So whence do Sovereign Citizens come from, exactly ?

Not sure if this should be in GD or GQ, but since this thread is inspired by current events, and those always go down the tubes, I figured I might as well drop it here.

Anyway, with the latest Bundy things, I’ve been wondering about the sovereign citizen… movement ? Ideology ? Whichever. And who started it all. It strikes me that many of these guys reiterate strikingly similar (albeit, um, nuts) opinions ; such as “the federal government is a myth/doesn’t have any authority anywhere”, the gold fringe admiralty flag naval court thing, the notion that if you say the right magic legal words you can’t be prosecuted and/or the prosecution will automagically be invalid… they’re all crazy ideas of course, but they’re suspiciously specific crazy ideas that have spread far and wide, which prompts me to believe there must have been a single origin point somewhere.

Soooo… was there ? And if so, which was it ?

As usual, wikipedia is a good place to start.. I just so happened to have looked that up this AM.

The Wiki articles on Sovereign citizen movement and Posse Comitatus give a good general outline.

The views on government and taxation ultimately derive from the Posse Comitatus movement, which was largely inspired by William P. Gale. Where Gale got the ideas is a bit murky.

ETA: ninja’d.

This is the best site, ever.

From the Wiki article:


The leading decision in Canada on this sort of stuff: Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII), <>.

Yep if you go through this link I posted in another thread and look at the ones that mention “tax protester”, “Aryan”, “anti-government” or “Christian Identity” those were them.

Everyone from Timothy McVeigh to The Bundys. IMHO it is really just a form of KKK-light, none of the ceremony but all of the hate.

Not exactly. It all comes from white supremacist groups but the tax stuff has taken on a life of its own. There was a black woman convicted of tax evasion in New York after her sovereign arguments were tossed out recently.

The Meads v Meads decision is really a much better summation of the phenomenon than “It’s all KKK light,” which it really isn’t.

What it is, really, is a series of related scams that prey upon weak-minded people. “Say the magic words and you won’t have to pay taxes” is not all that dissimilar from “Eat acai berries and you won’t gain weight” and every other simplistic solve-your-life-for-$500 thing out there. Behind every “soverign citizen” or “Freeman on the land” is someone who extracted at least the cost of a book or a seminar to tell them all about it.

Yes, altho there are a few shreds of decent legal arguments here and there, mostly this is what all the arguments break down to- "Say the magic words and you won’t have to follow certain laws."

and that somehow, a “common sense reading” of the Constitution (by someone with no common sense) rules out over a SCOTUS ruling.

RationalWiki has some pretty good pages on Sovereign citizen, Freeman on the land, Posse Comitatus, Militia movement, and Pseudolaw.

This is an exception and while people may try to use their arguments to commit tax evasion I am unaware of any bomb plots or violence committed by this subset of tax-protesters.

I am intimately familiar with several of the incidents listed in my link and all were also closely tied to white supremacy. This may color my judgement so please point evidence that violent tax protestors are not, it is very possible I am wrong.


I worked on a demolition project with Darwin Michael Gray and had to endure his off comments.

I have had several debates with Richard Butler in Dennys in Cour d’Alene Idaho and I use to sit in the middle of Sherman Ave to block the Aryan nations parades.

I have a best friend whom was at work the day the spokesman review was bombed.

I was friends with the family that was shot at when their car backfired, which resulted in the Aryan Nations losing their compound in Hayden Lake.

I have been in half a dozen in person arguments with Northwest Front members in seattle, calling them out when I see them in public.

I use to set up a cardboard sign that said “Ask a friendly atheist” next to Evangelical churches and christian identity movements where I calmly answered and asked questions.

I think you misunderstand me. Christian Identity types are certainly violent. I’m just pointing out that the sovereign and tax protest movements have gone beyond their white supremacist origins.

tax protestors maybe, but any self identified “Sovereign Citizen” that does not realize the history and bases of the movement was racism and anti-Semitism is plain ignorant.

But my comments were related to those that commit acts of violence. Are there any documented incidents of violence involving self described Sovereign Citizens or tax-protestors which were not also related to racism?

People have a right to their nut ball ideas and I will fight for their right to have them but I will not tolerate violence through intimidation or action.

In that context does your argument invalidate the point behind my post. I doubt that the local law enforcement concerns documented in the post that I responded to are really worried about passive believers either.

Well, sometimes, when a Freeman on the Land and a Freewoman on the Land love each other very much, Natural Law comes into play . . .

2010 West Memphis police shootings

…and they create joinder with each other.

Well, yeah, but anyone who buys into sovcit nonsense is plain ignorant.

One common denominator among these people is revealed in this quote from the wiki:

There’s always a presupposition that the “will of the county’s citizens” is somehow unanimous–that everybody wants the same thing–that there is a default will of the people. This lends itself well to white nationalist (and other) ideologies which a priori are predicated on an assumption of only one constituency being legitimate.

Essentially, if the majority doesn’t choose what you want, you start to claim the decision isn’t legitimate.