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Understanding the Flaws of Seditious Conspiracy Charges: Unveiling the Truth

In a groundbreaking verdict, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three co-defendants were recently convicted of seditious conspiracy in federal court. This conviction, stemming from their alleged involvement in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, marks a significant win for the Justice Department. However, delving deeper into the case raises questions about the legitimacy of seditious conspiracy charges and the implications they hold for civil liberties.

Unveiling the Injustice: Tarrio’s Case

Despite being absent from Washington, DC on the day of the riot, Tarrio found himself convicted of seditious conspiracy. The basis for his conviction lies in the claim that he participated in an “agreement” aimed at hindering federal laws, with his alleged statements purportedly contributing to the events of the riot. This case exemplifies how federal prosecutors can mold non-violent actions into criminal offenses, devoid of any discernible harm.

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Differentiating Seditious Conspiracy from Treason

It is crucial to distinguish seditious conspiracy from treason, as defined in the U.S. Constitution. While treason necessitates an overt act, seditious conspiracy centers on a person’s expressed intentions to undermine government authority. In essence, it becomes a charge based on intent, subjectively interpreted by state authorities. This distinction is essential because it highlights the dichotomy between physically attacking government agents and engaging in speech or expression.

Critiquing the Concept of Treason

It is worth noting that the concept of treason itself raises concerns since it presupposes that violence against government agents holds greater gravity than offenses against private citizens. This double standard perpetuates the notion that the regime takes precedence over the voluntary private sector. However, acts of violence against individuals or their property should be prosecuted as such, without establishing a separate classification for crimes against government employees.

The Problematics of Seditious Conspiracy Charges

Seditious conspiracy suffers from similar flaws but is compounded by its reliance on circumstantial evidence to establish a person’s intent to obstruct or overthrow the government. Interestingly, the need for such a crime is called into question when we consider that it did not exist in federal law between the abolition of the despised Alien and Sedition Acts and the outbreak of the Civil War. Additionally, seditious conspiracy laws played an inconsequential role in the U.S. government’s victory over Southern secessionists.

This leads us to conclude that seditious conspiracy is susceptible to abuse by state authorities and serves no genuine purpose in preventing violence against life and property. In cases such as the January 6 riot, crimes committed against individuals and property should be treated as acts of violence or property offenses, without resorting to the notion of seditious conspiracy. By doing so, we avoid infringing on the realm of “thought crimes” and preserve the integrity of justice.


The conviction of Enrique Tarrio and his co-defendants for seditious conspiracy draws attention to the inherent flaws within this charge. Diverging from treason, seditious conspiracy operates on the premise of intention rather than overt acts, raising concerns about its potential abuse and infringement upon civil liberties. To ensure a fair and just legal system, it is imperative to reevaluate the necessity of seditious conspiracy charges and instead focus on appropriately categorizing crimes based on their inherent nature, without venturing into the realm of “thought crimes.”

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