Last week another one of those "Sovereign Citizen" wing-nut stories unfolded in Florida. Marlon Moore allowed his anti-tax, anti-government, anti-regulation "Sovereign Citizen" friends to work him up into such a cuckoo frenzy that he ended up with a two-year prison sentence. This particular sovereign citizen hated paying taxes to the point that he filed a tax return claiming that the government owed him $14 trillion dollars. My bet is that Marlon failed his high school Civics class. But for two years at least he won't be worrying about taxes or any of those civic responsibilities that anger him and his "anti-everything" pals.
The "Sovereign Citizens" movement has been below the radar since their poster boy ideologue, Terry Nichols helped murder 168 men, women, and children in an Oklahoma government building. Terry was one of those "anti" types who hated government, taxes and regulations. When "anti-everything" oddballs fly their suicide planes into tax offices, that emboldens the next "anti" nut to grab his rifle and kill people at the Pentagon and that in turn emboldens the other loonies like Marlon to grasp onto the philosophies of groups like "Sovereign Citizens."
More traditional no-tax, no-regulation, no-government curmudgeons usually look like this: Their children have graduated from school, so they conclude that it's good policy to fire teachers and close schools. They are often on Medicare, so in their mind, there is no need to pay taxes to improve healthcare for people who have no healthcare coverage. The traditional no-government, no-tax, no-regulation curmudgeon has for a lifetime used taxpayer-built roads, bridges, military, fire departments, and police departments. But toward the end of their lives, they experience an epiphany where they conclude that they shouldn't pay for the next generation to have those same benefits. The more traditional "anti-everything" crowd is a little bit creepy, but the emerging "anti" loons are taking creep to a whole new level.
For example, the Sovereign Citizens group has started declaring that the U.S. Constitution empowers them to individually secede from the United States merely by claiming that their homes are individual embassies and they are individually all "diplomats" to those embassies. The punch line is that they proclaim they no longer are obligated to pay taxes once they become "diplomats." These are not only those groups of people who spend their afternoons changing channels between Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Sovereign Citizens movement is on the rise more than it ever has been since it first originated in the 1970's. It is as if that "me generation" of baby boomers has come of age.
In the end, if all goes well, maybe most of them will be gathered up in the same place where they don't have to worry about bothersome rules and regulations that maintain order in our society. The down side is that it will be tax money that the rest of us pay that will pay for their public defender. It will be taxpayers and government feeding them, clothing them, and giving them medical care in their new taxpayer-built home. They can think of it as a taxpayer-paid private Civics class behind bars.