This post is turned over to the most coherent comment yet received from the Freeman cult, whose supporters have taken umbrage at my deconstruction of their nonsensical legal woo. They’ve also organised themselves into trolling parties, with the result that I adopted a comments policy, requesting that comments stay on the topic of what the post was about. Since they like to keep harping on about their belief system, here’s a place for them to do it and a place for me to reply. The debate below takes the form of a comment – in italics – from one of the cult followers with my answers to the points made. You can find the whole original comment on another post.
Thanks for your long comment. More of a blog post on its own right though isn’t it? Perhaps you’d have been better off writing your own blog and then inviting me to comment there or here by way of a pingback? I’ll have a quick go at responding to some of what you’ve written, “*”. A shame that you couldn’t make up a better name, although I suppose it does have the benefit of brevity.
According to some, all is illusory, even time.
That doesn’t really take us anywhere does it?
I enjoy reading about the freeman movement because I enjoy anything which can, or has the potential, to empower people, even if it is illusory or fairy tale. Perhaps this can be accomplished through proper civil procedure but one must ask oneself if this is truly effective, which is probably the reason the freeman movement exists at all, because the proper civil procedures has perhaps failed, in some respects. If the proper civil procedures were perfect, or even adequate, I doubt the freeman movement would even exist at all.
The freeman thing is a cult. Cults exist not to fill the voids in an imperfect world but to take advantage of human vulnerabilities. They perform much they same function as religion.
I also enjoyed the article written against the movement, because it brings to light possible flaws. My question is, is it all simply woo, is there nothing that is true, which the movement advocates or brings to light, or offers as truth? Can nothing of what they say be potentially effective? For instance, I like the oath technique where the judge is made to produce his oath before proceeding. Is this not a viable strategy?
It is all nonsense. Nothing of what they say is effective in law.
Also, is it not also true that in fact there is such a thing as a corporate fiction, and that fiat currency is not real “money”, that pretty much every country in the world is bankrupt and operating as such? Is it not also true that there are too many laws and restrictions in the form of statutes and codes which are primarily there not for safety but for profit?
Corporations were created and given legal status by laws around the world. Therefore, they are not fiction. They are bodies corporate, rather than bodies corporeal. Fiat or paper money has been the vast majority of money everywhere in the world for a long time. As to whether anybody or thing is bankrupt, that simply comes down to an accountant’s opinion. Your last question is so open as to be meaningless. You’d do better to start citing laws rather than mentioning them enigmatically. I’m not saying whether I agree or disagree with you, I’m saying that the question appears rhetorical – it is impossible to answer, unless you state which laws you are including. You don’t even say which sources of law you are talking about?
I believe common law is simply common sense or natural law which every person is simply born knowing.
You can believe whatever you want. Ordinarily, common law is the name given to the appellate judgments which become authorities for subsequent cases in lower courts. These authorities are what lay people call precedents. All common law is written. You appear to believe in some other kind of law of, at best, dubious historical value, which you borrow the phrase ‘common law’ to describe.
Written law, such as constitutions, statutes and codes, are supposed to reflect common law, which can also be seen as divine law.
If you wish to see them as such you may do. Again, there is your personal belief stepping in. However, many countries’ constitutions were written on behalf of the people having overthrown a monarch who claimed the divine right to govern. In England Statute is not supposed to reflect anything except the will of Parliament. Sometimes it is deliberately drafted to fit with existing common law, sometimes not. The real problem here is that you do not appear to understand the structure of law. You need to understand where law emanates from – there are various sources – and how it all fits together. I certainly I am not proposing to educate you but I would suggest buying a simple academic text book to learn this. A-Level is probably good enough. There’s really no point talking about law if you haven’t learnt anything about it. Don’t read stuff with a political axe to grind unless you’ve studied the law we actually have to deal with first.
I mean, does not everyone already know that murder, stealing, lying, or harming another without just cause, which is usually in self-defense or in the defense of others, is wrong?
Yes, but does agreeing about this actually lead to any valuable conclusions? It has about as much merit as pointing out the colour of the sky, which is grey as everyone knows.
To say that written law. or a law created and imposed externally by another or a state, is the primary authority, takes away that power from the individual, turns the individual into something which must be led out of necessity because it assumes the individual cannot govern themselves, and in essence denies their god-given sovereignty, or right to rule themselves.
Not all law takes away power from an individual. Some of it grants powers. Much law specifically expects people to govern themselves, by expecting them to tell the difference between right and wrong and to make the good decision. If you are opposed to all written law, then say so. All law is written. It has to be. The alternative is rule by decree, which allows dictators to constantly change the nature of their rule. This leads to nightmarish confusion, where you never know what will happen next, whether you will be arrested and executed for something you did the week before to comply with a previous decree. You can’t even work out the price of bread because taxes become liable to jump around all over the place. Witness Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe or the monarchical regime in pre-Revolutionary France.
I believe this is where the freeman (or sovereignty) movement originates from. That divine law, natural law, or common law, is above man’s law or any law man creates, or believes he creates or has created. I believe freeman, or sovereigns, feel man’s law is illegitimate as it places man above their creator, as well as imposing an excessive amount of restrictions in the form of statutes and codes which severely curtails his freedom, which is more of a convenience for those already with power than those who have none, or very little. Is this not a viable complaint? Why do I need a permit to carry a gun, which imposes a limitation on my god given right to protect myself, why do I need a license, and insurance, to drive, which imposes a limitation on my god given right to travel, why must I have I.D. and a S.S. card to get a job, which limits my god given right to provide for myself, why are there still laws which make it illegal to alter my conscious experience of reality when numerous credible studies prove they are safer than most, if not all, legal mind-altering substances? Why do we still rely and depend on non-reusable and dirty forms of energy when technologies exist that can make them obsolete?
You do seem to oppose all laws. Fine. Why not say so? Presumably you would grant anyone the right to trade arms, fossil fuels and child prostitutes because a written law to stop them would be bad. You would also do away with all taxation, because it requires writing to make it work?
Human societies make laws to govern themselves. The issue is what these laws are, not whether law in itself should be abolished. Have you been to Somalia recently?
I believe it is the search for these answers, as well as the search for truth in general, and the desire to make the world better, that fuels movements such as these in the world, and should not be dismissed so cavalierly. It is merely the desperately powerless attempting to empower themselves as peaceably and civilly as they know how, or even can know. They should be shown compassion, not condemned. Perhaps offering them a viable and effective alternative superior to the one they have found would be the best idea.
Of course we should pity people but that doesn’t mean we should refrain from pointing out the flaws in the argument. As well as abolishing law, you seem to want ban debate too! How would you manage that though, without any law? Debate tests ideas. Without debate, our ideas are worthless. Here I am defending my idea of law from yours and you from me. I think I’m getting the upper hand, you may agree or you may feel otherwise. I welcome your attempt to debate this with me. However, you don’t seem to welcome the debate at all. Why not? If something is nonsense, we should say so. Otherwise nonsense is allowed to continue. There isn’t a ladder of respectability of arguments. Some arguments are just nonsense and don’t hold any water. We should discourage people from taking them up and messing up their lives with them. It would be different if we all lived for ever but human life is too precious to let cult leaders take control of people’s lives by preaching nonsense. This is what the freeman thing is: a cult which takes advantage of vulnerable people by giving them false hope.
I am not arguing for or against religion or theism but simply that there is something in nature which makes it unnecessary for there to be externally imposed law, which statutory law is, is it not?
All law, by its very nature, is externally imposed. Otherwise it wouldn’t be law. You make a distinction between one type of law and the others but they all have equal force and none of them were in our hearts and minds when we were born.
That people are in fact born already knowing a certain degree of right and wrong, which can be refined through environment and experience conducive to such ethical and moral values. We can call this instinct or human nature, something inborn or inherent in the evolutionary makeup of man, which allows him to better discern what is proper or improper, or what is fit or sound, in a context of survival. To deny this is to deny or fail to appreciate, fully, the extent of complexity, sublimity, grandeur, and majesty, of man.
People are not born knowing what right and wrong is. They learn it from their culture, which is why some cultures think one thing and others the opposite. We call many things instinct, or human nature, usually according to some specious convenience in our selfish argument, which is pretty much what you have done here. You wax lyrical with your words but very little meaning flows out of them. You are using a badly constructed rhetorical flourish to found your next argument, so that the reader thinks having agreed with your words, s/he ought to agree with the next. This crude trick doesn’t work when someone else gets a turn at speaking.
That man is in fact a unique species,
Are we? How do you know? I certainly don’t think we are. Most scientists seem to agree that we share most of our genes with other animals, which makes us far from unique.
evolved to simplicity, or in order to simplify our existence and ability to survive. The elegance of our evolution can be seen most obviously in our capacity to create, as well as in the innocence of a child.
Did you read through this before submitting it? A moment ago you were suggesting that babies are born “already knowing a certain degree of right and wrong”. Now you are saying they are born innocent. Either they are properly innocent or they are not. Perhaps this is another one of your rhetorical set pieces?
So, I suppose, the question would be, are so many laws and regulations necessary, particularly in the form of statutes and codes, if we already have such an elegant law built within ourselves?
Is that the question? I’ve got another question, were you under the influence when you wrote this guff? You’re spinning on the spot! First we are born with knowledge, then we’ve evolved for simplicity, next we are born innocent and now we “already have such an elegant law built within ourselves”!! If you’re going to make an argument, whatever it is, it will need consistency of perspective. You jump around like a religious preacher whose congregation is already persuaded of his truth. In other words, you’re not trying to persuade anyone of anything here, you’re talking to your converted crowd. It’s always easy to play to the gallery. It’s much harder to take on an argument you disagree with and properly deconstruct it. However, if you can’t manage it, don’t pretend to.
I suppose a counter argument against this would be, what about those who are the exception? The ones who seem to be born without this inherent tendency of self-governance? They are just that, exceptions, and usually make up a very small percentage of a population, and are usually the reasons why we even have statutes and codes in the first place. For instance, just because one person goes on a killing spree in a school does not mean everyone will or is even capable, nor should it be a reason to infringe on a person’s right to own and carry a gun or weapon for self-defense, because who will police the police, if not the people, and who will defend our ourselves and our family from imminent danger, the police, or some other external authority? I do not believe so, because try as they might, the governments, states, external laws and authorities are not superman and most certainly not God. Also, just because a few terrorists in planes decided to destroy a couple of buildings and murder thousands of innocent people does not mean every single person in the world is now a terrorist or even capable of being one, legitimizing the passing of draconian legislation which would otherwise have never been passed.
‘Yeah!!! We should all be allowed access not only to the cockpits of planes but also to the pilot’s seat and the controls. Anyone who tries to stop me is infringing my personal freedom to pay an airline company to allow me to crash their plane into a building or masturbate in public or carry atomic waste around in the boot of my car. I should be allowed to do whatever I want, wherever I want, without reference to anyone else. I don’t cause any harm and most people don’t either, therefore we can just put up with the ones that do because they would never intimidate me or anyone else….’ just listen to yourself! You could have made a serious point about how to achieve the best balance between civil liberty and curtailing the freedom of mass murderers but instead you ramble on incoherently.
Legislation and acts which are illegitimate in the first place.
That’s a bare assertion, slipped into your argument as if it would go by unnoticed. You’ve made no attempt to establish this claim. In an argument, you have to at least establish your premises. Let’s say that I disagree that Statutory Law is illegitimate, if they are made by a parliament elected by democracy. It would have been safer for you to assume, since you are posting this on the internet, that many people might take my position on this. Therefore, you have to establish the grounds for this argument. You have to be able to say why they are illegitimate. You don’t necessarily have to win that particular argument but you do have to at least have a go. Bare assertions relating to matters in dispute can never win any argument, as the City of London Corporation is about to discover in the High Court…
Just because of this they now have an excuse to demand identification on sight or suffer consequences like being thrown in jail or fined. This is also very wrong, unconstitutional, and a violation of civil and human rights. But this is not the fundamental problem. The problem is how do these acts and legislations get passed in the first place.
It might be politically wrong but it doesn’t appear to be legally unconstitutional. Again, you are throwing in bare assertions. However, perhaps I have been a bit hard on you and you are now going to justify your first bare assertion.
If you wish for a solution it must come from oneself, the individual, not a party, state, policy, or man-made law, which are all externally imposed forms of control, and highly coercive, which is patently anti-freedom and anti-individual as it assumes the individual is incapable of self-governance, which is patently absurd. What people need is not more laws or law enforcement or forcefully imposed constraints, but information, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, appreciation, compassion, empathy, and love, as well as the freedom to choose for oneself. People are not children, and if they are mentally unsound or incapable of defending themselves or understanding then they should be helped and protected, not taken advantage of or exploited, which is what many feel the legal, governmental, and state systems have done, is doing, and will continue to do.
No easy way of identifying and protecting all those who are vulnerable though is there, in your preferred system, with no law whatsoever? I guess they could all join the freeman cult?
I am of the opinion that these institutions, the state and legal systems, are tools that men have created in order to make their life easier, not worse. They are man’s creation and so hence if a flaw or problem is perceived in them it is one existing in man, not something soulless or immaterial like a system or a corporation. Analogously, is it the man’s fault or the gun’s when a murder is committed?
You do like the rhetorical bits, don’t you? Nothing much can be gleaned from this last passage. It is neutral for your line of argument. Whatever next?
So if one wants change or a solution, then it must come from within, then it will appear externally, in the systems we have created.
It sounds like you believe only a change in our collective consciousness will create political change. How very convenient. This certainly excuses you from actually doing anything to bring about change. For example, you could campaign for a certain law reform. Let’s take a random example: you could campaign for the Tobin tax. You could say that it won’t by itself solve every problem but it could go a long way towards curtailing the corporations which don’t pay their full tax bills. You prefer not to do this but to wait, until we are all just as stoned as you…
For instance, the judge and police officers, or man, have free will and choice, yet choose at times to harm others and then use the excuse of law or blame the system for their choice, which is also patently absurd. The judge or police man must see themselves as a man first and foremost, there to aid his fellow man. I think therein lies the problem, they see themselves as separate when in fact they are not. Help them to see this fact, this truth, and they will soon become conscious of the accountability of their actions and choices as free thinking individuals like everyone else. They are simply victims of a particular form of indoctrination and propaganda, just like those in the military and others trained to kill, and trained in the use of externally imposed force, control, and order. Some believe they are victims of even more subversive forms of propaganda and indoctrination which I will not bother speculating on at this time, but derive their origins in masonry or other occultic systems of knowledge. We must help them deprogram, and give them back what was taken from them, namely choice, free will, individuality, and sympathy for their fellow man, as many are being conditioned to believe we are subhuman and undeserving of mercy or compassion. Is this not true also?
Who will be running the deprogramming? Mao Tse-Tung back from the grave? I don’t think there’s much wisdom in what you say here. I dare say some people hold views the opposite of yours or mine, for that matter. Many people make difficult choices under difficult circumstances. Do I hold avowedly left-wing views because I know the truth of them or because I came from a left-wing family? The best explanation I have ever heard was Rawl’s Rings of Socialisation, which I believe (it was a long time ago I read it) was concerned with why some people were more likely to vote Labour than Conservative but principally is concerned with why we act the way we do, politically speaking. Basically, you are saying that we should stop arguing with those we feel we disagree with, we should offer them a better option, we should wait for their consciousness to rise and then everything will be pretty much okay. It’s an attractive argument and very similar to the Rastafarian creed. How long do you think we will have to wait for Babylon to fall into the sea? What’s that? I can’t hear you, because I died waiting for the answer.
I believe the main problem is the problem that has plagued us for millennia, namely money, but also power and competitiveness, which money begets, reinforces and nurtures. Can one imagine a world without it? I think that in order to solve many of today’s and tomorrow’s ills we must do away with this insidious form of corrupting influence. It is what is poisoning the tree, as it is the root. Instead of focusing on the branches we must concentrate on the root, which is, not money itself necessarily, but humanity’s perceived need and desire for it. The love of money, in other words.
Yeah! Get rid of money! All the problems will be solved. What’s this? Gold turns out to have intrinsic value because of its seven exceptional properties? That chap over there, with the best farmland, has been exchanging all his stuff for gold? He’s got all the gold. He exchanged some of the gold for armed guards, who come into town each night to do whatever they want! Whatever we do, let’s deny this existence of commodity trading lest we acknowledge human frailties! No way do we want to tax him any of his gold to pay for civil amenities and no way do we want to make written laws which everyone could understand governed who could carry guns. It’s only one person! What’s that? He’s calling himself the King!! Whatever next?!!
If law must exist, in the form of statutes and codes, or written form, which common law is not, it must be a form all consent to, or at least the majority, in the form of people not of those who possess the most money, and if it is not agreed upon or if the majority finds it to be an unjust law, then it should be removed and not obeyed.
Make up your mind, do you want democratic law making or not?
The occupiers, in my opinion, should be filing lawsuits against the corporations which have stolen our wealth, along with the federal governments.
Why not file the lawsuits yourself? Occupy London is working hard to raise the consciousness of the population, which is what you want. Now you want them to abandon this cause and just become litigants in person, even though we know that this wealth has been robbed from us by legal means. The solution is to work out the best law reform. Perhaps a Tobin Tax?
The occupiers should be demanding that the mayors and governors which have authority over the police and state legislation resign and should be sued as well if it is justified, perhaps even jailed themselves. They should be occupying city hall as well as the state capitol and demand that they rise up against the federal government, which is the true guilty party as they allowed wall street and the banks to have all of our money in the form of bailouts. A nationwide boycott and occupation, as well as a nationwide outcry and protest in the form of lawsuits against those primarily responsible, would be one solution in effecting change.
Perhaps you are an American? Over here in England our Mayors don’t have the same power over the police. My arguments with the freeman cult has been purely with English people. The point about the Occupy movement though is to take the arguments to the centres of fiscal power, rather than political power. That is why I have been involved with Occupy London Stock Exchange. Occupying our equivalent political headquarters is a largely pointless exercise because real power does not reside in them.
The occupiers should be demanding their wealth back from the banks and the government, which have been wholly misappropriated, demanding a reduction of militarization, repeals of draconian or/and repressive legislation, greater protection and defense of human and individual rights, an end to governmental secrecy, an end to useless and exploitative institutions which have been proven to cause more harm and ill than good, namely the IRS, Federal Reserve, World Bank, and IMF, and demanding legislation that will help all peoples not just the richest with the most money, like FDR’s second bill or rights, tax cuts for the poor not the rich, as well as legislation to greatly increase regulations for corporations, making them accountable to the people, and making them into what they really are, businesses not human beings, persons, or people. It is not the money, but the time and labor we have invested in the money to give it its value. That is what we want back.
Your conclusion is as clear as is it completely at odds with everything else you’ve written! You argued against written law but you now demand increased regulation for corporations. If this is not to be written down, is the idea to use a chap with an excellent memory who recites everything from time to time? That would be a dry evening, methinks. Also, it isn’t a very convenient way of access the anti-corporate regulations, is it? Writing is the best way because it can be read by anyone and easily distributed.