November 20, 2009

What You Didn't Learn In Class: The First Thanksgiving

I will repost this every year around Thanksgiving. This originally ran in the University of Cincinnati's Student Newspaper back in 2006.

In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, I want you to think about this story. During the reign of King James I, those who did not recognize his total ecclesiastical authority were hunted down and often killed. A group of these separatists fled to Holland and eventually for America. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1621. Deciding on a socio-economical system, the Pilgrims set up a common wealth system. Each Pilgrim was given the same amount of land and they were to take equal shares of food from the social food stock. Everyone had their common share. That year, the Pilgrims suffered through hunger and economic disaster. The next year William Bradford, the community’s mayor at age 19, had had enough of the common wealth idea and set up the good old free market. The Pilgrims were allowed to obtain the amount of land they wished, and keep or sell what it produced. Bradford said in his journal that it “made all hands industrious.” The colony flourished. Here is a small part of Bradford's journal: They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports. Believe it or not, supply-side economics existed before the 1980s. What took the Pilgrims a year to learn has yet to be learned by countries hundreds of years old. What did the Pilgrims learn? They learned that Socialism destroys morale and the economy.

Advocates of Socialism try to persuade people using terms like “equality” and “fair” and "spread the wealth." They believe that since we are all equal, there is no reason why some should be more fortunate than others are. They believe that wealth should be distributed evenly. To achieve their wealth distribution goals, citizens willfully allow the near total-control of the Government over themselves; as we see in France, Germany, and Sweden, etc. Therefore, because of this belief, freedoms are stolen from the citizens.

The only real defendable position on equality is that we are all equal under the law, the Constitution. We are not created equal in ability or talent. That’s why we are all not a Beethoven or large success stories, like Rush Limbaugh. Socialism never permits us to achieve our potential. And as for fairness, even the Bible doesn’t teach fairness. Christ, the Just, died for us, the unjust. However, what fair is is giving citizens the opportunity to apply themselves and then succeed to the limit of their ability. Is this not what we do at school? Those that are studious received good grades; and those that take refuge in poor study habits receive bad grades. People do not create fairness. Fairness exists by its own merits. Therefore, based on our actions, we are rewarded or chastised—my friends, that’s fair.

Once someone applies themselves, wealth, in most cases, will be directly proportional. Why should someone working beyond what is required be forced to subsidize those that slack off or those who have chosen a lower paying vocation? The proper distribution of wealth should be performance based. Socialists are afraid of risk, but they don’t hesitate to demand a share of the earnings, confiscated through taxes, from the risk takers. People who fall victim to the snares of Socialism usually remain enslaved by Socialism’s empty platitudes. Only those who strive to be more like the Pilgrims actually fight back and escape. If the Pilgrims had stayed with socialism, they would have likely died out. Be forewarned, if we would ever sell-out to Socialism, we would enter our second Great Depression.

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