What is a Straw Man in Legal Terms?
A straw man in legal terms can be a person who legally owns something in name only or an argument that can gain the upper hand and beat an opponent.3 min read
2. Black Law Dictionary of a Straw Man
3. Your Straw Man Is an Artificial Person
Updated November 3, 2020:
What is a straw man in legal terms? It can be two things:
- A person who legally owns something in name only. This is done to hide the identity of the real owner. In this case, the straw man does not make any real decisions about the business.
- An argument tactic that aims to waste time and/or mask the issues at hand to gain the upper hand and beat an opponent. This form of straw man may also be referred to as a "red herring."
What Is a Straw Man, and What Is the Connection to the Rise of the Jury Trial?
When used in an argument, the straw man technique aims to avoid the true issues at hand. This involves a four-step process:
- Opponent A holds a certain opinion.
- Opponent B argues a twisted version of opponent A's opinion.
- Opponent B argues against the twisted version of opponent A's opinion.
- Opponent A's opinion is, therefore, wrong.
In the previous example, opponent B may create a twisted version of opponent A's opinion in many ways, such as:
- Purposely misinterpreting the concept.
- Using words or phrases out of context.
When used in reference to a person, a straw man may play an important role in a jury trial. Using a straw man is essentially a work-around of the law to get the desired outcome that would otherwise be illegal. However, not all workarounds are legal. Some may use a straw man to mask illegal activity, such as money laundering. Similarly, a straw man may also be used to avoid liability in cases of illegal operations, thereby creating another person to take the fall were they ever caught.
This version of the straw man originates from compurgation, which was a type of oath used to settle legal matters in ancient times. Compurgation began to fall out of practice around the year 1600 and was later replaced by the jury trial.
Black Law Dictionary of a Straw Man
Since a straw man is not a true person, they exist only within the environment they were created, such as the state. With this, anything a person does outside of the state (or environment in which the straw man was created), does not impact them in their personal life. Similarly, their personal choices cannot be dictated by the state.
In 1933, the straw man began to benefit the government. When the United States filed for bankruptcy in 1933, the governors of the state promised to provide the necessary funds by using the assets that belonged to all people of the state. Unfortunately for the government, they were unable to use assets that existed outside the state's power, including private property. With this, the government devised a way to bridge the gap between the state and the people. This bridge was the straw man.
To implement this, the government made it mandatory that all birth certificates be registered with the Department of Commerce, and that all names be documented in capital letters. Now, bound to the state from birth, it became the people's responsibility to even out the country's debt.
Due to this system, the only way citizens can benefit from the country's services is through their straw man. Essentially, the straw man is a commercial entity acting as a transmitting utility, which is a method of transporting services to the people. These services are ultimately paid for by the straw man through things like paying taxes.
Your Straw Man Is an Artificial Person
At the time of birth, each person is issued their own straw man, legally speaking. On a birth certificate, the name that appears is in all capital letters. This name is a person's legal name. However, people often write their name using a combination of lowercase and capital letters, which is, legally speaking, a separate entity.
Even names appearing on official licenses, such as those issued for marriage, appear in all capital letters. Until the time that a person (name in lowercase letters) reclaims their straw man (the name in all capitals), the state owns the name, not the person.
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