Are you a “sovereign citizen”?
Actually, you aren’t a “sovereign citizen” at the moment, but you could be—so say the Guardians of the free Republics, the anti-government group that just called for state governors to step down. (Scroll down to see yesterday’s post on the Guardians and their letter to governors.)
The Guardians are part of the “sovereign citizen” movement. This right-wing movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League, “is a loosely organized collection of groups and individuals who have adopted a right-wing anarchist ideology.” This ideology contends that virtually all government institutions are illegitimate. As mentioned yesterday, its adherents seek to return America to a mythical pre-1933 state.
What makes1933 so special?
That’s the year America went off the gold standard. Here’s what followed, according to sovereign citizen theory: Needing to borrow money, the federal government pledged us—American citizens—as collateral. Each of us is worth a certain sum of money, which we can “reclaim.”
Got that? Here’s some background: You can “read up” on the sovereign citizen movement (also known as the redemption theory movement) at Wikipedia and there’s also a separate Wiki page on the gold standard. In fact, our illustration today is a campaign poster, more than a century old now, of William McKinley campaigning on the gold standard.
These may seem like trivial issues in American history, but they matter passionately to groups like the Guardians. In practical terms, here’s what it means for you and me: If you want to claim your sovereign citizenship, try revoking and returning your Social Security number. Give back your driver’s license. Your birth certificate is really a negotiable instrument, which you can use to pay off your debts. In addition, there are countless acts of “paper terrorism” that you can employ.
You are no longer subject to federal and state laws. Only common law applies.
It’s unclear how many people are involved with the sovereign rights movement, but the Anti-Defamation League says it is sweeping over the nation. Our current economic times make it even more attractive.
Have you heard of the sovereign citizen movement? Know anyone involved in it?
I don’t know about you, but I give them high marks for creativity and imagination.