Friday, June 1, 2012

What It Means To Be Free

I woke up thinking about freedom and what it really means, which means my brain was probably working overtime on it while I slept last night. Yesterday evening, I had listened to maybe an hour and a half's worth of a talk given by a guy named David Meola from Freedom Reigns radio who discusses topics related to the Constitution. He is actually on for three hours (you can listen here), but he said so much in the hour and a half I listened my head felt like it was about to explode from all the new information!

What stood out was this: If most people understood what it means to be free they would not know how to deal with all that freedom. David said it several times as I listened, and every time he made a new point my head reeled with how correct he was. As I have been learning about various types of law from a few different sources lately, what David said made sense to me.

I had already learned the United States of America was founded under the principles of Common Law. The principles behind Common Law are quite simple. If no one has been hurt and/or no property destroyed, there has been no crime. If there is harm, restitution must be made. This began to change after the Civil War in February of 1871 when the United States government technically became a corporate entity with an law entitled An Act To Provide A Government for the District of Columbia. Over time it has been modified and added to, but because the country was now considered a corporate entity it was placed under the jurisdiction of Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), also known as Admiralty or Maritime Law. UCC is the type of law used between commercial entities (can apply to countries) to solve disputes involving trade between commerce (kings) and/or trade (merchants). UCC is all about money and profit. It seems like a subtle change, but this is where the false thinking begins.

Look at some of our original founding documents: the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. They are quite simply written, logical and easy to understand. Look at the bills that come before Congress now--monstrosities of hundreds if not thousands of pages of legalese full of subtle details and pork barrel spending. It brings to mind a now-famous Nancy Pelosi quote, "We have to pass the bill so we know what's in it!" Really?!!! Shouldn't we understand something before we make it into law? It has been said, we now have so many laws in this country most people could probably be brought up on felony charges without even realizing they have broken any laws!!!

What stands out most to me about what David said in his talk? That we, as individuals, are also corporate entities and as such we are obligated to follow UCC! How so, you ask? At the time of our births, our mothers or fathers fill out the state forms which begin the process of registering us in the system. This is called a birth certificate. Social security numbers also engage us in this system. Even though we have not personally obligated ourselves at this point, our parents have made us part of the system because they are told they will benefit from it (think tax exemptions).

This all changes when we turn eighteen. Anything we sign (for example, our drivers license, voter registration card, marriage license, etc.) after that age puts us into legal contract. In effect, we are agreeing to abide by UCC, and we don't even understand we are doing it! This is why the Amish cannot be arrested like the rest of us! They don't sign any of that crap! They can be charged under Common Law if they have done something that harms another person or property. Then they make restitution and are free to go! (Obviously, something like murder wouldn't be that easy, but when was the last time an Amish person murdered someone?) This is also why they do not have to pay federal income tax! (Don't let this fool you into thinking you can easily get out of paying your income taxes by declaring yourself to be free of the UCC! It is a complicated legal process that you actually have to go through to extricate yourself from the system!)

What was I thinking when I woke up this morning? I wondered what it would be like to not have (or need) a drivers license. To travel and explore the world freely. To not have to pay income taxes. To be mindful of my actions so as to ensure that no one else (nor their property) was harmed by me.

Real freedom is the ability to make your own choices, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Are we truly ready to make decisions that will benefit the whole of humanity and not harm it, for this is what it means to be free. 

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