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Freedom on the Halfshell
A Collection of Poems on Freedom
Copyright 2002 by Bobby Matherne
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Story of the First Thanksgiving — Prologue
In a "Notes from FEE" for January 2006, they celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) by abridging a 1961 lecture at FEE by Leonard E. Read (1898-1983). In his lecture Read apparently did not mention that after the first plentiful harvest of the Pilgrims, they celebrated the event we call the "First Thanksgiving Day." A Day which would not have happened but for their abandonment of the principles of socialism and communism which had utterly failed them. This is a fact that is glossed over in our school systems and culture annually: that the First Thanksgiving Day is a testament to the importance of private property as a basis for prosperity and human dignity.
The Pilgrims’ experience has become dim memory, and in recent decades we have slipped once again into “taking from each according to his ability” by so-called “progressive” tax rates and “giving to each according to his need” by so-called “government” give-away programs. My poem below endeavors to speak aloud the facts of the case so that every Thanksgiving we can give a clarion call to restore the true basis of freedom in our land: a free enterprise system that recognizes that human rights begin with property rights. A free enterprise system that does not abridge the property rights of any human being in this great land from now on!Leonard E. Read speaking in 1961 said:
I would like to go back, a little over three centuries in our history, to the year 1620, which was the occasion of the landing of our Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth Rock. That little colony began its career in a condition of pure and unadulterated communism. For it made no difference how much or how little any member of that colony produced; all the produce went into a common warehouse under political authority, and the proceeds of the warehouse were doled out in accordance with the authority’s idea of need. In short, the Pilgrims began the practice of a principle held up by Karl Marx two centuries later: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" — and by force!
Now, there was a good reason why these communalistic practices were discontinued. It was because the members of the Pilgrim colony were starving and dying. As a rule, that type of experience causes people to stop and think about it!
And they did. During the third winter Governor Bradford got together with the remaining members of the colony and said to them, in effect, that this coming spring they would try a new idea: each individual has a right to the fruits of his own labor. And when Governor Bradford said that, he enunciated the foundation of private property as clearly and succinctly as any economist ever had. The next harvest was plentiful. Governor Bradford recorded that: "Any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."
Story of the First Thanksgiving — PoemIn the year of 1620
On the shore near Plymouth Rock
A pilgrim band sailed into dock
In this virgin land of plenty.
By rule of the majority
They agreed to share their harvest,
They plowed and planted all their best
Without the hint of a calamity.
The winds of winter chased the warm
And painted snow flowers on the pane,
The icy drafts blew on stomachs
As empty as the frozen barn.
Their sharing pact failed the test,
Though they didn't falter in the least,
But when the time came to share the feast,
All they could share was their emptiness.
The meager food and starvation
Devastated the colony.
There were no food stamps then, you see,
Only freedom in this nation.
The governor's hands rose in despair,
"If we are going to save this town,
Everyone must be on his own,
Drop all the rules, try laissez-faire."Soon the pilgrims would discoverLeft alone to their resources
What we, alas, have long forgot.
To plant and harvest on their own,
They brought abundance to their home,
Thanksgiving with many courses.
Too many years ago you say
To have a lesson for today?
Look at Japan, for such a feat
Did cause history to repeat.
General Mac in post war Japan
Had control of the economy,
"How many items by our factory
Do you deem best to happen?"
Getting full of questions like this
Caused the general to bellow,
"There will be no rules to follow,
Do whatever you think is best."
The rest is anthropology
Created by technology,
Once more we see prosperity
Can only grow in liberty.
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