A Pathogen Astride the Minds of Men: The Epidemiological History of Pseudolaw

24 Pages Posted: 24 May 2018

Date Written: May 3, 2018


Pseudolaw is a collection of legal-sounding but false rules that purport to be law. Pseudolaw has independently emerged in different countries and communities on multiple occasions. Despite that, modern pseudolaw world-wide is remarkably similar, despite that pseudolaw host populations have extremely different political, cultural, and historical profiles. What is common among groups that endorse pseudolaw is: 1) an anti-government and anti-institutional orientation, and 2) a conspiratorial world perspective.

Modern pseudolaw has spread, starting from the US Sovereign Citizen population, and then infected a succession of other communities. This progression was facilitated by key individuals and can be tracked, host group to host group.

Modern pseudolaw was introduced into Canada by one individual, Eldon Warman, who reframed its concepts to better suit a Commonwealth rather than US context. Warman’s pseudolaw variation spread into several Canadian communities with very different social objectives. The leftist anti-government Freemen-on-the-Land then seeded pseudolaw into the UK, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and several European countries. Some of the resulting groups were stillborn, but in the UK pseudolaw has thrived, but principally as mechanism to attack debt collection, rather than to challenge government authority.

US Sovereign Citizen pseudolaw has also directly spread into the culturally distinct urban black Moorish community, and the German and Austrian right-wing Reichsbürger groups. Australia is unique in that its pseudolaw culture incorporates US Sovereign Citizen, Canadian Freeman, and domestic concepts. In other countries, the appearance of modern pseudolaw drove other pre-existing variant law schemes into extinction.

Keywords: pseudolaw, sovereign citizen, detaxer, freeman on the land, freemen on the land, OPCA

JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Netolitzky, Donald, A Pathogen Astride the Minds of Men: The Epidemiological History of Pseudolaw (May 3, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3177472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3177472

Donald Netolitzky (Contact Author)

Alberta Court of King's Bench ( email )

1A Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0R2

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