In 2012, Forbes Magazine ran an article titled, “How A Failed Commune Gave Us What Is Now Thanksgiving.” The article reminds us that America was settled by Pilgrims who sincerely believed that community ownership and total sharing were the way to prosper in the New World. Unfortunately, their idealism almost caused the loss of their colony.
The article reports:
As I’ve outlined in greater detail here before (Lessons From a Capitalist Thanksgiving), the original colony had written into its charter a system of communal property and labor. As William Bradford recorded in his Of Plymouth Plantation, a people who had formerly been known for their virtue and hard work became lazy and unproductive. Resources were squandered, vegetables were allowed to rot on the ground and mass starvation was the result. And where there is starvation, there is plague. After 2 1/2 years, the leaders of the colony decided to abandon their socialist mandate and create a system which honored private property. The colony survived and thrived and the abundance which resulted was what was celebrated at that iconic Thanksgiving feast.
After watching the success of Bernie Sanders as a Socialist candidate for President, I wonder if our children are being taught this.
The article concludes:
History is the story of the limitations of human power. But the limits of power is a topic for people who doubt themselves and their right to rule, not the self-anointed.
That’s how it is now, and that’s how it was in 1620. The charter of the Plymouth Colony reflected the most up-to-date economic, philosophical and religious thinking of the early 17th century. Plato was in vogue then, and Plato believed in central planning by intellectuals in the context of communal property, centralized state education, state centralized cultural offerings and communal family structure. For Plato, it literally did take a village to raise a child. This collectivist impulse reflected itself in various heretical offshoots of Protestant Christianity with names like The True Levelers, and the Diggers, mass movements of people who believed that property and income distinctions should be eliminated, that the wealthy should have their property expropriated and given to what we now call the 99%. This kind of thinking was rife in the 1600s and is perhaps why the Pilgrim settlers settled for a charter which did not create a private property system.
But the Pilgrims learned and prospered. And what they learned, we have forgotten and we fade. Now, new waves of ignorant masses flood into parks and public squares. New Platonists demand control of other people’s property. New True Levelers legally occupy the prestige pulpits of our nation, secular and sacred. And now, as then, the productive class of our now gigantic, colony-turned-superpower, learn and teach again, the painful lessons of history. Collectivism violates the iron laws of human nature. It has always failed. It is always failing, and it will always fail. I thank God that it is failing now. Providence is teaching us once again.
This is one example of the reason we need to pay attention to what our children are learning about American history in our schools.