Sovereignty is a grossly misunderstood concept. Not only is it rarely ever discussed in the corporate media (except for the congressional debates regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, as well as the signing of the Security and Prosperity Partnership in 2005), but it is misapplied by political dissidents like you wouldn’t believe. A reevaluation of what American sovereignty is, I think, long overdue.
“Sovereign” is predominately defined by Ballantine’s, Bouvier’s, and Black’s Law Dictionaries respectively as:
“A ruler; a king, the supreme power in a government.”
“A chief ruler with supreme power; one possessing sovereignty. It is also applied to a king or other magistrate with limited powers.”
“A chief ruler with supreme power; a king or other ruler with limited power.”
Now, it is true that Bouvier’s second definition says that American sovereignty resides in the body politic (and this is more generally supported by Black’s sub-definition of the “sovereign people”), but then Ballantine’s includes a quote taken from paragraph 74 of Chisholm, Ex’r v. Georgia (1793) when Justice James Wilson wrote:
“To the Constitution of the United States the term SOVEREIGN, is totally unknown. There is but one place where it could have been used with propriety. But, even in that place it would not, perhaps, have comported with the delicacy of those, who ordained and established that Constitution. They might have announced themselves ‘SOVEREIGN’ people of the United States: But serenely conscious of the fact, they avoided the ostentatious declaration.”
“Citizen” is predominately defined by Ballantine’s, Bouvier’s, and Black’s respectively as:
“One who acquired citizenship by birth, naturalization, or other lawful means; in a popular but nonetheless appropriate sense of the term, one, who by birth, naturalization, or other means, is a member of an independent political society.”
“One who, under the constitution and laws of the United States, has a right to vote for representatives in congress, and other public officers, and who is qualified to fill offices in the gift of the people. In a more extended sense, under the word citizen, are included all white persons born in the United States, and naturalized persons born out of the same, who have not lost their right as such. This includes men, women, and children.”
“In general, a member of a free or jural society, (civitas) possessing all the rights and privileges which can be enjoyed by any person under its constitution and government, and subject to the corresponding duties.”
Most of the subsequent definitions appear to reinforce this concept that a citizen is a member of the body politic (Bouvier’s uniquely defines this membership as being racially dependent). At this point, it would be fair to ask, why would a ruler require suffrage? For that matter, why should a ruler need membership in a society? If he’s the ruler, or perhaps more accurately, a member of the ruling class, then why would any of them be subjected to any constitution or government as if he (or they) were a commoner? Unless I am missing something here, I’m having a very hard time understanding how an individual could be a “sovereign” and a “citizen” at the same time; it just seems oxymoronic to me.
Despite what Justice Wilson said, there are some American dissidents who have ostentatiously declared themselves to be “sovereign citizens.” As the American equivalent to the so-called “Freemen-on-the-Land,” sovereign citizens assert that they are individually sovereign, but then they cite court cases where the justices only mention about the collective sovereignty of the people. While they further befuddle their awe-struck lecture hall audiences by deliberately mismatching individuality with collectivism, so-called sovereign citizens amazingly describe themselves as common law advocates even though they disproportionately spend almost no time on the case law, preferring to focus instead on the administrative remedies supposedly available pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
More than half of this author’s book is little more than an overly repetitive polemic. Although Van Hove claims he possesses a scholarly knowledge of history, economics, and law, he is unfortunately one of those individuals who still believe in the “corporate UNITED STATES” myth. Like other sovereign citizens, Van Hove is constantly referring to statutes and the UCC instead of the common law itself.
Because sovereign citizens like to toot their own horn by asserting that their zeitgeist is superior to that of other types of American dissidents allegedly due to the fact that their unique methods work, no such techniques are introduced by Van Hove until Chapter 15. Even then he only mentions about filing with the government a Revocation of Power of Attorney, a Certificate of Citizenship, a Declaration of Domicile, a Recession of Participation in Social Security, a Writ of Habeas Corpus (whether he is referring to habeas corpus ad subjiciendum or not, I can’t tell), a Petition for Redress of Grievances (I prefer the Under One Banner petition myself), and a “Re-Declaration of Independence” (and to answer Van Hove’s question, no, I would not sign it, because it’s nowhere as accurate in describing our situation as Gary Hunt’s Declaration of Dissolution of Government template). Van Hove goes onto describe in the next chapter about challenging oaths of office and levying liens, but his claims are barely supported by any source citations, and I wouldn’t be surprised that if anyone decided in the future to perform some follow up on them, they’d likely find his claims to be, well, rather lacking. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in the subsequent chapters, Van Hove goes back to his polemics, but this time he seems to focus his diatribes on spirituality and the environment.
The history of Richard McLaren‘s efforts were rather interesting. It was a fantastic example of what not to do. Of course, the contemporary secessionist effort is being performed by the Texas Nationalist Movement. Unfortunately, these guys are reformists, much like Open Carry Texas, in that they want the Texas legislature to step in and protect their liberties, but what both of them conveniently forget to remember is that this is the very same legislature that utterly refused to throw the TSA out of Austin’s airports, even when the federal government committed an act of war by threatening an air embargo over Texas, yet these are the fallacies some dissidents engage in when they make the same assumptions about government as those who espouse state nullification do.
There was some random documentation in the last chapter that might actually be helpful. For instance, Van Hove recommends keeping with you at least 11 affidavits and 18 notices as evidence of your “status.” As he says:
“Adhesion contracts can be revoked or rescinded by ‘Affidavit’ (so said Richard McDonald), although it leaves the presumption of the existence of the contract, and that we knew what we were signing. This must be overcome if challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction. Other adhesion contracts, such as those that Congress has attached our taxpayer I.D. numbers to, have our consent through representation, not by signature.”
That’s rather interesting, for Ballantine’s Law Dictionary defines “adhesion contracts” to be:
“A contract that is drafted by the dominant party and then presented on a take it or leave it basis to the weaker party, who has no real opportunity to bargain about its terms.”
So, that would seem to suggest that perhaps The Anti-Terrorist might have indeed been correct when he described these adhesion contracts as being like quicksand. Van Hove goes onto describe how to go about getting an International Driver’s Permit, acquiring a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, how to relabel zip codes as “postal zones,” why you should cancel your voter registration (as I did), how to escape marriage licensure by getting a marriage certificate instead, his claim that is it possible to rescind your selective service registration by getting sample forms at any post office, how to establish offshore bank accounts and use exotic financial instruments, and how to begin achieving allodial title by supposedly reworking the land patent.
I have some questions, not only for Van Hove, but also for anyone else calling themselves a “sovereign citizen.” Could any of you be so kind as to tell me:
- Where is the proof that the government courts are in Admiralty/Maritime jurisdiction?
- Where is the evidence that the Uniform Commercial Code are the rules for Admiralty?
- How do you demonstrate when a court proceeding has switched from Admiralty to equity?
- Why call yourselves “common law advocates” when all you do is proselytize about UCC and Admiralty, but rarely ever cite a court case?
Until such time I receive an adequate response to these fundamental questions, I am left to assume that all of you are completely full of crap. I’m not pulling the same trick here that the “sovereigns” and especially “Freemen” are known to use against the government when they invoke “permanent estoppel by acquiescence” if the government agents don’t answer within 10 days (or some shit); I am simply asking questions about the source citations they ostensibly use to claim what the Law says. If they have a problem with that, then I fail to see where they retain any higher moral ground that the government itself does.
Van Hove also seems to play fast and loose with the libertarian position on self-defense. As he says:
“Your right to organize a Citizens Militia as a last resort against government encroachment is also irrefutable in the American law. Be prepared to fight and defend your liberties without jumping the gun. Force is always the last resort and for self-defense only, not your first, gut-reaction. I do not support paramilitary groups that have taken it upon themselves to be the leaders of a revolt, or violent revolution. Support the local Citizens Militia in your state that are willing to defend the Constitution and the sovereignty of the people. Be prepared to organize and utilize nonviolent, civil disobedience whenever possible utilizing Gandhian principles. The attributes and effectiveness of boycotts, general strikes, sit-downs, and protests cannot be underestimated when facing a better armed opponent. Be warriors of the heart prepared to love your enemy as Jesus did.” [emphasis added]
Besides the doublethink apparent in the whole notion of “loving your enemies,” you just gotta love how Van Hove wants to have his cake and eat it too; on one hand, self-defense and militias are good, but then on the other, revolution and security teams are bad. Not only that, but he thinks reformism works better than working outside of the system in terms of securing one’s Liberty. Make of that what you will, but I will not be placing any credible stock in street demonstrations reigning in tyrannical government anytime soon.
John David Van Hove’s The Global Sovereign’s Handbook is an overly repetitive polemic tome. If this hard to read 335 page book wasn’t enough for you, there is also a taped lecture of his recorded on May 25 of 1995 entitled, Reclaiming Your Sovereign Citizenship. Right from the beginning, Van Hove admits:
“My background is as a whole systems educator, so what I am able to do is take very complicated material and articulate it in such a fashion that people can actually understand what is going on. ”
So, in other words, he’s a propagandist, because that’s what “whole systems educator” means, right? Just wonderful, isn’t it? Is this whom you’d like to rely on to tell you what the Law says and doesn’t say, or would you prefer to do your due diligence and actually read the statutes and codes for yourself?