So this pensioner in Alberta, a little old lady named Rebekah Caverhill, supplements her pension by renting out a half-duplex in Calgary – in theory, anyway. In practice, her tenant-from-hell, one Andreas Pirelli aka Mario Antonacci, has claimed ownership of the place as a “First Nations Sovran Embassy of Earth,” and has changed the locks, ignored an eviction notice, trashed the kitchen and bathroom, and unilaterally cut the rent in half. And, while denying that Ms Caverhill is still the owner, he has heaped insult on injury by charging her $26,000 for his “renovations” and has put a lien against the deed. Ms Caverhill is understandably upset.
Why does this guy feel entitled to take over an old-age-pensioner’s property? Mr. Pirelli/Antonacci styles himself as a Freeman on the Land – roughly speaking, a follower of a pseudolegal cult that throws off the shackles of laws and taxes and annoyances like driver’s licenses and car insurance, by simply refusing to recognize the authority of government institutions. (Judging by his embassy logo and the disclaimer on his website, Mr Pirelli/Antonacci has also thrown off the shackles of spelling and grammar – but I digress.) Apparently this is not the first embassy he has established; Quebec wants him for skipping out of his own trial on charges of assaulting a previous landlady, whose property had also been magically transformed into an embassy. Why does this man keep setting up embassies? He explains here, with all the lucidity you’d expect from a sovran person.
The Freemen thing is one of a suite of hyper-libertarian movements growing in both Canada and the States, and not unknown on the other side of the Atlantic. In the States, where guns are a more critical part of the mix, the movement is actually considered to be a domestic terrorism threat. The movements are based on a brilliant wheeze called the “Natural Person Theory”, or “Strawman Theory“, which splits the individual into (1) a meat person, who is wild and free, and (2) an artificial persona created when a birth certificate is first imposed on an unsuspecting infant, who eventually becomes liable for taxes and speed limits and mortgages and legal obligations and other deadly dull forms of state oppression. The personality-splitting is achieved by various means, including rejigging names, refusing government-issued ID, suing court officials for quadrillions of dollars, and showering the authorities with pseudolegal papers that read like a collaboration between L. Ron Hubbard and James Joyce. Here, for example, is one issued by BC’s own Warren Fischer, acupuncturist and free spirit, aka ©WarrenFischer™-HuaLun.
The theory, pushed in highly profitable seminars and books, has pulled in numerous professional people whom you’d think should know better, but it is in fact fallacious. Time after time, adherents of this astonishing doctrine have been shot down in court, slapped with huge fines for tax evasion, and even given jail time. Recent shining Canadian examples are the aforementioned acupuncturist, an Ottawa dentist, a very creative accountant, and – in a satisfying irony – a leading light of the freemen movement, who made a fortune from preaching Natural Person Theory seminars.
Mr. Pirelli/Antonacci seems a little atypical, in that the Freemen officially frown on property theft and violence. To me, he sounds maybe a little unbalanced, as well as utterly without scruples, and a nasty bit of goods. He has been served with another eviction notice with a Saturday deadline, and meantime has gone into hiding, claiming to have had numerous death threats. Indeed, many online comments from the general public recommended things like the judicious application of a baseball bat, a contract with the Hell’s Angels, or a SWAT team setting up an embassy of their own on Mr. Pirelli’s front lawn. It seems that we tax-payin’ law-abidin’ speed-limit-observin’ artificial persons aren’t too keen on jerkwads who victimize old-age-pensioners.