TAMPA, Fla., November 27, 2013 — Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and millions of schoolchildren couldn’t be happier. Not only will they have a fantastic meal on Thursday, but they get a mini-vacation from school. For at least the past week, they’ve been cutting Pilgrim hats and Native American headdresses out of crepe paper and listening to stories about the Pilgrims’ first few years in Plymouth Plantation.
Little do they know they’ve been lied to.
It’s not that what they’re told isn’t true. The Pilgrims did sail over on the Mayflower. They did face incredible hardship, losing half their numbers during the first winter and half of their supplemented numbers again during the second. The Indians did help them. Squanto really did advise them to put a dead fish under each cornstalk to help it grow in the New England soil.
But that’s not what saved them from starvation.
Governor William Bradford was quite explicit in his diary about the real reason the Pilgrims starved during the first two winters. It wasn’t because they were suddenly incompetent after prospering in England and the Netherlands for decades. It was because they set up a communist economy. The Pilgrims had reluctantly agreed with their investors to hold all property in common, under the erroneous assumption doing so would give the investors a faster return on investment.
It worked as well in 17th century New England as it did in 20th century Russia and China.
Bradford is also clear about what halted the “misery.” It wasn’t Squanto’s gardening tips. It was because they abolished communism and set up a private property system. As Bradford writes,
“At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance), and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted then otherwise would have been by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content.”
After establishing even this imperfect private property model, the Pilgrims never starved again. That seems pretty important, doesn’t it?
It’s not some minor detail like how they started wearing buckled shoes or how much beer they had onboard the Mayflower (they had quite a bit). It’s the crux of the Pilgrim’s story, why they starved and how they solved that problem.
There is a vital lesson the Pilgrims learned from this experience that schoolchildren should be learning as well. Bradford thought it important enough to include this aside before continuing his narrative:
“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; -that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser then God.”
During their entire primary and secondary education, children will hear the Pilgrim story retold, using details taken from the very same primary source. They will hear about the Pilgrims starving and about Squanto’s fish trick, being led to believe that was what saved the Pilgrims.
They won’t hear the truth, even though one has to trip over oneself to tell the Pilgrims’ story without revealing it. Some may argue younger schoolchildren are too young for such a “political” subject, but they’re never too young to hear about how awful private property and free enterprise are or how the government saves us all from “robber barons,” or how human beings are a scourge upon the Earth that pollutes the air and destroys habitats.
One thing is certain. The very first events in American history are grossly misrepresented by the public school system (the earlier Jamestown settlers had a similar experience with communism, which the schools also fail to teach). It certainly doesn’t end there. Given the importance of what is omitted, it is hard to believe the omission is not intentional.
Regardless, the public school version of early American history begins by depriving schoolchildren of a vital lesson: private property is essential to human survival. Communism led to starvation in 1620 just as it did in 20th century Europe and Asia.
With an education that starts this way, it’s not hard to understand why these innocent kids grow up to support a $4 trillion government that recognizes no limits on its power.
Strike a blow for freedom. Pull your kids out of school.
Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.