Libertarian figure heads, such as Dr. Tom Woods, recommend to the rank and file that everyone should get their own YouTube channel and use it as a way of spreading counter-propaganda. I doubt he understands that disinformation and misinformation spread more easily through the video communications medium than through any other. Unfortunately, the political training of most dissidents now greatly suffers from the lack of properly cited bibliographic data, or worse, gross misinterpretations of such facts, which are commonly accepted as true because YouTube said so.
Unlike his last book, the author seems more focused on what he considers to be the common law, although he still has dedicated chapters on privacy, survivalism, and philosophy that I think are worth the price of the book alone. What concerns me, however, are his unsubstantiated assertions about the law, as well as why he choose to become an anarchist. Perhaps if he is provably wrong on the former, may be also be incorrect about the latter?
The Anti-Terrorist (AT) attempts to explain how citizenship is structured by way of analogy. He says:
“Using the game of Monopoly as a reference for how we operate in commerce, you – the player – are not of the game, you’re in it; you have an avatar that represents you – whether it’s a scotty dog, a racing car, a hat, a shoe, or whatever is left over after your immature friends have grabbed all the cool looking ones (after all, you can’t stand on the board and move around it as the dice demands; your feet are too big. If you want to do that, you should be playing Twister). The avatar is your person, it is your front man, the corporation you are using to make profit, buy property and so on. The banker regulates the flow of currency in the game and operates as the go-between when making commercial transactions. If your avatar lands on another’s property, or you have houses or hotels on your own property, there are taxes to pay. Keep this distinction in mind; you are not the avatar, you are the player, it is the avatar that is being taxed. Monopoly is a classic example of commerce in action. We’re dealing with avatars and monopoly money in life too and it’s helpful to learn the monopoly rules in order to thrive in the game.”
Already, there is a significant problem here. A “person” may be legally defined as either artificial or natural; humans are considered natural persons whereas legal fictions are artificial persons. AT is either assuming that all persons are considered artificial by the government, or that natural persons have some vague artificial person attached to them using the same name; this is simply not the case. As Mary Elizabeth: Croft, Veronica: Chapman, and Robert-Arthur: Menard have all failed to prove, there is no evidence I am aware of which demonstrates that when your legal name is written in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, this shows that there is an artificial person attached to you, and because of this, you are therefore suffering from capitis dimunitio. If anyone bothered to check Bouvier’s Law Dictionary’s third definition for the word “person,” they would see that it specifically explains that natural persons are intended when referred to in legislative acts; at this point, AT’s Monopoly analogy falls apart (at least, insofar as his explanation of the avatar is concerned). Despite this, he goes on to say that:
“We need to remind ourselves of how to be in the game, as the player, whilst maintaining the awareness of being the creator, outside of the game, so that we can see everything from an objective point of view and appreciate the experience for what it is, the opportunity to expand awareness, to sift and select what it is you do want from what you do not want and then to focus exclusively upon the wanted.”
Here, he is making a further distinction between what seems to be a player persona and a creator one. Honestly, I don’t see why he is continually bifurcating one’s sense of individual identity unnecessarily, for he is also presuming by the very structure of the analogy itself that the game is somehow voluntary:
“The avatar can never leave the game, and all the while you’re anchored to the avatar by the heightened emotion, you’re unable to expand your awareness to the point where you can remind yourself that you are the player. When you feel yourself getting lost in the game, when you feel like the problems are getting to you, when you feel stressed or anxious, that is your alert to step out of the game and remind yourself who you are. How often were you told by your parents to take a ‘time out,’ or ‘count to ten’ when you were angry or upset? We are often advised to walk away from a conflict when overcome by emotion, whether it be fear or anger or frustration, you are lost in the game and that’s when you need to step out, re-evaluate and then come back in, completely under your own steam, no longer driven by the adrenaline and emotion created by the overwhelming experience. Step out of the game, if you need to, it will still be there when you get back. Meditate, take a time out, have some ‘me time.’ Sit down, remind yourself who you are, and don’t come back in until you’re fully awake and aware; it can make all the difference in the world.”
While I will certainly agree with AT that taking time out is essential for one’s mental health, I fail to see what the allegedly artificial person attached to you (as expressed in the analogy as an avatar) has anything to do with your emotions. It would seem to me to be the case that AT is partially correct (analogously speaking) that everyone is playing a game of Monopoly in their everyday lives, yet, what I am criticizing here are his details of how such a game is played (the rules, as it were).
“These adhesion contracts are a lot like quicksand; it’s very easy to slip into and it takes a hell of a lot of work, patience and presence of mind to get out of. There are very simple solutions to these problems but they’re not easy to implement, considering the cognitive dissonance that is prevalent in our institutions, and they’re certainly not easy to execute without due diligence and the right attitude.”
Of course, he makes a big stink throughout the book that he will not give his readers any sort of step-by-step guides to getting out of these adhesion contracts; he does this by insisting on due diligence while simultaneously chomping on the bit about how we’re all supposedly under Admiralty jurisdiction, which is a baseless assertion he seems to enjoy reiterating. He also goes on to state that:
“If you have any of the contracts in place that bind you to the State, like a passport, ANY licenses or permits, EIN or SIN numbers and so on, you are simply not ‘out of the system’ and therefore not truly ‘free.’ I am seeing more and more cases where people will get into a registered vehicle whilst still bound by a driver’s contract (driver’s license) and when stopped, they claim they are ‘free men’ and that they are actually ‘traveling.’ They’re clearly NOT ‘traveling,’ they are ‘driving’ because they have waived their right to travel until they RESCIND their license and use an unregistered car.”
Anecdotally, I am aware of what he is referring to, but I am sure there’s probably a video or two showing a police encounter that went down badly because the driver tried to argue he was exempt from statute, yet caved in at some point by showing his driver’s license. The idea here appears sound, though, except for the fact he is insinuating that these adhesion contracts aren’t coercive, but somehow voluntary. If they do prove to be coercive, as I suspect they very well may be, then there is no legal remedy in terms of revoking or otherwise extricating yourself from them; should that turn out to be the case, then paper-tripping still remains an option.
“I’ve not addressed acceptance for value specifically because – although the principles behind A4V (Acceptance for Value) are sound – there have only been sporadic successes in the UK. My own experiences using some of the principles have been mixed but generally positive; cognitive dissonance is rife and it takes a significant amount of patience and skill to instigate the A4V remedies. It’s my understanding that the successes in the US are just as sporadic which leads me to believe the process is still not complete.”
Yeah, saying that “the process is still not complete” and that it has only enjoyed “sporadic success” is the understatement of the year. Menard admitted back in 2009 that his original explanation of how the so-called Code 96 remittance option supposedly worked was (in fact) totally bogus, but now he allegedly has a better idea of how to correctly use it. AT also says:
“In law, it can be said that we are the proximate cause of our own injury; we are the accessories to this crime, both before and after the fact. You see, these bankers don’t stick a gun to your head and force you against your will and over your objection to participate in these criminal activities, not at all. Every time you use your credit card, that’s a choice that you make, every time you make your mortgage payment, that’s your choice, every time you go into a shop and pay with Bank of England notes that’s a choice you make.”
That’s rather interesting, because last time I checked, the Federal Reserve Bank enjoyed a monopoly on the issuance of currency and credit, since Congress decided to effectively relinquish their Article 1, Section 8 delegated power to “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin” in favor of their other delegated power “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.” Although the coerciveness surrounding the acceptance of Federal Reserve Notes by merchants and customers may be vague due to the interpretation of legal tender statutes, what is clear is that the Federal Reserve behaves as if competition were a sin, gauging from their distaste for free-market money, as exemplified by both the persecution of Bernard von NotHaus and that closed-door “regulatory” meeting they had with the Bitcoin Foundation.
How is an individual to go about changing his legal status with the State? AT explains that:
“Effective communication is essential if you want to resolve issues, whether it is with the banks, the utility companies, the authorities, or even just with friends and family. Your objective in any communication is to be heard and understood, and if you don’t have the capacity to achieve the understanding you’re after, then you should be working on it. A lot of the fear we experience when getting these letters from government agencies, debt collectors and so on comes from knowing how lacking we are in the knowledge we need to deal with the matter at hand. Your level of fear is proportionate to how prepared you are. If you are in your twenties you should now really be thinking about re-educating yourself on the subjects that really matter: law and money. Even if you’re the goodliest goodie who ever graduated from Do-Gooder University, you’re still going to be negatively affected by your ignorance in these two subjects to some degree or another, whether it’s just a matter of an administrative error at the bank that sends you deep into overdraft, or being arrested because you were wearing the wrong-coloured socks on a Wednesday. As a responsible adult you owe it to yourself and the people you care about to be knowledgeable enough to cope with any legal or financial eventuality.”
Although I wholeheartedly agree with him that law and money are indispensably important subjects (which is why they comprise two of my three specialties), AT seems to think that only mitigation is going to bring about any serious personal liberty. And while I also agree that increased literary skills are essential to one’s quality of life, I am a bit surprised he chose to stop there. AT goes on to suggest how to prepare for police encounters:
“You need to take a really good look at yourself and appraise yourself as honestly and objectively as you can. How vulnerable are you to intimidation? Can you stand silence when you’re in conversation, or do you feel the need to break the silence and say something? Do you listen carefully while someone is speaking to you, or are you just waiting for him or her to finish so you can deliver your own witty/profound/intellectual response? Do you crave attention, or do you prefer to be ignored? Are you suggestible? If someone says ‘Look at that,’ do you immediately turn your head? Do you have a tendency to snap out answers to questions? Do you often feel the need to explain or justify yourself? Are you the nervous type? Do you show it by gestures or movements of your hands, by your body language? What is your resistance to discomfort? These questions when answered as truthfully as possible will give you a good sense of how well you will fare in a police interview situation.”
I think these are really good guidelines to judge yourself by, especially when you are roleplaying police interrogations.
At this point, I do need to bring up AT’s connection with John Harris, who seems to be the originator of the so-called “Lawful Rebellion” method. As AT describes him:
“Are there any denizens in the UK? No idea. Is John Harris really a common Law free man, a denizen? No idea. Has he expatriated? Is he a citizen? I’ve no idea. Ask him. I know John personally and he’s a shining light but I have no idea how far he’s gone to achieve his own freedom. Beyond serving her majesty with a document or two, he will probably tell you he doesn’t need to prove his freedom to anyone, and I buy that idea completely, BUT if you want to get ‘the man’ off your back, you can’t be a ‘citizen.’ And remember, if you’re a citizen, you’re a taxpayer.”
These documents that AT alludes to are two affidavits Harris served on Elizabeth II, who is the purported Queen of England (I say “purported” because as a minarchist, I inherently don’t recognize monarchy as a legitimate form of government, mainly because it’s not a republican one). From what I understand from Harris’ lectures on this technique, if a British citizen files these legal documents with “their” government, then pursuant to article 61 of the Magna Carta, such a individual would then have changed their legal status from that of being a citizen to that of a denizen in “Lawful Rebellion.” AT elaborates:
“Nor can you be in TRUE ‘Lawful Rebellion’ and refuse to honour the taxation contracts you volunteered into, whilst taking benefits from the State, or still having even the simplest contract in place with the State. This is a fundamental misunderstanding in these movements. You signed the contracts and are bound by them until you rescind the signature based on non-disclosure…I believe both the freeman and Lawful Rebellion movements are valuable and essential steps in the right direction but one needs to fully immerse oneself in the education. Simply dipping your toes in when it suits you never works out well.”
My inclination is that AT is at least somewhat correct here, but ultimately that is immaterial. Richy, one of Harris’ fellow comrades, admitted that article 61 wasn’t intended to be used by the people to increase their liberty. Beyond that, not only has Harris himself admitted that AT was a friend of his (thus corroborating AT’s statements about their friendship), but also that AT is a Hollywood actor. As if that wasn’t revealing enough, Harris goes onto claim that AT got himself involved with the so-called “Commercial Redemption” scheme, whereby ₤500 were charged per person for a weekend seminar workshop on how the Uniform Commercial Code supposedly works. Harris goes onto admit he was offered ₤40,000 to teach corporate fat cats all the legal loopholes he knows so they can cheat more money out of their customers; thankfully, Harris refused the offer.
Like I said earlier in this review, I also wanted to examine why AT became an anarchist. As he describes himself:
“I used to be a libertarian, but if you’re a logical libertarian, you become an anarchist. Anarchists suffer from very bad press, but they’re not people who wear little black capes and carry little round bombs with lit fuses – that daft idea has nothing to do with anarchism whatsoever. Just as Monarchists believe in one ruler, a king, and democrats believe in the rule of the majority; an anarchist simply believes in no rule. That’s not to say that he doesn’t believe in order, they do, very much so, and they also believe in society to the same degree. Recently, my anarchism has evolved into what I like to call discordianism, which isn’t a political philosophy as such, it’s more a case of seeing everything that is going on around me as a bit of a cruel joke. In other words, I’ve come to the realization that very little of what we get so concerned about is really worth the powder it takes to blow it to hell. I just find myself watching it all with amusement these days and basically do things to amuse myself, not because I hope to change the world at all, which a lot of the people in the liberal, libertarian, and even anarchist movements try to do, but because I believe the world has a life of its own.”
I think AT here is committing the all-too-common mistake anarchists make by equivocating a bill of wares with a simple negation. To paraphrase The Smooth Terrorist, atheism and anarchism are only negations regarding the existence of gods and governments (or the spheres of religion and politics, if you prefer). As such, any philosophical ideas you may hold dear (such as libertarianism or discordianism) are bills of wares which are mutually exclusive from any negations you may hold as the truth. For instance, a contemporary humanist would likely be a fanboy of Richard Dawkins, but that is not required for an atheist, whose only requirement is adhering to the simple negation, “I don’t believe in the existence of God”; similarly, a modern libertarian would likely be a fanboy of Ron Paul, but that is not required for an anarchist, whose only requirement is adhering to the simple negation, “I don’t believe in the existence of the State.” I will concede though that AT’s understanding of Discordianism is spot-on. He goes to say that:
“I would assert that this a completely ridiculous fantasy, created out of whole cloth by an idiot. More likely, the real origin of government went like this: You might have had a group of people somewhere that were just making their way in the world, farming, or herding or whatever people did in pre-history, and you might have had a roving band of criminals, like the primeval equivalent of the Hells Angels, and what they would do is ride through, steal what they could and ride on, which is how they would survive. Of course, the problem was if the locals defended themselves, the roving thugs would sustain causalities, which were essentially ‘transaction costs’ to getting what they wanted. So what they might do after a while is come to the peaceful townspeople and say, ‘Look, we’re not the only band around here that does this type of thing for a living. What we’ll do is this – we won’t come by and burn your shacks and your fields and wotnot anymore and we’ll protect you from the other criminals who are doing this, and all we want in return is ten percent, okay?’ And the townspeople might look at their transaction costs and say, ‘Well, this could make some sense, we give 10% to these chaps and get to keep more of what we create. Yes, okay.’ That’s how government got started; it was an economic proposition.”
While an intriguing allegory, AT is committing yet another all-too-common anarchist mistake, which is moving the goalposts, however unintentionally. On one hand, the anarchist claims that government does not exist, yet on the other he also asserts that the State is evil incarnate. Pray tell, how can a non-existent thing possess moral agency in the first place? Unlike religion, politics does have a coercive effect upon people’s lives, so unless I come across a cogent explanation from the anarchists regarding the nature of government, I am a loss for words with regard to their seemingly fallacious reasoning. Despite that, AT mentions this interesting tidbit:
“As far as police are concerned, I’d far prefer to have someone like Eddie Shoestring or Magnum PI, or someone like that to go after someone who had committed a common law crime against me, and very few of the crimes prosecuted today are common law crimes, as you well know. Magnum would be a person who has an interest in the actual catching of the criminal. Most police, notwithstanding the good guys on Dexter or The Bill, down tools at 5 o’clock – they’re just government employees, that’s all. And they’re usually pretty dimwitted ones, too. If you know many police officers, as I do, you’re talking about an average IQ of 95 to 100, I’d say, just slightly less than the population average. And most of these chaps have extra Y-chromosomes, so they’re potentially very dangerous. Generally speaking, we’re talking about someone that is not intelligent and potentially violent, and these are supposed to be the guardians of a free society. It’s laughable really. There are better ways to solve the police problem in the free market.”
This strongly supports Gustave de Molinari’s proposal for the private production of security and arbitration services. As Dr. Roger Roots also explained it, citizen enforcement of the law was considered a republican virtue, especially considering the expectation that citizens were to be armed and capable of chasing suspects at the drop of a hat. Seeing that enforcement of the law was a populist activity during the early American republic, I see no reason why the free market now should not enjoy the unfettered liberty to sell the tools and manpower needed in order to aid in such a style of enforcement. Not only does it help to encourage a genuine respect for the Law, but it would also ensure by default that the citizenry is armed, and by extension, able (and preferably willing) to enage in their common right of revolution should the government succumb to tyrannical impulses. Unfortunately, AT seems to contradict himself when he said:
“The only lawful form of Government is a representative one and no one can represent you without your consent. Nor can anyone offer you goods or services without your consent. It stands to reason, doesn’t it? Now you might argue that we’re under some form of faux communism/fascist dictatorship and I’ll concede that it does feel like that at times, but we’re not. The right of the Government to govern comes from the consent of the governed – that’s not ‘consent of the majority of the governed’ – it is ‘…by consent of the governed,’ and that means you.”
Wait a damn minute…didn’t he say earlier that he’s an anarchist? Don’t anarchists lack a belief in the existence of the State, anyway? If so, then why is he saying anything about a supposed “lawful form of Government?” Interestingly, he also seems to share the same assumption with the so-called Freeman that the consent of the governed is individually given, not collectively so. Whether this is objectively true or not I am unsure of for the time being, although I suspect John Locke has an idea or two that would be valuable in the attempt to answer this question.
The Anti-Terrorists’s Standing Under Freedom – A Foundation for Personal Empowerment: A Practical Guide for the Erudite Badass is a book testifying to how even the best of us can become hoodwinked. AT seems to believe in the so-called STRAWMAN Redemption legal theory, which has been rejected numerous times by the government courts (at least here in the States); even in terms of the common law, only the government’s interpretation of their own rules is what matters, because they have the guns, the jails, and the military. The sad irony here is that AT warned his viewers that there were scams in the associated Freeman/Redemption circles, yet according to Harris, AT himself has since fallen into association with such con artists, perhaps unwillingly, gauging from Harris’ description of AT acting uncomfortable when Harris confronted him about it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Menard himself has harshly criticized AT in the past for his incorrect portrayal of the Freeman ideology, especially as it related to personhood. At the end of the day, I think AT became greatly disgruntled and fell in with a bad crowd, doing so because he was desperate for an answer to his own life, which I infer he feels deeply trapped in by virtue of his career. Who knows? Maybe once AT shakes one of these fictions into a kitten, then perhaps he’ll finally discover the solace he’s been desiring all along. Seeing that every end had a beginning, I will leave you this statement from AT’s first vlog for your contemplation:
“I want to make it very clear that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I liked to be called a ‘conspiracist;’ I do not deal in theory. Every bit of information I present to you will be backed up by facts. There may be a certain amount of conjecture and hearsay, but the majority of it will be provable. I may assert certain things that may only have circumstantial evidence to back them up at this present time, but I believe them to be true, and that is the context in which I offer it.”