Site for Free Markets and Free People

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Real First Thanksgiving

I stole this from Rush Limbaugh, who reminded us of the real first Thanksgiving last year. Even in 1620, the earliest Americans knew that socialism and communism were big failures.

"The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store,' when they got here, 'and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well.

"They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. ... [William] 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, which had taken so many lives.... Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism,' and it had failed" miserably because when every put things in the common store, some people didn't have to put things in for there to be, people that didn't produce anything were taking things out, and it caused resentment just as it does today.

So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result?"

Here's what Bradford wrote, the governor of the Massachusetts colony. "'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'