How socialism nearly killed the Pilgrims

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Thursday, if you eat well, give thanks to the pilgrims. They made Thanksgiving possible.

He left the old world to escape religious persecution. He envisioned a new society where everyone worked together and shared everything.

In other words, he dreamed of socialism. Socialism then almost killed him.

The Pilgrims attempted collective farming. The whole community decided when and how much to sow, when to harvest, and who would do the work.

Gov. William Bradford wrote in his diary that he thought that taking away the property and bringing it into the Commonwealth would make the Pilgrims “happy and prosperous”.

It did not happen. Soon, there wasn’t enough food. “No supplies were heard,” wrote Bradford, “nor did they know when they might expect any.”

Bradford realized that the problem was that no one wanted to do the work. Everyone depended on others for work. Some people pretended to be injured. Others stole food.

The communal system, wrote Bradford, “was found to produce much confusion and discontent and to slow down much employment.”

Young men complained that they “have to spend their time and energy working for other men’s wives and children without any remuneration.” Stronger men thought it was an “injustice” that they had to do more than weaker men without much compensation.

Older men thought it was a “humiliation and disrespect” to work as much as younger men. The women who cooked and cleaned the food “considered it a form of slavery.”

The Pilgrims were caught up in a “public tragedy”. Crops were not grown near any of the Pilgrims, so there was not much incentive for any individual to work.

Bradford’s solution: private property. He gave each family a piece of land so they could grow their own corn. “This made all hands very hardworking, so much more corn was planted than was planted,” he wrote.

Those who claimed that “weakness and incapacity” now rendered them unable to work were eager to work. Bradford wrote, “The women now went to the field voluntarily, and took their young children with them to plant the corn.”

The Pilgrims learned an important lesson about private property. Unfortunately people keep repeating the mistakes of the pilgrims.

President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program would penalize those who didn’t take out loans or pay them back.
Reuters/Leah Millis/File photo

Socialism is more popular than capitalism among college students. Many people want to share everything, including their student-loan debt.

President Joe Biden wants to forgive some of his student loans. Of course, then the debt would become a common thing that all taxpayers would have to pay.

It will punish those who had repaid their debts long ago. It would penalize people who study, work hard, get a job and are working to pay off college loans, and people who don’t go to trade school or college. This would penalize poor people because student loans are mostly held by the relatively wealthy.

government subsidized student loans already Create Bad Incentives:

  • People who don’t like or benefit from college are encouraged to take out loans they can’t afford and go to expensive colleges anyway.
  • Colleges raise their tuition, knowing that the government will pay what students won’t.

Forgiving student loans will make everything worse. Fortunately, Biden’s student-loan forgiveness program ran up against legal challenges. I hope it’s dead.

Students should learn from the Pilgrims: Take responsibility for your debt, work hard to pay it off, and don’t expect the public to fund your bad decisions.

Bottom line: In general, everyone takes only as much as they can take. This creates a shortage.

Private property creates prosperity. Every Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for this.

John Stossel is the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media”.

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