Nasty, Brutish & Short

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Sharing is not the lesson of Thanksgiving. Capitalism is.

November 21, 2007 10:39 AM

When the Pilgrims first arrived, they tried the communal approach to farming: Everyone assists in the work, everyone shares in the harvest.

And, everyone nearly died:

Why?  [Because w]hen 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 they switched to a system of private ownership.  From Governor Bradford's 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."

And then they prospered.  The first Thanksgiving came after the ecomonic prosperity brought on by private ownership.  So make sure you include private property in your list of things you are thankful for this year.

Also: I wish my grandmother were alive to alive to share her views on the communistic nature of the Venerated Ancestors!  She hated the communists, but God, she loved those ancestors.