At this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Pilgrims. The real Pilgrims. Not the silly looking ones depicted by Hollywood and Hallmark who are pictured in black mournful garments with funny wide white collars, sometimes with a ruff. Carrying a blunderbuss and Bibles bigger than your head. Those folks look frivolous and out of place anywhere.
One little oddity of political correctness surfaced about two decades ago, which accused the Pilgrims of racism and murder. My youngest son had friends who were certain the Pilgrims invited the Indians to their thanksgiving feast with the malevolent intention of killing them after they ate the deer the Indians brought.
Footnote: Please don’t bore me with your dumb PC admonition that it’s improper to call Native Americans “Indians.” They were first called “Indians” because some of the guys who first came to the New World actually thought they were somewhere in India. If they had only paid attention to Eratosthenes who calculated the true circumference of the planet to within a few hundred miles in the fourth century B.C. (that’s right, B.C., and you can forget about admonishing me for that PC faux pas, too). I think it’s a colossally humorous irony that the first white guys to show up in America thought they were several thousand miles from where they actually were. If I were a “Native American” (and I am … a little) I would prefer being referred to as an “Indian” because it’s a comical reflection on “Whitey.” (You know who you are.)
But back to the Pilgrims. They didn’t kill any Indians. If it hadn’t been for the Indians, who had already had experiences with white guys (to mixed reviews) at Jamestown and Roanoke (still a mystery), the Pilgrims would have starved at Plymouth. In fact, most of them died during the first winter and many passed on the voyage over. Squanto and Chief Massasoit spoke English (Squanto having previously been to England) and assisted the Pilgrims’ rudimentary knowledge of agriculture.
The Pilgrims were weavers who had spent the last decade in Holland where they found freedom from the religious persecution in England, but also found their children being influenced by the worldly ways of the Dutch. So, they pulled up stakes and headed for the New World, their departure being more like an escape than a leisurely pleasure cruise. No shipboard buffets, gym workouts or skeet shooting off the taffrail (look it up).
As weavers they were hardly suited to martial efforts in protecting their new settlement. Nor were they suited to the harsh New England winter they were about to face. They weren’t very good hunters. But they survived and gave us the first semblance of self-determined governance ever seen in the world in the Mayflower Compact. It’s a very enlightened document and the foundation for our Constitution, another very enlightened document, which seems altogether lost on certain modern progressives, but backward, self-proclaimed luminaries.
Unlike the settlers at Jamestown, who were also such poor farmers that they, too, almost starved completely and, reportedly, resorted to digging up corpses from the frozen ground, in order to stave off the consequences of going to America ill-prepared the Pilgrims resolved to be self-sustaining and earn their own living instead of relying on sketchy re-supply from England and the Crown. So much for depending on Government to provide for society’s needs. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. It’s called “socialism,” (look it up). Instead of spending your time trying to expunge silly politically incorrect expressions and phrases, read some history. Real history, not that rubbish about the Pilgrims murdering their Indian guests.
Strangely, the language of Karl Marx about how government should take from those who have and “distribute to those according to their need,” was stolen from Luke out of the Book of Acts. It’s almost verbatim. The difference between Luke’s account and the monstrosity Marx is credited with (“Communism,” look it up), is that it worked in Jerusalem in the Early Church. Communism was just a secular apologetic to justify the “compassionate” murder of untold millions, by the gun and starvation. The Nazis used the same rationales for the death camps and their other forms of murder. It’s all the same. Collectivism never works absent coercion. NEVER.
By contrast, in Jerusalem the Primitive Church took care of the unfortunate out of the Love that had “shed abroad in their hearts” and weren’t animated by government coercion. And their benevolence was not taxed unduly by a burgeoning bureaucratic “distributing” bunch of “civil servants” who burden the public treasury and have to borrow from China to keep the blood-sucking ship of state lurching along. Benevolence works out of love. Not at the point of a gun or whatever form of coercion Big Brother selects. In fact, the nature of true “benevolence” is so lost in the mind of governmental bureaucrats that the word is no longer used, although the concept is the underlying basis for the government’s alleged “concern” for the unfortunate among us.
“Benevolence” has been replaced entirely in the modern lexicon by “entitlement,” which also inherently implies the government is the source of those entitlements and can halt them when it chooses. Or due to causes beyond its control, like when it runs out of money, or when China gets worried about our liquidity, or the Website doesn’t work as promised, or kids quit going to medical school, or the printing presses break down from overuse.
Another strange fact about the Pilgrims was their wisdom in hiring some guys who knew what they were about and provided true and legitimate governmental functions, such as safety and protection (the only real purposes of the Social Contract). The captain of the Mayflower knew his trade. So, too, did Captain Myles Standish. He set up defensive structures and trained the men in military arts. (Women in combat wasn’t in “vogue” yet, so the ladies stayed home (barefoot and pregnant it may be supposed). “Don’t ask, don’t tell” hadn’t even been thought of in order to be repealed. Apparently, no one was “light in his or her seven league boots or buckled shoes” around Plymouth. Not yet, anyway.
Standish had the wisdom to discern an enemy from a friend. (Presumably, he could have negotiated a much better nuclear deal with Iran today because he could tell friend from foe.) In fact, one local Indian Chief, who was prone to prating and threats, was eventually killed by Standish and his head placed on a pike in some public place. Standish had learned his trade as a youngster while serving as a mercenary for Holland in its war with Spain. He was captured and, as a prisoner of war under the Spanish, sold into slavery. And you thought the Confederate States of America invented slavery during the Civil War. This has gone longer than anticipated and there is no time to fill in this, yet another egregious gap in the education of any liberal readers. Suffice it to say slavery during the era between 1492 and the Emancipation Proclamation was initiated by the Dutch, Spanish, English and any culture dominated by Islam. (See Barbary Pirates, look it up.)
At all events, Standish found himself in slavery, owned by an unfortunate Muslim gentleman, against whom Standish nursed some obscure grudge, perhaps having suffered one “politically incorrect” slur too many. Maybe the terms of his forced servitude were just too nasty … and he killed the guy (his master/owner). He made his way back to England and eventually fell into service with the pilgrims in the New World, feasting, eventually, on corn, pumpkins, deer, turkey and lobster. Not bad fare and no king to assert a dubious prior proprietary claim on everything afoot in the teeming forest.
The Pilgrims left safety behind and faced death, sickness, starvation and a few prating Indian chiefs in order to freely practice the same beliefs Luke described in Jerusalem (and Marx stole). To borrow from P.J. O’Rourke, they were “gun nuts and religious zealots.” And they began a World where, a few centuries later, even the most hateful, bigoted bunch of cowardly, pencil-necked politically correct weenies could freely speak their feeble minds and defecate on cop cars with impunity. A truly New World, which saved the old world from itself twice in the last century and helped topple the evil Soviet Union by its own weight. (Did you ever read about the “Star Wars Initiative”? It broke the Kremlin’s financial back … and didn’t even exist. Reagan bluffed the Ruskies. What a kidder! Hey, let’s see Obama try that against Big Vlad Putin. He can only bluff or intimidate old guard Republicans … but who can’t?)
Look how far we have fallen. We’ve twice elected an unvetted and dedicated (if you can use that word to describe our president) socialist to the highest office in the Land. But, not to worry. God is in control, just as he steered the Mayflower and sent Squanto, Myles Standish and Massasoit, He will guide again. It’s what He does. For which I am thankful.
Ps: Regarding the “B.C.” politically incorrect gaff you imagined of me, be apprised that in ancient times the dates were nearly always calculated from the year a king’s reign began. For instance, if you lived in Alexandria around 300 B.C., Egypt, near the Great Library, which was located there until a Muslim army burnt it down circa 800 A.D., (that’s right, A.D.), your birth certificate (if you were important enough to warrant one) listed your birth date as “the third year of the reign of Ptolemy”At this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Pilgrims. The real Pilgrims. Not the silly looking ones depicted by Hollywood and Hallmark who are pictured in black mournful garments with funny wide white collars, sometimes with a ruff. Carrying a blunderbuss and Bibles bigger than your head. Those folks look frivolous and out of place anywhere.