Author: James Sweet III

James Sweet is a reporter for 71 Republic from Lexington, South Carolina. He is an advocate for voluntary association and the free markets, alongside personal responsibility. As well as being a member of his school's FBLA chapter and debate team, James is the Director of the South Carolina Libertarian Youth Caucus. You can contact him at [email protected]

Cindy Hyde-Smith Moves on to Mississippi Senate Runoff

By James Sweet III | Mississippi

With 28% of precincts reporting, 71 Republic is calling the Mississippi Special Election for United States Senator in favor of Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and Mike Espy (D). As of 9:55 PM, Espy is leading the race with 44.5% of the vote. Hyde-Smith is in second place with 38.2%. The race required a majority to win without a runoff, which will be held on November 27th between the two candidates.

Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi State Senator, campaigned fiercely against Cindy Hyde-Smith, calling her an establishment candidate and labeling his campaign as anti-establishment. As tonight was a “jungle primary”, there was not a single candidate for each party. The competition between McDaniel and Hyde-Smith was expected to be the fiercest in the primary as they were the closest in a recent poll, but McDaniel only has 15.8%

Cindy Hyde-Smith is supported by the mainstream Republican Party, having garnered the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump. While Espy earned the first place for this election, due to the deep redness of the State of Mississippi, it is expected for Hyde-Smith to win the runoff election and to secure her seat as the Junior Senator from Mississippi.

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The Nature of the High School Hierarchy

By James Sweet III | United States

Hierarchies are naturally occurring, but the values that determine an individual’s placement in that hierarchy varies. The most peculiar of social structures is the one formed by the youth, whose brain is still developing. In high schools, students are often associated with groups, and those groups are placed above another group. These social structures vary according to location, like most social structures. Unlike other social hierarchies, this one is not reliant on wealth, race, or gender. Rather, the high school social hierarchy focuses on the acceptance of others.

The Structure

PBS compiled and analyzed research to determine what a high school social hierarchy typically looks like. The following is what they believe the average high school social structure looks like.

  • The “Very Popular Kids”: The athletic “alpha males” and the “queen bees”. They often have social skills and looks that make others more attracted to them. They are usually physically stronger than other students of their respective gender and may be more aggressive.
  • The “Accepted Kids”: The majority of high school students fall into this group. They are considered well known or popular and are smart and outgoing.
  • The “Average or Ambiguous Kids”: While not popular, they are also not unpopular. They are very common in friend groups.
  • The “Neglected Kids”: These students are often well-behaved students and achieve good or average grades, causing teachers to not give them special or extra attention. However, it does take them much longer to make friends, and they often do require or wish for some kind of attention from parents and teachers.
  • The “Controversial Kids”: They often have a mixed, mostly negative, reputation to their name. They may be nice with some weird habits or be bullies to kids while making others laugh with their sense of humor.
  • The “Rejected Kids”: These students are at the highest social risk. “Rejected Kids” are either submissive, meaning they withdraw themselves from social activities so as to not receive any attention, or aggressive, meaning they purposely act up or emotionally blow up if they are teased too much.

The Line of Acceptance

A student that belongs in any of the first three groups finds themselves above the “line of acceptance”. They are mostly accepted by their peers or are at least not considered unaccepted. Any students one of the last three groups are below the line. They are mostly not accepted by the majority of their peers.

The line is drawn between the “Average Kids” and the “Neglected Kids”. If you are on that line, you are, theoretically, perfectly balanced between acceptance and its opposite. The line is the halfway point towards total acceptance and domination of your school as well as complete isolation and “undesirable” status. One question arises from this: What causes one to rise or fall in this social structure?

The Aggressive Social Climb

As previously stated, the students at the top of the high school social hierarchy are likely to be more aggressive than their counterparts. In fact, a student is more likely to be aggressive if they above the line of acceptance and submissive if they are below the line of acceptance.

While you can have bullies that are beneath the line of acceptance, they are often found above the line. Some students below the line of acceptance undeniably are victims of bullying by either students in their same social status or by those above them. Those at the top of the social structure, however, face bullying and/or aggressive actions more commonly than one typically thinks.

In schools, students are taught that bullies are insecure or are mimicking their home life. This isn’t entirely true for all bullies. It may apply for the kids that are in the “Controversial” social status, but it likely isn’t the case for bullies that are on the top. Researchers from the University of California at Davis and Pennsylvania State sought to uncover the motives of bullying and found a possible answer.

Students at the top of the social hierarchy are aggressive and competing to become the king or queen of the school. In a conflict that occurs over the social climb, neither student is willing to back down. Students at the top of the social structure have more to lose than the average student. After all, a group of friends may revolve around one person, and they are very likely to defend that status as the center of their group, meaning that conflicts are usually started by those in the center and that the friends in the circle back up their “leader”.

Assuming you fit the social norms, the risk of victimization increases with your social status. Being at the top makes you a target. If you’re taken down or outdone and do nothing about it, that’s a guarantee that you are going to lose social status and your rival will gain your former place. If you continue to fall down the social ladder, there is less of a reason for those wishing to climb up to bully you.

Once a student is threatened, they are likely to undergo radical personal changes, either to prepare for the fall to the bottom or to prepare their retaliation. This conflict at the top does spill out to the social groups below them. If an aggressive alpha male drastically drops in social status, they may take their anger out on some submissive, lower status student who wishes no harm. There is little to gain from this, but it serves as an emotional vent for the fallen.

The Lesson

High school has a very tense environment. Students compete for grades and social status. So how does one ensure that they are not trampled during the stampede for the top?

One thing should be clear: do not change who you are as a person. You are a unique individual, and trying to conform yourself to the masses is a way to erode your identity.

It comes down to being able and willing to fight back. Do not initiate conflict, but do not avoid it if it comes your way. If you are willing to defend your own status, not only are you ensuring that you will stay at your current place in the hierarchy, you are also making it possible to shut an aggressive bully down and climb the ladder yourself. As Dr. Jordan B. Peterson said: “Stand up straight with your shoulders back.”

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New Survey Finds Surprising Crypto Demographics

By James Sweet III | United States

Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm, threatening the fiat currencies of major nations. The governments of these nations are very hesitant to embrace the blockchain, but their people are not. According to a survey by YouGov, 44% of Millenials believe that crypto will become more accepted in the future. This makes them the most optimistic generation of the cryptocurrency market.

Of these Millenials, 48% would be interested in switching their primary currency over to Bitcoin or another crypto. 50% would not be interested. Overall, 36% of the Americans surveyed said they would be interested in making the switch.

You wouldn’t need a survey to know that Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency among the American population. For those that like to hear numbers, you’d be happy to know that 71% of those surveyed have heard of Bitcoin before, with the second most well-known cryptocurrency being Ethereum, with only 13% of those surveyed hearing of it before.

Men may dominate the cryptocurrency community. 74% of men saying they have heard of Bitcoin while only 68% of women say they have. 27% of women said they have not heard of any cryptocurrency before, which is a significantly more amount than the 16% of men unfamiliar with cryptocurrency.

Race might play into the stereotypes of blockchain technology. 32% of Hispanics believe that cryptocurrencies are used for legal purchases more than illegal purchases. Only 12% of Caucasian’s interviewed said the same thing. African-Americans are in the middle, with 22% saying that cryptocurrencies are used for legal reasons more than illegal reasons. Overall, 17% believe that crypto technology is used more for legal transactions, while 25% believe that it is more used for illegal transactions.

Hispanics, Millenials, and men seem to be the most likely groups to embrace cryptocurrencies than the other groups in their category. Will the future of the crypto market be young minorities in a male-dominated society? Or can these numbers change with more women embracing the revolutionary technology?

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The South Carolina LP’s Battle Over James Smith

During the first week of August, James Smiththe Democratic Candidate for Governor of South Carolina, filed to seek the nomination of the state’s Green, Libertarian, and Working Families parties.

South Carolina allows fusion tickets, meaning a candidate for one party could also become the nominee for another party. As a result, they get their name listed on the ballot multiple times. Though on August 3rd, he withdrew from seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination, his relations with the party didn’t end there.

A Firm Vote of Disapproval

The South Carolina Libertarian Party already had planned an executive meeting for that Saturday, August 4th. Despite James Smith withdrawing his filing the day before, South Carolina LP Chairman Stewart Flood, along with the rest of the party’s leadership, decided to hold a vote on his possible nomination to ensure that they would be safe from any possible violations of state law that could shut the party down.

Party leadership was also under the impression, from their conversations with election officials, that Smith could not withdraw from seeking party nominations that late into the process. However, South Carolina election law states that the deadline for gaining ballot access through a political party was March 30th and that any additional nominations by other parties would come on August 15th. Smith already had ballot access via the Democratic Party. So, third-party nominations were still in play up until the August 15th deadline.

When I asked Alex Thornton, Vice Chairwoman of the South Carolina Libertarian Party, if she believed that the state officials lied to party leadership, she replied, “I don’t want to use the word lie, because I think that the state is so bloated and so big that they can’t keep their stories straight.”

South Carolina is a “sore loser” state, meaning that a candidate cannot be on the ballot for a race if any party denies the candidate a nomination, even if he or she receives another party’s nomination.

When the vote concluded, it was clear that the LP did not support James Smith. In fact, all 16 of the present county representatives voted for “None Of The Above”.

A Legal Case Against James Smith

After those events unfolded, the party waited to see the South Carolina Election Commission’s response. The commission met and decided that they would not disqualify Smith from continuing to run.

In regards to holding the vote on Smith’s nomination, Shane Sweeny, Second Vice Chairman of the state’s LP, stated, “The law reads that he should not have been allowed to withdraw, forcing our hand to vote. The election commission assured us that he couldn’t withdraw, contrary to their public statements and actions.”

The most vocal critic against the Smith incident was Matt Wavle, Chairman of the Greenville County Libertarian Party. In a guest opinion piece for Being Libertarian, Wavle laid out the events that unfolded and what he believes should have actually happened.

The Unwavering Critic

Wavle states in his article that the voting county representatives “[claimed] to represent libertarians from all over South Carolina, but who actually only represent at best 16 out of 46 counties and are in number less than one out of every 3,000 of us.” It is important to note that he was not at the meeting to represent his county.

In the article, Wavle also states that “a good person doesn’t ask if something is legal or illegal, they ask rather, is this right or wrong.” He then proceeds to quote the Libertarian pledge, which is, “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

In a section of his article titled “Excuses Run Wild”, Wavle writes, “‘But the ‘Sore Loser Law’ is not our fault, it merely exists, and we’re all subject to it.’ While that is true, couldn’t the exact same thing be said of all illegitimate laws, and their unlawful enforcement?” Essentially, Wavle makes the case against obeying the law because of its legal status. This point is common among libertarians.

A Firm Response

Both Vice Chairwoman Thornton and Second Vice Chairman Sweeny stated that they do not support South Carolina’s “Sore Loser” laws. Thornton, as well as County Representative Matt Hicks, insisted that the possible removal of James Smith from the ballot was a “side effect” of the actions taken that day.

Thornton and Sweeny also stated that the primary motive for holding the vote was to ensure that the South Carolina Libertarian Party would be safe from any legal action. They also affirm that they chose “None Of The Above” for a reason. The party did not want a nominee that supports policies that require violence to enforce.

Matt Wavle believes that the South Carolina LP should have recognized James Smith’s right to withdraw. Similarly, they should not have shot down his nomination.

James Smith: A Second Nomination?

However, this could have created an interesting situation. What if the party did indeed support his right to withdraw? A couple of days afterward, James Smith could have sought the nomination again.

The party was lucky enough already to have their executive committee meet after he sought their nomination. If he did seek it again, the party would have to meet the August 15th deadline or risk legal consequences. And given the willingness of the state to hinder third parties, such a reality would not be surprising. Can the party say they did the right thing in this scenario?

The author states that the actions of the party were “a bit like shooting your neighbor’s dog, because the cops shot your dog, and then claiming it was somehow in self-defense since it wouldn’t be fair unless we were all equally oppressed.” Matt Hicks believes that this comparison is inaccurate and that in the terms of shooting a dog, “that dog came into our yard and started biting at people.” James Smith did not have communications with the Libertarian Party beforehand. He also did not attend the party meeting to vouch for himself.

Hicks also states that “the author suggests that we can shake our fists at the sky and that the laws would be changed by people finding out about it that way.” The South Carolina Libertarian Party made statewide news with their choice to not nominate James Smith. It moreover brought attention to the state’s “sore loser” laws. This may have impacted a major party candidate, which would have surely started a discussion of the law’s validity.

Wavle’s Misguided Action

Throughout his article, Wavle links 7 pieces of text, 3 of which are links to personal Facebook pages. Towards the end of the article, he states, “Every individual must ask: are the principles of liberty currently being properly represented by those claiming to represent the ‘party of liberty‘? If liberty and the party of liberty don’t match up, which one ought to change?” He then proceeds to link to a Facebook page representing himself.

Wavle wrote this piece against the South Carolina Libertarian Party, entirely with secondhand knowledge of the events that occurred. In fact, it looks more like an advertisement of Wavle’s organizations masqueraded behind a misguided crusade of principle.

Both Matt Wavle and the leaders of the state Libertarian Party are at fault here. Matt Wavle did not back up his statements with the opinions of the leadership of the SCLP. If he had done so, he would have recognized that election officials misled party leadership. Neither the chair nor vice chair had any ill intent in their actions at the meeting.

The leaders of the SCLP trusted the opinions of election officials and did not read up on fusion ticket laws. Had they done so, they would have realized that James Smith could indeed withdraw. However, by voting “None Of The Above”, the party did take the safe route. In doing so, they ensured that the only party that supports liberty could stay around longer. Though they supported the state temporarily, the South Carolina LP cemented their future to fight for liberty.

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Rand Paul Endorses Gary Johnson In Senate Race

By James Sweet III | United States

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is endorsing Gary Johnson (L-NM) in his bid to become the next Senator from New Mexico.

The race currently has a Republican candidate, but he is trailing behind Johnson in recent polls. Gary Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico as a Republican, and was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2012 and 2016.

If more Republicans continue to throw their support behind Gary Johnson, Mick Rich, the Republican candidate, could be pressured into dropping out to ensure that the Democrat incumbent does not win the election.

Rand Paul and Gary Johnson both advocate for small government and fiscal responsibility, so the shock lies in the fact that Rand Paul is endorsing a Libertarian candidate despite being a Republican. Rand Paul has strayed from the party before, however, so it’s not outside of his comfort zone to do this.

If Johnson wins, he could possibly become a swing vote in the Senate if the Democrats pick up more seats in the Midterm Elections. Right now, Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich is leading the race, but Gary Johnson has only been rising in recent polls.

Rich, the Republican nominee, is a construction contractor that is new to the political sphere. He states on his campaign page that he knows “how to create jobs and grow businesses”. If Rich does adhere to the pressure and support Gary Johnson, it is likely and possible that Johnson could become the Libertarian Party’s senator from New Mexico.

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