How you can discuss the First Thanksgiving with children
By FRED SCHNAUBELT
In the stories of the first Thanksgiving sometimes the most important lesson is lost, the world-shattering evolution from government or common ownership in early America to private ownership — while famines continued in Europe for another 100 years under its supposed “more humane” common ownership and sharing the wealth.
In 1620, when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Colony, that colony began in pure and unadulterated communism because whatever was produced was put into a common storehouse to be distributed to each according to need. In other words they practiced what some 200 years later would become the basic tenet of the Communist Party: “From each according to ability to each according to need.”
After two years the Pilgrims dropped this ideal. Why? Because they were starving! Fifty-one of the 104 people who sailed on the Mayflower were dead by the third winter. When people are dying of hunger sometimes they will stop and think.
From the diary of Gov. Bradford, which we have today with the names and ages of the survivors, he called everyone together one evening and in effect said anyone can give out what’s in the storehouse, but this presupposes there is something to distribute, however under our system there is nothing to store.
Come spring we will try a new idea — we’ll assign a parcel and allow each to “plant for his owne perticuler” — in other words, to each according to production or merit, to keep what is produced or trade as seen fit.
When spring came, something phenomenal occurred. Previously only some of the men worked the fields. Now the women and children joined in for survival. What they did was begin to practice the idea of private ownership, not perfectly, but more perfectly than ever before. The ensuing harvest was so bountiful that it gave us the first Thanksgiving Day. As a consequence, there began an era of growth and development that sooner or later had to lead to revolutionary ideas. And it did, the American Revolution, which was a break from all previous history.
No, not that skirmish with King George in 1776 that some call the American Revolution which was a minor fracas as such things go, for men had been killing themselves by the millions arguing over which form of authoritarian government should rule the lives of the common people.
The founding fathers were right-wing extremists by pledging the lives, fortunes and honor
The real American Revolution is that clause in the Declaration of Independence that states that all men are “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What this did was remove the king as “sovereign” and put the creator in his place. (In 2013 they would be called right-wingers – I simply call them patriots)
Now it’s one thing to declare independence from authority, but it’s another to put it into effect. So there followed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is a misnomer because it is not a set of rights but a series of prohibitions, not against the people but against their government.
There’s something like 50 “noes” and “shall nots.” The government shall not abridge freedom of speech, press, religion, right of assembly, nor shall private property be taken without just compensation. The founders were mindful that under Feudalism all land in essence belonged to the sovereign. They fully agreed with John Locke, “The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of property … The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent.” Arthur Lee of colonial Virginia declared, “The right of property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.”
Once this thing got rolling, there was an outburst of creative energy the world had never seen. People did not look to government for sustenance because the government had nothing to give.
So people turned to themselves — and became, in the words of Emerson, “a self-reliant people.” The result: more human progress has been made in the past 200 years than in the previous 2,000. This progress has evolved as the result of a limited government, a market economy and private property — the essence of Americanism.
Today, we’re seeing more and more politicians running away from the American Revolution, and new interpretations of the Constitution are gradually reinstating a feudal land-use rights system in place of private property rights — under the Endangered Species Act, Carbon Emissions legislation, etc. The government becomes the sovereign and in essence owns our property and dictates the type of use, or no use at all, such as open space or endangered habitat — while the title holder/citizen/tenant, in lieu of paying the “sovereign” rent – today, pays property taxes.
Voters no long choose representatives but through Gerrymandering representatives choose their voters.
Is America returning to that era of regulation and commitment to redistributing the wealth of its most productive citizens? Have the lessons of Plymouth Colony irretrievably been lost?
Schnaubelt, president of Citizens for Private Property Rights, was a San Diego city councilman from 1977-81, and author of the new book, Romancing The Voters. Available on line and at http://www.romancingthevoters.