This past week America celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday in memory of a few brave Pilgrims who had determined to escape Europe’s oppressive Feudalism. For the most part this week, American news reflected that we haven’t finished the challenging road that those Pilgrims began almost four centuries ago.
Thanksgiving celebrates God’s provision for a Bible-reading people who sought new lands where parents could teach their own children to read and write and think critically so they could grow up and understand the Bible for themselves. Everything good in America today came from that wise ambition.
Their economy was based on the first known Communist experiment, almost three centuries before an eastern nation tried the a more official version of the same principle: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. When the Pilgrims abandoned that experiment, instead, for individual stewardship and self-reward, their shortages abandoned them, the colony prospered, and their Feudalistic investors got their money back, all while respecting the crown that granted them passage. The colony in the north became financially free, and thus the rest of the colonies almost free at last.
While, at the time, Britain had only colonized what is today the southern area of the United States, a well-veiled blessing brought bad weather and forced the Pilgrims to land in the north and found colonies that would eventually become the Norther States that would preserve the Union and give Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom” more than two centuries later.
No doubt wicked Men try relentlessly to commandeer the prosperity and growth pioneered by the Pilgrims. No doubt many among the masses who don’t know any better blame the Pilgrims and the nation that came after them for the evil deeds of those wicked Men. Still, Americans who carry the heart of the Pilgrims today press on, even in the face opponents who wield false accusation.
One important lesson from the Pilgrims we see especially on display this Thanksgiving: Respect is the best road to freedom. It might be the only road.