Patterico's Pontifications

11/22/2007

The Thanksgiving Story, Version 2

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 12:26 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

John Stossel tells us the real Thanksgiving Story:

“Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. “Isn’t sharing wonderful?” say the teachers. They miss the point. Because of sharing, the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.

The failure of Soviet communism is only the latest demonstration that freedom and property rights, not sharing, are essential to prosperity. The earliest European settlers in America had a dramatic demonstration of that lesson, but few people today know it.

When the Pilgrims first settled the Plymouth Colony, they organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share everything equally, work and produce. They nearly all starved.

Why? When people can get the same return with a small amount of effort as with a large amount, most people will make little effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. Some ate rats, dogs, horses and cats. This went on for two years.

“So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented,” wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, “began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, [I] (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. … And so assigned to every family a parcel of land.”

The people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

— DRJ

8 Responses to “The Thanksgiving Story, Version 2”

  1. You are so full of crap that your eyes are brown. The first of the English to arrive here included not a single person who knew about growing anything. They couldn’t farm. They were clueless. That’s why they nearly starved to death before being rescued by the “ENGLISH.” Their relationships with the Indians went from bartering and trading to outright Indian massacres of the settlers dumb enough to put up a “private enterprise farm” that was outside of the forts. And we are to suppose that a society with no money, no goods, and no way of supporting itself did a free enterprise trip and miraculously got rich? Jesus, from what we know about the first “shared meal” it was only that. The corn had been grown by some new “pilgrims” who were farmers and knew how to grow corn in a climate that couldn’t support much of anything. That the meal may have been a building block of the new country is probably true.

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

  2. Happy Thanksgiving, DRJ and everybody!

    nk (09a321)

  3. I read this one in his column yesterday. I like Stossel’s view on a lot of things.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    voiceofreason (1c973a)

  4. Every year Rush reads the letter writen by one of the founders of Plymoth… My mind’s a blank on the name.

    He describes in detail the socialist structure they started with, and it’s abject failure.

    And he also describes how when they split the farms into individual plots, things went nuts in the “we have so much damn food” catagory.

    The indians didn’t save the pilgrams. Free markets did.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  5. The fact is that SQUANTO walked into the pilfrims village and said HELLO in english means he wanted to befreind and help them survive

    krazy kagu (d7018c)

  6. Howard: Please have your physician adjust your meds.

    To all: Have a great Thanksgiving!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  7. Every year Rush reads the letter writen by one of the founders of Plymoth… My mind’s a blank on the name.

    William Bradford.

    Paul (36cd46)

  8. You are so full of crap that your eyes are brown.

    No Howard, DRJ has told us her eyes are blue.

    Paul (36cd46)


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