Thursday, November 25, 2010

Have We Forgotten The Lesson Of Thanksgiving?

I could have gone with my traditional Thanksgiving Day post, a repost of one of Andrew Sullivan's Thanksgiving Day posts from long ago, but this year I felt I needed to take a different tack and remind you of the forgotten lesson of the first Thanksgiving.


Had today's political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow's holiday would have been called "Starvation Day" instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn't be alive to celebrate it.


Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn't happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.


The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That's why they nearly all starved.

Is this Thanksgiving Day message a politically motivated one? Of course it is. After all, the history of the first Thanksgiving gives us much to ponder about present day conditions and those wishing to repeat the failed social experiment tried by the first English settlers in New England.

One of the reasons the Pilgrims nearly starved to death was because unlike today, they had no one else's largess to 'appropriate' in order to survive. It wasn't like they had the means to take what Indians had from them. (Yes, I wrote 'Indians'. I refuse to use politically correct terms just to not offend those who would gladly be offended on behalf of the original indigenous inhabitants of the North American continent.)

This experiment in socialism/communalism proved the innate falsehood of “From each according his ability, to each according his needs,” as well as hard proof of the tragedy of the commons. The first illustrates the shortsightedness of Marx and his followers who, either by chance or choice, ignored the one thing that made Marx's theories totally unworkable – human nature. The second defines that shortsightedness. If nothing else, the Pilgrims were the first society to try living under what would later become part of Marx's theory. Because they were an insular society at the time (there were no real neighbors to go to for aid as there are today), the falsity of the theory was there for everyone who survived the famine to see.

But do the modern day socialists/communalists/communists take a lesson from that failure? Of course not. Over the past 100 years or so they have tried to run the experiment again and again, which always ends with the same tragic results, but at the cost of millions of lives. Members of our own government seem to think they can make it work when history proves otherwise. They have refused to learn from lesson of the first Thanksgiving. I have no doubt they will continue to ignore it.

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