Giving Thanks for All the Wrong Reasons

Most Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving this year as they have done most every year in modern times – by family gathering to socialize, eat turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy – with perhaps a brief thought spared for the first Thanksgiving in 1621, when a small group of colonists from England broke bread with some Wampanoag indians in celebration of their survival a year after arriving at Cape Cod in their sailing vessel, the Mayflower.

Many present-day Americans have a kind of idolatry associated with those events and that time, and indeed such an untapped, almost entirely uncivilized and unpopulated wilderness has its appeal in an era where we now deal with an IRS, property taxes, the PATRIOT Act, a drug war, overflowing prisons, baseless hyper-inflating currency, overseas conflict, and the looming menace of government-mandated health care. However, here is a document drafted shortly after the pilgrims’ arrival, near what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts (I’ve long-since taken to calling it Marxachusetts) in 1620:

“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.”

The document is known historically as the Mayflower Compact, and was signed by 41 men who, presumably, assented to its content. It needs no explaining to point out that this cryptic statement demonstrates a reprehensible shortcut to clear thinking. It endorses submission first to an invisible metaphysical entity, then to an arrogant regent thousands of miles away across an ocean, then to a fictional collectivist concept known as a “country,” then to each others’ mere opinions in the form of government “laws” under the rubric of a “civic body politic” – whatever that actually means. Thus, was most of North America doomed to the scatalogical fate we suffer today. Government, and its onerous, illogical presence, was here born.

We may be thankful for family, loved ones, friends – and even a certain degree of material prosperity. However, when we examine the origins of America, and the inadequate intellectual and philosophical concepts that later fueled a senseless and failed “revolution” (it only served to replace one government with another), it is clear to anyone of cogent thought that we are directing gratitude towards that which deserves only our condemnation. Thanks, in fact, should only be given to those who actively seek government’s dissolution into the ashcan of history.

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