History or Propaganda?

plymouth colonyIn 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.

Maybury concludes:

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







About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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3 Responses to History or Propaganda?

  1. josephurban says:

    The Native Americans agree that “property rights” should be sacred.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. solodm says:

    Stories by and assumptions of white people, tend to leave gaping holes in history.
    There is the other side of the Thanksgiving “argument” if you will, told by the people who had the most to lose, and apparently have the best memory.
    May I offer a third more compelling account of the first Thanksgiving?

    Sadly it seems, some Native People have succumbed to the Capitalist way of life, by turning their lands into parking lots for casinos. Many if not most, still live in poverty on reservations; even those properties are being eyed by Capitalists as routes through which they want their “black gold” to go to market.


  3. josephurban says:

    Good response. History tells us that all treaty rights given to Native Americans were forgotten once the land they were legally entitled to was deemed valuable. The rich farmland of Indiana and Illinois. The South Dakota gold. Oil in Oklahoma. Now the pipeline.


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