This Thursday we will celebrate the anniversary of the harvest enjoyed by settlers in 1621 at the Jamestown colony for reaping their most bountiful harvest. However, over many years, the true meaning of this wonderful holiday has been forgotten and its time rediscover what Thanksgiving is all about.
Ayn Rand said it best that Thankgiving is a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.
The Jamestown, Virginia Colony was founded in 1607 by English settlers armed with a vision to make a New Jerusalem in the New World.
At first the colony was organized according to the colonist's religious beliefs. Land and farming was owned and worked on in common along with the care and raising of children. The colonists, who were deeply religious, believed that by following their religious teachings (based mainly on the Bible) that doing so would ensure prosperity and brotherly love.
They could not have been more wrong.
As a result of following their policies colony residents experienced food shortages, famine and extreme poverty. Even death. Faced with the colony's demise, fortunately Plymouth colony leaders had a change of heart. They divided the property and fields of the colony and gave a piece of property to each of its participants.
Whatever products colonists did not consume that they raised on their farms they had the right to trade their goods with others. As a result, the colony quickly turned around. Rather than face starvation and death, Jamestown colonists enjoyed an abundance of the things they farmed.
So much so that almost four hundred years ago during November 1623, Jamestown colonists set aside a day of Thanksgiving by holding a feast and invited nearby Indians to join them in the festivities. The two main dishes served were turkey and corn.
The above example of the Jamestown Colony demonstrates what Thanksgiving and the U.S. is all about. America has generated an abundance of goods and services that helped do away with many of the problems associated with destitution resulting from mysticism and elitism. The United States is the first country in mankind's history to be based mainly on the this-worldly, secular idea of voluntary exchange and man being free to use his mind to the best of his abilities.
As a result of this, the productive energies of America's citizens, like you, were put to good use by making this the wealthiest, most prosperous country in history.
So when you sit down at the dinner table with family and friends, ignore the claims by some that you should feel guilty for or do not deserve the abundance of your efforts.
Selfishly consume your dinner and all of the trimmings you have Thursday. The meal you will consume should be a source of great pride that you have earned. The company you are with and the abundance you enjoy is the result of the fruits of your labor and thought which is the source of all production.