Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 9. Thanksgiving Lesson from 1623: Communism Is A Loser

The 2009 Thanksgiving weekend is coming to an end.  The American tradition of reflecting on the bounty afforded us, how it came to be and how we might keep it is a laudable and useful excercise.  The sharpest lesson, it appears, comes from the very Pilgrims we often remember in between parades, football games and rounds of turkey of various moistnesses.

It turns out that the original societal plan for the Plymouth settlers was a communist system in which stronger, more able bodied men and women were expected to give their all in part to support those who couldn't contribute as much.  It was "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," nearly two centuries before Karl Heinrich Marx was a twinkle in his vater's eye. 

And (surprise) communism was a failure.  In his contemporaneously compiled history of the Plymouth Plantation, pp. 134-136, William Bradford, who was Governor of the Plymouth Plantation in various years from 1621 until his death in 1657, details how the folks of Plymouth didn't take kindly to working in the field or performing labors on behalf of others, without getting compensated.  The able began to feign weakness or illness, or to simply complain to the Governor that things had to change.  Then in 1623, they decided to divide the plantation into equal parcels of land for each family and let them get out of it what they could, meaning generally what they put into it.

And (surprise) privatization was a success.  Men, women and children worked to their potential, because they got to keep the fruit of their labors, rather than giving them over to those who didn't earn it.  Through the centuries of time, Bradford waxes pointedly to us on the communist folly:
"...that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in coiiiunitie [community] into a coirfone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much imploymet that would have been to their benefite and comforte..God in his wisdome saw another course fiter [fitter] for them."

Indeed.  Too bad our leaders today don't see the merits of learning the hard lessons of our forefathers, but rather are inclined to believe the fanciful fairy tales of modern day radicals.

Quotient out.

No comments:

Post a Comment