Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

‘Sovereigns’ want to have it both ways

There’s something to be said for the members of the sovereign movement (Sovereigns believe they have no reason to follow rule of law, “ ‘Sovereigns’ gaining attention in Spokane area,” Spokesman-Review, June 12). These feisty rebels are to be admired particularly by those of the ’60s generation where “Question Authority” was their calling card.

The doctrine behind this group isn’t new. History is replete with those who have felt they’re above the law, above paying taxes, above the fray of government and therefore, above the rest of us poor schmucks who follow umpteen laws and tax codes that, admittedly, border on the asinine.

So, ya’ gotta love these sovereigns and their zeal to stick it to the man “because we are the government” Adrian B. Shannon was quoted as saying.

Wait a pea-pickin’ protestin’ minute, here. If they despise government, why do they want to be government?

Contradictions aside, it must be nice and very freeing to take their ball and go home whenever they feel like it. That is until the laws that sovereign’s consider fraught with error catches up with them; then their balls turn into an arsenal of briefs and paradoxical legal interpretations throwing the judicial system into a paper quagmire or they just shoot a couple of police officers as was the case in Arkansas.

In a recent Spokane court hearing, Shannon politely refused to answer when called, citing the sovereign’s contention that names typed in uppercase letters on legal documents are a “government-assigned, corporate entity”, not individuals. This tactic raised the ire of Superior Court Judge Michael Price and incarceration was threatened.

The rebellious groups of the ’60s would’ve prepared a political treatise sure to blow the judge’s robes back instead of raising a stink about uppercase letters but that was then and this is now. Today’s rebels take the easy road.

Since capital letters are a major pain in their tushes, imagine the apoplectic fit sovereigns experience when Social Security, Medicare, and FICA taxes are deducted from their paychecks.

Wait a pea-pickin’ protestin’ minute, here. Sovereigns refuse to pay taxes…which beg oodles of questions about employment.

How did Shannon get those trendy jeans, T-shirt and Nike-looking shoes pictured in the paper? What about that notebook propped on his knee? Are sovereigns livin’-off-the-land type people, weaving their own clothes, growing their own food, pulping their own paper and producing Nike knock-offs?

Inquiring minds really don’t care but one has to assume these rebels with a questionable cause most likely rely on you and me to pay for a way of life they’ve come to view as entitlement and that, my friends, is when I do care.

Things like medical and dental treatment, Social Security, retirement, food, shelter, clothing and energy are funded through all sorts of tax and welfare programs that defy sovereign philosophy. Could sovereigns be scamming a democratic system that, although not always successful, boldly attempts to secure the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for its citizens?

Given that the above scenario is more truth and less fiction, I have some suggestions to those entrenched in the sovereign think tank – since work and paying nasty taxes are beneath you, stay healthy, out of harm’s way and steer clear of anything catastrophic. Above all – and this is a biggie – remain independently wealthy. Being self-proclaimed anarchists comes with the responsibility of being self-sufficient anarchists as well. After all, government handouts that provide health care, money and necessities go against the grain of sovereignty.

Lastly, your quest to step away from government intrusiveness is your right but stay out of this taxpayer’s pockets. I grow weary of toting that bar and lifting that bale so you can continue with a silly self-righteous cause.

Voices correspondent Sandra Babcock can be reached by e-mail at Previous columns are available at columnists/