I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Can We Learn From The Pilgrims?

In remembrance of the first Thanksgiving, I thought that it would be appropriate to take a look back at what the Pilgrims were thankful for and what they had learned in their first few years in “The New World”. The story often told throughout the liberal academia is that the inept Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving by holding a feast in honor of the Native Americans for their help in surviving their new surroundings. A look at the actual writings of Governor William Bradford sheds a slightly different light on the real story of Thanksgiving.

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, they had entered into a contract that stipulated that they would share everything that was harvested with the community at large. All property was community property. All crops were stored in a central storehouse for the entire community to share. We all know the story of what life was like during that first winter in the “New World”. Many succumbed to disease and the cold temperatures of New England. Bradford realized that the “social experiment” of collectivism had failed. He quickly reorganized the community into a free market society. In his words, “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 [being paid] that was thought injustice.” Bradford understood that the incentive to work hard to reap the rewards of your labor was lost under a socialist society.

The Pilgrims learned that in order to not only survive but also to succeed in their new home they needed freedom; freedom to work in a vocation of their choosing, that would provide for their families and their futures. The Pilgrims would not sit idly by and watch their neighbors starve to death if their crops did not come in; they would help where they could, but they expected each man to provide for his family. They discovered that the harvest was much greater under the free market system than the harvest seen under the socialist system.

Another aspect of the Thanksgiving story that is conveniently forgotten is the simple fact that the Pilgrims were giving thanks to their Creator for His grace in providing a bountiful harvest and his protection. In our world of political correctness there is a fear of mentioning anything that could resemble a Christian reference. Of course, educators are hamstrung by the notion of separation of church and state. The fear of mentioning God in the classroom has led to the edited version of our country’s origins. The Pilgrims fled England because of religious persecution. They desired a country where they could worship God in a manner that they wanted. This desire is what led to the statement in our Constitution that the government would make no law hindering a religion or establish a state religion. In my copy of our founding documents, I have been unable to find where it prohibits the mention of God’s name in our schools. How does a teacher accurately discuss the Declaration of Independence in class when it mentions the Creator?

This Thanksgiving weekend, take time to relax and reflect on all for which you are thankful, but do not forget where our country came from and the lessons that they learned along the way. In this season of corporate bailouts, I would hope that our leaders in Washington realize what the Pilgrims learned nearly 400 years ago. What incentive will these corporations have to restructure their business if the government consistently bails them out?

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