The Pilgrims and communism

Matt Staver's picture

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we should examine what lessons can be learned from the first Thanksgiving celebration.

One little known fact is when the Pilgrims landed they established a short-lived form of agricultural communism.

The land was owned in common; everyone worked for each other and each received an equal allotment of food no matter how hard they worked. The men planted for everyone and the women prepared food and washed clothes for everyone.

This system quickly failed. The women described the communal chores as a form of slavery, men rapidly lost motivation, and the able-bodied feigned illness to avoid work.

As Governor William Bradford described in “Of Plymouth Plantation,” “[T]he vanity of that conceit of Plato & other ancients...that ye [the] taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this ... was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much employment ...”

The crops dwindled to only providing several kernels of corn per meal. It was so bleak that some Pilgrims sold themselves as workers to the Indians for a few cups of food.

It is estimated that since a greater number of woman died than did children the mothers were giving their few kernels to their children to keep them alive. Others tried to forage for food, but many died of starvation.

After much debate and prayer, Bradford established a free market system by assigning each family a portion of land and giving them rights to what it produced.

He was amazed at the results, and wrote, “[I]t made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means ... and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability ...”

This new respect for the fruit of each person’s labor was what Bradford credited with creating the bountiful harvest and the reason the Pilgrims were able to celebrate what we think of as the “First Thanksgiving.”

Think of how happy the Pilgrims were to know that they would not face starvation that winter. This is a poignant lesson as some Americans again look at rewarding laziness with welfare and taking from those who work hard and providing it to those who have worked less, or not at all.

We have so much to be thankful for in America. The Pilgrims learned a brutal lesson regarding communal living. In America, equal opportunity has always been a foundational value. Attempting to create equal outcomes for everyone will create disincentives and make society poor.

Let’s be grateful and learn from the Pilgrims. Let’s not repeat their mistake.

[Matt Staver is founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla.]

tgarlock
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This bit of Pilgrim history . . .

. . . should be an integral part of every Thanksgiving holiday. There is another stark example of the failure of communal property.

In China from 1958 to 1961, Chairman Mao implemented sweeping "reforms" called The Great Leap Forward. Farms were turned into collectives and masses were sent to the countryside to bask in the glory of pure work in the fields "for the people." Private property and personal ownership of the results of production were banned as all worked for everyone else for the greater glory of China.

The catastrophic result? More than 30 million people starved to death as crop production fell to disastrous levels. Farmers who heretofore broke their butt in the fields recognized there was no benefit to working harder than the minimum required.

Would be nice if our liberals would read some history.

Terry Garlock

Davids mom
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Operative words for Americans

Free enterprise; hard work; equal opportunity. Where in the 'liberal' ideology are these words not adhered to? Most Americans today are realizing that there is a need to tighten belts, curb spending, and reform certain government programs - REFORM/ NOT CUT ENTIRELY. The conservatives attitude towards 'social' issues is perceived as going 'back to the good ole' days. This is a red flag to women, minorities, and the youth of this country. We know the 'history' of our country - and we are well aware of the failure of the 'communist' ideology of communal living. Russia, Cuba, and China are examples of the failure of communism. Their use of 'capitalism' in conjunction with their political 'communism is interesting to behold. (Especially China). Americans, IMO, will stick to The Constitution - and hopefully we will elect leaders who will follow the intent and LAW of our country. As long as we have parties who are divided between progressives and conservatives, we are in trouble. I long for the day when issues can be intelligently discussed within both parties - expressing both the 'conservative and progressive' point of view.

S. Lindsey
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Words have definitions and meaning...
Davids mom wrote:

Free enterprise; hard work; equal opportunity.

Free Enterprise-The very Spirit of Free enterprise is success and it's opposite FAILURE. When Government bails out businesses, banks, and other connected entities it is the antithesis of Free Enterprise.

Hard Work- Welfare, Medicaid, Aid to dependent Children et.al.. is the very model for NOT working. These program and others like them actually discourage work by placing restrictions on part time work.

Equal Opportunity-Social Justice is not Equal justice. The Progressive tax code is not Equal Opportunity.. Entitlements are not equal.

Davids mom wrote:

Where in the 'liberal' ideology are these words not adhered to? Most Americans today are realizing that there is a need to tighten belts, curb spending, and reform certain government programs - REFORM/ NOT CUT ENTIRELY.

Dm where in the ACA does it lower spending...Where in any Government program reductions occur...Where do you see Government reducing the debt?

Davids mom wrote:

The conservatives attitude towards 'social' issues is perceived as going 'back to the good ole' days.

What's wrong with the Good ole Days Dm even if this were true? The Constitution is not an old out-dated document no matter how much you believe it to be so.

Davids mom wrote:

This is a red flag to women, minorities, and the youth of this country. We know the 'history' of our country

So Conservatives want to go back to slavery, pre-suffrage and no education days DM? OMG are you really serious?

You do realize that Conservatives are Black, Women and young adults too right? So People like Col. West wants to place chains on his feet DM?

Davids mom wrote:

- and we are well aware of the failure of the 'communist' ideology of communal living. Russia, Cuba, and China are examples of the failure of communism. Their use of 'capitalism' in conjunction with their political 'communism is interesting to behold. (Especially China). Americans, IMO, will stick to The Constitution - and hopefully we will elect leaders who will follow the intent and LAW of our country. As long as we have parties who are divided between progressives and conservatives, we are in trouble. I long for the day when issues can be intelligently discussed within both parties - expressing both the 'conservative and progressive' point of view.

Not an ice cubes chance in hades DM. The Constitution is being ursurped everyday by our Government.. Need I remind you about the Patriot Act, Drones overhead and Government issuing kill orders on American Citizens and these "people" just voted back in the Government that did these things..All for some gifts from the taxpayers.
Oh and BTW...just who is blocking progress in Congress now DM?

Davids mom
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SL
Quote:

Oh and BTW...just who is blocking progress in Congress now DM?

The perception is THE REPUBLICANS. Those in that party who are seriously looking at what happened on November 6 are determining 'how to change that perception'. It is interesting how you have the nerve to quote me - and then put words in my mouth that have not been written. You can call Huffington the Puff - but she has a wide readership - and she has been more attuned to the citizenry than Limbaugh, Sununu, and Beck. Most moderates in both parties hope that the Republicans can recover with some dignity - but it seems there are those who are still having difficulty understanding that THEY LOST! For the record: I, a perceived liberal, believe in The Constitution of the US as a proven guide to govern a diverse country. . and stand in awe at the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. I, as a liberal, realize that no amount of desire will be able to have African Americans return to slavery; I, as a liberal, realize that the current Republican Party has NOT OPENED the membership of the party to include Blacks, Hispanics, many women, and the youth of our country because of the ignorant statements made by some of the so-called leaders of the party. Reagan did not have this problem, even though he embraced the 'southern strategy'. The Patriot Act - supported by Cheney(a Republican) - need I say more. Allen West put up a good fight, but he too was defeated. It's not the color of the candidates skin - but his ability to represent the people (his constituents) in Congress. He didn't pass the test. Just sharing my opinion.

YOUR DEFINITIONS AND REALITY:

BAIL OUT OF AUTO INDUSTRY: Created jobs, lowered unemployment in the state, turned the state 'blue'. (Romney's statement - let them go bankrupt really hurt his chances.
FREE ENTERPRISE: SL, successful business men experience failure - and in our Free Enterprise system, try again and succeed.
HARD WORK; There are many persons who have benefitted from the programs that you call the antithesis of 'hard work' - who were hard workers until they lost their jobs during this recession. May you continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor - and may you never need any government help, (And please save the tax payer money when you turn 65 and refuse Medicare!! - I know you would never take advantage of any offer of assistance through Obamacare - thanks!)
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: Check your definition. (Regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, income - Americans should have an equal opportunity to achieve their goals.) You sound like you're still smarting from Affirmative Action. If you're qualified, apply for the position. You just might get it!

Joe Kawfi
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There's the word "forward" again
tgarlock wrote:

In China from 1958 to 1961, Chairman Mao implemented sweeping "reforms" called The Great Leap Forward.

Interesting how the progressives and communists are very fond of ideas that have been proven time and time again to fail.