Sunday, December 19, 2021

#2503: Jeff Ball

It seems quaint and ancient by now, but you remember the Bundy ranch standoff back in 2014, when a group of wingnut conspiracy theorists and minutemen types engaged in an armed standoff with authorities to defend Bundy’s assertion thathe is a citizen of Nevada and not a citizen of a territory of the United States” and therefore not bound by US laws? Well, it’s not unreasonable to suspect a significant overlap between the people showing up at Bundy’s ranch and segments of the later QAnon movement. At one point, the wingnuts at the ranch decided to set up a camera to let participants speak their minds (or whatever you call it), and the results were rather telling, such as the presentation by “private attorney general” Jeff Ball, who explained to whoever wanted to listen that laws don’t apply to individuals if they understand how to rebut them.


Ball, who was apparently affiliated with something called the Citizens Action Network, primarily focused on sovereign citizen nonsense, such as the idea that citizens are essentially legally responsible only to the God of the Bible as Ball interprets Him (“I want to give you guys the basic chain of command, all right? Up at the top of this tree is the creator, whoever your creator is, that’s where the creator’s at. The one below that is you, okay? So your original contract was with the creator”), but he also mixes in a number of elements typically associated with the conspiracy theories promoted by Lyndon LaRouche’s cult movement – the rest of the aforementioned chain of command, according to Ball: “God, the Vatican, Washington, D.C., the city of London”. Yes, according to Ball, London controls the world’s finances, while Washington creates war and keeps slaves in line by “taxing them to death”; the Vatican, on the other hand, interferes with the individual’s contract with the creator. And you need to break free from that: “You guys have a contract with the creator and this earth is your inheritance,” said Ball. “That’s it; there is no more. You’re not subject to anybody, as long as you don’t hurt anybody. If you create injury on somebody, then that’s a different story.


The state, then, cannot actually be a claimant under common law, though Ball admitted that government prosecutors unlawfully did so in nearly every criminal proceeding: “If you don’t rebut it, then that means you consent to it, and they move forward with it and they subjugate you to it.” So what you need to do, then, is to rebut the state’s claims. How well that is going to work out in practice, is a topic Ball didn’t broach. Ball doesn’t abide in practice, and the real world tends not to enter into his reasoning. He did argue that individuals can escape police questioning by insisting officers fill out a form. He did not provide any evidence of the efficacy of the strategy, but again: focusing on the relevance of evidence is probably a Marxist conspiracy.


We haven’t succeeded in determining what Ball is up to these days, but you may make some informed guesses.


Diagnosis: “Nazi hippie” has become an established term for the weird combo of all-natural flower-snowflake stuff and bloodthirsty pseudofascism that is so popular in the US at present. Sovereign-citizen types often fall squarely into the category, though Ball might admittedly be too far out there to fit any semi-coherently delineated categorizations.

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