For most Southerners who’ve suffered through twelve years of government schooling, and successive years of media indoctrination, the above statement probably appears ridiculous. Some years ago, I brought up this idea with some co-workers at the engineering firm where I worked. One young man, a recent graduate of Louisiana Tech University, sarcastically replied, ‘Oh yeah, and go from being one of the poorest States to one of the poorest third world countries.’ But would that necessarily be the case? Let’s take a more critical look at my State, Louisiana, and see how my former colleague’s statement fares.
‘Small is Beautiful’
In the Yankee mentality, bigger is better. Part of their argument for holding this vast empire together by force is that in order to be a viable, stable country, we have to occupy a sizeable chunk of this vast piece of real estate called North America. However, does the reality surrounding the existence of many of the countries of the western world support this notion? Let’s see.
Louisiana covers an area of 43,562 square miles. That makes her only slightly smaller than Greece (50,942 sq. mi.) but larger than Hungary (35,919 sq. mi.), Portugal, Austria, The Czech Republic, Ireland, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium (11,780 sq. mi.). I dare to say that no one in their right mind would declare any of the countries listed above to be unstable or unviable; especially since many of them have existed as countries for centuries longer than the united States. If, in typical, condescending, Yankee fashion, you would argue, ‘Yeah, but those are rinky-dink countries,’ (I suppose this is a slap at their lack of superpower military status), then consider that Louisiana is one-half the size of the United Kingdom and one-third as large as Germany (neither of which have been slouches in the military power game). On the population side, Louisiana ranks just below Ireland (4.72 million) and well below The Netherlands (17.0 million) for tenth on my list of ten at 4.68 million people.
This places fair Louisiana in very good company compared to some of her potential neighbours, so the size argument is refuted.
It’s the Economy Stupid!
Some of you may recall this phrase being bandied about during the Clinton administration. There is a kernel of truth in it, though, as a portion of the stability and viability of any country is achieved by its commerce at home and with other nations. This is the crucial attribute which can make size irrelevant. Let’s look at Louisiana’s income potential.
Louisiana’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $246 billion would make her 45th out of 211 countries, giving her a place in the top 25 percent of all nations – in the same league with Hong Kong, Ireland, and Chile. This is not a bad place to begin.
And it gets better from here. As every imperial power who has ever wanted a piece of North America has known, New Orleans, and control of the mouth of the Mississippi River, is a strategic necessity. Modern air transportation has not negated the fact that the vast majority of the world’s goods are still transported by ships. The Port of New Orleans is the second busiest in North America, and the Mississippi River is the watery highway used for transporting those goods into the interior of the country.
Louisiana’s vast natural resources in oil and gas could be sold on the world market at fair prices versus the heavily controlled and regulated situation forced on us now by the U.S. It also means that Louisiana’s farmers could get out of a state of perpetual peonage to the U.S. Agriculture Department, sell their produce at world market prices, and become prosperous again. Likewise, the suffocating and outrageous regulations and procedures of the EPA, IRS, OSHA, TSA, and all the other federal bureaucracies would be gone. The advantages are legion.
But would this be sufficient to fund the government of an independent nation? The numbers say 'Yes'.
The annual budget for the State of Louisiana is around $28 billion. This amount includes about $10 billion received from the federal government, meaning that Louisiana can raise at least $18 billion in revenue on her own right now. Countries with around twice the population of Louisiana like Bolivia, Bulgaria, and Serbia have budgets close to $18 billion.
However, Louisiana currently sends roughly $42 billion to Washington City in the form of various federal taxes. If she left the union, that money would be available to her as well to maintain embassies, raise a modest army and navy, and so on.
Revenue would not be a problem for an independent Louisiana.
A Christian Foundation
For generations, the peoples of the States have tried to impart a divine aura to political documents like the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, to make them the measuring rod for societal norms, but this has led to the collapse of Christian faith. Leaving the U.S. would allow Christianity to take its rightful place again as the preeminent unifying and invigorating cultural force in Louisiana. The Holy Eucharist, Nicene Creed, kings, bishops, a national cathedral, saints, all such things would join us together as one people. One saint in particular is very important in this regard for Louisiana: St Martin of Tours.
By St Martin’s unceasing labors, many in France accepted the Orthodox Christian Faith, and many missionaries who would enlighten other places in Western Europe like Scotland and Ireland were either taught by him or prepared for their work at his monastic establishment at Marmoutiers. He has been so venerated by the French people that
“Even today over 2,000 villages in France are named after him and 4,000 churches are dedicated to him. And the surname 'Martin' has become the French equivalent of 'Smith'.”
The French immigrants who settled in Louisiana brought this veneration of St Martin with them, dedicating a church to St Martin de Tours in St Martinville, which lies within St Martin Parish (both named after St Martin of Tours).
Most of the immigrants who settled Louisiana are from countries either directly or indirectly affected by St Martin’s missionary efforts. It is fitting, then, that St Martin be recognized as Louisiana’s patron saint and one of her chief intercessors before the throne of God, her foremost exemplar of Christian virtue, and one of the chief unifiers of the diverse ethnic groups that make up Louisiana. The aforementioned church of St Martin de Tours in St Martinville, cleansed of the leprous wounds from 1,000 years of schism, would be the ideal spiritual axis around which Christian life in Louisiana would revolve.
This is the normal way of life in non-schismatic, Orthodox Christian countries: Sts Symeon and Sava are honored as fathers by the Serbs, St Sergius by the Russians, St Edmund by the English, St Boniface by the Germans, etc. Louisiana, freed from constitutional idolatry, would have a chance to live it as well.
Get Out Now!
As this short, critical analysis shows, the notion that independence means poverty and misery for any of our Southern States is a fallacy. On the contrary, independence opens the door to well-being for our people. The only question remaining is – what are we waiting for?!
Walt Garlington once worshipped a false god: the Idea of America. He
has since been united to the Holy Orthodox Church and writes for the
Confiteri web site (http://confiterijournal.blogspot.com/) and other
publications from his home in Dixie.