Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Real Thing To Be Thankful For
Ok....a quick review...we all know the story…..
On September 6th, 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England. The second part of the voyage was stormy, but finally, on November 11th, the ship anchored off of Cape Cod. The members of the Mayflower spent over six weeks exploring different location to find an appropriate one to settle. On December 21st the Pilgrims made their first landfall at Plymouth Harbor.
The Pilgrims established a settlement at what had been an abandoned Indian village known as Patuxet. There were a limited number of houses that first winter in New Plymouth. Many of the colonists were forced to stay on the Mayflower. Half of the settlers died that first winter. William Bradford became the governor of colony, after the death of John Carver in 1621. The colony grew slowly and eventually became part of the much larger Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Native Americans who they met were very friendly. The settlers entered into an alliance with them. When spring came, the colonists, with help from the natives planted the native corn crop. By the time the second fall came around, the colonists harvested a bountiful crop of corn, along with other crops. To celebrate that crop yield the colonists had a feast. Thus began the tradition of Thanksgiving.
Now here is what REALLY happened.
From the beginning the Pilgrims planned their farming economy as a collective. Work and the land was to be shared and the produce of that work and land was to be distributed equally.
Some of the settlers pretended to be sick to avoid working on the communal farm. Even though they were religious people materials turned up stolen. They could not produce enough to support themselves. There was famine. And they kept it up for TWO YEARS!
Gov. William Bradford wrote in his diary. "So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented." He said they, "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."
TA! DA!!! Our founding colonists of Plymouth turned from socialism to private farming!
"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."
The result was they had enough food for the first Thanksgiving held in November 1623.
Aristotle said, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."
In other words…people make less effort when the return is the same no matter what effort you exert.
If all is held in a common pocket... and everyone can take from it despite what is contributed... then many are quite willing to freeload. Humans will take as much as they can and do as little as possible for it. Eventually you end up with an empty pocket.
Free exchange for benefit and a community grows , thrives….AND DOES NOT STARVE!
Even better…guarantee that the rights of property are secure. Then people risk....
and invest in others......!!!
When our first colonists turned their backs on collectivism they survived. And, with that decision took the first steps toward becoming American ….something for which we should all be truly thankful.