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Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Nov 24, 2010.
The Pilgrims failed socialist experiment
The first winter was tragic and many died. It had nothing to do with political socialism. Even their anthropic socialism failed. Killing turkeys was a myth. They couldn't even find them, or shoot them.
Read a balanced history and not these offbeat cockamaney stories to see how the pilgrims survived.
Give this a try --
Mayflower: A Story of Community, Courage, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
Or how about a trip to historic Plymouth Plantation -- They are serving thanksgiving meal in a few hours!!!
OK, I would suggest that Wm. Bradford's diary, a firsthand account by a leader of the colony, would be pretty balanced, no?
John Stossel, in an excellent article, quotes Bradford, and offers insights that are spot on:
I do appreciate what Bradford is saying. I am saying that the pilgrim's landing was not a bed of roses, and there are many stories about events that happened.
Historical accounts often conflict, one with the other, so, one account does not a full picture paint. I am not debating the issues of socialism vs so-called democracy.
The concept of helping each other worked well in farming for many years. Farmers grouped together to help each other despite the fact they own independent lands. That fact is true even into modernity. It never did support laziness.
Some of those pilgrims didn't have a clue about farming. They came from cities like London. Take city boy out to milk a cow. He will yank on the teats and get nothing. The experienced farmer will sqeeze the teats as he pulls downward; hence milk. This had to be taught communally, along with many other things.
I remember when I first came to the country, a city boy, and built my first rail fence down a hillside. One farmer laughed at me as the fence collapsed all the way down that hill. Another farmer laughed, but he also showed me how to install diagonal braces between the poles. One farmer amused himself and did nothing. The other farmer acted communaly and taught me how to build fence.
Translation: socialism is inferior to a system that emphasizes personal responsibility.
Well, western socialism is actually democracy with social responsibility, and not what is typically conceived as Communism in milder terms.
Abuse of any system brings failure.
Enjoying your musings
Socialism doesn't work: example - pilgrims and USSR
But another experiment that doesn't work as evidenced by the pilgrims was government sponsored religious exclusivity.
It worked for Jesus. "Sell all that you have and give to the poor."
Wasn't socialism. He didn't advocate sharing in the crops but giving from your own possessions.
I guess there is no retort? Debate settled.
Since you asked <G>
Ghandi said something like. "Christianity sounds like a wonderful religion. To bad it has not been tried." Christianity is about as close to Jesus' teaching as the OPC is to John Calvin's.
IF the Pilgrims were required by the govt (Braford) to work together, then it would be socialism.
If they voluntary worked together - that is a different story.
And your posts are about as close to coherency as Ghandi is to a buffet line.
I believe billwald has contracted the first-known case of BB-induced Tourette's Syndrome.
Having spent years studying Plymouth Colony during 1621 (and the following years) I don't believe we can say they were socialists. They did what they had to do given the circumstances they found themselves in.
The first year they were socialists and it was utter failure.
The second year they became capitalistic with every man working for himself and they prospered.
Yes. Greed conquers all. Human sin nature is the most observable truth of Christianity.
(I propose) It wasn't laziness that messed up the first year but the idea that someone else might get more than their fair share by not work as hard for what they get. "All I want is my fair share . . . and just a little bit of yours"
The same thing happened in Acts 4:32 "....but they had all things common."
But after the Ananias and Saphira incident, that's the last we heart of that little experiment. Communalism (or socialism) didn't work there, either.
Even if there was no sin problem . . . communism could work ok in a small agricultural community but not a large industrial economy. Without a free market no one knows what anything is worth or which products are more important (desired) than others.
Instead of the buzz words, "socialism" we might try the terms used by Bradford, "communal" or perhaps "central planning."
In truth, many have attempted to follow the dictates of the early chapters of Acts and have failed miserably. That is because the Acts church is not a prescription for how do church but rather a description of what was done before any further structure could come about.
The early Acts church failed miserably, as did the Pilgrim's attempt to duplicate that practice in the New World. The failures were not JUST attributed to the communal aspects, but rather also tied to the available resources and to the length of time those resources needed to be applied.
In Jerusalem, it was anticipated that Jesus would return very soon, so the people had no qualms (just like those down through history who have set dates and stood on the top of mountains awaiting their rapture) of divesting themselves of the means to produce an income or crop production. They felt that by pooling their money they could spend all their time in worship and fellowship and by living from the proceeds from the sale of their properties and possessions, they would suffice until Christ came and took them home. That was not a good plan, and they failed to heed Jesus' warning to count the cost and to fill the storehouse.
In Plymouth, the Pilgrims did likewise, underestimating the total cost of carving out a new society from a new land, where resources taken for granted in the homeland were simply not available. They had to work for everything, and in a land where they didn't know the growing seasons, didn't know the forest, and were in competition with natives for already weakened natural resources. (Contrary to many modern opinions, the Native Americans used up natural resources at an alarming pace and often had to move territories and let the former areas regenerate. In some cases, they completely wiped out entire forests and killed off most of the wild game in large tracts of land.)
Adding communalism or centralized planning to the mix didn't help matters at all, for the simple reason that it never does! The old illustration about a father talking to his (newly liberally indoctrinated) daughter about her classroom situation comes to mind. She was wowed by the wisdom of the professor who explained all the advantages of people working together under centralized planning and it all sounded so good in theory that the daughter came home to convince her conservative capitalist father the error of his ways. She had scored very well in the exams and gained an "A" for her efforts in class, so she had truly mastered the material. Her father wishing to test her theories about the values of share and share alike asked her if others in the class scored lower than her in grade points. "Of course," came the response. "So then," said the father, "You would be happy to settle for a C and give a part of your grade to someone who did not pass the course." Her response was, "Of course not... They did not earn a good grade." The father replied, "Precisely."
Human nature indicates, as does God who caused it to be revealed that "the man who does not work should not eat..." that we work best and most productively when we work for profit and for ourselves. When we can satisfy our own need to advance in the world through selling surplus or expressly created goods and services to our neighbor, there will always be some creative invention that insures that surplus exists. However, when one neighbor watches another neighbor sit idly by while he works for the collective pot, no matter how good the concept, the work will wane eventually. Call it sin or whatever, it is the way it is.