The Freeman on the Land Movement: Grass Roots Libertarianism in Action
Professor John Kersey
Legal Notes No. 50
ISSN: 0267-7083 (print) ISSN: 2042-258X (online)
An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,
Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.
© 2010: Libertarian Alliance; John Kersey
Professor John Kersey is President and Director of Academic Affairs at European-American University, a private university operating in Africa and Asia. He previously held teaching, administrative and management positions in the private higher and further education sectors, and holds degrees from universities in the UK, Africa and Central America. His book, The University Outside State Control, was published by European-American University Press in 2008. A musician and music historian by training, he has recorded over 50 CDs as a concert pianist..
The views expressed in this publication are those of its author, and
not necessarily those of the Libertarian Alliance, its Committee,
Advisory Council or subscribers.
FOR LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY
Those of us who hold that libertarianism is a process that rests upon a series of logical and connected principles would hold that these principles are capable of discovery by any who choose to look for them. The developments in English law during the post-1997 era have placed an increasing regulatory burden upon the citizen which has been perceived by a number of people as unjust, petty and politically motivated. In that situation, it is unsurprising that some people have sought to exercise a degree of independence from the state, and that in the course of establishing the means by which such independence may be brought about, they have re-examined the relationship between the state and the individual in law. Their resulting movement is of profound interest to all concerned with the future development of libertarian ideas in England.
The Freeman on the Land Movement
Although we refer to the Freeman on the Land movement, in as much as this is a single movement, it is by nature amorphous and decentralized. As an outsider looks upon this movement, its co-ordination is primarily online through websites, forums and online radio, although there have also been public meetings, talks and the formation of local groups. One of the principal websites that acts as a rallying-point is The Peoples United Community1 which features the work of John Harris, a pioneer in the movement. The website Lawful Rebellion2 takes as its motto “Stand for What is Right”. Other activity has taken place on the website forums of David Icke,3 where it has attracted those who are less interested in Icke’s esoteric teachings and more concerned with his strong anti-government and anti-authoritarian position. Activist and commentator Raymond St Clair4 is also a vocal and prominent proponent of the Freeman philosophy whilst Ben Lowrey5 used his website to document his own “sovereignty and freedom education adventure”.
Some trace the origins of this movement to the American Freedom School6 website and the work of Robert Arthur Menard,7 which provides evidence that these ideas have some degree of international applicability at least so far as common law jurisdictions such as the United States and Canada are concerned. A World Freeman Society8 exists and invites its members to “claim their rights as a Freeman on the Land”. There are many other examples of groups and individuals involved in the movement who maintain a presence on the internet.
If it is possible to generalize about such a group so far as our own country is concerned, we might say that it appears to consist primarily of working-class people who feel themselves disenfranchised from the political establishment as a whole. A summary would be “ordinary people who have had enough.” Specifically, they have had enough of what they perceive as the abuse of authority; common complaints concern council tax contributions, the faceless and legally aggressive behaviour of large corporations, the perceived use of civil penalties such as parking fines to raise revenue for councils and private operators, and other issues ranging from civil debt recovery to television licensing. It follows that many have found themselves at the sharp end of such matters, and that just as there are individuals who believe themselves to be genuinely wronged, there are also those who are seeking to subvert the legal system for a variety of other, sometimes morally dubious, purposes.
Discussion is practical in nature, resting principally on problems, solutions and strategy, without moving into the metapolitical or philosophical arenas. The word “libertarian” does not feature in these discussions, nor is there any present connexion with libertarian organizations.
The online nature of the movement makes it difficult to give an estimate of its size. However, it would appear on a rough estimate to consist of many hundreds if not a few thousand people who have at some point or other expressed an active interest in its activities. There is a strong impression that the movement is growing in numbers and strength as more people become aware of it.
Principles of the Freeman on the Land movement
There is some debate within the movement on exactly how its principles are established and operate, and to a certain extent they are constantly evolving both on the basis of research into the law and in the light of the practical application of these maxims. However, there seems to be general agreement on the following:
- The common law of England and Wales is universally applicable to those people (natural persons) within that jurisdiction. A natural person is endowed with a number of inalienable, God-given rights. That natural person is referred to as a Freeman on the Land.
- By contrast, civil or statute law, the majority of which is considerably more recent in origin, is not universally applicable but instead, because of its commercial basis (in the law of the sea), rests upon a contract between two parties, the first party being the state, and the second party being the legal fiction representing a given individual.
- The instrument that is held to represent a given individual entering into such a contract with the state is a birth certificate.
- The validity of such a contract is questionable because the contract as represented by a birth certificate is entered into between a minor (who cannot validly contract) and the state, and because consent is therefore assumed rather than established.
- It follows that if the contract is deemed void, it may be possible to separate the natural person (common law) from the legal fiction (civil law). As a result, whereas the birth certificate (as a piece of paper) is evidence of the legal fiction contracting with the state, that birth certificate is not the same as the natural person represented by the living individual.
Freemen make a distinction between the name of their legal fiction (John Smith) and their natural name (which may take many forms, but is usually expressed as “John: as commonly called of the family Smith”, “John: Smith” or similar.) They refer to the legal fiction as a “straw man”9 and maintain that it is possible for the natural person to control the straw man as a legal fiction for the purposes of contracting with third parties, without at any point entering into liability on behalf of the natural person.
In addition, it is proposed by some that it is possible to obtain documentary evidence of this separation between natural person and legal fiction by completing and serving a series of sworn affidavits upon the Queen . The first of these provides, inter alia, that the Queen10 has been unlawfully and falsely induced to give unlawful effect to legislation that has violated and continues to violate the Common Law, with the implication that the security and safety of the individual under the laws that are his or her inalienable birthright (under Common Law) are now threatened without prospect of redress, and that unless the Queen should dismiss the House of Commons and provide redress, then he or she will withhold all allegiance and obedience to the Crown and its representatives. A forty day period is provided for the Queen to act in the manner proposed. On the assumption that she does not, a second affidavit to be delivered after the forty days confirms the statements of the first and declares the person concerned to be subject solely to the Common Law.
An alternative proposal on similar lines involves serving a sworn affidavit to the Prime Minister11 that establishes the position of the individual as a Freeman and invites the Prime Minister to respond in rebuttal of the points made. On this not being done, a notarized Notice of Fault and Opportunity to Cure is sent, followed in the event of further non-response by a notarized Notice of Default. This last default statement is held to be a “bona fide lawfully binding agreement/contract” between the individual and the government that can then be produced to other public authorities in evidence of the same.
A number of legal sources are cited by Freemen in support of their position, including such documents as the Charter of Liberties of 1100, Magna Carta (1215, 1297), the Treason Act 1351, the Declaration of Rights and Bill of Rights 1689, the Parliament Act 1911, the National Insurance Act 1922 and the Gold Standard Act 1925.
Further, some claim that their position is strengthened by the decision of a number of divisions of government and the public services to incorporate as companies (for example, most police forces are thus incorporated). This makes the contractual relationship involved considerably clearer.
There is even some evidence to suggest that the government itself has in the past been incorporated and has functioned as a corporation.12
Applications of principle
The principles outlined above have provided the basis for a variety of activities. They have provided the basis for at least some successful challenges to civil proceedings, and in some cases the Freemen involved have responded in an undeniably assertive manner by serving commercial liens13 on those concerned.
There is some fascinating video footage of what has happened when Freemen have tested these principles in the magistrates’ courts and before police officers. A selection of these videos includes Raymond StClair being interviewed by a police officer14 and Freemen in the magistrates’ court for non-payment of council tax.15
In the videos, the police officer is confronted with a frank refusal on St Clair’s part to identify his natural person with his legal fiction.
The videoed court proceedings in each case fail at the point where the magistrates are asked to produce evidence of their authority in the form of their oath of office. Being unable to do so, the proceedings cannot continue. Attempts to remove the lay adviser who is requesting this evidence from the court likewise fail when the lay adviser explains to police officers the basis of his request and its lawfulness. The conclusion is that the magistrates leave the court and the lay adviser declares the court to have been abandoned by them.
There are several possibilities in analysing these responses. One is that the reason for success on these occasions is because the principles behind the actions concerned are deemed to be valid. The other is that these actions create such a level of confusion and disruption among the authorities that, regardless of the validity of their underlying principles, they effectively prevent the court process from taking place, or place it under an intolerable strain in respect of time and resources. Both possibilities achieve the desired end of those concerned in these actions, which is to nullify or substantially constrain the action against them, and indeed to make the cost of recovering any monies concerned prohibitive when compared to the expense involved.
The nature of reaction to the propounding of these principles has been interesting. There has been a number of flat denials that these principles have any applicability, and that the Freeman on the Land concept is mere wishful thinking based on archaic legal precedents that have been in some way superseded, and indeed there are detailed matters concerning the primacy of statute law over common law that merit a deeper consideration than this essay can offer. However, in a move guaranteed to inflame the conspiracy theorists among the movement, these denials tend to take the form of a sweeping statement rather than a detailed exegesis.
It is clear that a number of those opposed to the Freeman philosophy have attempted to put it into action and have met with no success in doing so. They have become prominent detractors of the movement. Other detractors appear to have infiltrated Freeman forums with the intent to disrupt them on the grounds that these ideas are perceived as a threat to the state, whose interests they in some manner seek to protect. The attentions of this latter group are taken as evidence that the authorities are starting to take this matter seriously and recognize that it has the potential to cause them widespread difficulty.
Those promoting the Freeman philosophy are not so far as can be ascertained legally trained or qualified, and at the present time there is an interesting absence of commentary from solicitors or barristers for whom this subject should be of interest at least on a purely academic level. There are further reports that notaries public are becoming reluctant to co-operate in the affidavit processes referred to above. This may suggest that the raising of these issues has implications for the relationship between the state and the legal profession, which has become explicitly closer in recent years.16
One aspect which is central to all of this is that seeking to use the courts, which are instruments of the state, to act against the interests of the state in any challenge to statute law is in essence to misunderstand the nature of state power. The law is not a neutral entity, but the means of maintaining the balance of the relationship between the state and the people in favour of the state. As such, it is more than likely that the state will act swiftly to close any perceived legal loophole that is being exploited against its interests, and that future attempts to establish common law jurisdiction in a magistrates’ court will simply be refused outright and judgement given in default, as if the defendant had not been present.
The real impact of the Freeman movement is likely to come not from any arcane legal discovery but from a systematic peaceful protest by the public against what is perceived as the unjust abuse of the civil law. Were the disruption to the courts already engendered by this movement to be repeated on a larger and more widespread scale, it would likely cause the breakdown of civil law on the basis that the consent underlying that jurisdiction had in effect been withdrawn by a significant proportion of those involved, and that obtaining a judgement against a defendant could no longer be regarded as generally enforceable or affordable. Without a single unlawful act being committed, those people concerned would have had a potentially far-reaching effect on our nation’s legal development whose consequences cannot at present be foreseen.
Although the issue of whether these principles have a firm basis in law is of considerable interest, it is, as we have said, not the sole or even the most important aspect of the Freeman movement. The key to the importance of that movement lies in the assertion of the sovereignty of the individual, the opposition to the bureaucratic state, and the willingness through lawful and peaceful means to disrupt the operations of that state where they are perceived to transgress upon the inalienable rights of the individual. That disruption to the system of civil law has the potential to effect fundamental change in the basis of the relationship between the state and the individual.
All of these aspects are likely to be welcomed by many declared libertarians, just as they have been by the many people interested in the Freeman movement who have discovered the principles of liberty for themselves.
Nothing in this paper is intended as legal advice for any person or situation, nor is it intended as an endorsement of any of the individuals featured therein.
(1) The Peoples United Community website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.tpuc.org
(2) Lawful Rebellion website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.lawfulrebellion.org
(3) David Icke website forum, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.davidicke.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=60
(4) Raymond StClair website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.raymondstclair.com
(5) Ben Lowrey website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.benlowrey.com
(6) Freedom School website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.freedom-school.com
(7) Think Free website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://thinkfree.ca
(8) World Freeman Society website, 2010, retrieved 30th November 2010, http://worldfreemansociety.org
(9) Your Strawman website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.yourstrawman.com
(10) ‘Steps for sending off your Affidavit’, The Peoples United Community website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, www.tpuc.org/node/257
(11) ‘Get ‘government’ to lawfully agree you’re not a person subject to Acts’, Lawful Rebellion website, 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://tinyurl.com/37u4m3r
(12) See http://tinyurl.com/2edn2a3 (retrieved 28th November 2010) at The Peoples United Community website in which, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, HM Treasury states (18th March 2010) that “The United Kingdom is not a corporation. There was a United Kingdom corporation during the second world war, but it is no longer operational.” See also ‘Birth tracking bond’, What Do They Know website, February 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://tinyurl.com/26qdht6
(13) ‘Commercial Liens’, Ben Lowrey website, 22nd July 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.benlowrey.com/drupal/node/94 See also ‘Winston Shrout’s Lien Process’, Ben Lowrey website, 23rd September 2010, retrieved 28th November 2010, http://www.benlowrey.com/drupal/node/185
(14) Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwWEK3eAgO0
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqS790FlF3U
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SAgofVHbd4
all retrieved 30th November 2010.
(15) Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU7G6XIMt2Q
Video 2, Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWb_89i6vmk
Video 2, Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGK_Lb84WhA
all retrieved 30th November 2010.
(16) See in particular Sections 9 and 10 at ‘Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007: Rule 4: Confidentiality and disclosure’, Solicitors Regulation Authority website, 2010, retrieved 30th November 2010, http://www.sra.org.uk/rule4
A good essay Professor.
I spotted a couple of errors though.
You seem to have combined Freemen on the Land with Lawful Rebellion. They are two separate issues entirely.
Under Art 61 of MC1215 it is an obligation of any Briton to enter Lawful Rebellion to correct “treasonous or unlawful” acts by a reigning monarch. HM Queen has committed at least 6 acts of treason since 1972 by signing the various European Treaties into law. The latest being the Lisbon Treaty. Assent given to these Acts is in direct violation of her coronation oath. It becomes the duty of us all-this is NOT a lifestyle choice-to hinder the monarch and her government until the treason is dealt with. I have entered Lawful Rebellion. I have revoked my allegiance to the queen and sworn allegiance instead to the Barons Committee which was formed in 2001.
A Freeman on the Land is someone who wants to break away from the state lawfully and peacefully. A Freeman believes that as long as he causes no harm, injury or loss to another human being, and does not make mischief with his contracts, he has all the laws he needs to live a peaceful life. I am a Freeman on the Land and I served my Notice of Understanding, Intent, and Claim of Right (NOUICOR) on the Home Office on 15 June 2009. My document is a lawful affidavit, witnessed by three other human beings and so far, is unrebutted. An unrebutted affidavit stands as truth in law.
Although I am both of these things, they can be (and are) done separately.
This remains a great essay and I will link to it from my blog.
Thanks for laying out a clear picture of what us 21st century libertarians are trying to accomplish.
Yes, I have combined these two, because I believe that Lawful Rebellion follows logically from the Freeman’s desire to preserve his/her unalienable rights, and that most active Freemen see things that way. You can’t preserve those rights without addressing exactly the issues you raise above. I suppose in theory you could have Freemen who did not subscribe to Lawful Rebellion but I wonder if that would be at all sustainable in practice.
The defence of rights (which is what you outline above) must follow upon their assertion, and so Lawful Rebellion is the means by which the claims of a Freeman must be given effect if they are to be exercised in practice. I would be interested to know if there are others who argue to the contrary; ie. that the rights of a Freeman can be put into practice to any extent without entering Lawful Rebellion.
I do hope that others will expand on the legal and other issues raised here. I see this as a subject of major interest to libertarians and continue to follow the debate with great interest.
Thanks for the reply John.
I think the major difference between the two are simple:
Becoming a Freeman is a choice.
Entering Lawful Rebellion is an obligation.
Although both are lawful, and both divorce you from the state and all of its’ apparatus, both attract people for different reasons.
There are Freemen and women who love the monarch, so they do not enter LR. They just want to be left alone, in much the same way Libertarians do. They see the difference between statutes and natural law. The former being Laws of the Water and the latter being Laws of the Land. For many, the existence of the monarch is meaningless to them practically, but they see no need to revoke their allegiance. They recognise that Admiralty Law/Commercial Law/Contract Law can only interact with the strawman or artificial construct. They do not live on the water, they live on dry land and will be bound only by the laws that concern dry land. Parliament can only ever enact Laws of the Water.
A Lawful Rebel recognises that the monarch has violated her solemn oath and that all legislation is null and void. For example, a Lawful Rebel must not pay taxes or support the government in any way, shape or form.
I know of thousands of Freefolk, and I know of thousands of Lawful Rebels. Both movements see a clear distinction. I just happen to be both. I know many others who have elected to be both as well.
I forgot to leave the link concerning the formation of the Barons Committee. Here it is:
Although the Committee is concerned primarily with the House of Lords Act 1999, there is evidence to suggest that the Parliament Act 1911 was where the rot set in. The Parliament Act diluted the monarchs power, and the HoL Act diluted the power of the upper chamber. In our three step system, all have to be in harmony for legislation to be legitimate. The HoC has interfered with the system and this was both unlawful and illegal.
We seek to fix the system, or remain outside it until it is fixed.
I wish to thank you for your informative post, also, I would direct you to the good Captain’s blog where you will find more information on the above subject
and also a little fun. Plus many educated comments from some enlightened
humans. Personally I feel that there is much to be learned for Libertarians from the Freeman/Lawful Rebel route.
Thank you again
[…] was one glaring error which I (Capt Ranty) have attempted to correct in the comments section at the Libertarian Alliance site. Professor John Kersey has combined Freeman with Lawful Rebellion. They are not one and the […]
“Although the issue of whether these principles have a firm basis in law is of considerable interest, it is, as we have said, not the sole or even the most important aspect of the Freeman movement.”
Good, because these arguments frequently fail to stand up in court. Although I don’t have much time for the sneering tone of this article I think they’ve got the analysis about right:
(I should also mention that one of the individuals you name in your post appears to be something of a conman if a quick bit of research on Google is anything to go by)
That is exactly why there is a disclaimer to the effect that “Nothing in this paper is intended as legal advice for any person or situation, nor is it intended as an endorsement of any of the individuals featured therein.” While I am interested in these ideas and their application, I do not know the individuals concerned personally, and it is no surprise that some of those concerned may have some degree of dubious purpose in mind as you say. However, that should not prevent us from looking at what is useful (or not useful) for libertarianism in this movement.
The ‘Freeman of the Land’ idea is based on a fiction.
It is not true that Statute law is based on Sea Law or any particular body of commerical law. It is not true that it legally requires the active consent of the parties involved.
It is a big fiction based on wistful thinking.
We live in a country where the Old Constitution has been set aside. Anyone who thinks the Magna Carta or Petitition of Right has given him justiciable rights is naive. Our present ruling class is restrained by its own sense of what it can get away with.
However, if enough people believe in them, Magna Carta and the Petition of right etc might return from the dead.
We live in a country where common law is ignored because it is convenient for them to do so. There’s no money in it. Not for the courts, not for the government and certainly not for solicitors and barristers. Is it ant wonder they pooh-pooh the very notion? Imagine a world stripped completely of statute law. That’s the end of all your lawyers right there.
The Magna Carta is definitely not dead. The Charter of Liberties (1100) is also not dead. They (the Westminster Wastrels) do not have the power or the right to repeal something that they (or a predecessor) did not create. MC1215 and the Charter of Liberties both pre-date our first parliament in 1265.
But ignore them in a courtroom? Sure. They do it each and every day.
Our Constitution is scattered across several documents, but it is there all the same.
This is just a shot in the dark, but have you considered either the source or a motive for such a nonsensical piece?
You may just be unpleasantly surprised.
I have spent thousands of hours researching this. Your statement is a million miles away from the truth.
Next you’ll be saying that I do not have a right (or an obligation) to lawfully rebel.
In point of fact, I can do whatever I damn well please. I outrank the queen and anyone who works for her, or in her name. Thanks to Article 61 of the Magna Carta, and the support of 88 peers. And two lawfully submitted affidavits.
No wistful (sic) thinking involved. Just an in depth knowledge of my rights as a citizen and my rights as a human being.
i am not a freeman but i admire anyone with the stones to withdraw consent to be governed. i agree with their principles on tax refusal because none of us asked to be taxed or agreed to be taxed (the provision of services is no justification – for example if i kidnap a man, lock him in a room and feed him can i bill him for the food?) where i disagree with some in the movement, is extending their legal separation of the individual from the state/statutory legal system to contracts that they have voluntarily entered into ie debt. yes there may be some statutory law involved in these debts but the principles of common law/basic morality apply when one enters a contract. IMO this avoidance of voluntary debt and breaking of contracts damages an otherwise virtuous movement.
the skepticwiki article is an appalling piece of unsubstantiated views. the writer seems to have the idea that common law comprises any and all actions and comments by judges. as i understand common law comprises legal judgements where there were none before. a judge applying a statute does not make that statue a part of common law. i also think that many in the freeman movement are not referring to the legal definition of common law but to a commonly held code of ethics. what might be referred to as human rights/inalienable rights etc.
the great strength of the freeman movement over other anti-state ideas is perhaps due to the movement comprising what Professor Kersey describes as “primarily of working-class people who feel themselves disenfranchised from the political establishment as a whole.” this could be seen to generate a no nonsense approach. their blogs and forums are not full of theoretical postulation but accounts of practical exploits in their exercise of individual liberty. their ideas are not complex theses but ideas that can be seen as self evident. as far as i can discern the freeman movement are some of the few individuals actually engaging in any practical application of the idea of liberty. As Proffessor kersey says “The key to the importance of that movement lies in the assertion of the sovereignty of the individual, the opposition to the bureaucratic state.” the freeman movement is actually applying all the sentiments the more academic/political/theoretical of us share but in the real world.
a point many opposed to an ever growing state should consider is the social contract. this apparently is the base for government. ive read hobbes, rousseau and locke and im not convinced there is any such thing. we are ruled because there is a contract? how can there be a contract without explicit consent? has anyone ever seen the/a social contract? does every individual sign their national constitution? a consistent application of first principles shows that we are all sovereign individuals. everything beyond that must be voluntary and consensual. alot of us anti-statists (libertarians, free market advocates, anarchists, social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, neo-conservatives, Ayn Rand worshipers, minarchists, kritarchists, anarcho-capitalists, secessionists, freemen) could have our dreams come true if we focussed more on the principle of voluntary consent and overturned the concept of the social contract. the masses can understand this and few would object to the idea that noone can force you to do anything. if the concept of the social contract was raised into popular discourse im sure people might begin to wonder about the nature of government and consent.
if the freeman movement didnt get so bogged down in the legal mumbo-jumbo and archaic charters that the state will ignore when it suits them and the rest of us stopped focusing on the innumerable pragmatic shortcomings of the state and instead we promoted debate on the principles behind social organisation and the justifications for government we might get somewhere. focus on the one principle that is clearly self evident and that logically leads to liberty and freedom.
the challenge i put to other opponents of the state is if big state government was great and you had no problem with it in practical terms would you still oppose it on principle? the answer should be yes. i dont oppose the state because its useless at organising bin collection i oppose it because i should not be a slave. i was born free and i never asked for or agreed to any of this.
Captain, you are, unfortunately, quite wrong.
Statute Law is in no way derived from Sea Law or any Commercial Law. There has never been any legal truth in the argument that Statute Law is only applicable with the explict consent of all parties. Legally, Statue Law can amend and overide Common Law.
Your entire position is based on wishfully thinking. The ‘Freeman of the Land’ business is a legal nonsense.
I did not say that statutes are derived from Sea Law. I said that parliament are only capable of creating laws of the water aka Admiralty Law and several other names.
The definition of a statute is as follows: a statute is a rule for society created by parliament with the consent of the governed.
Can you deny that consent given can also be retracted?
Lastly, I know that statute law can overide common law. What it cannot overide is natural law. There is a world of difference between the two. One is given by one’s creator and the other is given by man.
Guess which one is worth its weight in gold?
Unfortunately, you are wrong Captain.
Parliament has never been limited to making laws pertaining to water. Parliament has never been limited to Admiralty law. You are simply wrong on that and since your entire legal argument is based on that, your entire legal argument falls.
You then go on to confuse the legal argument with the moral argument. You would do much better to stop with the nonsense that the ‘Freeman of the Land’ stuff has any legal basis and simply concentrated on making a moral case.
(and your ‘definition’ of a Statute is simply fiction, a Statute is any law passed by Parliament, it has never required the explicit consent of the governed, you are confusing a moral argument with a legal argument again. Is your mind really that muddled?)
We can do this all night, but I don’t want to.
I would never have set off down this road without checking out the lawfulness of what I attempting. Several lawyers and one barrister have told me privately that although “different”, my affidavits, when/if examined by a fair-minded judge, will be shown to be 100% lawful. A couple of them said that they had never seen affidavits used in this way before but that they were written correctly.
For the definition of a statute you might want to go and look at WhatDoTheyKnow. A few people have requested the “official” definition. Nothing can be done to you without your consent. Statutes are no different in this regard.
I do apologise because I missed out a portion of that definition. It should have said “a statute is a rule for society created by parliament and given the force of law with the consent of the governed.”
A question: are you going to keep using words like “muddled” and “wishful thinking” and “nonsense” because you know that to be true, or are you simply saying that without knowing the whole truth of this? I ask because I come across people who deny things outright, and they do this without an inkling of knowledge and no research whatsoever. Just asking.
One final point. Since when where laws disconnected from morality? Do we have moral laws or immoral laws? I don’t see how they can be disconnected. My morality is worth 50,000 statutes, in any case. This is not arrogance. It is a fact. I am an honourable man. Ever since I started taking the government to task over demands issued, or licenses demanded for perfectly lawful behaviour etc, I have remained in honour. The same cannot be said for the government lawyers I am dealing with.
Typo: that should be “were” in the last paragraph, not “where”.
Captain, you are simply wrong.
To reinterate. Parliament has never been restricted to ‘Admiralty Law’. Statute Law is all law passed by Parliament. Statute Law does not require any explicit consent on the part of those effected by the laws as the ‘Freeman of the Land’ falsely claim.
I call your legal answers nonsense because i know that they are. Based on actual legal and historical knowledge. As such i know that you are wrong on the facts.
I point out that you are muddled because you keep on muddling moral and legal arguments. You seem to find it impossible to understand the distinction. Which is a little bit sad really.
This would appear to be utter tosh.
Good strong argument there Ian. Well done.
I was a little surprised you didn’t use the Ingoldby Method.
Just keep saying “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong”.
No need for supporting evidence, see?
Easy peasy Japanesy.
Personal sovereignty is about all there is, statists don’t like such concepts they need to lord it over others and crave power, people don’t matter much. Power is based on slavery of some sort, let alone taxation (stealth slavery), conscription or other malicious devices to demean our sovereignty if we accept that we have such a thing as sovereignty. Dr Sean Gabb makes the point the old constitution has gone the way of the birds that unfortunately is true, he couldn’t be more right, the governing class just does what it likes and is restrained by little other than perhaps of mirage of a rebellion. Resurrecting some sort of original jurisdiction let alone jurisprudence would be hard to do but not impossible. Harking back to the trees isn’t adequate. The common law derives from commissioners of the crown deciding cases in the assize circuits, you could take it back to the witan or earlier tribal courts to look for customary law it nevertheless has the hall mark of the state on its inception via judges commissioned by the king as roving legislators although bound by precedent to some extent. The modern situation needs to create conditions to change the governing class. How is that to be done? There have to be a number of methods to change the way the law operates, creating phagic legal methods to remove laws, starting with sun-setting of malign laws, perhaps the right to petition the removal of laws by referenda and other devices to remove laws especially European Union laws. Perhaps there should be methods of recalling laws to parliament or better still to an ad hoc open forum to debate and eliminate them. There is no reason why a law that permits petitions to devour the unnecessary laws that keep pouring out of the legislatures shouldn’t be enacted. It could be that a simple million signatures should be enough to remove a law. Parliamentary sovereignty would of course be abrogated in favour of personal sovereignty, however after all we gave up sovereignty to the EU why not devolve it back to the voters?
Freemen on the land are a fiction they aren’t free or they wouldn’t have something to complain about. As for the land that is granted to all, who can pay for it, in fee simple absolute in possession or in some lesser estate be it leasehold or for life, nevertheless it is a grant from the state (the crown) to the land holder you are still a tenant though you may appear to have a real estate in possession in perpetuity, but you don’t, the state still owns it, you still only have a tenancy. There is a need for absolute ownership of real estate though the statists like the arrangement as it is, somewhat unfocussed.
Some honesty is needed in this debate, at root there is almost no sovereignty that attaches to any person in any absolute sense. Take jury duty for example, the process is simply conscription not in any sense voluntary and therefore wrong in principle. You don’t get a jury of your peers you get a bunch of often resentful and unwilling conscripts to hear your case. Need I mention tax, military service, or other impositions on the person? Attempting to separate from the political establishment while brave doesn’t solve the problem either, no one has yet come up with a way of creating a structure without ending up in the same state with a government of some sort no better than the one originally vacated.
Sun-setting and other methods of removing laws is worth consideration, start with private members bills to create a debate and scare the horses. Enacting bills of rights should only be considered with care as the left have a habit of adding all sorts of bogus “rights” that amount to entitlements paid for by others in their never ending desire to provide social burglary provisions for their constituents.
as the article and most comments agree the freeman movement stands for individual liberty.
where disagreement and criticism arises is the origin of this liberty. does it rest on legality, history or ethics?
Universally recognized natural ethics uphold individual liberty and oppose coercion. When everything is reduced to first principles – self ownership – all that follows is evidently just. Self ownership and coercion are absolutes. One cannot exist in the presence of the other. statism rests on coercion. there is no such thing as social contract, human rights or natural law. there does exist a degree of consensus on mutually beneficial behaviour. coercion and therefore the state cannot be justified in these terms whatever pragmatic compromises one feels are necessary.
the freemen are the only libertarians actively pursuing individual liberty. academic discussion, political parties and campaigns and online squabbles don’t increase the real world freedom of any involved. sure it frees the mind (which is an amazing feeling) but it seems most of us like the naysayers above are scared of freedom. we like to talk about the cage and some even dare to dream about what’s outside. very few have the courage to even write about actual practical steps toward escaping the cage. Perhaps the cage isn’t even locked. we assume it must be. our masters have developed slavery to such an extent they no longer need the expensive overheads of putting a lock on the cage. yes if one or two escaped they wouldn’t be free for long but even a minority of us outnumber them.
the most respected libertarian academic doesn’t have a fraction of the courage of some of these freemen actually standing up for their freedom not just talking about it.
Captain, i note that you never use any supporting evidence.
You simply repeat untruths such as ‘Parliment can only deal with Admiralty Law’. As those untruths are the basis of your entire position, your entire position falls.
You are wrong. It’s a shame, but it is also a fact. The entire ‘Freeman on the Land’ business is based on fantasy and fiction.
will, the ‘Freemen’ simply make Libertarians look silly. They make incorrect legal arguments and fail. They end up looking, acting and sounding like weirdos.
Their arguments and actions are doomed to total failure, as such they are not an example to follow.
There is an idea that society is the cage. This kind of nay saying is what holds us in check. We have all experienced this to some extent. Some people will become almost physically confrontational if you challenge something as trivial as the idea of a state broadcaster funded by coercion. They will certainly shout you down when you challenge such assumptions as monopoly legal systems and the necessity of the state itself.
Way back in prehistory humans needed collectivist leadership. This necessarily had to be coercive. Eg tribes etc.
Collectivisation developed and increased. Tribes became nations which became states which became unions.
All of this benefitted noone but the leaders. Human history has progressed beyond the necessity of coercion. Modern society is perfectly capable of voluntary organisation. We don’t need leaders. Our leaders need us. The beneficiaries of coercion set us against each other so even discussing liberty with a ‘normal’ person generates intense opposition.
Even libertarian minarchist states grow into leviathan. Look at the USA. Look at the moral puritanism of otherwise idealised Switzerland. Noone can ever be under the state. Self ownership and coercion cannot coexist.
So next time you’re on a ‘libertarian’ forum and you’re about to slap down the idea of liberty just reconsider whether you actually want to be free or not.whether you want freedom from the titanic state as it sinks into tyranny or you want to rearrange the deckchairs.
Maybe as libertarians we make ourselves look silly by endlessly rehashing theories and criticisms but failing to follow any through. Where are the agorists? Where is our libertarian black market? Do any libertarians engage in any kind of tax resistance? We all blindly follow all the rules like all the other slaves except without their luxury of ignorance.
I’m not going to post any affidavits or challenge admiralty law but I’m not going to criticise anyone for actively pursuing liberty in any way
will, people who claim that Parliamentary law is not valid because it is ‘Admiralty Law’ are wrong and are going to achieve nothing. They are not advancing liberty, they are not doing anything worthwhile.
By making false claims, all they do is discredit real Libertarian arguments. Libertarians should steer clear of such self destructive stupidity.
I’m not endorsing archaic legal arguments against statist coercion. I’m arguing that there is no ethical argument for statism.
Should libertarians steer clear of making any effort toward liberty? Ignore the legal basis for the freeman movement and their efforts are simply revoking consent to be governed. Should we keep bickering online, waiting for the state to wither or should we do something about it? Should we fight for ourselves and humanity as a whole?
Even if the state collapsed tomorrow the masses would probably strive to reinstate statism. Libertarianism would count for nothing despite having itsreatest opportunity.
will, the problem with the ‘Freemen of the Land’ movement is that it is a purely legal challenge to the State. That is the Alpha and the Omega of it. As such it is a waste of time. It isn’t an ethical or moral challenge to the State, just a false legal challenge.
That is counterproductive, pointing that out isn’t ‘bickering’. It is important that the Libertarian movement isn’t tarred with the same brush as the misguided cranks of the ‘Freeman of the Land’ movement. Libertarianism is a serious philosophical and political point of view, ‘Freeman of the Land’ is fundamentally a misguided legal challenge with is doomed to failure.
Again, I’m not justifying or endorsing freeman methods. The important point is that some freemen have taken action in the pursuit of liberty. As far as I know none of us philosophical or theoretical libertarians have achieved any increase in personal liberty. Some freemen have. Those are the facts.
When libertarians offered some real steps toward an advancement of personal liberty perhaps then ill agree with your assessment of the more pragmatically successful freeman movement
The ‘Freemen of the Land’ are not more pragmatically succesful. They should be shunned precisely because they are so doomed to be completely unsuccesful.
They are losers in every respect. As such to be avoided.
there are some freemen who are no longer paying the television license fee, vehicle excise duty, fuel duty, council tax, value added tax or income tax. this may not be legal but we all talk about the illiberality of taxation yet continue to consent.
will those in power ever relinquish that power? how successful have libertarian political parties or even issue specific campaigns been? a hero of mine and perhaps the most well known libertarian on the planet Ron Paul has directly achieved very little. the crowning achievement of british libertarianism has been chris mounsey being castigated like a naughty schoolboy in a 3 minute ‘interview’. in all probability the path to greater personal liberty will come with the bankruptcy of the coercive state not the triumph of carefully crafted political argument. the withdrawal of consent is far more powerful and successful. each freeman that revokes consent to be taxed immediately enjoys the economic liberty and the emotional liberty of such an action. if every disenfranchised brickie in the country did the same the state would not be able to afford to prosecute them. the freeman ideology of tax resistance and personal freedom is more easily understood and more powerful than most of our libertarian concepts.
who’s the loser – the freeman enjoying the kick of sticking it to the state and the sweet taste of tax free booze and fags after a days self employed cash work or us libertarians struggling to make ends meet as we willingly pay the taxes that we then whinge about online with no hope of change?
the common man continues to be more libertarian than most of us are willing to accept.
“there are some freemen who are no longer paying the television license fee, vehicle excise duty, fuel duty, council tax, value added tax or income tax. ”
I would be interested to see documentary evidence of this including the responses of the authorities. Methinks such people are either extremely lucky, lying, being selective with the facts or living on borrowed time.
I also hope that such people, if genuinely not paying any tax, are not making use of any government services whatsoever.
Richard, these claims are often made, but they are always anecdotal and no evidence is ever offered. Just more fantasies.
He asked Redhill Council some questions. The first one he asked was:
“Is council tax lawful?”
Why, do you suppose, were they unable to answer that embarrassingly simple question?
There are thousands of us doing this. Perhaps if you dug a little deeper instead of wasting time with your childish name calling, you would learn more.
That’s not evidence of anything except the fact that if you don’t pay your tax you get arrested.
And you honestly think that somehow demonstrates your case?
Richard said “Methinks such people are either extremely lucky, lying, being selective with the facts or living on borrowed time. ”
And you agreed with him. “Richard, these claims are often made, but they are always anecdotal and no evidence is ever offered. Just more fantasies.”
I then provided evidence that a Freeman wasn’t paying council tax. No fantasty. A report from a newspaper.
And I should point out, because you made another incorrect assumption, the man has not been arrested. The report even tells you that.
I think your difficulty lies with your inability to read. You wanted evidence that Freemen do not pay taxes. There it is in black and white. The reporter even wrote it down for you.
Are you sure you are a libertarian? You write like a Fabian drone. Or is it just that you latched onto the philosophy but you have no intention of actually attempting to enforce change? You can ask for it all you want and the government will keep saying no.
My fellow Lawful Rebels and I don’t ask permission anymore. We just get on with it. The queen, the crown, the government, and all of its’ hangers on, you included, mean less than nothing to me.
Captain, all you have provided evidence of is a man being prosecuted for failing to pay his council tax. Hardly evidence of successfully avoiding any taxation or other obligation imposed by the State. Still, don’t let the facts get in the way of your fantasies.
In fact, it is evidence of failure. The failure underlines the entire premise of the ‘Freeman of the Land’ movement. The entire movement is based on falsehood and as such has achieved nothing and is unable of achieving anything.
Nothing for a Libertarian to emulate, just a sad lot of misguided, self deluding losers.
no longer shall i refer to myself as a ‘Libertarian’. i have a passion for libertarian ideas (lower case l) but the ‘Libertarians’ round here are either disgruntled fools sticking to the same irrelevant left-right narrative or, if they truly believe libertarian principles, are too cowardly to make any moves toward praxis.
to Richard and Mr Ingoldby – you ask for evidence. why not look for yourself?
tv licence – im sure the rent seeking state enforcers are only too happy to publish stats for licence fee evaders. hundreds of thousands of individuals do this. people in the freeman movement and beyond have documented cases where they have proven that their screen displays have been made incapable of receiving television broadcasts. there are legal steps one can take that prevent the private for-profit enforcement companies employed by the state from entering your property to even get that far.
vehicle excise duty – get on youtube and search for freeman road tax- several videos of individuals explaining and displaying de-registered and un-taxed vehicles, even driving around in them. or as i do simply choose a vehicle old enough to be tax exempt. it wont be as impressive as your car but then im not paying any tax.
fuel duty – tens of thousands of us running our cars on home made biodiesel. its even legal to use up to 2500l pa completely tax free. beyond that the state demands you register a as fuel producer and pay duty. just to annoy you i will admit that ive done a 140 mile round trip every weekday for the last 5 years on diy biodiesel and ive paid zero fuel duty. yes its illegal but i dont care. some do pay vehicle excise duty which is not hypothecated but should and does more than provide for maintenance of the entire uk road network of which they use a tiny percentage.
council tax – we’ve covered documented cases of home owners who challenge council tax and do not pay it. then there are the countless number of individuals and even families who choose to live in ‘unconventional’ homes and also avoid council tax – these include caravans, motor homes, vans, narrowboats and barges. numbers of permanently inhabited narrowboats reach well into the thousands (documentary evidence for exact figures is unlikely as most statistics are based on tax data – eg number of uk households equals number of council tax receipts. if you avoid the system then the system cant count you) next.
value added tax and the duty on alcohol and tobacco – please dont pretend that you have never heard of the rampant black market in these commodities. again noone paying any tax. again the state is happy to provide stats in order to justify its rent seeking ‘enforcers’.
income tax – this is such an important point which the professor touched on in the article. the freeman movement is not some theoretical academic elite. it is real individuals who do actual real jobs. you know physical stuff where they are directly in contact with the consumer. eg builder etc. voluntary agreements between individuals such as a builder and customer are some of the few remaining natural economic transactions where neither party wants to pay the coercive taxes of the state and the state is absent and unaware so everyone carries on naturally. an honest days work for an honest days wage – something entirely alien to the state. thats how hundreds of thousands of individuals avoid income tax every single day. again the state will be more than happy to provide you with stats to fuel your indignance in order to expand their power and limit your liberty. people on this site just cannot see that their conventional attitudes are what is limiting their liberty.
now i will say that very few of such examples can ever be permanently successful or that any are legal or that you will agree with my belief that they are ethically justified. many of these ‘offenders’ are as Richard says living on borrowed time but for that brief break in the clouds they are enjoying some liberty.
Richard – “I also hope that such people, if genuinely not paying any tax, are not making use of any government services whatsoever.”
there is a sentiment in there that we can all agree with as non-socialists. however how many state ‘services’ do i actually use? did i even ask for such provision? if i want to use alternate private services i am still forced to pay for the unused state service. i suspect the reason taxes remain un-hypothecated is because it would become much easier to question why i have to pay vehicle excise duty and not directly pay only the operators of the A38 as and when i chose to use it. why i have to pay alcohol duty and not simply cover the costs and profits of its manufacture (including private road transport)?
i dont want my fuel duty to pay for socially damaging welfare or violent unnecessary and irrelevant foreign wars.
most of the individuals avoiding these taxes and enjoying their liberty are nothing to do with the freeman movement. they are ordinary individuals probably not consciously motivated by any political ideas merely the natural and self evident realisation that none of these goods or services has to be artificially inflated and that in the physical actual real world they can simply revoke their consent to be taxed and avoid it.
as you deride the ‘doomed to fail’ freeman movement and simple tax evaders whilst espousing your high flown political ideas (about as likely to succeed as freemanery) just think on that you are paying all those taxes and at this very moment thousands and thousands of us are enjoying actual real freedom from the state.
think of me next time your at the fuel pumps!
[…] Professor John Kersey has written an interesting article about Freemen on the Land at The Libertarian Alliance. […]