Skip to comments.Thanksgiving thoughts
Posted on 11/26/2002 5:25:55 AM PST by mikeb704
Despite revisionist history suggesting that the Thanksgiving of 1621 was a non-religious feast, the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the national holiday we now celebrate are firmly intertwined. So its an appropriate time to reflect on the Pilgrim experience as detailed in Plymouth Governor William Bradfords "History of the Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647."
At first the Pilgrims set up a socialist economic system, one that included a common storehouse. People complained that no matter how hard they worked, others who did little or nothing received just as much as they did. Some of the colonists considered themselves to be in "slaverie." Stealing from one another "day and night" to compensate for the shortage of food was not uncommon.
The charter allowed those who lasted seven years to opt out of the system. The colony probably wouldnt survive that long, however. Bradford wrote: "For this communitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte."
After extended debate a new order was established. Each family would farm its own parcel of land. The result is what everyone other than todays Leftists would have expected.
According to Bradford, "This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.
"The women now wente willingly into the feild, and took their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledg weakness and inabilitie: whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.
"The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; - that the taking away of propertie, and bringing in communite into a commone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser than God."
Centuries after the Plymouth experience, we still have people who contend that socialism will make people happy and flourishing. This flies in the face of reality and human nature, but it makes no difference to them.
In this years Thanksgiving Day proclamation, President Bush notes: "As the Pilgrims did almost four centuries ago, we gratefully give thanks this year for the beauty, abundance, and opportunity this great land offers. We also thank God for the blessings of freedom and prosperity; and, with gratitude and humility, we acknowledge the importance of faith in our lives."
We Americans have so very much for which to thank God. A degree of personal liberty that few people in the history of the world have enjoyed. The right to worship or not - as we please. A prosperity that make us the envy of the world. The freedom to choose our own leaders. The valor and integrity and goodness of the Americans who have gone before. A nation willing to sacrifice its blood and treasure to preserve and extend freedom around the world.
Of course America isnt perfect. What human institution is? Despite its shortcomings, our country is the greatest on earth.
President Reagan said he "always believed that this land was set aside in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent between the oceans to be found by a people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith, freedom, and peace."
That divine plan is still a work in progress, but one for which we should all be unendingly thankful.
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