With apologies to Tammy Wynette . . .
If you were like me, you spent most of the weekend awash in food, fun and football. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful to God or Nature for providing for us a nation that is bountiful enough for us to provide for ourselves.
Not to hear the leftists tell it. From the halftime show on Thanksgiving day to ceaseless news reports and promotions, Thanksgiving is now the “season of sharing”. People talk about the ‘war on Christianity’ every year, but its clear that a new ‘war on Thanksgiving’ has begun in earnest.
Since when has Thanksgiving become a meme for forced charity? Everywhere you turn, posters and ads proclaimed the ‘season of sharing’ and the ‘spirit of giving’, making you feel less than special for not ‘giving’ at the threat of social intolerance. Magazines in supermarket racks were festooned in stories about giving as well. Even the President pushed this mantra in his speech about immigration reform.
Even in his Thanksgiving proclamation this year, Obama repeated the sentiment that Thanksgiving is about giving, not thanks:
‘Our country has always been home to Americans who recognize the importance of giving back. Today, we honor all those serving our Nation far from home. We also thank the first responders and medical professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe, and we acknowledge the volunteers who dedicate this day to those less fortunate.”
The holiday of Thanksgiving is not about community service or charity; it’s about celebrating the fruits of labor in a free nation under God. While there is nothing wrong in helping other people, or charity for the sake of giving. What I am arguing against is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue. Charity by government or by public pressure is nothing less than the destruction of individuality and the aggrandizement of the collective.
The ‘spirit of giving’ is nothing more than a mask for the spirit of collectivism, and is inherently anti-American.
America stands for self-sufficiency and the earliest colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth were successful because they living under one basic truth—no work, no food. We do not celebrate that spirit anymore, and that is what we need to get back to on future Thanksgivings. At Plymouth, the Native Americans did not ‘give’ us food to survive the harsh winter. The EXCHANGED their food for mutual defense of their villages from plundering Native Americans of more hostile tribes. The Pilgrims certainly not charity cases; they offered manufactured goods and labor and defense for that food. It was mutual cooperation, not charity, which brought them together in 1621.
George Washington’s proclamation of Thanksgiving of 1789 said it best:
“ That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…”
American Exceptionalism is what is under attack here. It is the notion of self-sufficiency and its partner self-reliance that is under assault from forced altruism. As Americans, we must be ever vigilant against the notion that our happiness and success is mortgaged to others and the collective whole.
More on Thanksgiving and Thomas Purcell can be found at his website and podcasts on libertyneversleeps.com
Lyrics by Thomas Purcell: