STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
How Communism Almost Prevented The First Thanksgiving
By The Daily Bell Staff - November 23, 2017

When settlers first arrived at Plymouth, their first attempts to survive were disastrous.

It sounded like a good idea. They all shared and worked for the common good. They followed the tenet, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” over 150 years before Marx coined the phrase.

Everyone was expected to work in the fields planting and harvesting, and everyone got to share the final product.

But under these conditions life was misery. In the first year, many of the first settlers starved to death. They needed to come up with something quick, for the sake of survival. So what did they do to encourage a great boom in their tiny economy?

In his journal, “Of Plymouth Plantation” 1620-1647, Governor William Bradford writes about the dilemma and the solution they found.

So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves.

They abandoned the supposedly utopian system of communal sharing and decided that people were now responsible for their own survival. The land was portioned among families based on their numbers, and anyone who did not have a family in Plymouth was assigned to a household.

This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, 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; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

What happened was simple. Now people knew that their survival, and that of their family, relied entirely on their own production. They knew that whatever excess they grew or manufactured would benefit them rather than being given to someone who hadn’t worked as hard. This got more people into the fields to work. And of course, the excess production still benefited the whole of the colony. People could now specialize and trade, meaning more wealth for everyone. Now it paid to innovate.

No one was going to force women and children into the fields before. That would have been tyrannical. But now, worrying for the survival of her family, a mother would take her children into the fields with her to work.

In his journal Bradford discusses what happened when the settlement shifted to every-man-for-himself. He laments the “vanity and conceit” of Plato and other philosophers’ claim:

…that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

When you get to keep what you work for, people work harder, and produce more. When people produce more than they can consume, this benefits others in the society who get to trade for the extra goods. This type of situation also leads to specialization in a particular field.

If someone produces extra food, he can then trade it. Then if someone else produces extra cloth, she can trade that. People who are good at something, can market that skill in exchange for something which they are not good at producing. When they have something to gain from extra cloth and food, they will work harder to produce more in order to trade the excess. Again, this benefits everyone, as there are now more goods available—overall production has increased because there is more to be gained from working hard.

For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice.

And rightfully so. Why should one person spend their time working to support others for no reward? When he is rewarded for his effort, it is justified that he works for “other men’s wives.” And as the pilgrims found out, this actually puts him in a better position to support others.

And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.

Instead of being compelled to wash others’ clothes and dress others’ meat, it was now done in exchange for another good or service. They moved on from “slavery” to mutually beneficial transactions. Bradford adds that such was the experience of good standing, God fearing men, “And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition.”

This provides us a perfect microcosm of society to study. In isolation, the principles of economics were obvious. On such a small scale it is easier to see that when you consume something you have not produced, you are taking that away from the producer. When society is set up to allow those conditions, there is less produced. When people are allowed to keep the products of their labor, more is produced, and all of society benefits. This also encourages innovation to create excess goods, which can be traded for the benefit of the producer, while also benefitting the other trader.

The plantation started with a restrictive economy. People were compelled to work, yet this requirement did not produce enough for every to live. They thought it was an unjust society, they lamented having to work for “others’ wives” or wives having to work for other men. Morale was down, and production was down, since there was no benefit to working harder. People starved to death, because of the lack of necessities grown and produced.

If they hadn’t realized their mistake and turned things around, they would never have produced enough to hold the first Thanksgiving. Only a free market allowed the conditions to give thanks for how much they produced.

The pilgrims were thankful that they had solved the problems of starvation. No one felt enslaved, instead they felt empowered. They could go as far as their brain and hard work would take them. The quality of life advanced for everyone because of the seemingly selfish doctrine that each person keeps what they produce.  And even the people in Plymouth who could not support themselves benefited because now there were enough excess goods to go around.

This Thanksgiving we can be thankful that Plymouth Plantation set the tone for individual freedom. They tried an experiment in government, and it paid off.

Be thankful for freedom.

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  • Myron Goodrum

    What happened to the native Americans? Didn’t the Indians bring the settlers food for survival? The first thanksgiving and all. That’s what they learned us in public school… hehehe….I’m only half kidding here 😉

    Thanks for the informative thanksgiving treat!

  • snow27

    Why don’t they teach this history lesson in schools? Of course it goes against the socialist thinking that pervades our crap educational system. That’s why we have to teach our own children to think for themselves and not buy all the bs they ‘learn’ in school. In Canada, they constantly fill kids’ heads with propaganda. In my son’s school, they are studying a unit on gender. Why not a unit on money, budgeting, finance, saving for retirement-things that every single person needs to know? My son is irritated and bored by these social justice subjects that are irrelevant to most people’s lives. Who gives a s*** about gender politics. What crap!

  • davidnrobyn

    “This provides us a perfect microcosm of society to study. In isolation, the principles of economics were obvious. On such a small scale it is easier to see…”

    As I was reading this, the thought struck me that perhaps the Lord provided the Pilgrims, as representatives of all who would follow, an object lesson that, if taken, would lead to the prosperity that would characterize the new society. And Governor Bradford faithfully recorded what happened and his impression of those events for posterity. A written record is important, and He made sure one was provided.

    These principles guided the forming society in the English-speaking New World for over 250 years, until the human tendency toward greed, envy, and discontent poisoned the plant.

    I’ve often wondered why, in the face of the potential for such well-being, mankind insists on being obtuse and perverse. We insist on trading our birthright for a mess of pottage! How much like the “vanity and conceit” of Plato and other ancients the modern-day proponents of socialism sound! There is truly nothing new under the sun.

  • Number 6

    Another great article, a classic example of the failure of socialist tyranny and the success of the free market. The main problem with people not understanding this basic concept of free trade / incentive / prosperity is the idea promoted by the SUPPOSEDLY Capitalist media, that capitalism equals greed and only the saints in socialistic government are the ones who care about others and give money to charity (other peoples money I may add) A hilarious idea which anyone with at least two functioning brain cells can see is the complete opposite of reality.

    If I had an excess of money I would love to give it to good causes close to my heart, and there is nothing more nobel, life affirming and engendering to a sense of genuine community than helping someone to become profitable and in turn themselves helping others. Sadly a bunch of con artists and their gullible sainthood seeking useful idiots have cast themselves as the only ones virtuous enough to carry out this task and what they dont stuff in their own pockets or their pockets of their crony corporatist friends, they use to promote division in society and the destruction of the family unit. and most of whats left is wasted on such nonsense as the “performing arts” that nobody want to pay to watch, writing road signs in multiple languages to accommodate mass engineered immigration and studying the psychological effects of cocaine on small fury mammals. Think of how much better genuine charities would benefit from the abolishment of government, and allowing free thinking individuals to decide who is most worthy of their time, money and charity.

    • aj54

      Number 6, first you have to recognize and outlaw psychopaths ascending to status of rulers. Power attracts the worst elements. How do we change that system? Secondly, the current occupation of the government bureaucrats, and their minions in corporations, how do we change that?

      • Number 6

        Yes indeed those are the questions we need to collectively answer (Collectively not enforced Collectivism I may add) The answer to both questions is simply to stop feeding them ie TAX as both government and (anti capitalist) Corporations feed off tax and in the case of corporations tax subsides. In order to do that we need a critical mass of wealth creators ie tax payers to understand whats going on, and refuse to give the powers that be their money. Obviously that involves making them realise the media has been lying to them all these years, as that is the number one tool for control, scaring people directly ie threats of detection and prosecution for non compliance, or indirectly ie external threats such as lone gunmen, international terrorists or stories of rouge non state approved capitalists ripping people off.

        Despite the best efforts of the gang to engage people in their fake political paradigm, more and more people are realising that all parties are the same. But the main culprits are a religious minority, who genuinely despise the 99%, when the 99% realise this, the position of the 1% in the corridors of power will become untenable.

        Obviously the monetary system is central to all this, simply not paying tax will not be enough, we cant continue to use the system they control, and Im suspicious of digital currencies, especially one their media has bought to the attention of the masses. It seems to me money attached to a gold or silver standard used to be incredibly stable, they cant forge money ie cause inflation, if anyone can redeem it in gold at any time, they would be effectively ripping off themselves. Although the gold and silver standards have their own issues, amounts of available gold don’t always match the volume of trade, and international trade have other issues such as all the gold potentially in effect ending up in one country when you have a trade deficit.

        • aj54

          that’s right, I am doing my part, would be better if I had better arguments to get people to look at that red pill, we need critical mass. Did read an article or two that said the critical mass is actually much smaller than I thought, less than 1%.

          • Number 6

            Yeah I remember watching a youtube video some time ago to that effect, kind of the point at which momentum has begun and cannot be reversed. We already have a critical mass of sorts, the number of people who don’t vote or are not registered to vote. When less than half the people eligible to vote don’t, because they know ALL parties are essentially the same, and it doesn’t matter who they vote for, the politicians don’t keep their promises and pass whatever “Laws’ they want, regardless of what they promised us, to get our vote. It makes the end result ie the “Elected” government illegitimate.

            The number of people not voting is increasing and sooner or later they will no longer tolerate the slew of new laws being passed and imposed upon them, make no mistake the gang will not be happy until they achieve full communism ie 100% tax people absolutely will not tolerate that ! they might have had every generation of kids and students brainwashed for the past 50 years, but kids grow up eventually. Its not sustainable no matter how long they’ve been planning it, or how scientifically they apply it, each generation starts a fresh and every generation grows older and wiser. and besides as we all know socialism absolutely does not work !

            As for Waking people up concentrate on how much the government charges them for things they can get in the private sector for a fraction of the cost, do the maths and expose the fraud and corruption and demonstrate that ALL major parties do the same and have been from the beginning and ask how many more times they are going to fall for it ? Then ask are they going to Add their voice to those who oppose it, Only add their voice mind ie just talk about it with friends family and online. Ive woken a lot of people up and they all say the same thing OK but what can we do about it, as if the solution rests upon their shoulders, when really they don’t have to do much, as long as they add their voice to the chant and keep chanting thats all thats required, and then we will have Critical Mass

          • Number 6

            I know I can get a little bit verbose, but in short the more people hurling abuse at ANY (((ANY))) politician who appears in public and declaring that ALL politicians are Liars, Frauds and Thieves who NEVER keep their promises, the quicker government will become untenable.

  • aj54

    The events that are told in this article of the communal period were NOT from the first year! The Pilgrims arrived on Nov 11, to Cape Cod, and did not get to Plimouth Plantation til December in a very cold winter, they did no planting, they did some foraging, hunting and fishing. They brought disease, people died on the ship, half died that winter from starvation and disease as they were trying to build shelter on land in a very inhospitable climate. They were saved from starvation by Squanto, who got stored provisions from his own tribe’s camp stores, the tribe had almost all perished while he had been gone to England. He taught them how to hunt beaver, where to fish, and how to plant corn. They only tried the communal provisioning in an attempt to keep their remnant alive. Healthier people who are no longer starving are now in a position to complain. (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) We are not taught fully in school, but politically revised histories are not an improvement..

    • Nalejbank

      All points taken, but did they or did they not try to exist doing the “communal” thing?
      Did they or did they not, at some point, recognise the problem of underproduction due to “legal plunder”?
      Was not the essentially forced propitiation of one’s labors abandoned and the new “non-system” tried?
      If the basic events are true, how they got to the starting spot isn’t all that important.

      • aj54

        try on the word pragmatism, maybe we could envision a political economy that incorporates it. Our current extremism of exploitative capitalism is actually not working for many people. How we got here is important, because history is instructive, but only the true history, not a politicized one, not one that tries to push the future in a desired direction. Napoleon said history is written by the victors. I still cannot find elites -outside a few- that admit the current system steals value produced by the bottom workers, and siphons it up to them, and that there might be something wrong with this system.

        • Nalejbank

          LOL. So you are a marxist that believes forced “equality” is possible? Can’t happen, won’t happen, never will happen until you change the human into a genetically engineered clone, similar to an ant or a bee. Which one would you prefer to become?
          You see, people who have no practical life’s experiences, you know, real world stuff, can only theorize and criticize but you, like your marxist comrades, would rather empower governments than people.
          People like you need to be kept as far away from the controls of government as possible.
          Bottom line: You don’t defend human freedom!

          • aj54

            not a marxist, not a capitalist, not a libertarian, quit trying to label. you know nothing of my life experiences, and I would love to cut our gov’t. we can start with whatever school system you attended

          • Number 6

            Yeah I remember watching a youtube video some time ago to that effect, kind of the point at which momentum has begun and cannot be reversed. We already have a critical mass of sorts, the number of people who don’t vote or are not registered to vote. When less than half the people eligible to vote don’t, because they know ALL parties are essentially the same, and it doesn’t matter who they vote for, the politicians don’t keep their promises and pass whatever “Laws’ they want, regardless of what they promised us, to get our vote. It makes the end result ie the “Elected” government illegitimate.

            The number of people not voting is increasing and sooner or later they will no longer tolerate the slew of new laws being passed and imposed upon them, make no mistake the gang will not be happy until they achieve full communism ie 100% tax people absolutely will not tolerate that ! they might have had every generation of kids and students brainwashed for the past 50 years, but kids grow up eventually. Its not sustainable no matter how long they’ve been planning it, or how scientifically they apply it, each generation starts a fresh and every generation grows older and wiser. and besides as we all know socialism absolutely does not work !

            As for Waking people up concentrate on how much the government charges them for things they can get in the private sector for a fraction of the cost, do the maths and expose the fraud and corruption and demonstrate that ALL major parties do the same and have been from the beginning and ask how many more times they are going to fall for it ? Then ask are they going to Add their voice to those who oppose it, Only add their voice mind ie just talk about it with friends family and online. Ive woken a lot of people up and they all say the same thing OK but what can we do about it, as if the solution rests upon their shoulders, when really they don’t have to do much, as long as they add their voice to the chant and keep chanting thats all thats required, and then we will have Critical Mass

          • Number 6

            I know I can get a little bit verbose, but in short the more people hurling abuse at ANY (((ANY))) politician who appears in public, the quicker government will become untenable.

          • Nalejbank

            It’s quite clear you do not have the capacity for a rational, fact-based conversation.
            You’re not hard to figure out really.
            Have fun trolling.

        • jackw97224

          If you read the article on the WWW that discuss how the US politicians have implemented the 10 Planks of the Commie Manifesto, then you will begin to understand that the US has in fact been operated by commie/socialist politicians for a very long time, contrary to what most people think.

          • aj54

            you have not read all my posts here

      • jackw97224

        Was force employed to achieve “communal living?”

        • aj54

          no; please read the contents of the Mayflower Compact, which was signed by all males aboard the ship

          • jackw97224

            So are you saying people voluntarily asked for commie/socialism?

          • aj54

            did you read it? you could answer the question. What would you do to survive? put aside your politics for a while?

          • jackw97224

            Just wanted to hear you say it and how you would excuse it. The alleged Christian Pilgrims seem to have forgotten 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 — For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Indeed, how swiftly so many abandon or discard their faith when confronted with difficulty, pain or death. It is good to help one’s brother but it is a sin to use violence, force or aggression to loot one’s neighbor to “assist” another. The whole commie/socialist spiel of from each according to his ability to each according to his need is a denial of Jehovah God’s messages. It is not moral to claim to love one’s neighbor while looting another to achieve such “aid.” Commie/socialism is Satan’s “feel good” elixir but then comes the hangover, the penalty as so many in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have discovered.

    • jackw97224

      I can never justify commie/socialism as it is denial of Jehovah God.

  • Dennis Burns

    Free enterprise beats out socialism every time.. They were fleeing English oppression…Packed in like sardines on a ship will always lead to some disease…Ships generally have good sanitation as they can flush into the ocean…Thank the Lord for Los INdios…that is real thanksgiving for New Englanders..

  • Samarami

    This politico/religious holiday (“Thanks-Giving”) is classic. It seems virtually obligatory for writers/speakers to allude to its origins as pertains to psychopaths hiding under the brainless abstraction we like to call “government”. It exposes my ongoing declaration that “government” and “religion” (both brainless superstitions) are indeed joined at the hip.

    Incidentally, the link for “superstitions” (pdf) is:http://www.mensenrechten.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/the-most-dangerous-superstition-larken-rose-20111.pdf
    (It seems many fail to understand my comments when I embed the link to Larken Rose’s very fine book)
    Sam

    • jackw97224

      Yes, it is tragic that the majority of Amerikans have bought the commie/socialist lies and continue to hold politicians as their gods. Yes, politics is violence as Tolstoy wrote long ago but people just don’t get it and continue to vote and fail to recognize that voting is an act of violence, a criminal act that sanctions the use of political violence against friends and family and neighbors. Voting is in direct opposition of love one’s brother as Matthew 22-37-40. And shamefully, the mainstream religious leader act in support of politicians that provoke, foment wars of slaughters of “the brothers.” How diabolically ironic is that?

  • Anachronism. Full stop.

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