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Thanksgiving and Punditry

The Pundit, Mrs. Pundit and junior Pundits, Primo and Segundo, will all spend Thanksgiving with Momma and Poppa Pundit. It is a special occasion for us as Poppa Pundit overcame great adversity this year and so we will celebrate Thanksgiving with special joy.

Although Momma Pundit cooked Thanksgiving dinner all through the Pundit’s childhood, when there is an illness in the family it is often the spouse who suffers most. They are alert and cognizant, where their partner is often drugged and out of it. So in gratitude for her perseverance the family has now permanently enjoined Momma Pundit from cooking big meals — so the forty odd of us rented a room and are off to a restaurant for Thanksgiving.

We all have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. But it is not the story the schoolchildren are taught that is what we should be appreciative of.

Here is an interesting interpretation of what really happened in the early years of Plymouth Colony.

The Pilgrims were not economists and so they set up the Colony and:

… …had required that all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means’ were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, ‘all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.’ A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that ‘young men that are most able and fit for labor and service’ complained about being forced to spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.’ Also, ‘the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.’ So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

The situation was a disaster and so a change was made:

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

So as we give thanks on Thanksgiving, it should not be solely for food and a bountiful harvest. It should also be for ideas, as these are the things that make everything else possible.

This proposition animates what we do here at the Perishable Pundit so we are going to close down a few days to give thanks and to recharge the intellectual batteries.

We appreciate the time you spend with us each day and the dynamic quality of the ideas we share. We are thankful for the opportunity to think about such a great industry and engage with such fantastic people.

We will publish again on Monday night. A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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