Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – If there’s one thing I think we’re going to be very excited about the prospects of in the very near future for ourselves, for the rest of our lives, and hopefully for our children, it is that decentralization, republicanism, and civic spirit is returning. It wasn’t on the backburner. I think it was pretty much on life support. It has been revived. It has not been revived in the persona of a political party. It has been revived in the persona of citizens and the citizenry and in civic activity and in civic mindedness. This is important because republicanism requires your participation. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Now let’s get to a story from the Bayou State here in Louisiana that’s important. You people that live in north Colorado, the five heroic counties that voted to secede and form the State of North Colorado, God bless you. I hope you don’t give up on the endeavor. Let me know if I can help. Let me inform you and tell you in the rest of official out-of-scale North America that republicanism is a virus and it has escaped the confines of the CDC that was trying to contain the contagion. It’s out there and it’s starting to spread. You’re not going to put this one back in the bottle.
If there’s one thing I think we’re going to be very excited about the prospects of in the very near future for ourselves, for the rest of our lives, and hopefully for our children, it is that decentralization, republicanism, and civic spirit is returning. It wasn’t on the backburner. I think it was pretty much on life support. It has been revived. It has not been revived in the persona of a political party. It has been revived in the persona of citizens and the citizenry and in civic activity and in civic mindedness. This is important because republicanism requires your participation.
I have this absolutely wonderful story right here from just down the Mississippi River from where I am currently perched, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Listen to this, “St. George, La.: One group’s quest for a new city could determine the fate of metropolitan Baton Rouge.” What you basically have here, similar to what those five counties in north Colorado did, similar to an event that is currently happening right now in the northern part of Atlanta and is ongoing, the contagion has now spread to Baton Rouge. The southern part of Baton Rouge is sick and tired of being taxed to pay for the ineffective, wasteful, and sometimes deadly government and resulting nightmare of an inner city that that government produces in its northern sector. They do not want anything to do with it anymore.
Folks, this is going to be healthy not only for south Baton Rouge when they become St. George, Louisiana, but it’s going to be healthy for north Baton Rouge because who’s going to bail them out now? They’re actually going to have to fix their problems. You’re not going to be able to rely on courts unless the courts are going to go in and say: Look, we realize you formed your own city, but we’re still going to tax you to pay for northern Baton Rouge. I read this story yesterday. Of course it was written by the hacks over at the Times-Picayune, the local lib fish wrap of a newspaper in New Orleans.
For the rest of today’s transcript please sign up for a Founders Pass or if you’re already a member, make sure you are logged in!
Sprinkled throughout the story are the seeds of doubt. [mocking] “You can’t just leave the part of the city you’ve been attached to for over 150 years. That’s just not fair. It’s not fair.” Why not? Why can’t you? Says who? The story is one that I think is going to be repeated over and over and over again. Not only are parts of cities and parts of counties going to ask to be let out of inconvenient and I Think destructive political relationships that they are currently in. This is going to spread. There’s no putting this genie back in the bottle, baby. This thing is out. I’ll share a little bit of this story for you. “We can set a model of governance for the United States of America that many other cities can follow,” Lionel Rainey. That’s the quote that leads the story up. See if you can apply this to where you live or to your relationship with Mordor. That’s the biggest prize of all.
Norman Browning wants out. He wants out of a school district where students bring guns to school, where cell phone videos capture fistfights, where two teenagers recently knocked out a bus driver’s teeth, where a middle schooler set a substitute teacher on fire. He wants out of a school district that is attempting — and he believes, failing — to cater to 42,000 different children, the majority of whom are impoverished and struggling in school.
He wants out of a government that, as he sees it, takes his tax money and spends it elsewhere, on swanky development projects downtown or in rundown neighborhoods in north Baton Rouge. He wants out of a system that he sees as neglecting the needs of his middle-class community in Southeast Baton Rouge.
He wants his own school district and his own city, and he is not alone.
The question is whether Browning has enough allies — 18,000 of them, to be exact — to make his vision of an independent city a reality.
Browning is one of a core group of organizers leading the effort to create St. George, a new city that would encompass the entire southern portion of contiguous, unincorporated East Baton Rouge Parish. It would be the fifth-largest city in Louisiana, with 107,000 residents — about a quarter of the parish’s population.
Mike: Let me just stop right there for a moment and just restate something to you that Professor Donald Livingston, in his many appearances on this show, and in writing you can find this, in Rethinking the American Union for the 21st Century, he’s stated many, many times, and you can actually look this up and study it if you like. The republics that created what we call Western civilization today, they gave us all this culture. They gave us theater. They gave us literary works. They gave us the nuts and bolts, the foundations of Western civilization.
These little republics, like the ones in Italy, rarely had in excess of 150,000 citizens. Rarely did they have an excess. Most of them were smaller. Yet we can see that those small populations, they changed the entire world for millennia afterward. They still have an influence. This idea that everything is about numbers and everything is about how large the endeavor is is absolute bull hockey. With 107,000 residents, that’s a mighty large-sized town. That’s a republic in the old world. Hell, it’s a republic today. You could get listed with the UN as a country with 107,000 souls as citizens.
At 84.6 square miles, its footprint would be eight square miles larger than the city of Baton Rouge.
Passing out navy blue lawn signs that proclaim “I’m In,” the St. George organizers are deep in their efforts to drive support for the new city.
But what may seem at first glance a straightforward initiative to incorporate a new town is shaping up as a pivotal, high-stakes battle, with the economic future of East Baton Rouge Parish hanging in the balance.
It is a fight that threatens to put a barrier between urban Baton Rouge proper and an affluent suburban area to the south.
Mike: Notice how these things always happen to the south? I don’t think it’s any accident that the writers of this, [mocking] “Of course they’re in the South. Everything in the South is bad.”
The proposed new city, encompassing the Mall of Louisiana and critical commercial areas, would take with it a huge chunk of the East Baton Rouge Parish sales tax base, stripping vital revenue from the city and other parts of the parish.
The conflict also threatens to deepen long-standing divisions of class and race [Mike: We can’t have that now, can we? We must all be in this together.] Though the campaign doesn’t talk about it in these terms, a predominantly white and middle-class area of south Baton Rouge is attempting to secede from a school system and a city that is majority African-American, and includes the poorest residents of the parish.
Mike: This is served up here as — this is all thrown at the doorstep of the evil, despicable people who want to leave their northern neighbors because they don’t look like them. Let me ask you a question. How did this segregation come about to start with? Go in the City of New Orleans. Heck, go in any major city in the United States and you will find segregation. As a matter of fact, you will find segregation almost to 100 percent. You think that’s an accident? Why is it okay for the segregation to occur in major urban areas? Nobody seems to have a problem with it. But if somebody in the suburban area says, [mocking] “Why do we have to be linked at the hip with people that we don’t agree with politically, we don’t share much with culturally, we can’t even agree on many legal things? Why should we have to be governed by them?” — “Because Lincoln said so. We’re making a more perfect union. You guys gotta be part of it.” — “What if I don’t want to be part of it?” — “You don’t have a choice. This is America. You have to be part of it, Lincoln said so.” — “He did?” — “Well, not really, but we’ve interpreted it to mean that he said that. You gotta suck it up.” This is what it all comes down to.
If you want to talk about ancient America and the things that happened when settlers came here, folks, they segregated. They segregated along religious and ethnic lines for the most part, which is why you still have areas in Pennsylvania and Virginia and Massachusetts and Rhode Island and in Connecticut and New Hampshire and Maryland and the Carolinas, this is why you have areas that are predominated by certain religious faiths or versions of religions.
There’s ten pages of this stuff about St. George wanting to form their own polity. Again, this is encouraging stuff because the contagion has gotten out. The Mordorians, the consolidationists who continue to defy the original or the 200-year-long arc of American history are now seeing all of their ill-advised and ill-gotten gains begin to be questioned, and in some cases the process of reversing them is afoot. It has begun.
The St. George movement was born at the State Capitol this past spring, as Browning worked with State Sen. Mack “Bodi” White to form an independent school district.
Mike: That’s all they wanted was the school district to be independent. [mocking] “You can’t do that. No, no, the court have said your children have to suffer right alongside those other children.” That’s one of the other ridiculous things. If there wasn’t the ability to spread the misery around, some probably would have no choice than to work very diligently and hard at being less miserable, don’t you think?
It was the second time they tried to pass bills forming the new district in the southeast part of the parish. Both times, they ran up against fierce opposition from Baton Rouge Democrats, who accused them of trying to divide the parish in a way that would bankrupt the school system. [Mike: This is the same thing you people in Atlanta heard, or in Fulton County, Georgia have heard. As a matter of fact, you guys are still fighting this, I believe.]
In the end, Browning and White couldn’t clear the high bar they needed to get a key piece of their legislation passed — a two-thirds vote in the state House of Representatives. In the press conference where they announced they were pulling the bill, White alluded to what would become the campaign for St. George. He suggested the supporters could get the school district they wanted by incorporating their own city. [Mike: You’re not allowed to incorporate new cities in America, not unless it’s for the benefit of people that are in government, and those people have to go along with it and say it’s for their benefit. They’re going to say it’s for someone else’s benefit.]
It wasn’t the first time frustrated residents had floated the idea of forming a new city in the southwestern or southeastern parts of the parish. But Browning, when he brought the proposal for an independent school district to the legislature, initially hadn’t seen the need to fight two battles at once.
Until the legislative session, when over and over again, legislators said they wouldn’t approve the breakaway school district because it wasn’t part of its own city. It wasn’t like Central, or Zachary, or any of those other new school districts that had come before — though the law doesn’t require a school district to be aligned with a city.
Mike: So they were faced with a choice, either give up or then pursue the idea that you would form your own city. Here’s what Lionel Rainey said: “St. George was born the day (the breakaway school district) was blocked in the (Louisiana) House of Representatives.” You can even get shut down in the statehouse and then break your localism and republicanism down even further and say: Fine, you shut us out? We’re going to take this case even more local.
There’s more on how you do this, but I just wanted to bring this story into the discussion today. It’s not all just about Obamacare these days. It’s not all just about Obama. It’s not all just about Mordor on the Potomac River. There will come a point in time where we’re going to have to relearn how to actually govern ourselves in our own little spheres, as our forefathers once did, and as hopefully we will be able to, and maybe we’ll guard it more closely if we ever achieve that nadir.
End Mike Church Show Transcript