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And Now… A Thanksgiving Day Lesson About Why Socialism Doesn’t Work

And Now… A Thanksgiving Day Lesson About Why Socialism Doesn’t Work

“The Pilgrims Dreamed of Socialism. Then Socialism Almost Killed Them.”

As you may know, when the Pilgrims first came to Massachusetts, they tried collective farming and almost starved to death. It wasn’t until Governor William Bradford divided up the land and gave families private parcels that they worked hard to provide for themselves.

John Stossel highlighted this lesson in a new column at Reason:

The Pilgrims Dreamed of Socialism. Then Socialism Almost Killed Them.

Thursday, if you eat a nice meal, thank the Pilgrims. They made Thanksgiving possible.

They left the Old World to escape religious persecution. They imagined a new society where everyone worked together and shared everything.

In other words, they dreamed of socialism. Socialism then almost killed them.

As I explain in my weekly video, the Pilgrims attempted collective farming. The whole community decided when and how much to plant, when to harvest, and who would do the work.

Gov. William Bradford wrote in his diary that he thought that taking away property and bringing it into a commonwealth would make the Pilgrims “happy and flourishing.”

It didn’t. Soon, there wasn’t enough food. “No supply was heard of,” wrote Bradford, “neither knew they when they might expect any.”

The problem, Bradford realized, was that no one wanted to work. Everyone relied on others to do the work. Some people pretended to be injured. Others stole food.

The communal system, Bradford wrote, “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment.”

Young men complained they had to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.”

Strong men thought it was an “injustice” they had to do more than weaker men without more compensation.

Stossel does a great job tying this lesson to the current issue of student loan forgiveness.

Read the whole thing, and when you’re done, watch the video that Stossel made to go with it. This would even be great to share with the family at the table after dinner.

Some lessons must be relearned over and over again.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Collectivism can only pretend to work, and then only as long as you have enough schmucks willing to do MORE than their “fair share” to prop up the layabout.

We generally accept short-term self-sacrifice to help the sick or injured, if only because we see an end to it. The sick will get well (or die), and the injured will heal (or die). But the lazy we will have with us always, and faced with the prospect of enabling their sloth with no end in sight, even the most altruistic of us would ultimately run out of energy and/or patience.

    The lazy are propped up by leftist programs designed to temporarily help people in trouble, but are scammed by those that know how to work the system. Affirmative action is turning out the same way. Medicare, welfare, unemployment, tuition “forgiveness, etc., etc., pretty much any feelgood leftist program.

    “But the lazy we will have with us always”

    The lazy and government programs together, both sucking vitality out of the productive,

    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”
    ― Ronald Reagan

    If we truly did government by the Book of the Constitution (which we do NOT), fedgov would be 5-10% of its present size. Despite the countless times the Article VI oath has been taken by politicians, government grows and grows.

    James Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”

    Ha! Nice that he and the other Framers thought that.

Socialism always fails in the end. As people see the unproductive free riding off the sweat of the productive they limit their efforts. The excess created by the productive begins to decline. Then the formerly productive seek to move into the unproductive category and why not? Why work your ass off when the gains go to the undeserving? The tipping point is reached and the unproductive outnumber the productive. Then a cascade effect takes hold and the whole thing collapses. See the New Harmony experiment among others.

Those who truly can’t do for themselves; the disabled, the infirm elderly and minor children are the deserving poor. In a first world Nation they should be helped to escape poverty.

The undeserving poor should not. Not only does it rob the productive of the fruits of their labor to unjustly transfer to the undeserving, it also robs the undeserving of the dignity of work. This unjust action removes incentives and saps individual initiative. It creates drones who are dependent upon the continued largesse of society. When that largesse ends, and it will either by direct choice or because society collapses under the weight of dependency, the undeserving will be left unable to cope.

    Dimsdale in reply to CommoChief. | November 24, 2022 at 11:02 am

    It all comes down to need. Unfortunately, the left is quite good at redefining terms like this, to the detriment to those they purport to help. Think of justice, fair, equal etc.

      CommoChief in reply to Dimsdale. | November 24, 2022 at 12:51 pm

      True. Which makes the campus interviews so revealing. The one question that always stops the would be young socialist in their tracks:

      ‘Since you believe wealth and income should be transferred from those who have to those who do not would you be OK with sharing your high GPA with those who have a low GPA?’

      The budding socialist is confronted with the reality of their supposed preferences. Now they have their own skin in the game and they almost uniformly refuse to share their GPA. Their answer to the follow up question to their resounding NO is also revealing.

      When asked ‘Why not?’ these bidding socialists begin to sound like reactionary, running dog lackeys of capitalism. Most common phrase is ‘that’s not fair, I worked hard to get good grades’ followed by ‘that’s different’. These students can’t articulate why it is different in principle because to do so would require admission of the flaws in their world view.

      Personally, I don’t get too worked up about the students. The majority of them don’t believe this BS and actively oppose it or simply keep their heads down until graduation. I suspect a large % of the remainder will begin to change their views when they enter the workforce and the rent and utility bills come due.

      We just need to identify the true believing activists and as a society make a more conscious decision to relegate them to the sidelines. Don’t hire these loons. Impose basic dress codes and exclude pink, purple, green or other non natural hair coloring. No visible tattoos or nose rings, multiple ear piercings. Use their affinity markers to identify them IOW and protect ourselves from them.

        Dimsdale in reply to CommoChief. | November 24, 2022 at 9:53 pm

        That was Campus Reform, and had to be the most illustrative example (for college students) that I have ever seen on the fallacy of socialism.

        It is here for those that missed it:

        On a happier note, a large number of college and high school students that I have talked to are surprisingly conservative!! It may depend on the major though.

Socialists are the way they are because they are the ones that reap the harvest without doing the work. They get the benefits without contributing. They live in expensive dachas on Lake Champlain while continuing to make bad decisions for our economy.

The people that support socialism are the young, particularly the maleducated ones (see recent polls of college children and their feeling on socialism), and the ones that will benefit the most, the politicians. The rest are fools that don’t know history and believe the flowery promises of socialism. They should ask people that recently lived in socialist/communist societies.

And now, we have new and improved socialism, with added racism!! Just the thing to incite the masses!! (think about what BLM has done for any black other than the ones at the top)

“Commune” – ism – is even found in the Bible. In particular, at the end of Acts 2 and 4 …

Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. (Acts 2:45 TPT)

All the believers were one in mind and heart. Selfishness was not a part of their community, for they shared everything they had with one another … Some who owned houses or land sold them and brought the proceeds before the apostles to distribute to those without. Not a single person among them was needy. (36-37) For example, there was a Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, who sold his farmland and placed the proceeds at the feet of the apostles. They nicknamed him Barnabas (or “Encourager”).
(Acts 4:32-36 TPT)

What isn’t readily apparent in the glowing account of the early “Church”, is that they had been told by Jesus to “go out into all the world” with the good news, NOT cloister among themselves and “par-tay” like it’s 30 A.D. In fact, fast forward a couple chapters through their cloistering together and NOT doing what Jesus told them to do, it says after the stoning (murder) of the young disciple Stephen in Acts 7, that “… From that day on, a great persecution of the church in Jerusalem began. All the believers scattered into the countryside of Judea and among the Samaritans, except the apostles who remained behind in Jerusalem.” (Acts 8:1 TPT)

In a nutshell, their “commune” was broken up and they were scattered to the winds, thereby finally sending them “out into all the world” where they would have to depend on God, not each other in “commune” – ism.

The only reasonable conclusion on this Thanksgiving day, is that GOD HATES COMMUNISM.

I hope y’all have a blessed Thanksgiving, and, tomorrow finds you giving thanks that we don’t have Thanksgiving 365 days a year.

    drednicolson in reply to MrE. | November 24, 2022 at 11:55 am

    And even then, apart from a handful of outsider conversions (Cornelius and his household, the Ethiopean diplomat), the original apostles still kept their efforts focused on the Jewish population. Leading to God selecting a thirteenth apostle, that zealous persecutor of the church Saul of Tarsus, to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.

      Thank you for the thoughts. I hadn’t seen it until just now but there is an odd similarity between your remarks and the story of the good samaritan.. the passers by refused to get dirty by going down in the ditch and pulling the wounded man out to care for him. Remaining clean under the law was more important to them than showing love and compassion. I wonder how much their old training with regard to ceremonial cleanliness had to do with the early church cloistering in jerusalem?

3 Steps of Socialism

1. It looks good on paper (Wow! Genius! That Ponzi is so smart!)

2. It even works at first (Ponzi Pushers gooble up quickly)

3. It always fails after a short time (Runs out of other people’s money)

Happy Capitalism Thanksgiving Day horde

A good illustration of state socialism is “The Firemen’s Ball,” a movie by Miloš Forman. There is a raffle to raise funds for the retiring chairman. All the raffle prizes start disappearing. When a house catches fire, the firetruck gets stuck in the snow, so they can’t put out the fire. They set up a table and sell drinks as they watch the house burn.

Good thing the Pilgrims didn’t know about ballot harvesting. We might not have had the time we did have before the socialist take over if they had.

Folks, at this point, can we all agree this “it’s” not about socialism? – That it’s about ripping money off, from the scam of BLM, to the Biden, Pelosi, Obama, Kerry, Al Gore scams, to the Ukraine laundering US aid money back to the democrat, to the student loan funding of college useful idiots scam, to Zuckerberg and that other young idiot at FXS laundering money to the democats….

“Socialism” is just the mechanism – and the cover – for the thieving.

Until our federal government is cleansed of the institutionalized corruption so rampant in it, abandon all hope.

    henrybowman in reply to | November 24, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    It’s a weird distinction to try to make, given that all socialism is nothing but the political version of thievery.
    In brief, there are producers, and there are parasites. Socialism is nothing more than an artificial political mechanism by which the parasites can make claim to the earnings of the producers.
    You produced the wealth. The socialist thieves bundled it up and sent it to Kiev. See? Simple.

“”The whole community decided when and how much to plant, when to harvest, and who would do the work.””

Which is quintessentially communism. I don’t know why people keep calling it socialism.

Exactly the same dynamic played itself out in the history of the Jamestown settlement, even before Plymouth.

I find a huge irony in the fact that both Virginia and Massachusetts retain the nomenclature of “Commonwealth” instead of “State” in their official names, when their very experiences were instrumental in debunking the entire concept. (Pennsylvania and Kentucky are the only other two.)

Contra the New England Pilgrims are the Moravians, a lesser-known, roughly-coincident, similar religious colony in the early US.

The Moravians were not primarily establishing idealized living in the new world for themselves, rather bringing The Word to it. They were not missionaries, but an evangelical colony, bringing lived testimony (vs. preaching.) The way they lived was in aid of the mission.

I’m using both groups’ doctrines as they express them.

This Moravian colony was similarly utopian, religious, and communal. They did quite a bit better than the famous Pilgrim colony, perhaps because their theological doctrine was a bit looser, while their economic and social rules far more comprehensive and strict. However they justified it, there was no shirking in the Moravian colony.

Perhaps there’s some lesson there about collective living requiring authoritah, even among people on a mission trying to live as saints.

    CommoChief in reply to BierceAmbrose. | November 25, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Monks have an Abbott and their order has rules so maybe?

      BierceAmbrose in reply to CommoChief. | November 26, 2022 at 6:12 pm

      Something like that, I suspect. There’s a weird hard/soft dichotomy where stuff seems to work out right with complex adaptive systems. Though I hate quoting In Search of Excellence, Peters and Waterman might have been onto something in their first book.

      (Peters’ subsequent work was tent-revival preaching. Waterman’s much less popular subsequent work was operational, peeling back: “We saw that; how’d they do that?

      Apparently, people like slogans and the feeling of revelation more than living the practices that’ll make those things happen. Kinda like how in govt and politics, “How you gonna do that?” and “That ain’t gonna work.” get no traction when The Big Calling feels so good.)