In the Tea Party view of the holiday, the first settlers were actually early socialists. They realized the error of their collectivist ways and embraced capitalism, producing a bumper year, upon which they decided that it was only right to celebrate the glory of the free market and private property.–Kate Zernike
When something seems improbable, it probably is wrong. I read an article, The Great Thanksgiving Hoax, by Richard Maybury, which explains that the Pilgrims prospered only when they gave up communism in favor of capitalism. This idea too conveniently corresponds to current rightist political views to have the ring of truth. I considered researching it, but found that Kate Zernike had beat me to it with an excellent article published in the NY Times in 2010, cited below.
Richard Maybury is an author, investment adviser, and tea party favorite. About himself he writes:
“For reasons I do not understand, writers today are supposed to be objective. Few disclose the viewpoints or opinions they use to decide what information is important and what is not, or what shall be presented or omitted. I do not adhere to this standard and make no pretense of being objective. I am biased in favor of liberty, free markets, and international neutrality, and proud of it.”
Maybury’s Mises Daily article doesn’t cite any sources, probably reflecting the author’s proclaimed commitment to non-objectivity–hardly the mark of an historian.
John Stossel repeated the theme in a column published today in the local Gannett papers. Like Maybury, Stossel quotes Plymouth Gov. Bradford, but cites no other sources. Stossel’s style is more folksy and patronizing.
Thus, the real meaning of Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them.
Stossel’s conclusion is similar:
This holiday season, give thanks for property rights and hope that your family will never have to relearn the economic lesson that nearly killed the Pilgrims.
I prefer my Thanksgiving story well salted with thankfulness but unseasoned with political spin.
© William Hungerford – November 2014