Collectivism nearly doomed the Pilgrims

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Collectivism nearly doomed the Pilgrims

Sev­eral impor­tant facts about the early years of the Pil­grims, after they landed in Ply­mouth, are omit­ted from the cur­rent telling of their his­tory. Few know today that the Pil­grims exper­i­mented with the kind of com­mu­nal liv­ing that was advo­cated by Plato. This col­lec­tivist exper­i­ment nearly doomed the colony, con­tribut­ing greatly to much suf­fer­ing in the first two years, after the deaths of about half the colony the first win­ter. Here is how William Brad­ford, the Gov­er­nor of the colony, described this failed experiment:

The expe­ri­ence that was had in this com̅one course and con­di­tion, tried sun­drie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the van­i­tie of that con­ceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times; — that ye tak­ing away of prop­er­tie, and bring­ing in com̅unitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and flor­ish­ing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comu­ni­tie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much con­fu­sion & dis­con­tent, and retard much imploymēt that would have been to their ben­e­fite and com­forte. For ye yong-​men that were most able and fitte for labour & ser­vice did repine that they should spend their time & stre­ingth to worke for other mens wives and chil­dren, with out any rec­om­pence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devis­sion of vic­tails & cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quar­ter ye other could; this was thought injues­tice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and [97] equalised in labours, and vic­tails, cloaths, &c., with ye meaner & yonger sorte, thought it some indig­nite & dis­re­spect unto them. And for mens wives to be com­manded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, wash­ing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, nei­ther could many hus­bands well brooke it. Upon ye poynte all being to have alike, and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in ye like con­di­tion, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those [164]relations that God hath set amon­gest men, yet it did at least much dimin­ish and take of ye mutu­all respects that should be pre­served amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another con­di­tion. Let none objecte this is men’s cor­rup­tion, and noth­ing to ye course it selfe. I answer, see­ing all men have this cor­rup­tion in them, God in his wis­dome saw another course fiter for them.

Ply­mouth Plan­ta­tion expe­ri­enced two years of extreme hard­ship do to famine caused by the failed col­lec­tivist exper­i­ment. By the har­vest of 1623 con­di­tions improved dra­mat­i­cally, and by the har­vest of 1624, the colony was actu­ally export­ing food. A rapid tran­si­tion from col­lec­tivism to a free mar­ket econ­omy, cen­tered on indi­vid­u­al­ism, brought about this mirac­u­lous trans­for­ma­tion. Here is how William Brad­ford described this transformation:

All this while no sup­ply was heard of, nei­ther knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a bet­ter crop than they had done, that they might not still thus lan­guish in mis­ery. At length, after much debate of things, the Gov­er­nor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own par­tic­u­lar, and in that regard trust to them­selves; in all other things to go on in the gen­eral way as before. And so assigned to every fam­ily a par­cel of land, accord­ing to the pro­por­tion of their num­ber, for that end, only for present use (but made no divi­sion for inher­i­tance) and ranged all boys and youth under some fam­ily. This had very good suc­cess, for it made all hands very indus­tri­ous, so as much more corn was planted than oth­er­wise would have been by any means the Gov­er­nor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trou­ble, and gave far bet­ter con­tent. The women now went will­ingly into the field, and took their lit­tle ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weak­ness and inabil­ity; whom to have com­pelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The same free mar­ket eco­nom­ics and indi­vid­u­al­ism embraced by the Pil­grims are the engine that pow­ered the United States into becom­ing the freest and most pros­per­ous nation that ever existed. This country’s mis­guided tran­si­tion towards social­ism, enacted by pro­gres­sives, since the early 1900s, has caused our econ­omy to sput­ter, and at times, almost grind to a halt. We the peo­ple need to end this exper­i­ment, then rapidly tran­si­tion back to free mar­ket eco­nom­ics and indi­vid­u­al­ism, to once again become the freest and most pros­per­ous nation.

Have a very happy and blessed Thanks­giv­ing everyone !!!

Several important facts about the early years of the Pilgrims, after they landed in Plymouth, are omitted from the current telling of their history.  Few know today that the Pilgrims experimented with the kind of communal living that was advocated by Plato.  This collectivist experiment nearly doomed the colony, contributing greatly to much suffering in the first two years, after the deaths of about half the colony the first winter.  Here is how William Bradford, the Governor of the colony, described this failed experiment:

The experience that was had in this com̅one course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of propertie, and bringing in com̅unitie into a comone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much imploymēt that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For ye yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour & service did repine that they should spend their time & streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in devission of victails & cloaths, then he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter ye other could; this was thought injuestice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and [97] equalised in labours, and victails, cloaths, &c., with ye meaner & yonger sorte, thought it some indignite & disrespect unto them. And for mens wives to be commanded to doe servise for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, &c., they deemd it a kind of slaverie, neither could many husbands well brooke it. Upon ye poynte all being to have alike, and all to doe alike, they thought them selves in ye like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut of those [164]relations that God hath set amongest men, yet it did at least much diminish and take of ye mutuall respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have bene worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none objecte this is men’s corruption, and nothing to ye course it selfe. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdome saw another course fiter for them.

Plymouth Plantation experienced two years of extreme hardship do to famine caused by the failed collectivist experiment.  By the harvest of 1623 conditions improved dramatically, and by the harvest of 1624, the colony was actually exporting food.  A rapid transition from collectivism to a free market economy, centered on individualism, brought about this miraculous transformation.  Here is how William Bradford described this transformation:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The same free market economics and individualism embraced by the Pilgrims are the engine that powered the United States into becoming the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed.  This country’s misguided transition towards socialism, enacted by progressives, since the early 1900s, has caused our economy to sputter, and at times, almost grind to a halt.  We the people need to end this experiment, then rapidly transition back to free market economics and individualism, to once again become the freest and most prosperous nation.

Have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving everyone !!!