thought long and hard about answering in the affirmative. There's no bigotry involved here, I've been down this particular rabbit hole for a good old look. The MH (note 'health' not 'illness') issue is nothing to do with the idea per se but with a set of behaviours that exhibit a dissociation between action and consequence and can lead to harm.
Do they let their beliefs - delusional or not - control their actions?
The problem is not having beliefs that are not backed by facts, but when you let those beliefs control you to the point of making you act in ways that are actively detrimental to your own well-being.
Obviously there is grey in between.
Susceptibility and gullibility are NOT the same as delusions.
This also applies to the low end of the Sovereign Citizen movement too - not all are delusional, some are just naive or easily misled.
(I.e. refusing to be educated must either be delusion or stupidity or both)
Mental illness is a real thing with real treatment options.
There's no need to write anyone off - we should endeavor to help them.
Would you be more or less inclined to investigate this possibility, with the pretense that they are "mentally ill" in place?
I posit that this "mentally ill" label is as heinous as casual racism, in that it serves to remove interest in the target.
That's usually connected to the sort of reasoning mentioned in the website the article talks about, and works just as well (read, not at all) when attempted in an actual court case.
sigh, not this shit again.
Go and have a look at the forum at www.sonnenstaatland.com, you will find most cases from Germany there. They also have a very nice ebook with the title "Vorwärts in die Vergangenheit" which destroys 99.9% of all the Reichbürger myths.
Fortunately, the German Mission to the U.S. has risen in search results so the meaningless cruft is pushed down below the useful information.
Clearly inheritance tax is too low.
The ideas all share one common feature: They're just not worth it. They're complex, contradictory, and utterly frivolous, in that they have no bearing on reality and will never be of any practical use to anyone but the "gurus" who sell them to the gullible. The "legal arguments" are a con artist's patter and misdirection, impressive to the people who the huckster is about to fool but so much hot air and nonsense to everyone else, especially the real courts. To anyone who understands the law, this crap is painfully transparent and obviously stupid.
It's all nonsense, bluster, and castles in the sky. The only reality is the money and time the gullible lose and the legal penalties they face if they attempt to take this stuff too far.
 And OS maps and geodata.
I have personally had success using the techniques taught by Karl Lentz.
If this Karl Lentz is claiming there's a separate common law court, he is totally ignorant of the UK legal system.
It will eventually catch up.
Anyone you hear saying otherwise is living in a fantasy world, and/or wants to sell you tickets to a fantasy world.
Can you tell us what success you have had?
Edit: apparently y'all disagree, and think this is a topic that deserves the full attention of HN. Can someone explain why? Isn't it just a crackpot billboard? What's the importance?
And the design is fascinating. No links, for instance. You see the sign and it piques your interest because it mentions names - which you have, and fraud - which you're worried about. You then either go about your business and just forget about it or you google 'legal name fraud' and bam! There you are in the scary backwaters of the internet immersed in someone's weird memes. A curiosity trap.
Physical billboards are (AFAIK) a new vector for this particular meme. And billboard ads cost around £200 a week in the UK (last time I checked) so this has cost someone, somewhere some money. Given the tendency of FoL/SC/etc believers to try avoiding debts with Jedi mind tricks, it's possible that 'someone' is the firm leasing the signage, but still, it's interesting.