Sunday, November 4, 2012

Conspiracy Theory #158,697

The Sovereign Citizens Movement is a collection of "American litigants, commentators, and financial scheme promoters. The U.S.'s FBI classifies "sovereign citizens" among domestic terror threats as anti-government extremists. This is because many "sovereign citizens" typically espouse views of armed insurrection, fear of any infringement of the 2nd amendment, and extreme mistrust of the government.

Self-described "sovereign citizens" take the position that they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, states or municipal levels, or that they do not recognize U.S. currency and that they are "free of any legal constraints." Of course, this is ludicrous; if are a citizen of this country who partakes of the rights and privileges thereof, then you are legally/ethically/morally required to be answerable to its laws.

"Sovereign Citizens" especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate, typically due to an extremely ignorant perception of tax law and the Constitution's power to tax the citizens. Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to "federal citizens" who, they say, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law. This topic frequently creeps up into a closely related topic of "Federal Reserve Conspiracies," which can be easily debunked here.

 In 2010 the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimated that approximately 100,000 Americans were "hard-core sovereign believers" with another 200,000 "just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges."

In my own experience, "sovereign citizens" tend to be a mixture of ignorant conspiracy buffs, bigoted armchair academics, and tinfoil hat peddlers. Many are criminals. Others are one-step away from becoming Jared Lee Loughner, whose own ideology is frighteningly similar to that of many "sovereign citizens."

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