Happy Libertarian Thanksgiving

Over the years, I’ve shared three videos making the same point about how the first European settlers in America nearly starved because of socialism.

Let’s recycle one of those videos today.

To be sure, starving because of socialism didn’t become a big thing until the 20th century.

So the settlers were ahead of their time, albeit in a bad way.

But at least they gave us another data point showing that it doesn’t make sense to have an economic system that penalizes productivity and subsidizes sloth.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in the 1600s.

Here’s some of what Helen Raleigh wrote for the Federalist.

Today’s self-identified democratic socialists like to claim real socialism has never been tried in America, but they need to brush up on their history. The Pilgrims did try it — and it failed. …Puritans from the Separatist Church, led by Rev. John Robinson, decided to…secure a land patent in the existing Virginia colony. …The deal stipulated that everything the colonists produced would belong to a “commonwealth,” and at the end of seven years, everything would be equally divided between investors and colonists. …this deal forbade colonists from having any personal time to work on any private business during the seven-year contract term. …Even with the help of the Indians, the colonists had a hard time surviving. Although the word “socialism” hadn’t been invented yet, the Plymouth colony bore many resemblances to a socialist society. Since investors back in England demanded that the colony operate communally, everything was owned by every colonist jointly. No one was allowed to own private land or to work on his private business. The communal social and economic structure proved disastrous. Not all colonists were willing to work hard or at all for the “commonwealth.” …Since not everyone was pulling the same weight, the colony was constantly running out of food, a typical problem in all the socialist countries, from China to Venezuela. …Bradford wisely recognized that a change had to take place…turning the communal property into private property… hardworking and motivated colonists turned Plymouth colony into one of the most successful colonies in North America.

John Stossel authored a piece for Reason on the same sad history.

Tragedy of the Commons nearly killed the Pilgrims. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they started a society based on sharing. Sharing sounds great. But sharing, basically, is collective or communal farming, which is socialism. Food and supplies were distributed based on need. Pilgrims were forbidden to selfishly produce food for themselves. That collective farming was a disaster. When the first harvest came, there wasn’t much food to go around. The Pilgrims nearly starved. Since no individual owned crops from the farm, no one had an incentive to work harder to produce extra that they might sell to others. Since even slackers got food from the communal supply, there was no penalty for not working. …People eager to provide for their families were less eager to provide for others. Bradford wrote, “young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.” …The Pilgrims’ solution: private property. …the collective farm was split up, and every family was given a plot of land. People could grow their own food and keep it or trade it. “It made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” wrote Bradford. “Women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability.” The Pilgrims flourished because they turned to private property. So, this Thanksgiving, be grateful for private property, a foundation of capitalism.

Let’s close with some humor.

Libertarians have a reputation for being somewhat dorky and that comes across in this bit of satire from Babylon Bee.

After his state’s governor banned gatherings of more than 10 people for Thanksgiving, local libertarian Paul Figgen was looking forward to boldly defying the government with a massive holiday gathering of dozens. Unfortunately, he’s having a hard time finding dinner guests since no one wants to hang out with him. “I know Thanksgiving was made a federal holiday by the infamous war criminal Abraham Lincoln,” said Figgen, “but I really want to stick it to the Feds and organize a huge dinner and talk about how taxation is theft while smoking weed with a bunch of people! I invited everyone but no one seems to want to hang out for some reason.” …”It’s ok,” Figgen sighed. “If people want to be a bunch of sheep, that’s fine. I’ll just have Thanksgiving with my cardboard cutout of Ron Paul. He loves to hang out with me.”

As a libertarian, I wince when I read this, but I also laughed.

As illustrated by this cartoon, we sometimes have a not-so-endearing tendency to make moralistic arguments at inopportune moments.

The fact that we’re right doesn’t really matter.

P.S. If you like Thanksgiving-themed humor, you can click here and here for some cartoons from the Obama era.

And if you’re not a fan of America’s hypocritical politicians, you’ll like this “self-stuffing turkey.”

Last but not least, I dug into the archives to find this dystopian look at a left-wing Thanksgiving.

Source: International Libery

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