It’s Thanksgiving, that day of the year when we listen to our obnoxious leftist relatives lecture us on George W. Bush, the minimum wage, and why the Pilgrims came to America so that homosexuals could force Christians to bake cakes for their weddings.
Truth be told, Thanksgiving is the most conservative holiday on the calendar. Here are four reasons why.
Thanksgiving Celebrates Religion in American Life. Why give thanks to something that doesn’t exist? Thanksgiving was instituted as a way to thank God for his benevolence, both by the Pilgrims and then much later by George Washington. Here’s what Washington had to say in his first Thanksgiving Day proclamation in 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Washington went on to pray for God to forgive our “national and other transgressions.” This is stuff no Democrat would ever support today.
Thanksgiving Celebrates The Benevolence of Christianity Specifically. In school, children are taught about Squanto, the Native American who convinced his fellows to help feed the Pilgrims. He’s generally portrayed as a kind and decent pagan who decided to reach out and help the benighted Christians who didn’t know how to farm. That’s untrue. Squanto was a Christian. He was captured and sent back to England as a boy, then returned to America with John Smith in 1614, then was kidnapped and sent back to Spain, where he was sold into slavery, bought by monks, and taught Christianity. In 1619, he went back to America, where he found his entire village had been killed by disease. One year later, the Pilgrims showed up. Governor William Bradford wrote that Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good…[he] never left us till he died.” When he did die, the next year, he asked Bradford to pray so that he could “go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.”
Thanksgiving Celebrates Western Civilization. The Pilgrims came to America to establish a new society, not merely to escape persecution. They were tolerated in Holland already, but they wanted to risk everything to carve out a Western enclave in the wilderness so that they could materially prosper. They were generally religiously tolerant, and they desired to spread the reign of the British king, as they stated in the Mayflower Compact. Demonstrating the principles of Western civilization, however, they also pledged to establish a “civil body politic, for 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 though most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony…”
Thanksgiving Only Survived Thanks to Rejection of Communism. As I wrote at this time last year, Thanksgiving would have been a blip on the radar had the Pilgrims not been able capitalize on Squanto’s kindnesses by rejecting communism. When the Pilgrims arrived, they tried to farm communally. That failed dramatically, with Bradford writing:
The failure of that experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men, proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times – that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God…community of property was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit.
In 1623, the Pilgrims ditched the system, and instead “allowed each man to plant corn for his own household…This was very successful.”
So, thank God for Western civilization today; thank God that Western civilization emerged victorious in the battle for the New World; thank God that Western civilization still remains, and that enough remember its foundations to defend it, despite the onslaught of the political left.