Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA today. Or maybe tomorrow. Or maybe Sunday. I don’t know. We don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK. Perhaps we should. I was reading in ZeroHedge last night about the first Thanksgiving in 1621. After the colonists arrived in America, half of them died of starvation. And it was only after they’d begun (with help from the local Indians) to get their act together and grow enough food that they were able to survive and prosper – and give thanks. How did they manage to do that?

They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that were most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a market, and that was the end of the famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results.

The young men didn’t want to work. And the early socialist society that the colonists set up was plagued by theft. Food was stolen from the fields before it was ripe.

Why was it that these socialist societies didn’t work? Why is it that they never work? And why do people nevertheless keep on trying to make them work?

The answer might come from thinking about what a single individual – a Robinson Crusoe – would have done, if he had arrived in that place, instead of the entire community that arrived aboard the Mayflower.

And the answer would have been that he would have gone looking for food, perhaps along the sea shore, and eating it as he found it. And he would have built himself a hut, with branches and leaves (as I did many times in my childhood). And perhaps in time he would have made a clearing where he could grow food. If he survived, he might even have prospered.

So why didn’t the little society do exactly the same as the single individual? The answer is quite simple: society is not an individual person.  Societies are composed of many individuals, like walls are composed of many bricks or stones. But a brick is not a wall. Bricks and walls are quite different things, and they behave in very different ways.

The lone Crusoe would have made the effort to find food, and he would have reaped the reward for that effort. The society would have only been able to do the same thing if it had been organised as an obedient army, with a single general issuing commands.  And the society that arrived aboard the Mayflower was no such obedient army. It was instead a loose association of individuals. And it promptly fell apart. The strong young men were unwilling to work on behalf of the entire community, and not reap the reward for their efforts. And when as a result food became scarce, it began to be stolen from the fields by people who were more concerned with their own personal survival than the survival of society. It became everybody for themselves, sauve qui peut. When Bradford re-organised society into individual households, he was probably acknowledging something that had already happened.

There’s another observation which ought to be made, and that is that where all things – food, drink, etc. – are held in common, there can be no such thing as theft. How can there be theft when everyone owns everything? It was not theft for people to go early to the fields and dig up root vegetables before anyone else did, because the vegetables were as much their property as anyone else’s. It only became theft when Bradford gave the land to individual families for them to keep the produce themselves. Only then did it become theft to steal the crops growing in someone else’s field. And with the re-introduction of private property, and the crime of theft, there almost certainly came punishment, courts, judges, and juries, and all the other trappings of civil society.

As an individual person, I cannot steal from myself. It is not theft for my right hand to take food from my left hand. But it is theft for one individual to take from another without permission, even if that society is organised as an army.

In America a week or two ago, the descendants of those earliest colonists elected as their new president a man who very clearly believes in private property ownership. He owns a great deal of it, after all.  The descendants of the earliest socialists among them now seem to have migrated to California, where – in accordance with their belief in the common ownership of all property – they have begun to practise large scale theft. For on the very same day that the new president was elected, the state of California passed Proposition 56, which steals $2 off every smoker in the state for every pack of cigarettes they buy.

Of course the Nancy Pelosis of California never see such taxation as theft. They regard it as already their own rightful property, just like the thieves in the early colony. In fact, they see it as their moral duty to steal from smokers, because it helps the poor subhuman wretches to quit smoking. These people are not just thieves: they are proud and boastful thieves.

I have no idea whether America will prosper under their new president. But I’m quite sure that California will not prosper under thieves like Nancy Pelosi. I expect to see starvation and death in California. It will become everyone for themselves, sauve qui peut, déjà vu all over again. But the rich Nancy Pelosis will not die. They’ll just migrate to another state, and start thieving there instead, still convinced in the common ownership of everything.

About Frank Davis

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18 Responses to Thanksgiving

  1. Tony H. says:

    One has to ask what happened to the weak in that early “capitalist” system? No need to answer because it has been answered every place that has a purely capitalist system. They died. What kind of civilised society leaves its weakest members to just starve? A stupid one, because, apart from the fact that physical strength is not the only metric to use when judging how useful some one is, eventually some people that are not so weak will grow up watching there weak relatives and friends die because the society doesn’t give a rats about them and they will then reject the rules of that society such as rules regarding theft. In that situation you then get a breakaway society that ends up at war with the old society and a spiral downward is inevitable. The form of “Socialism” that was rejected was because the members of that society were just not civilised enough to share. Socialism can only really prosper when we actually DO become civilised. Try watching some wilderness survival programs and see who fairs better….the people that try to go it alone or those that form small groups or communities…

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      The one form of ‘socialism’ that works well, I found, is that of the John Lewis Partnership. No one person owns the business – although there is a hierarchy, employees (Partners) ‘own’ the business and get quite a large say in how it is run:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Partnership#Organisation_of_the_Partnership

      I left there 17 years ago. Each March since my husband still gives me dirty looks, as that was when the Bonus is paid out.

    • Frank Davis says:

      One has to ask what happened to the weak in that early “capitalist” system?

      The early settlers practised socialism rather than capitalism. And that was when most people died. It was only when they abandoned socialism and adopted capitalism that they stopped having famines, and people started surviving.

      The form of “Socialism” that was rejected was because the members of that society were just not civilised enough to share. Socialism can only really prosper when we actually DO become civilised.

      So you think that the early socialist colony would have prospered if the colonists had only been civilised enough? And being civilised means sharing work, food, etc? But wasn’t the objection of the strong young men that while they were doing a lot of physically demanding work (and using up lots of energy in the process), they weren’t compensated with higher food rations? The strong young men were being turned into weak young men, unable to do the work demanded of them. It wouldn’t have mattered how “civilised” they were, the same thing would have resulted.

      But it’s an interesting thought that it’s really only “civilised” people who can do socialism properly.

      I suppose that you must think starving Venezuelans aren’t civilised enough.

      • Tony H. says:

        Frank I don’t think any of us are civilised enough yet.
        “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”
        Yet again I’m going to have to say what real socialists everywhere have always said. The society described failed to take account of the needs of those doing the heavy, physical work and therefore was not “socialism”. Their attempt at it failed and people suffered because it wasn’t done properly. Whereas in a capitalist system people suffer because of the system itself.

        • Roobeedoo2 says:

          In neither Capitalists or Socialist systems are the people that clean anybody else’s shitty toilets paid anything like their worth… The words ‘weight’ and ‘gold’ spring to mind…

          Oh and, Apols! if Clicky has impinged on anyone’s bandwidth. I have told him but… */shrugs…* he’s a fucking dolphin. It’s like water off a, well, you can imagine…

          */sigh… Please don’t alienate these people anymore, Clicky… I’m trying to sell a book*

        • Frank Davis says:

          I don’t think any of us are civilised enough yet.

          If none of us are civilised enough to build a socialist society, that can only mean that socialism is an impossible dream, and we may as well forget about it, and work with what we’ve got.

        • Barry Homan says:

          This makes for an interesting point. I’ve always contended that it’s the core reason why socialism may work fine as words on paper, but no matter how many times it’s tried, it never works in real-life application: it simply goes too much against the grain of human nature.

    • Walt Cody says:

      Tony’s formula up top reads a lot like the Marxian dialectic which ends in the end of history. In college I took a course in international politics with a way left prof whose assignment for the final was to disprove Marx. I aced it. Because even if you believe in the dialectic, the pendulum never stops and your sublime impossible utopia would be kicked over by the sheer power of human nature. But that nature also includes altruism and Americans (capitalists large and small) are notably and voluntarily charitable. It’s also true that every form of society will have its have-nots as well as its exploited (the two are not synonymous). For as somebody once observed “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with skill, but time and chance do happen to them all.”

  2. smokervoter says:

    The descendants of the earliest socialists among them now seem to have migrated to California, where – in accordance with their belief in the common ownership of all property – they have begun to practise large scale theft.

    Truer words were never spoken.

    When I moved ‘up north’ to the hippie capital of Santa Cruz in the fall of 1970 to attend college I, for the first time, found myself surrounded by east coast transplants who had drifted there from San Francisco’s nascent Haight-Ashbury scene in search of a more rural California experience. Some of them set up utopian hippie commune organic farms. All of them failed miserably. They didn’t know the first thing about farming and usually some sort of personality cult a la Charles Manson would develop.

    I attended a hippie party during this time wherein everybody around me spoke with east coast accents and were dressed for the most part like modern day Pilgrims and Puritans. I couldn’t stand these people.

    The hosts of the party banned wine and beer because they didn’t want fights to break out. There was a hippie doorman who looked like John Winthrop who tried to confiscate my bottle of Red Mountain wine from me. I eventually dispatched him with a straight right to the jaw. The party snacks consisted of godawful crudites served with an unseasoned hummus. Yuck.

    I eventually ran into another fellow native southern Californian (the dark tan was the giveaway) at the party and as I started to say “Have you noticed…” he finished the sentence with “that everyone here is from somewhere else.”

    By the way, Nancy Pelosi is from Baltimore, Maryland. Natch.

    • Frank Davis says:

      By the way, Nancy Pelosi is from Baltimore, Maryland. Natch.

      Big port, Baltimore. I bet it was full up with English puritans at one time. Although Pelosi isn’t an English name, exactly.

      I found out yesterday that Maryland is named after Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England. And North and South Carolina are named after him too. Virginia is named after Queen Elizabeth I of England. And Georgia is named after King George II of England.

      • smokervoter says:

        She’s an Eyetie (h/t Leg-iron). Michael Savage disparages her on a regular basis – I love it.

        Aside from the fact that I despise her to the core, I grudgingly have to admit that she has some very lovely breasts.

        BTW, I once created a graphic which reflects my sentiments on the Haight-Ashbury scene and displayed it on the old website. It’s pretty good. Scroll down to “Exporting Nouveau Puritanism” (it’s up at the top). There’s a great old picture of Hillary and Bill Clinton on there as well.

        Haight-Ashbury Graphic

        I’m thinking I composed the article shortly after discovering you and Leg-iron (LiveJournal Sites) on the interwebs.

        • Lepercolonist says:

          “The fact is Democrats and Bill and Hillary Clinton are the founding fathers and mothers of the War on Tobacco.”

          Great line, smokervoter. Thank God the Clintons are finally gone.

  3. Frank Davis says:

    Rush Limbaugh: The True Story of Thanksgiving

    “Here is the part that has been omitted” from the traditional textbooks, and was omitted when I was in school. “The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into” on the Mayflower, they all… They had merchant sponsors. They didn’t have the money to make this trip themselves. There were sponsors, merchants in Holland and London that paid for it.

    They had to be repaid. So, the contract that they had “called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.” It didn’t belong to any individuals, and everything they produced, “[t]hey were going to distribute it equally.” Everyone would get the same, and everybody would be the same. “All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.

    “Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks.” It was a Humboldt, County, California, commune — minus the weed. “It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California,” with organic vegetables. “Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter” after settlement. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and it was theirs.

    Whatever they produced was theirs to do whatever they wanted. Sell it, keep it, use it, but it was theirs. Well, you know what happened. This was, in effect, the unleashing of the power of competition and the marketplace. The “Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism,” and it failed miserably. “It didn’t work!” Drastic action taken by William Bradford got rid of it. “What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else,” because no matter what you produced, you got the same as anybody else.

    If you didn’t produce anything, you still got the same amount that everybody else got. They were “trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it…” The rest of the world’s been doing that since the beginning of time, but there’s no way to refine it and perfect it. They dumped it. The Pilgrims dumped approximate. “What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. … ‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition. The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God,’ Bradford wrote.

    “For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…'” What he’s saying is, “Why should we bust our ass working for people not doing anything?” It didn’t work. It was a resounding failure. “Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself?”

    From his own journal. The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without insensitive. “So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise…” They let every family have its own plot of land to work and they were permitted to market the products, the crops that they grew, and the result was, Bradford wrote, “This had very good success. For it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” I have to take a break, but you can see where this is going.

    I’ll finish it up when we get back. Don’t go away.

    BREAK TRANSCRIPT

    RUSH: So the result of free enterprise after the Pilgrims had tried socialism, well, William Bradford wrote about it. “This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Bradford doesn’t sound like a committed leftist, and he wasn’t.

    So the Thanksgiving that was had: “Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you’re laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.”

    In other words, there was capitalism going on. There was buying and selling going on. There were profits. A group of people arrives on a boat committed to being equal and the same. It fails. They end up turning out industrious activity, creating that by virtue of competition and being able to keep what you produced. They produced more than they needed. They ended up setting up trading posts. They exchanged goods with the Indians, and the profits finally allowed them to pay off the debts to the sponsors, the merchants in London who had sponsored them.

    “The success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the ‘Great Puritan Migration.'” In other words, the Pilgrims had such overwhelming success at growing their community, word spread all the way back to England, and it began this humongous migration of people.

    Remember, the Pilgrims preceded the founding of the country by hundreds of years. They really were the ones that got it started and showed how it could be done. And it was — I don’t want to use the word “rich.” It was so plentiful, this was what they were thankful for. They thanked God for the guidance found in the Bible for restructuring their community, and shared their bounty with the Indians, who did teach them how to do things they didn’t know how to do, basically be farmers. That’s The True Story of Thanksgiving.

    • smokervoter says:

      Oh Dear God. For anyone with nothing better to do, keep scrolling down to a graphic featuring a can of Evil-Cola soda and a Latino Legislator and a packet of Satanic Lights cigarettes.

      Talk about prescience, of the unfortunate-for-us kind.

      Soda taxes look like their on their way now. His $1.50 tobacco tax turned of to be $2.00. Gavin Newsom will soon be running for Governor of California – along with Tom Steyer! Alex Padilla has Peter-Principled his way into being our Secretary of State – who just gleefully certified the Proposition 56 results.

      We are doomed.

      PS: I’m truly sorry lest anyone think I’m over-promoting my old website. But truth be told, I hadn’t revisited it myself since it was frozen three years ago. I considered it to be somewhat of an embarrassment to be perfectly honest.

    • Lecroix says:

      With all due respect, another version of that True Story. Yes, I know liberals in the US are hoping to use these historic facts as a wedge with which to divide and destroy the US. And I’m against that. I defend America. Always will. But History must be told as it really happened. Or at the very least, other versions must be taken into account.

      http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/firstcolony/home#

  4. slugbop007 says:

    I watched a Time Team episode this summer that was filmed in Virginia. Turns out that the cultivation and exportation of Virginia tobacco to the UK and Europe enabled the state of Virginia to thrive and prosper, thus saving them from going bankrupt.

    slugbop007

  5. slugbop007 says:

    Saw Gavin Newsom on Bill Maher’s RealTime earlier this year. He promised progressive regulation would follow the legalization of Marijuana.  Yeah, I bet. More taxes for sure. He’s PC Personified. Blecch!

    slugbop007

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