Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Thoughts: Those Lying, Cheating Pilgrims!

Here is an interesting Chapter from Murray Rothbard's Conceived in Liberty, with some surprising facts about the Pilgrim fathers. One that particularly impressed me:

Slightly more than one hundred people sailed in the Mayflower in 1620. Of these, only forty one were Pilgrims. Eighteen were indentured servants, by contract bound to seven years' service to their masters, and the rest were mainly Anglicans coming west in search of economic opportunity. The original plans were to start a colony in southern Virginia, but the Pilgrim masters of the ship decided to veer well to the colder, wilder north. At this news, some of the indentured servants threatened to exercise their contractual rights: they had agreed to be indentured servants in Virginia, not in some unknown northern wilderness! In the words of an early chronicle: "They would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them." They had the right idea, oh my brothers!

Partly in response to this threat, the Pilgrim minority, though still at sea, constituted themselves the first state in New England, by entering into the Mayflower Compact. Thus they cemented their dominance over the non-Pilgrim majority. The Mayflower Compact, far from being an assertion of independence and individualism, was an attempt to oppress, enslave and expropriate their fellow human beings. In this way, it was like every state established on so far on Earth.

Having said this, it occurs to me that this last statement might sound extreme. To avoid misunderstanding, let me extract my Aesopian moral as a stand-alone, properly qualified, but universally quantified proposition. Every state heretofore is an alliance of some human beings to kill, enslave, or (in the very most benign of cases) to rob their fellows. There! This I think is a statement I can stand by.

1 comment:

birdmonster said...

Well. That was sobering. Over here in San Francisco, our non-newspaper (the Chronicle) ran a piece from an author from the Ayn Rand institute (big sigh, all together now) which basically argued that Thanksgiving was created to commemorate "productivity." A nice thought, certainly, but the author continues by crapping on Lincoln for claiming we should be thankful for our bounty, not our productivity. Basically the thought is "we produce a lot so we should eat it all. Let's be happy about that." Good ol' Ayn Rand. I'd like my blinders in dark blue. They bring out my eyes.

Great blog title by the way. Gave me a big fat smile.