What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Friday, November 21, 2014

On Thanksgiving, thank an economist

By now most of you reading this have heard the story of what actually happened in Plymouth Rock between the time the Pilgrims landed in 1620 and the first Thanksgiving feast in 1623, so I shan't dwell on it very long.

For the rest, here's a cursory explanation of the story; you are encouraged to look it up and fill in the details yourselves:

The original Mayflower Compact held that it was to be a Collectivist society, with no private property and all work to be done in common. Within three months, half of them were dead. And for the next two years, starvation and resentment ruled the colony.

William Bradford recorded the reason in his diary:
For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imploymet that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. ... And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slavĀ­erie, neither could many husbands well brokke it.
The same thing happened in the Ukraine three hundred years later when the Soviet Union tried Collectivism again.  Fifty million people died of starvation in one of the richest wheat-growing regions in the world.

After two years of starvation at Plymouth (the daily ration of corn was reportedly three kernels per person) the Colony elders relented from their Utopian "Platonic ideal" and divided up the land among the families, with each empowered to keep all of what they harvested, to consume or to trade as they wished.

And that year's harvest was abundant beyond all expectations.

150 years later, men began studying economics and we now understand what happened there and why it happened. What happened was: Private property. Individual rights. Free Trade.

At its core, Thanksgiving is a celebration of the triumph of individual rights over Collectivism. And that is why I shan't be spending it with my family, or with any others who still believe the fables of Collectivism. I shall spend it with someone who, like me, understands economics -- and appreciates the power thereof.

I suggest that all who read this do the same.

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