This one, for example.

For those that don't know, 'freemen-on-the-land' (or 'sovereign citizens' as they sometimes call themselves) believe that they can exempt themselves from legal liability with a cocktail of cod law, half-understood concepts, nonsensical documents, and plenty of arm-waving. No 'freeman' argument has ever stood up in any court in the world.

My worry is that this site will get bogged down in debunking these theories: I've tried to debate believers myself, but it's a never-ending rabbit hole of crazy. In my opinion we should not allow questions that are essentially polemic for a fruitcake theory.

What do others think?

  • 1
    'sovereign citizen' seems to be the much more common term in many jurisdictions, so please retitle 'freemen'/ 'sovereign citizens'
    – smci
    Jul 21, 2015 at 6:12
  • Could you clarify what you mean by "cod law"? I can't seem to find the definition by searching the phrase. Dec 16, 2017 at 9:07
  • @NathanTuggy it’s an informal word meaning ‘inauthentic or fake’.
    – Flup
    Dec 16, 2017 at 10:09
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I have not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court. Nov 26, 2018 at 13:09

3 Answers 3


The question you point to is actually an excellent one for this site because it asks whether there is any empirical, practical substance to those theories.

In the worst case, if someone comes to the site trolling for freeman theory, I don't see any harm in allowing it as long as it's given an appropriate tag. For example, "I have chosen to not be a taxpayer. What right does the IRS or government have to harass me?" This would almost certainly lead to all sorts of nonsense answers, as it does elsewhere on the web, but with the right tag people who aren't into that will just ignore it. (And maybe it will even receive a proper debunking, as it does elsewhere on the web and in the courts.)

  • You're right of course as to the difference between a genuine question and a mere troll. I only asked my question because I've written about 'freemen' in the past and serious-seeming questions invariably turn into aggressive trolling in pretty short order!
    – Flup
    May 27, 2015 at 15:01

A number of such questions have come up since this was asked, and seem to have been dealt with satisfactorily (from our point of view). There is, however, one point that, though often not in the actual questions, always looms behind them: why do I have to obey a law I do not agree with? This is not a question that Law.SE can deal with (obviously; otherwise we will have to explain why you have to obey that law...); I suggest that (where relevant) posters be referred to Politics.SE.

  • 1
    Indeed, we would ultimately get bogged down in explaining that "have to" means.
    – user6726
    Mar 3, 2017 at 18:13

I don't think it's going to end up being as much of a problem as you fear, even if we do allow it. Most people know better, and ask more serious questions. More importantly, as the site develops and more of these questions are asked, we'll be able to redirect those who ask them to previous questions, and the answers to those will cover other hypothetical questions of this type.

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