Thanksgiving, The Pilgrims And Their Failed Experiment With Collectivism

Nov 21st, 2012 | By | Category: News Flashes

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The First Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Day we have much to thank God for. Among those blessings is the fact that the Pilgrims briefly experimented with collectivism before rejecting it as unworkable and destructive of productivity. It nearly destroyed the colony and America might never have become a City on a Hill and beacon of freedom.   

Many of our modern politicians who seem so enamored of communal living and “shared responsibility” could take a lesson from the Pilgrims, though it’s unlikely they will. They’re blinded by their Marxist ideology.

The Pilgrim communal experiment began in 1622 or so and involved approximately two dozen families. The system prohibited private property and everyone shared equally no matter how hard they worked. As a result, they nearly starved to death. The lazy took what they wanted and the productive became disheartened. Very soon, even the productive citizens weren’t producing food.

Governor William Bradford described what happened when the Pilgrims finally rejected their experiment with communism:

“At length after much debate, the Governor, with the advice of the chief among them, allowed each man to plant corn for his own household, and to trust to themselves for that; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. So every family was assigned a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number with that in view, — for present purposes only, and making no division for inheritance, — all boys and children being included under some family. This was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability; and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

“The failure of the experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times, — that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.

“For in this instance, community of property (so far as it went) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort. For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustice. The aged and graver men, who were ranked and equalized in labour, food, clothes, etc., with the humbler and younger ones, thought it some indignity and disrespect to them. As for men’s wives who were obliged to do service for other men, such as cooking, washing their clothes, etc., they considered it a kind of slavery, and many husbands would not brook it.

“This feature of it would have been worse still, if they had been men of an inferior class. If (it was thought) all were to share alike, and all were to do alike, then all were on an equality throughout, and one was as good as another; and so, if it did not actually abolish those very relations which God himself has set among men, it did at least greatly diminish the mutual respect that is so important should be preserved amongst them. Let none argue that this is due to human failing, rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself. I answer, seeing that all men have this failing in them, that God in His wisdom saw that another plan of life was fitter for them.

“These matters premised, I will now proceed with my account of affairs here. But before I come to other things I must say a word about their planting this year. They felt the benefit of their last year’s harvest; for by planting corn on their own account they managed, with a great deal of patience, to overcome famine. This reminds me of a saying of Seneca’s (Epis. 123): that an important part of liberty is a well-governed belly, and patience in want.

“The settlers now began to consider corn more precious than silver; and those that had some to spare began to trade with the others for small things, by the quart, pottle, and peck, etc.; for they had not money, and if they had, corn was preferred to it. In order that they might raise their crops to better advantage, they made suit to the Governor to have some land apportioned for permanent holdings, and not by yearly lot, whereby the plots which the more industrious had brought under good culture one year, would change hands the next, and others would reap the advantage; with the result that manuring and culture of the land were neglected. It was well considered, and their request was granted.

“Every person was given one acre of land, for them and theirs, and they were to have no more till the seven years had expired; it was all as near the town as possible, so that they might be kept close together, for greater safety and better attention to the general employments.”

The communal experiment failed because it violated basic human nature and the value of private property and rewards for individual initiative. The indolent seized what they wished and the productive became disillusioned and stopped producing. It sounds like a description of Barack Obama’s vision for America.  

William Bradford saw first-hand how devastating “communal” policies are to the lives of men, women, and children.

We should thank God this Thanksgiving Day that not only the Pilgrims, but for the Founding Fathers who gave us a nation that was based upon the fundamental belief that Government Is Not God – and that each person has the God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They gave us an amazing Republic with checks and balances on power and a free enterprise system that has been the envy of the world.

Let us pray that we don’t throw all of this away by rejecting our God-ordained freedoms and by embracing destructive Communist policies that lead to the loss of liberty, economic chaos, and an all-powerful central government that will dictate every aspect of our lives from cradle to the grave!



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2 Comments to “Thanksgiving, The Pilgrims And Their Failed Experiment With Collectivism”

  1. sid says:

    So, when does the governor ‘give’ me MY acre of land ? I guess we know what capitalism and free markets has to do with govt. ‘giving’ me an acre of land…stolen from the Indians and without the ‘freedom’ to acquire anymore for seven years. What does capitalism and free markets have to do with the Indians teaching the Pilgrims how to grow corn ? What does capitalism and free markets have to do with corn then becoming more valuable than silver ? Instead, what the ‘capitalist’ of today does is ‘spend’ all of the free speech he has in the bank to bribe govt,. to prevent me from growing my food and building my own home on that acre of land because he doesn’t want to build his golf courses and McMansions among the great poor and unwashed ‘Pilgrams’ of the 20th and 21 st centuries.

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