Freeman on the Land - opting out of society

I’ve searched the Straight Dope to see if this has been covered, but I can’t seem to locate anything.

I’m very interested in personal freedom and the possibity of “opting out” of society using the laws and statutes themselves. According to several websites, this can be accomplished legally.

This seems to be a rapidly growing movement across the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.

In describing the methods, they stress various concepts such as the difference between laws and statutes as well as the difference between something being “illegal” vs. “unlawful” when being stopped by a police officer for, say, a traffic violation.

I am not asking for legal advice, but I’m wondering if any of our legal types can point out any glaringly obvious problems with the concept:

Go to YouTube and type in “Free Man On the Land” and you will get a number of videos on this topic, some even showing footage of people being stopped by police and using the techniques. It’s interesting viewing.



There is also and

I’m not gonna bother digging any deeper than skimming the first page of that last link. Nutjobs. Similar to survivalists, tax protesters, militia groups, the like.

So if one doesn’t care to watch You Tube videos, would you briefly summarize this school of thought as meaning that laws don’t apply to a person unless they want them to; that my personal rights are different depending on the capitalization of my name (i.e., Ravenman instead of RAVENMAN); and that the gold fringes on flags in courtrooms mean that judges can’t convict you of crimes?


From the link

It goes on like that.

If the linked page is in fact representative of Freeman, then the concept as fundamentally unsound, has no legal basis, but is strangely entertaining.

So… If I buy a car, the bank owes me money? :confused:

The bank never actually deals with you. (As RavenMan predicted) the bank only deals with a fictitious legal entity that has your name in CAPITALS.

The idea is that, apparently, since no single individual has the right to legislate, no collection of individuals has this right, either. This is widely regarded, for reasons I won’t get into, to be false. From here, it gets even more false, as others have shown.

ETA: Very little before this point is true, either.

The paperwork for a bank loan I took out (and subsequently paid off) many years ago had my name on it spelt “Normally”- ie, with the first letters capitalised and everything else in lower case. Not that it should make any difference, as anyone who learnt to read/write in Primary School should know.

I have to say that I’m not aware of a particular rise in this “Freeman” movement in Australia, but it’s a huge country with a lot of empty space and its own share of people with wacky ideas (many of whom have internet access and thus get addendums to their wacky ideas from the US and UK).

Wow. Those sites are insane. I spent a little time in the forums and almost every single thread is “Hey guys, this cop gave me this ticket and I didn’t pay it, and now they’re saying they’re going to seize my property! Isn’t that illegal?” or “So I got arrested and fined again. What should I do now?”

I should point out that this is a common topic of debate in political philosophy. There’s lots of opinions out there about how governments derive their rights and how much loyalty the populace owes to the sovereign, as debated in classics like Hobbes’s Leviathan and Locke’s Treatise on Government.

That’s in no way a defense of the “Freemen” (aka “criminals”) but I thought it was interesting to note.

Title Case:

Who says that threads on lunatic fringe subjects can’t also have a worthy educational component to them as well? :slight_smile:

We’ve discussed these guys extensively on the JREF forum. With regards to that last link, the fellow behind it has posted as well. I’d suggest you look at this:
and then judge his level of honesty. You can then read the several thousand other posts in that thread, which show in rather excruciating detail that these guys are off their rockers, when they’re not simply conmen.

Nutjob theories about practically everything being an illegitimate legal fiction aside, just how far in various countries can one truly “opt out” of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship? If someone actually wanted to say “I’ll take my chances on my own without any protection from the government”, how far could that be taken?

That’s the second time I’ve heard this idea in a week (from people who seemed to be serious). Maybe it’s a trend. I’d advise against it even if you can do it. Getting cable access and pizza delivery will be very difficult. Just get a piece of property outside of major urban areas, and don’t make a lot of noise. Everybody else and the government isn’t that interested in what you’re doing anyway.

These types of argument are complete and utter bunk. What they basically boil down to is the idea that “whatever I think about something is the absolute and objectively correct final word that nobody can deny.”

So, these folks will say, for example, that the US federal income tax was never properly enacted and therefore can’t be imposed. The problem for them is that that is only their opinion. How things work in the USA is that courts get to decide things like whether the US federal income tax was properly enacted and can be enforced against individuals, and the indviduals’ opinions don’t matter.

Not very far. As I understand it, if you’re within the territory of the United States of America you’re in the jurisdiction of the United States - American law applies to you (barring a few established legal exceptions which you cannot invoke upon yourself). Pretty much the same principle is applicable in every country.

So if you want to live outside of the law, you’re probably going to have to go to some non-national territory like living on a boat in international waters.

True, but it is possible to live in such a way as to minimize contact with the government. If you own land, pay your taxes, and don’t bother anybody, mostly the government will leave you alone.

  • “But I don’t WANNA pay any taxes!”*

So don’t think of it as paying taxes. Think of it as tribute to a more powerful nation, with the ability to turn your sovereign state into a radioactive wasteland.