Breaking: Hey Right Wing, You Can Have Jared Loughner Back

Someone’s finally sorting out the mess that is Jared Loughner’s mind and discovering what most of us have suspected all along. Loughner has much more in common with rightwing extremists than with the political left. Justine Sharrock at Mother Jones explains what Loughner’s obsession with grammar means to people in the “sovereign citizen” movement, which among many other things, maps out strategies to avoid paying taxes.

Glenn Beck would no doubt be envious of the hairpin logic used by the “sovereign citizens”

Many of his seemingly random statements—on “grammar,” “the ratifications,” “the new currency,” and more—echo the teachings of the “sovereign citizen” movement, a right-wing school of thought alleging that Americans have been surreptitiously stripped of their God-given rights.

These are not random parallels, as I discovered in reviewing Loughner’s YouTube videos. In multiple instances, he uses the precise talking points sovereign-citizen theorists teach via a thriving cottage industry of books, websites, bogus legal companies, and seminars; one popular theorist, David Wynn Miller, told the New York Times that Loughner has “probably been on my website.”

If you go to Miller’s web site, good luck. It’s as indecipherable as Loughner’s question to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the one he is thought to have fixated on to the point of justifying his future actions: “What is government if words have no meaning?”

Playing with words and punctuation is a large part of what the sovereign citizens are all about.

The sovereign citizen movement argues that if you closely study the Constitution, you can prove that federal laws are illegitimate—leaving you free to choose not to, say, pay taxes or follow traffic laws. In their view, the minute you get a Social Security number or driver’s license, you enter into a contract giving up your sovereignty. (Several sovereign-citizen adherents have told me that home births are popular in the movement for this reason.) To become a sovereign citizen, you retroactively withdraw from this contract. Some also argue that you aren’t bound to government contracts if you sign documents in red crayon or use lowercase lettering, alternative punctuation for your name (say, “Justine,,, Sharrock”), or add the letters “TDC” for “under threat, duress, and coercion.”) There are myriad theories on how to prove your sovereignty in a court of law, with plenty of experts willing to help—for a fee.

Miller, a former tool and die welder, declares himself a “plenipotentiary-judge” and writes his name :Judge: David-Wynn: Miller. How this gets him off from paying taxes I couldn’t say, but Glenn Beck would no doubt be envious of the hairpin logic involved.

Before FOX News, etc. gets their hands on Sharrock’s research and twists it beyond recognition, do yourself a favor and read the whole article. If the right can figure out a way to give us Loughner they will, but with these findings, that will be harder to do.

2 Comments

  • Kim
    January 12, 2011 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, wow.

    We’re really heading towards Federalism again; Hamilton might have really beaten the Democratic-Republicans. We the people have failed in fulfilling our promise to ourselves and individualism that founded this country.
    The constitution was to be a compromise between the governed and the governing, they were to work for us and now they’re working against us. We the people have failed ourselves…
    Government is a force of nature, a root of what could be a beautiful protector and symbol, but at times in needs to be tended to or it will grow wildly into our lives, out of control.
    Now we have elected officials hawking bills that will stop free speech, factions spinning commentary as truth.
    It’s a sad state the world is in, seeing things left and right. We’re going to welcome the Alien and Sedition Acts back, if the left have it their way, they’ll have their own Patriot Act.
    Jared was anti-government, period.
    Constitutionalists are believers in compromise of power by “we the people” and those who make up the government.
    The only group Jared belongs to is a fringe of a faction; this is like saying “That because Muslim extremists bombed us, all Muslims must be like that…”
    Are we going to start profiling others next? Locking people up that don’t agree with a certain system of thought because another faction deems them “undesirable”.
    Stay the course and watch it consume you like it did Jared.

    “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”- Ben Franklin

  • Vic Anderson
    January 13, 2011 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Can the right have Obama Barack, too?

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