Gary St. Fleur grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he learned that government intervention seldom does what it is intended.
Being born to Haitian immigrants gave him a unique perspective, as Haitians were ostracized by other black groups during the 1980s and 1990s. This allowed him to have a detached view of society that isn’t based on racial collectivism. For this reason, growing up in the public school system was a routine enigma. He wondered why in America the teachers were teaching distinct racial histories. Wouldn’t all American history, be American? It really struck him when he was expected to learn the “black national anthem”; after all, didn’t America already have an anthem.
These experiences shaped Gary to view society in different terms.
New York City being the melting pot it is, Gary saw people more for their cultural tendencies or class categories than anything else. Furthermore, the city being filled with successful immigrants made it difficult for Gary to accept the narrative that America was inherently racist. It was odd to be in a community that was overly black and hear the residents complain about racism. Who was being racist to them? Everyone in the neighborhood was black. In fact, much of the hostility that Gary witnessed was blacks being hostile to other blacks. Growing up in Brooklyn, Gary could not honestly say a white person has done anything to ever harm him.
Thus, Gary eventually became a staunch conservative and eschewed all things left, liberal and associated with Democratic Party. As he grew up into his adult years, he noticed that the Republican Party, known for its conservative fiscal platform, was anything but fiscally conservative. He also took issue with the idea that government should concern itself with the private affairs of others. He recognized that it was far more reasonable to let people solve their own problems. Eventually, Gary viewed government as an obstacle to success, instead of precursory to it. Gary went on to start several organizations including a start-up and a non-profit. The non-profit he co-founded sought market-driven initiatives in attempt to stem the tide of poverty in Haiti. Gary believes in people and the free market. As far as he is concerned, government only knows how to make things worse and more expansive – a double whammy.
The Gary we know today is largely shaped by his recent move to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 2015; an initial decision made to pursue opportunities in a tech he was then beta testing.
Gary discovered a city that was marred by corruption, poverty, excessive taxes, ineffectual policies, and economic malaise. Believing that Scranton was a window to a future where government destroys the free market through excessive taxation, Gary decided to start Save Scranton – a political activism organization that seeks to rectify the harm the Scranton government has wrought on the city. Gary has gone on to be featured on TV, radio, newspapers, national libertarian pages and blogs, with the same message that the best sort of government is one that governs less.
He believes that government levies far too high a cost on society, effectively decreasing disposable income – the main driver for economic progress. Additionally, government creates increased barriers of entry to new entrants into a market through needless fees and burdensome regulation. Gary believes that people are capable of solving their own problems and that the only responsibility of government is to not get in the way of progress. This is particularly true given today’s current technologies. Governments should be more transparent and aggressively seek to be more productive while being as efficient as possible. In other words, governments should run like a start-up – offering more value than they take in.
Since being in Scranton, Gary has successfully managed to hold a boycott of mercantile taxes, write significantly about the city’s failed policies, and created an innovative campaign through use of city law by hosting the first ballot initiative to bankrupt a municipality. The bankruptcy initiative is in response to Scranton’s staggering $500 million debt. The city only has a population of 75,000, down from 140,000. In addition, 38% of the population lives on fixed income, while 20% live in poverty. Bankruptcy is the only option, and using a directly democratic way of achieving it, provides the people with the right leverage to force action.
When not making government bureaucrats and the establishment mad, Gary spends his time researching, learning new hobbies and writing about all sorts of topics.
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