Tag: South Carolina

Interview With Brent DeRidder of the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

71 Republic’s Indri Schaelicke had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Brent DeRidder, the founder of the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief. He discussed the organization, its accomplishments, and how the people can help it meet its goals.

Continue reading “Interview With Brent DeRidder of the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief”


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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South Carolina Pushes For ‘Right To Secede’ In Response To Gun Control Talk

By Jason Patterson | South Carolina

A group of Republican state legislators from the State of South Carolina shockingly introduced a measure on Thursday that would allow the state to secede from the United States if the federal government began to seize legally purchased firearms in the state.

It was first introduced on Thursday and would permit South Carolina lawmakers to debate whether to secede from the United States if the federal government were to violate the Second Amendment.

It reads:

“the general assembly shall convene to consider whether to secede from the United States based upon the federal government’s unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms in this state.”

The measure was introduced by Republicans Reps. Mike Pitts, Jonathon Hill, and Ashley Trantham.

Since then gun control advocates have been calling for prohibitions on assault-style weapons and stronger background checks for gun buyers, among other measures.

The South Carolina bill most likely won’t make it through this session. It faces an April 10 deadline to go to the state Senate for consideration.

South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union in the lead up to the Civil War, withdrawing its Union membership in 1860.

To view the legislation click here.

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Interview With Britton Wolf: SC House District 71 Candidate

By John Keller | South Carolina

Britton Wolf is in the Republican Liberty Caucus and is running for the South Carolina State House of Representatives in the 71st District to limit government intrusion upon the people of South Carolina. He is self-described on his website:

“My name is Britton Wolf. I am a Christian, a Conservative Activist, an Ecclesiastical Leader, a Mentor, a High School Lacrosse Coach, and an Eagle Scout. I am a legacy member of Young Americans for Liberty; I am also a trained Conservative Activist by the Leadership Institute and the Foundation of Applied Conservative Leadership.”
Keller: What inspired you to pursue a career in politics?
Wolf: My family and I are originally from California and we are first-hand witnesses of the destructive nature of big government policies. More than anything I am just tired of the State that I love becoming more like the State that I escaped from.

August of 2017, I read an article about the abandonment of the V.C. Summer Project, a project to construct two nuclear power plants in South Carolina. This failed $9-billion project resulted in the loss of 5,000 jobs. I began researching more about this issue and learned about the Base Load Review Act (BLRA) which was the legislation that led up to this nuclear fiasco in my State.

After looking up the voting record of my current Representative, I found out that he voted for the BLRA. January 31st he had the opportunity to vote for a full repeal but instead he chose to abstain from voting for or against the repeal. Someone needed to step up to run against him and I answered the call.

Keller: What, to you, is libertarianism? What attracted you, and what do you think will attract voters, to its message?
Wolf: As a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, I believe that liberty extremely important, bringing liberty to South Carolina is the purpose of my campaign. The term “Liberty” is something that I have studied for the past three years of my life. I’ve read the writings of free-market economists: Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig Von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard and F. A. Hayek. The definition of liberty that I have discovered is: Liberty is that condition of man, where coercion by some over others is reduced as much as possible in society. In other words, liberty is the condition of reducing man’s ability to wield political power to coerce or force human action.
Ronald Reagan said: “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” I’ve found that voters want to be left alone but more importantly, they want to keep their hard-earned money. As a legislator, I would fight to protect our economic freedom and civil liberties. I don’t believe that there is anything moral or honorable about spending other people’s money.
Keller: You are running for your state house. What is the “State of the State” and why is there a need for change?

Wolf: Right now, South Carolina residents pay the highest electric rates of any state in the nation, the average ratepayer pays $400 more per year than the national average. This has to do with legislation passed in 2007 called the Base Load Review Act (BLRA) which charges ratepayers for the construction of two nuclear power plants and permitted the utility providers of South Carolina to pass rate hikes. In the past decade companies like SCE&G have raised rates nine times and the project to construct the nuclear power plants was abandoned in 2017. The vilest part of this legislation is that the law leaves ratepayers on the hook for paying for the $9-billion project “upon completion or abandonment,” in other words we’re still on the hook for this.

My opponent voted for the BLRA in 2007 and abstained from voting for or against amendment 2 of H. 4375, which would have resulted in a full repeal of the BLRA and gotten ratepayers off the hook for continuing to pay for the abandoned nuclear reactors.

My solution to this issue would be to sponsor legislation for a full repeal of the BLRA to get ratepayers off the hook for paying for the abandoned reactors. Then to pass legislation that would free ratepayers from the territorial monopolies held by the utility providers of my State. South Carolina needs to open up for a free market by allowing for ratepayers to pick and choose which utility providers they want to purchase electricity from. This would create competition and drive down costs for electricity.

Keller: The gun debate is gaining intense traction in American politics as a result of the tragedy in Florida. What is your stance on this policy issue?

Wolf: The gun debate is certainly a hot topic right now and my heart goes out to the victims of the events that occurred in Florida. My concern with the recent gun discussions is, the demand for legislation to protect us from those that would prey on innocent citizens of society, such laws won’t protect us but would instead treat law abiding citizens as criminals.

I believe that we have a fundamental right to protection and that the most effective means of protection is through gun ownership. I have made a promise to my supporters that as a future legislator; I would defend their right to protect their lives, families, and possessions, and I would oppose all legislation that would infringe upon their ability to possess firearms.

Keller: The Drug War has been going on for over thirty years with no end in sight. What role do you want to play in the Drug War in the South Carolina, and how will you work with state policy and federal mandates? In other words, where do you stand on medical cannabis?
Wolf: I support the legalization of medical cannabis, right now there is a proposed bill in my State called the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (H. 3541/S. 212). This legislation would allow for qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions and a written recommendation from a physician, access to medical cannabis to treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and more life-altering diseases. I believe that patients should have access to or the ability to consult with a medical professional about medicine that could help alleviate their suffering.
Recently, the SC House leadership blocked the SC Compassionate Care Act from coming up for a vote because this session falls upon an election year. To me, it’s a tragedy that my State’s elected representatives would play these political games, over granting suffering patients access to medicine. If elected, I will work with Rep. Jonathan Hill, Rep. Josiah Magnuson, and other sitting House members to help alleviate human suffering!
Keller: What do you hope to accomplish once elected? In other words, what three policies and stances define your campaign?
Wolf: Once elected I would like to focus my efforts on three issues:
  1. Repealing the Base Load Review Act; this would get ratepayers off the hook for paying for abandoned $9 dollar nuclear reactors. Sponsor legislation to remove the utility providers monopoly so that ratepayers can pick which provider to purchase electricity from, this competition would cause electric rates to decrease.
  2. Tax reform; I want to cut the State sales tax in half from 6% to 3%. Last year, the Republicans in my state voted to raise the State gas tax from 12.75 cents/gallon to 28.75 cents/gallon. If throwing more money at the problem solved problems then
  3.  Constitutional Carry; I believe that we have a God-given right to be able to bear arms, I don’t support licensing to exercise rights.
Keller: Do you have any concluding remarks for the readers and voters?

Wolf: If I were to say anything to readers or voters it would be that South Carolina is prime for liberty; and if elected, I will stand as a principled statesman like Rep. Jonathon Hill and Sen. Tom Davis. Liberty is the goal and we need more advocates for liberty to infiltrate our State legislature.

I would like to thank Britton Wolf for his time in conducting this interview. For more information visit his Facebook page and be sure to donate! His campaign is only $2,000 of the quarterly fundraising goal with YAL.

South Carolina: Pioneer of Revolutionary America’s Liberty

By James Sweet III | South Carolina

The roots of liberty in the United States of America lie in the soil of the state of South Carolina. Regardless of political and ideological affiliation, many South Carolinians have influenced the American political atmosphere in major ways. Today, men and women like Lindsay Graham, Tim Scott, Trey Gowdy, and Nikki Haley have major roles to play. Now, while these men and women have influence, they aren’t necessarily liberty driven in all regards. Some are more liberty-minded than others, including House Representative Mark Sanford, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy. However, the true liberty driven South Carolinians lie in heaven. While they may not be alive today, America sees their influence today.

Christopher Gadsden

If you pay attention to your surroundings, you may see the Gadsden flag. The Gadsden flag was designed by South Carolinian Christopher Gadsden. Gadsden was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, and later the First and Second Continental Congress. He was not a rich man, but instead a middle class merchant born in Charlestown. Gadsden led the Patriot movement in the South and was a founder of the Charlestown Sons of Liberty. He was good friends with Sam Adams, earning the nickname “Sam Adams of the South” for refusing an appeal to the British Parliament. The patriot also advocated for the Stamp Act Congress to write the Declaration of Rights.

In 1775, as the revolution dawned, Gadsden presented the Gadsden Flag to the Congress. It was meant to be used as the flag for the colonial marines. When he returned to South Carolina, he also presented the flag to the provincial congress of the state. In February, Governor (whose official title at the time was President) John Rutledge named him brigadier general of the state’s military.

When the revolution broke out, the main concern of the military was the defense of Charleston. Gadsden and other officers defending Charlestown disagreed with Major General Charles Lee on his order to abandon position. They eventually compromised, and as William Moultrie focused on defending Sullivan’s Island, Christopher Gadsden’s regiment built a route that would allow the forces to escape. In 1778, Gadsden became “Vice President of South Carolina”, which later became the office of Lieutenant Governor. Gadsden continued to stay brave and hold the torch of liberty, staying in Charlestown and representing the local government when it fell to the British in 1780. When his parole was violated by the British, he refused to cooperate with General Cornwallis. After the war, he returned to South Carolina, dying in 1805.

William Moultrie

William Moultrie was also born in Charlestown, and his modern day influence is not as important. Although he did leave behind something that is recognizable to some: the Moultrie Flag. Moultrie was a colonel of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment when the British initially attacked Charlestown. As previously mentioned, he was tasked with defending Sullivan’s Island against the British. Moultrie created the Moultrie Flag for his troops to fly. Sergeant William Jasper, after some debate, made it a sign of liberty and the revolution in the South. The people of South Carolina, as well as those in surrounding areas, quickly came to love the flag. Though Moultrie is a controversial figure due to inhumane action in the French and Indian War, many are nonetheless thankful for his contributions to liberty. He defended the revolution, as well as creating a flag that many still use today.

Francis Marion

Known as the Swamp Fox, historians have named Francis Marion as a father of guerrilla warfare. Marion was born in modern day Berkeley County in South Carolina around 1732. He was a Captain under William Moultrie, present at the defense of Sullivan’s Island. In 1776, the Continental Congress commissioned Marion as a Lieutenant Colonel. In 1779, he was part of the attempt to push the British out of Georgia, which was a failure. When he returned to South Carolina in 1780, the British successfully captured Charleston. Marion, however, avoided capture, as he was not present at the city due to a broken ankle. The British continued to push into the colony.

After multiple Patriot military losses, Marion decided to return to the battlefield with a small group of men. At the time of formation, Marion’s group of men was the only group actively opposing the British Army. He met up with General Horatio Gates in an attempt to assist him before the Battle of Camden, but Gates did not like Marion. Due to this, Gates sent Marion to do intelligence gathering, causing Marion and his men to miss the battle. This may have been good, however, considering the British massacred the Patriots due to Gates’ incompetence. Marion continued to defend the state against Lord Cornwallis, holding modern-day Pee Dee when the rest of the state was occupied. The British could never push into Pee Dee, and the British would later retreat from the state to Yorktown, due to multiple military defeats that pushed them out.

Francis Marion gained his name when Banastre Tarleton, a British Colonel that was responsible for the massacre of surrendering American troops, attempted to chase him throughout the swamps. Marion and his men evaded the British for 26 miles until Tarleton ceased his search. Tarleton later said of Marion, “[as] for this damned old fox, the Devil himself could not catch him.” Marion was able to attack large British forces with his small group of men in a surprising, yet quick manner.

Without Marion’s defense of the state and his ruthless attacks, the thirteen colonies may not have won the war. His offensive and defensive strategy led to Cornwallis retreating from South Carolina to Yorktown. Marion was an influential figure that shaped the fictional character Benjamin Martin in The Patriot.

All being said, it is evident that men like Gadsden, Marion, and Moultrie have contributed to modern day America, and contributed to the Revolutionary War in critical ways. Without Moultrie and Gadsden, we would not have the flags we have now for our movements.Without Marion, we may have just completely lost the revolution in the South. Keep that in mind when you look at the great state of South Carolina and its history.

(Image from revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com)