Evidence of Jurisdiction

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“One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” is an original column appearing most Mondays at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OVP-only RSS feed available here.

There is, or should be, a presumption of innocence when we are accused of breaking the law. The prosecution has the burden of proof to show, factually, that we’ve done what they’re accusing us of doing. Does proof begin at our actions? Actually, no. It begins at the law itself. Let me explain.

Applicability of Law

When we are accused of, say, speeding on the freeway, the accusation is more than just whether or not the speed of our vehicle surpassed the posted speed limit of the road. The accusation also includes the claim that the constitution and code of the municipality we are physically in, that created the speed limit, applies to us. Before we can determine if the code, the law, has been violated, it must first be determined that the law is applicable. After all, it’s impossible to violate a law that doesn’t apply to you.

So, if we are ticketed for speeding, the officer-as-witness is accusing us of not only speeding, but also claiming that the law applies to us. Well and good, but what factual evidence does he rely on proving the constitution and code applies to us? What factual evidence does he, the prosecutor, and the judge rely on proving jurisdiction?

“The code applies because the code says so,” is a typical response to this question. Clearly, though, this is a circular argument and the code itself cannot stand as factual evidence because it’s the code itself whose applicability is at question. Next argument.

“The code applies because you’re inside the municipality, as established by the code.” is likewise a circular argument. What factual evidence do they rely on proving the constitution and code applies to us, just because we’re physically within the territorial boundary of the municipality, as established by the code? Next argument.

“The code applies because you’ve obtained a driver’s license.” Does this mean the constitution and code did not apply to me before I obtained a driver’s license? Not likely, and besides, this, too is a circular argument. What factual evidence do they rely on proving the constitution and code applies to us, just because we obtained a driver’s license, as required by the code? Next argument.

“The code applies because you’re a citizen.” What made me a citizen? The code, which makes this also a circular argument. What factual evidence do they rely on proving the constitution and code applies to us, just because the code designated us as citizens? Next argument.

“The code applies because of some such social contract theory.” I could be wrong, but I don’t believe that philosophical theories and opinions count as factual evidence. No, I’m not wrong. Theories and opinions, based on philosophical arguments or not, are not facts, and so do not qualify as factual evidence. Next argument.

Evidence of Jurisdiction

Are there any arguments left? I don’t think so, and we haven’t even gotten to questions like, “What is the municipality (city, county, state), factually?” and “What is the code (or constitution), factually?” The truth of the matter is, no state officer-made law as presented in their constitutions or codes apply to anyone, anywhere. There isn’t a shred of factual evidence proving the jurisdiction of state laws or state officers. That’s not to say that people aren’t accused and convicted of state crimes in state courts. This is evidence not that the state has jurisdiction, but rather that the state isn’t concerned with whether or not it has jurisdiction, and will kidnap and cage people as they see fit, as well as evidence that “the people” have been duped by teachers and parents to believe, despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, that the state has legitimate jurisdiction over them. Factually, it doesn’t, and never has. Factually, the state, government, is a gang of criminals terrorizing their neighbors into compliance with their greedy and disrespectful edicts.

Final Thoughts

The preceding is all rather new to me. I have Marc Stevens and his No State Project to thank for introducing me to this line of thought. I’ve known for awhile that state authority is always illegitimate, but I wasn’t able to articulate it quite this way. I’ve entered a new phase of my life, one in which I am committed, within my risk tolerance, to battling the state on the above grounds. I will no longer roll over and pay them off or attend their traffic schools. I will look them in the eye and challenge their accusation, beginning with the applicability of their laws. If I am successful, it’ll be because some state officer realized that they are without foundation, and did the right thing. And if I am not, it’ll be because some psychopathic state officer decided coercion is more profitable than justice. Wish me luck!

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.