Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims

First, a very Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family around the world. I know that a lot of my friends would rather be here, but they're doing an important job.

My Thanksgiving was devoid of turkey, which was OK with me. I grilled up about a pound of top sirloin, using the classic EVOO/Garlic sea salt/fresh ground pepper method spelled out elsewhere within my blog. Did some more salty corn, cholestertater of death, and some parmesan garlic bread. The breath was awful, but the grub was tasty!

Since I'm taking a required course on early American history, I've been reviewing what I already know about the colonies, and learning a couple new things. One thing that didn't pop out to me until recently is that the Pilgrims had to go to a capitalist system to survive. Interestingly, while the information is more or less all there in the textbook, nobody is coming out and saying it.

What you get is "Captain John Smith told the Pilgrims that if they wanted to live, they had to work". The books generally make it a point to say that they started using a communal system, with everything in a community pot, so to speak. Then the books go on to say "Lots of Pilgrims died that first winter, and then next one". Then they generally make a comment about how it was the leadership of Smith that kept them all together. That's not entirely accurate, though.

What happened was that the level of work that has always been the problem with the communal system was not sufficient to produce enough to keep them alive. We've known since we were kids that Joe isn't gonna bust his butt if Bob and his fat wife aren't going to put out at an equal level. That means that nobody does their best. Nobody excels. This was a big problem for Captain Smith, because lives were on the line. What to do?

Smith changed the entire system. He assigned private plots of land to individual families and told them that if they were gonna live, they were gonna work. That simple change made all the difference in the world. It is not to long a stretch to say that this new concept led to our system of a representative republic.

So what happened with the "everybody works their own plot" system? Some people still died, from disease, exposure, and some other factors. But the long and short of it is, the colony not only survived, but had enough grub to sell a surplus to England and Europe. That simply can't happen any other way. Socialism sounds great on the surface; everbody gets a handout. Everybody is guarranteed a salary, a retirement, and under Hillary's plan, government funded health care. But the same thing happens now as happened then: the more you move to socialism, the less efficient production becomes, and the less people put out to succeed. Once enough people quit putting out, who pays the taxes so the rest can be lazy? Its so rediculously clear that socialism doesn't work. Russia finally subcomed to its system's failure. Cuba is almost sunk. China had to incorporate capitalist priciples to stay competitive, and even they couldn't survive doing that without slave labor. The evidence of failure is all around us...but there is no Democratic candidate for President that doesn't want to run headlong to socialist programs. Do people want hand outs so badly that they will vote for their own ruin? I guess next year's election will show it.

No comments: