Capital Punishment Is an Outdated and Barbaric Idea

an eye for an eye capital punishment
Cassandra Twining | @cass_twining

Capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty, is one of the most contentious topics of our time. There are many nuanced positions the thinkers of our society take. One of the most popular arguments in favor of the death penalty is the idea of retribution; an eye for an eye. This is not any new concept, it has been around for hundreds of years. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s right or a perfect argument.

Louis Pojman, Oxford graduate and author of A Defense of the Death Penalty, argues in his paper that we should enact capital punishment when it is necessary and deserved. He believes that is the case when someone takes the life of someone else pointlessly and intentionally. Pojman argues that when someone consciously takes the life of an innocent human they inherently forfeit their right to life, and therefore can be put to death without breaking basic moral codes.

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Wait, Who is Bill Weld?

John Keller | United States

William Floyd Weld was born July 31st, 1945 in Smithtown, New York. Growing up, he pursued education fiercely and graduated with a degree in classics from Harvard and a degree in economics from Oxford. Following a full time “career” in education, he turned his attention to the law. His first experience in law was as a consul to the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. After the committee was dissolved following the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon, Bill Weld ran to be the Massachusetts Attorney General in 1978. Although losing, Ronald Reagan saw his talent and made him the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

A Man of Law

During his five years as a federal attorney, he launched an ongoing investigation into public corruption, most notably in the administration of Boston Mayor Kevin White. His investigation lead to the arrest of over 20 public officials, all of which plead guilty or were proven guilty in a court of law. The Boston Globe wrote, “[Weld] has been by far the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions.” In his 111 cases as a federal attorney, he won 109 of them.

Due to the surprising success of Bill Weld, Ronald Reagan saw to it that he was promoted within the Justice Department. Weld became responsible for overseeing all federal prosecutions, including the cases handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He served until 1988 when he, as well as Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, resigned in protest of the misconduct of Attorney General Edwin Meese. Following his resignation, he testified to Congress. Shortly following his testimony on the corruption of the Attorney General, Edwin Meese resigned.

A Republican Governor in a Liberal State

After a short hiatus from politics, Bill Weld announced his bid for the governorship of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was an overwhelmingly liberal state, as highlighted in the 1986 gubernatorial election when the Republican candidate received less than 30% of the vote. Bill Weld, however, was not the typical conservative and ran on a platform of social tolerance and fiscal responsibility – winning both the Republican vote and most moderate Democrats. He was able to win the election by a close margin of 3.25% of the vote.

In his first term, Bill Weld went to work trying to lowering taxes and unemployment. He cut taxes 21 times and brought unemployment in Massachusetts from the highest in the 11 most industrial states to the lowest; even balancing the budget. He began battling corruption in the welfare system by a work-for-welfare system – slashing welfare spending.  His reforms and administration was overwhelmingly popular and when re-election time came in 1994, Bill Weld won re-election with 70.85% of the vote; in a state where only 14% of the electorate was part of the Republican Party. Bill Weld kept his reforms going, and seeing that he had served Massachusetts so well he hoped to bring his reforms to the nation and ran for senate in 1996 against incumbent John Kerry (D).

A Libertarian Leader

Bill Weld went on a hiatus from public life and politics following the turn of the century. As the Republican Party began losing its small-government conservative values of the 20th Century, Bill Weld began losing confidence in the Republican Party. After working on the Romney for President campaign in 2012, he left the Grand Old Party (GOP) and became a Libertarian, aligning with his views of small government in the economy, the lives of the people, and in peace, whether domestic or foreign.

In 2016 he sought the Libertarian nomination for Vice President. At the convention, following Gary Johnson’s renomination for president, having formerly run in 2012, Bill Weld was elected to be the Vice Presidential Nominee; receiving the support of 441 of the 872 delegates. He entered the campaign trail alongside Gary Johnson, the former republican governor of New Mexico, who served while Bill Weld was governor of Massachusetts.

“The dragon that I’m jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people’s thinking in place and they think, ‘I have to be a right-winger,’ or, ‘I have to be a left-winger.’ They’re not thinking, ‘What do I think?’” – Bill Weld, on ReasonTV (2016)

It was largely the campaigning of Bill Weld, with his clarity on issues and clean presentation in interviews, in the divisive election of 2016 that led the Libertarian ticket to poll at 12% – almost getting the ticket into the presidential and vice presidential debates. Bill Weld proved to be a warrior of freedom wielding the Javelin of Justice and Shield of Sacrifice, bringing the Libertarian Party to its greatest year ever. The future for Bill Weld is unknown, but it is known that it is bright, for so few gave so much to such a noble cause.

For his dedication to prosperity while governor, his devotion to justice as a U.S. Attorney General, and his dedication to civil liberties while the libertarian vice-presidential nominee, it is clear that Bill Weld defines what a modern day renaissance man is, and is worthy of tribute for his many accomplishments.


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Groupthink Is a Threat to Justice and Reason

Groupthink angry crowd
By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

In the world today, it seems as though there are more people who identify with one group or another. All the while, they attempt to dispel any criticisms of that particular group. We see groups with extra protections under various laws such as “hate crimes,” for example. Also, the State often grants special rights to various groups, such as “gay rights” and “women’s rights.” These protections and positive claims rights came about as a consequence of groupthink, collectivism, and variants of so-called “social justice.”

Of course, this is not to say that these groups, or others, do not deserve rights. Rather, the point of Justice is that all are equal under the law and have the same negative claims rights as others. When everyone is equal, there is no need to specify additional rights for any specific group. Thus, adding classifying terms to “rights” and “Justice” negates the purpose of both. Without any modifiers, equality under the law guarantees Justice.

Throughout history and today, there have been many situations where groups, majorities, or the judicial system itself have hurt individuals. Even when the innocent face negative impacts, there is no need to provide extra rights for them or their groups. There should, instead, be a movement to correct the imbalance and enforce equal rights. Providing extra weight for the side of the proverbial scales that someone is robbing is a dangerous idea. When you add to one, you must either take away from another or grant extra rights. Regardless, equality fades, and with it, so does Justice. When an unjust act occurs, it is brought before the law to help determine retribution for the losses or grievances as a cost to the offending party. This, of course, brings the scales of Justice back to an even keel.

What is Groupthink?

As people continue to scramble for their identity found within a group rather than by themselves, they neglect their very own person and trade it for a herd mentality. This, in turn, leads people to form collective beliefs and partake in groupthink.

‘Groupthink’ is a word that social psychologist Irving Janis coined in 1972. Dr. Janis provided eight symptoms of what he determined to be ‘groupthink’ that are as follows:

  1. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
  2. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
  3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
  4. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
  5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
  6. Self-censorship – Members do not express doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus.
  7. Illusion of unanimity – Members assume the majority view and judgments to be unanimous.
  8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

A Destroyer of Justice

Much like Orwell’s 1984, the concept of ‘groupthink’ arouses the mind to do one of two things. First of all, it can dismiss correct claims when one already has a particular groupthink and blind faith. This idea, called Identity-Protective Cognition, is often observable across the spectrum of ideas.

Alternatively, ‘groupthink’ can spark the awareness of the reader to be self-critical and skeptical of our own place in the world as an individual, while pushing to rid him or herself of the mob mentality. As social creatures, we often rely on groupthink, as it is a lazy way of finding knowledge and belonging. However, it is a philosophical sloth, detrimental to logic, rational thinking, and Justice itself.

Groupthink robs the individual of their Reason, as it relies on subjective beliefs of elites and majorities. Groupthink also robs the individual of exploring and growing, as it limits the interactions and thought processes of what one can and cannot explore. A species of collectivism, groupthink breeds the “us versus them” mentality over truth and Justice. In turn, this acts as a conduit of human and social regression, rather than flourishing and progress.

How to Avoid Groupthink

In order to best combat ‘groupthink,’ the individual must self-assess and question him or herself. This is especially true when red flags of collectivism and groupthink arise. As the study of methodological individualism demonstrates, through and through, only the individual acts and only the individual thinks. To rob yourself of your own individualism and capacity to Reason by granting it to the sporadic oscillations of groupthink is the antithesis of what it means to be a person. Simultaneously, it obliterates the very Justice that the groupthink mob falsely claims it fights for.


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Are More People Advocating “Socialist Societies?”

Socialism / socialist party logo
By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Perhaps more loud people are advocating socialist societies and making it seem like more people actually desire it.

The closer society gets to true capitalism, the better off the vast majority of people are. The closer we get to total socialism, the worse off the vast majority of people are. This is an empirical statement that defines “better” and “worse” as indicators of commonly accepted quality of life statistics, such as GDP, life expectancy, and freedom.

Too many people believe that a government just hands out free money and that it means little to nothing. As inflation and basic economics indicate, this is not the case. Moreover, with every law comes government coercion and the use of violence. Socialism and communism, alike, require the initiation of violence and death in order to forcefully remove property, maintain that property, and prevent anyone from doing better than anyone else.

(Global GDP Per Capita since the initiation of capitalism and its variants)

Here are some simple facts (citations as hyperlinks):

  1. With greater economic freedom comes greater gender equality. The countries with more, overall, economic freedom tend to have more gender equality.
  2. Everyone- the poor, the middle class, and the rich- has benefited more with an increase in free trade capitalism. There is not a significant growing difference between the socioeconomic classes. (I highly recommend the book Anti-Piketty)
  3. Abject poverty is dwindling to near zero due to countries moving towards more capitalism.
  4. Indeed, all socialist programs are destined to fail due to their premise of forcing others to pay for the needs and desires of a few. For example, U.S. social security is already failing. In the fist place, the government promised it on lies, according to its own website. As the number of people increases, their desires also increase, and with the steady shift left in the Democratic Party, so too do their votes to determine how to fill the desires. However, resources do not always meet the needs of demand. Socialism is, in fact, a form of slavery.
  5. Socialism and communism are negate of “civil society,” as it pertains to the definitions of, both, ‘civil’ and ‘society.

Socialism requires falsely making those that are not great to appear equal to others in a “society,” and requires making those that are greater (because of their work, capabilities, and natural differences) bland and simple like everyone else.

Under socialism and communism, your identity is your prisoner ID. Moreover, someone else gives it to you, robbing you of your own meritocratic potential. Socialism advocates the scramble for intersectionality. In this case, social value increases for victims and decreases for others. Socialism is the embodiment of the free-trophy-for-everyone doctrine. It requires stealing from one to give to another, and this is the very opposite of Justice.

If people are increasingly desiring Socialism, they are only fooling themselves into destruction. Quite possibly, they may be destroying other lives along the way.

The best solution, currently, may be to create varying states for the varying ideologies. One may adopt capitalist economics, and another socialist. This way, individuals may go towards the one that best fits their individual desires. However, it is quite clear that the capitalist society will see much more success. In fact, this has happened before, and the differences are quite clear


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Minarchy and the Defense of Society

By Nate Galt | United States

Minarchy is the true protection of the inalienable rights granted to the populace. If the state ceased to exist tomorrow and an anarchist society stood in its place, there is a high possibility that two groups would be formed- the collectivists and non-collectivists. The collectivists would live in communes and would live off of their own work, similar to Kropotkin’s ideal visualization of anarcho-communism. The other group would try to live life as they did before. This society could potentially last, however; corporations could have their own military, police force, and justice system. This would be much worse than if these services were held in the public’s hands. 

There will always be some semblance of power in the real world. Ever since the dawn of time, hierarchies have dominated the social structure of the human race. Abolishing the state is possible, but a new authority will take its spot in the hierarchy. In an anarchic society, this could be the man with the most followers or money. This, in turn, would lead to an oligarchic or monarchic de facto state. The only thing that would differentiate this state from a dictatorship would be that it calls itself a corporation. Minarchy would keep liberty at a maximum and governance at a minimum while preventing any sort of takeover by private armies. A minarchic society would minimize the government to its basic functions while still protecting the public. 

Furthermore, it would support a much fairer justice system. A privatized system is not the true administration of proper justice. We need to reform the justice system and to move it forward, not push it back by means of privatization. This system would have an unfair bias against the poor and the interests of rivals. Those who cannot pay would fare much worse than those who could afford to do so. Therefore, the best system of administering fair justice should be in the hands of the public. It would make everyone equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic status. 

Minarchy also prevents people from being sold like goods on the open market. In an anarcho-capitalistic society, the only way to help prevent the sale of living people without using force is a boycott.  A supporter of anarcho-capitalism might reply that the N.A.P., or Non-Aggression Principle, allows someone to step in to defend a person if their rights are infringed. However, the N.A.P. has no limits or extent to which someone could retaliate. I do not want to live in a society where someone who does minor damage to a home could be shot. 

I believe in the prevention of child slavery and other such vile acts. In a minarchic society, there are laws enforced by a public law enforcement agency which stops them from happening. This agency will be watched by the eye of the people and all their actions will be a public matter.

In all, I firmly believe that the concept of minarchy is the best way to preserve individual rights. The state will be shrunk to its minimal functions while still protecting the public from certain crimes. It prevents a complete takeover by corporations by having a certain set of laws in place. However, it does so while maximizing individual liberty. 


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