Posted tagged ‘First Thanksgiving’

Lessons From The First Thanksgiving

November 23, 2016

Hand drawn Thanksgiving vintage card. Maple and oak leaves, branches and berries, pumpkin, indian corn, lettering

Richard Ebeling’s Thanksgiving article titled: Thanksgiving Was A Triumph Of Capitalism Over Collectivism, tells the real lesson of the first thanksgiving. The basic idea of government central planning whether it is called collectivism, socialism, communism, et al,  has been around forever. The evidence that collectivism doesn’t produce results that match the rhetoric has also been around forever. But somehow the lure of collectivist ideology still remains strong in spite of the evidence.

Here are some excerpts from the article.

“The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620,……. wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness……..Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.”

“What resulted is recorded in the journal of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony. The colonists collectively cleared and worked land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood
.”

“The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.

“Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death.

Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.

The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward……..When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.”

“Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas of that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism.”

Was this realization that communism was incompatible with human nature and the prosperity of humanity to be despaired or be a cause for guilt? Not in Governor Bradford’s eyes. It was simply a matter of accepting that altruism and collectivism were inconsistent with the nature of man, and that human institutions should reflect the reality of man’s nature if he is to prosper.

If these sparsely populated settlements couldn’t make socialism work, how could our present day leaders think that trying to implement socialist policies (like Obamacare), incrementally to a population of 330 million possibly work? Politicians and bureaucrats are heavily invested in the ideology of centrally planning an economy. They will never give up this vision of how the world works, even though the lessons of history are their for all to see.

 

Related ArticleThe Real Thanksgiving Story, at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleThanksgiving Proclamations, at austrianaddict.com.

What I wrote last year seems even more appropriate this year.

Even though it seems we are in conflict about everything. Each of us should be thankful that we live in a country that protects our right to complain. We should be thankful our founding principles have led to the creation of a standard of living that other countries could only dream of.”

“We take our individual freedom and our countries wealth for granted, even though they are rare indeed when compared to other countries throughout the history of the world. Be Thankful!”

The Real Thanksgiving Story

November 27, 2014

hand drawn illustration of Pilgrims celebrating first thanksgiving dinner - stock photo

An article titled, “The Great Thanksgiving Hoax“, by Richard J. Maybury, at mises.org, tells the true story of Thanksgiving. Here are some excerpts from the article.

“In his History of Plymouth Plantation, the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years because they refused to work in the field. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with “corruption,” and with “confusion and discontent.” The crops were small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.”

“In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.”

“But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.”

What happened? After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

“This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take only what he needed.”

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that were most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.”

“To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of the famines.”

“Thus, the real meaning of Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.

If these sparsely populated settlements couldn’t make socialism work, how could our present day leaders think that trying to implement socialist policies (like Obamacare), incrementally to a population of 330 million possibly work? Oh that’s right, they think it hasn’t worked because it hasn’t been tried by people with superior wisdom like themselves. We will never learn the lessons of history, let alone economics.

Related ArticleWhy Socialism Won’t Work? Human Nature, at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleWe Can’t Recreate The Garden Of Eden, at austrianaddict.com.