Free Markets, Video

Watch John Stossel Explain What We Should Be Thankful For On Thanksgiving

What we were all taught early on in government schools barely scratches the surface of the history of Thanksgiving. In truth, the holiday was almost never created thanks to the communist land policies that lead to mass starvation.

When the first Pilgrims arrived at what would become the Plymouth Colony they practiced communal farming. It was mandated that all settlers would work the fields and would each receive equal shares of the harvest. This early experiment in communism failed miserably and nearly half the colony starved to death.

Communism has never worked because it is antithetical to human behavior

As John Stossel explains in the video, communal farming was destined to fail from the onset. There just isn’t an incentive to work hard, or even bother to work at all, when you will still receive the same share of food.

Stossel illustrated this reality with a simple game. He created a shared plot of land and then distributed coins in the middle. If the players could wait one minute, the money would double. But, they would all have to wait in order for that to happen. Naturally, none of the players could trust their competitors and it was an immediate frenzy.

Afterwards, Stossel divided the area into private segments that the other players couldn’t interfere with. Then, each player was awarded the same amount of coins and told the same rules. This time, the each decided to leave the coins in to double their money. The players only acted that way because of the private property rights that Stossel had introduced into the game.

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of private property and abolishing communist land ownership

The same phenomenon was observed at the Plymouth Colony when communal farming was abolished and private property rights were restored. Pilgrims immediately had an incentive to work hard and to take care of their plots of land.

As a result, the following harvest was abundant and the colony was saved from certain death. The Pilgrims celebrated this reversal of fortunes with a harvest feast that we now know as Thanksgiving.

As John Stossel points out towards the end of his video, if those private property reforms weren’t enacted, Thanksgiving might be known as Starvation Day instead.


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