Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Lesson

Happy Thanksgiving!!! My mother-in-law emailed me this interesting history of the Pilgrims and perhaps a lost perspective on Thanksgiving. It was supposedly written by "Chip Wood". Enjoy:

A Thanksgiving Lesson

Did you know that our Pilgrim forefathers tried communism when they first landed at Plymouth Rock?

How’s that for a dramatic beginning to a story?

Years ago, when I used to give a lot of talks to high school classes, this was one of my favorites. It always got the students’ attention. And I have to admit, I also enjoyed seeing some liberal teachers get so upset with me they almost lost their lunches.Here’s the story I told those students in those long-ago presentations.

The Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 were incredibly brave and hardy souls. They were motivated by the noblest of virtues. They vowed, each and every one, to be as selfless as possible—to always put the needs of the group first. They agreed to own everything in common and to share everything equally.And their na├»ve piety almost killed the entire colony.

We all know how the adventure begins. A group of devout Christians, seeking religious freedom for themselves and eager to "advance the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ" in the New World, sets sail from Plymouth, England in 1620. An investment consortium known as the Merchant Adventurers of London paid the expenses for the trip, including chartering the Mayflower and its 40-man crew.

The deal was simple: The Pilgrims agreed to establish a colony in northern Virginia where they would plant crops, fish the waters and hunt in the forests. They would return a certain percentage of each year’s bounty to London until their debt had been repaid.

Things went wrong from the start. First, the syndicate changed the deal, drastically reducing the amount they would loan the Pilgrims. The brave adventurers were forced to sell many of their own possessions, and much of their provisions, to pay for the trip. As a result, they landed in the New World badly short of supplies.

Next, the small ship they had purchased in Holland, which was to accompany them to America so they could fish the waters off the coast, had to be abandoned in England.Shortly after they set sail, the ship, badly misnamed the Speedwell, became "open and leakie as a sieve," as its captain reported. They returned to Dartmouth, where the boat was dry-docked for three weeks as repairs were made.But to no avail. After leaving Dartmouth, the group sailed less than 300 miles when the captain decided the Speedwell "must bear up or sink at sea." This time the ships put in at Plymouth, England, where it was decided to go on without the Speedwell.

On Sept. 16, 1620, the Mayflower set out alone to cross the Atlantic.A month later, when they had reached the halfway point, fierce storms battered the ship and threatened the lives of passengers and crew. Many wanted to turn back for England. But if they abandoned the journey, they would lose everything they had invested. The Pilgrims decided to trust in God and sail on.

Despite the storms, the hazards, the crowding and the poor food, only one Pilgrim died during the voyage, a young servant. His death was balanced by the birth of a son to Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins, who named their child Oceanus.There were 102 passengers on board the Mayflower—50 men, 20 women and 32 children—along with a crew of 40.

The captain set a course along the 42nd parallel, a bearing that would carry him to Cape Cod. From there he intended to swing south and follow the coast to northern Virginia.A little over two months later, on Nov. 19, land was finally sighted and the captain turned the ship south, toward Virginia. However, they soon encountered such "dangerous shoals and roaring breakers" that they turned back to Massachusetts.

It was then that the grumblings of dissent turned into a full-fledged roar. Many of the passengers insisted on landing in Massachusetts, where "none had power to command them."The Pilgrim leaders decided to meet the explosive situation by asking each male on board, except for the crew, to sign a formal document that would lay "the first foundation of their government in this place." Thus the Mayflower Compact was born.

The Pilgrims were a diverse lot. Many of them were illiterate. Yet in creating the Mayflower Compact they showed an extraordinary political maturity. They agreed to establish a government by the consent of the governed, with just and equal laws for all. Each adult male, regardless of his station in life—gentleman, commoner or servant—would have an equal vote in deciding the affairs of the colony. Of the 65 men and boys on board, all but 24 signed the agreement. The only ones who did not were the children of those adults who did sign, or men who were too sick to do so.

The first decision made under the covenant was to abandon efforts to reach Virginia and instead to settle in New England. The first explorers landed at Plymouth on Dec. 21, 1620.Weather delays kept the majority from seeing their new home for nearly two weeks. On Jan. 2, 1621, work began on the first building they would erect—a storehouse.

Because provisions were so scanty they decided that the land would be worked in common, produce would be owned in common, and goods would be rationed equally. Not unlike the society Karl Marx envisioned of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Unfortunately, thanks to illness, injury and attitude, the system did not work. Pilferage from the storehouse became common. Suspicions of malingering were muttered. Over the course of that first, harsh winter, nearly half of the colonists perished. Four families were wiped out completely; only five of 18 wives survived. Of the 29 single men, hired hands and servants, only 10 were alive when spring finally came.

The colonists struggled desperately for two more years. When spring arrived in April 1623, virtually all of their provisions were gone. Unless that year’s harvest improved, they feared few would survive the next winter.

The Pilgrim leaders decided on a bold course. The colony would abandon its communal approach and permit each person to work for his own benefit, not for the common good.Here is how the governor of the colony, William Bradford, explained what happened then. This is taken from his marvelously readable memoir (if you can make adjustments for the Old English spellings), History of Plimoth Plantation:

"The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Plato & other ancients, applauded by some of later times;—that ye taking away of properties, and bringing it in communitie into a commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this communitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion & discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For yet young men that were most able and fitte for labor & services did repine that they should spend their time & strength to worke for other men’s wives and children with out any recompense."

Once they replaced communal efforts with individual responsibility the differences were dramatic—and life-saving. Men went into the fields earlier and stayed later. In many cases, their wives and even their children (some barely past the toddler stage) worked right alongside them. More acres were planted, more trees were felled, more houses were built, and more game was slaughtered because of one simple change: People were allowed to keep the fruits of their own labors.

The Pilgrims arrived deeply in debt to the London merchants who sponsored them. They worked for more than 20 years, as individuals and as a community, to pay off the crushing burden. In 1627, they borrowed money to pay off the Merchants Adventurers. By 1645, they had paid off the entire debt to the company which had advanced them the sums to pay off the Merchants.

When their debt had been paid in full (at the astronomical interest rate of 45 percent per year), the company that had advanced the sums wrote the Pilgrims: "Let it not be grievous to you, that you have been instruments to break the ice for others who come after with less difficulty. The honour shall be yours to the world’s end."

As we celebrate this coming Thanksgiving Day, some 380 years after the Pilgrims celebrated the first of this uniquely American holiday, let us remember the sacrifices they made… the devotion they showed… and the lessons they learned.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

-Chip Wood

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

As I watch ancient doddering Congressmen parade and bluster while debating the Obama healthcare bill, I can’t help but think that these are the wrong people, at the wrong time, fighting the wrong war, for the wrong cause. The country is in the midst of a Crisis and our leaders have decided to expand the welfare state, bailout failures with our grandchildren’s money, expand our wars of choice, and stifle the ingenuity of the American people. This will surely not end well.

Jim Quinn, "All You Zombies" at lewrockwell.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EyeWitless News

Is cannibalism in our future?

I read a news article yesterday in which three homeless men in Russia have been arrested for murdering, butchering, eating, and selling the flesh of another man. Ordinarily, I would think that this is only a few wackos with LSD in their bong water. Put it in the perspective of current economic conditions, and it is food for thought. We have anxiety over food shortages, job losses and inability to buy food when it is available, potential and actual homelessness, and the breakdown of both morality and willingness to obey the law.

When the Schumer does hit the fan, just how far will desperate people go to survive? Just how depraved will people be? Read this news article yourself and consider the future:

Body Parts Sold to Kebab Stand, Police Say: Three Russians also suspected of killing man, eating parts themselves.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Discount at Honeyville Grain

Honeyville Grain has a pretty good discount going on right now and through 6:00 p.m. PST on November 17, 2009. 15% off your total purchase with code VETERANS. And as always, your order ships for $4.49 in the U.S.

Honeyville is where I buy a lot of my storage preps in #10 cans. Their prices are pretty good (although I just noticed a few have just gone up) and the shipping is fast and cheap. Get on their email list to receive their discount codes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Young'uns and Veterans Day

Yesterday my little one, eight years old, asked me what Veterans Day meant. Seems the school doesn't explain it too well. She thought it was a sad day and wondered why we celebrate it. She was also sad that she was not able to bring a Veteran family member to school as some other kids did.

I explained to her that her Veterans were with her always: my father, who served in WWII; my grandfathers, who served in WWI, WWII, and Korea; and her Opa, who served in Vietnam. They are all gone now, but we honor their memory and their sacrifices and feel that they are always with us.

I also explained that Veterans Day is not a day for sadness. Rather, it is a day to celebrate the lives of brave men who thought our country is so great that they were willing to sacrifice all for her. And that some did indeed give their lives for us to enjoy our freedom in this great country.

God bless the children.

Happy Veterans Day to all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

The Obama Doctrine in nine words:

"Undermine our allies. Embolden our enemies. Diminish our country."

Frank Gaffney, president of The Center for Security Policy in Washington.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Retarded Politician of the Week: Newt Gingrich

Newton Leroy Gingrich, just what has happened to you?

You used to be a conservative and the face of conservatism in the Republican party. You once helped stopped the Clinton juggernaut and went on to eloquently define and defend conservatism in the 21st century. I don't know what to make of you now.

First, you start hanging out with perennial racist pig Al Sharpton and warmed-over sixties commie Arne Duncan. Story.

Then you endorse Dede Scozzafava, a Republican in name only, for former Rep. John McHugh's seat in the 23rd district of New York. Despite knowing that Ms. Scozzafava is loaded down with liberal positions and was even endorsed by ACORN affiliate Working Families Party and that she makes former RINO Arlen Specter look like John Birch. You went so far as to say about Scozzafava, "Our best chance to put responsible and principled leaders in Washington starts here, with Dede Scozzafava." Story. You did this despite the fact that just about every other principled conservative in the Republican party endorsed Conservative Party Candidate Doug Hoffman. Apparently they could see what you could not.

After Ms. Scozzafava realized that she could not win against a true conservative such as Mr. Hoffman, and that she was in fact indistinguishible from the Democrat in the race, Ms. Scozzafava "suspended" her campaign. Then she showed the true colors which were visible to every other conservative in the country, except for you Mr. Gingrich. Ms. Scozzafava then endorsed the Democrat whose positions and whose associations with ACORN were closest to her own. Story.

I hope that you are ashamed of yourself, Mr. Gingrich.

If the Republican party does not take you to the woodshed over this, you should voluntarily go into exile. And give up any hope of running for president in 2012. Conservatives in this country don't need you.