Recently I saw a video which reminded me that the “sovereign citizen” movement exists.
And yes this has to do with the cause of packed prisons, government bureaucracy and police abuse of power stem from.
You see, they are all symptoms of the same core illness that plagues the legal system today.
The bottom line is that whether police brutality is your main concern or overpopulated prisons are. You see that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. And that issue is the same that so called sovereign citizens see as well.
Today let’s take a look at this blatantly obvious yet forgotten underlying issue, by looking into the ideals of law that have persisted for 1000’s of years.
But first, I want to talk a bit about my background, because it illustrates how I arrived at this point.
My History With Sovereign Citizen Ideals and The Core Lesson I Learned
While I have a different perspective now, 5 years ago or so. I used the same arguments cited by the driver in the police interaction in the video above. Many would classify these arguments as those coming from “sovereign citizens”.
In fact, I went to court many times for refusing to register my car. While I never received an opinion from a judge, I was able to get 60% or more of the charges dropped, and most others reduced by either negotiating with the police officer in court or the prosecutor. Or the officer simply not appearing.
Several times officers would pull me over and simply admit they didn’t know the law well enough to challenge me and let me continue on. In fact after 2 years, the officers in the two towns I traveled between stopped pulling me over entirely. They would drive up, read my plates. And continue on. I imagine they must have called into dispatch and dispatch would tell them it’s not worth the time.
Taking The Issue To Trial
This is crazy but, the first time I took the issue to trial. While I was found “guilty on the facts”. But the judge took my paper work and said he would consider the interpretation of the law. No fine was assessed at the trial. Yet the Judge passed away before I ever received a response, which was a shame as he was a kind man, and I really wanted to know his opinion.
I still remember the judges final words to me as I left the courtroom:
“Thank you for being a gentleman.”–Justice Daniel Lamb
The second time I went to trial over the same charges, the same prosecutor, he and I were at it for years. But this time he dismissed the charges over the tiniest error on the officers ticket as the trial began. Maybe it was so he wouldn’t have to answer my side, I’m not sure.
Judges are Generally Cordial
Truly, nearly all of the judges I appeared in front of respected me, and nearly everyone of them had something kind to say at the end of the day.
This is crazy, but my ex was actually in the courtroom that day. She didn’t see me, but the judge tore into her so hard. I was thinking he was mean. But when I finally got up to the stand. I talked the prosecutor down to “parking on pavement” from what they were already offering “opening a car door into traffic” or some nonsense. There are lesser fees for the parking on pavement charge. And when the judge assessed the fine he charged the minimum. Something like $50.
As I left, the judge essentially told me to become a lawyer.
The bottom line is, I was seeking the truth, and they saw that!
During that time I learned a lot about the law. And beforehand I had no means of doing so, at least not to the degree I did. For me school was not an option.
And, while I have always found the label of “sovereign citizen” laughable ( how can one be sovereign and “subject to the jurisdiction” of something?). I would not have been able to learn as much as I have about the law as I have today if I didn’t look into what the sovereign citizen movement was talking about.
Now that you know a bit about where I am coming from, lets take a look at the core issue I identified along the way. The root cause of police brutality, packed jails, and red tape all lead us to the same core issue.
The Deeper Issue That Packed Jails, Police Brutality and Red Tape Stem From
Here’s the deal, as I have said a few times already, these issues hint at a deeper, core issue. That we can all see, but often can not identify.
Therefore, rather than looking at the symptoms individually. We should focus on the core issue which those that seek prison reform, those that seek justice for police brutality, and even sovereign citizens act upon.
That issue takes time to construct clearly.
Recently, while reading The Natural Law: A Study of Legal and Social History by Henrich A. Rommen, a book originally published in German in 1936.
I came to this realization.
Today, we have such a bad misunderstanding of the law and government. While I have long known this to be true, while reading how in-depth Rommen’s perspective was on government. I realized that not only are we far removed from the truth about law and government today…
I also learned that people only 100 years ago or so, were much more educated as a whole about the proper function of law and government, or they at least had a better perspective.
What is wrong with the government today?
Well, simply put it’s the people’s perception of what the government is, and where it derives power from.
We will go back to Rommen’s work in a moment…
But first, consider the following questions:
Take a look at these three questions compared to 100-120 years ago.
1. Why is the prison population higher than ever in history?
2. Why are there so many burdensome regulations with fines and jail time attached for victimless crimes?
3. Why are there more police interactions (and consequently more brutality) than 100 years ago?
While the detailed answer is much longer…
The simple answer is, we have forgotten to role of government and the origin of law.
Rights, Including the Right to Travel Come from The Creator
The bottom line is that we have flipped the order of governmental authority on it’s head. And a lot of that has to do with a lack of modern religious studies.
For 1000’s of years people have recognized that rights do not come from the government. Thus should not (and in truth can not) be limited by the government. Instead rights are limited only by the Rights of others, or under the consent of the governed.
3 Truths of the Origins of the Governments Power as Shown in The Declaration of Independence
Most people forget this, but the US government is founded first upon The Declaration of Independence. Which declares three important points we should not overlook when looking at the role of government.
Point 1: The Creator (aka Nature’s Law) is the Origin of our Rights:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
Point 2: Man created government to serve him, to protect those God-given rights,
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,”
Point 3: The government derives its powers from the consent of the People.
“deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
In Short: Rights come from the Creator to Man, Man then created government to secure those rights.
What Our Ancestors Can Teach Us About This Divine Order
Going back to Rommen’s book. In which he broke down Roman and Greek philosophies on law.
In the part I was reading recently, he is breaking down the 3 main ideas of the “Sophists” (essentially Greek philosophers). And this 3rd idea he writes of I will write verbatim below. This point illustrates a deeper picture of the law, than I had previously considered.
Next came the idea of natural-law freedom and equality of all human beings and, as a consequence, the idea of the rights of man as well as the ideas of mankind, the civitas maxima, or world community, which is superior to the city-state. According to the third idea, the state, or polis, is nonessential: it owes its origin to human decision, i.e., to a free contract, not to a necessity of some kind.
The political organization of man must therefore be preceded by a state of nature (portrayed optimistically or pessimistically), in which the pure natural law was in force. According to the optimistic view of the state of nature, this law can in it’s essential contents be neither altered or abrogated by the state; in the pessimistic view, which leads to positivism, it is merged in the will of the state.”
While a bit long, he is hitting at a concept that shows just how far removed we have come from the truth of law. This point illustrates a deeper picture of the law, than I had previously considered.
For not just 100’s, but for 1000’s of years we have known that governments operate under the will of the people, deriving the law from Nature, or the Creator.
Yet, in the last 100 years this order has been forgotten at least by a majority of people. While one can debate all day about which is a better, more just system, the results speak for themselves.
The Great Divorce Has Enslaved Man
It’s simple, divorcing the Creator from the Law has resulted in mass incarcerations, more penalties for non-crimes, more tyranny than ever from the government, and of course police brutality.
While we live in the results of this “Great Divorce” today, we can also see a reflection in of these ideals in ancient Greece.
This was, for instance the case with the Epicureans, who were the first legal positivists. The Sophists criticism of the positive laws, together with the rapidly growing prominence of the notion of utility, led Epicurus, whose sensistic epistemology left no room for metaphysics, to doubt that anything can be objectively and and naturally right. Utility and pleasure became for him the sole principles of ethics and law.”
The Root Issue: Faith in Positive Laws While ignoring the Natural
As opposed to natural laws which are in themselves true and inherent. Positive laws are laws made by man and passed by legislatures or governments.
As Rommen “posits”, ‘posit’ive law is the negative sense the Sophists spoke of. Because there is no moral foundational basis for positive laws, they serve those that author and pass them. While natural law is inherent and never changing, positive laws are subject to constant change.
And as Rommen spoke of the original positivists, the Epicureans. One thing rings true of governments run by positive law.
“Utility and pleasure became for him the sole principles of ethics and law.”
Solving the Problem at the End of the Day
Crowded jails, police brutality, and government overreach are all symptoms of a nation reliant on positive laws. Everything becomes relative when what is objectively right or true can not be identified. Those in control can do as they wish with those who can not control themselves.
And while, I disagree with the strategies used by many of the so-called sovereign citizens as well as movements like BLM and Antifa. I see the ideas behind the movements arise because they see an unfair system. A system run by man-made “positive laws”.
What is the Law really?
While statutes and opinions are great to references, they are often just positive laws. With no foundation in objective truth.
And people today have forgotten, there is no Law in existence without Nature, and Nature’s God. And Nature acts through man to perform her duties. Man (yes, Women too) are the Law bringers. Not governments.
That Law may spoken into existent at a roadside by a man interacting with a police officer, or it may come in a courtroom.
Yet this holds true, that without a living man to utter it as true and standing on that ground, statutes and court opinions are simply words on paper.
The truth is we CAN govern ourselves under the Divine Law.
And if we fail to do so, some man or woman with a title and paperwork will be sure to govern you.
Time and time again, this is reiterated through the millennia. Including the Torah which has texts predating both Rome and Greece. A book which points toward the origin of the law and government we experience today.
Without recognizing this, we become slaves to a soulless system of paperwork and tyranny. And while there are legislative tools to elect for changes of the law such as the 2021 Massachusetts Right to Repair Initiative. The courts and our knowledge of law are where we can make a direct impact, individually.