Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
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.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
On Thanksgiving, my family’s traditions will reflect the loyal, active, robust, big family life that shaped me. We’re so fortunate to be together to share the making of another year’s memory. In these late autumn days with temperatures dipping to 20-degrees below zero, we’ll brave Alaska’s biting cold to run and skate and ride – just because we can, and for that I am so thankful. Life in America’s Last Frontier is not an easy living, but it’s a good living. Here in Alaska, where I’m never without inspiration, an optimistic pioneering spirit still permeates, and harsh conditions force us out of self-centeredness and towards community – often in order to survive.
This need for selflessness – and the blessings that come with it – sharpened for me almost four years ago when I was given the gift of broader horizons, clarified priorities, and more commitment to justice and compassion for my fellow man who faces challenges and fears. I was granted this through a gift that arrived in a tiny, six-pound, awe-inspiring bundle. We named him Trig.
I know America’s potential for goodness, thus greatness, because I see it every day through my son. Nothing makes me happier or prouder than to see America’s good heart when someone smiles at my Trig. I notice it happens often in airports. Often a traveler passing by does a double-take when they see him, perhaps curious about the curious look on his face; perhaps my son momentarily exercises an uncontrollable motion that takes the passerby by surprise. Perhaps, as an innocent and candid child announced when she first met Trig, they think “he’s awkward.” But when that traveler pauses to look again and smile, and maybe tells me what a handsome boy I have, I swell with American pride. I am so thankful for their good heart. They represent the best in our country and their kindness shows the real hope we need today.
I am thankful that, as in so many areas of life, the bitter people who say bitter things about someone facing challenges are so outnumbered. There have been stinging criticisms, even from people still screaming that Trig should never have been born, but we know those critics may be the loudest and most malicious, but they’re not the majority.
To me, when individuals reflect the greater societal acceptance of someone facing challenges, they show the best of humanity – even by offering a simple pat on Trig’s head or a knowing smile shot our way. Conversely, when a society works to eliminate the “weakest links” (as some would callously consider the disabled) or “the unproductive” (as some would callously consider the very young and the very old), it eliminates the very best of itself. When a society seeks to destroy them, it also destroys any ability or need for sincere compassion, empathy, improvement, and even goodwill. And those are the very best qualities of humanity! Those are the characteristics of a country that understands and embraces true hope! America can be compassionate and strong enough as a nation to be entrusted with those who some see as an “inconvenience,” but who are really our greatest blessings. Through Trig, I see firsthand that there is man’s standard of perfection, and then there is God’s. Man’s standard is flawed, temporary, and shallow. God’s standard lasts an eternity. At the end of the day, His is what matters.
So, this Thanksgiving my family will bundle Trig up and grin while we watch him through ice-frosted eyelashes as he curiously takes in all that is around him in the crisp open air. I hope your Thanksgiving gives you the opportunity to find that reminder of what really matters, too. For me, my perfect picture of thankfulness is my perfectly awesome son. With him, all is well with my soul and I know I am blessed.
Now time for a tradition, an annual tradition, and that is The Real Story of Thanksgiving from my book that I wrote back in the early nineties. I wrote two of them, actually. In one of the books I wrote, The Real Story of Thanksgiving. And reading from it has become something we do every year on the program because it’s still not taught. The myth of Thanksgiving is still what is taught, and that myth is basically that a bunch of thieves from Europe arrived quite by accident at Plymouth Rock, and if it weren’t for the Indians showing them how to grow corn and slaughter turkeys and how to swallow and stuff, that they would have died of starvation and so forth. The Indians were great — and then, in a total show of appreciation, we totally wiped out the Indians!
We took their country from ’em. We started racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia; spread syphilis; and, basically, destroyed the environment. That is the multicultural version of Thanksgiving, and it simply isn’t true. The real version of Thanksgiving is in my second best-seller, 2.5 million copies in hardback: See, I Told You So. “Chapter 6, Dead White Guys, or What the History Books Never Told You: The True Story of Thanksgiving — The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century … The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority. Those who challenged ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs.” In England.
So, “A group of separatists first fled to Holland and established a community. After eleven years, about forty of them agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where they would certainly face hardships, but could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example.
“And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work. But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found — according to Bradford’s detailed journal — a cold, barren, desolate wilderness.” The New York Jets had just lost to the Patriots. “There were no friends to greet them, he wrote.” I just threw that in about the Jets and Patriots. “There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure. When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats.
“Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of” the Bible, “both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.” Everything belonged to everybody. “They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well.
“Nobody owned anything.” It was a forerunner of Occupy Wall Street. Seriously. “They just had a share in it,” but nobody owned anything. “It was a commune, folks.” The original pilgrim settlement was a commune. “It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California,” and Occupy Wall Street, “and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.” There’s no question they were organic vegetables. What else could they be? “Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” as they saw fit, and, “thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. That’s right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism.
“And what happened? It didn’t work!” They nearly starved! “It never has worked! What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years — trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it — the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.” If it were, there wouldn’t be any Occupy Wall Street. There wouldn’t be any romance for it.
“The experience that we had in this common course and condition,'” Bradford wrote. “‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing — as if they were wiser than God,’ Bradford wrote.” This was his way of saying, it didn’t work, we thought we were smarter than everybody, everybody was gonna share equally, nobody was gonna have anything more than anything else, it was gonna be hunky-dory, kumbaya. Except it doesn’t work. Because of half of them didn’t work, maybe more. They depended on the others to do all the work. There was no incentive.
“‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,'” without being paid for it, “‘that was thought injustice.'” They figured it out real quick. Half the community is not working — living off the other half, that is. Resentment built. Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself? that’s what he was saying. So the Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the under-girding capitalistic principle of private property.
“Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’ … Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes,” it did. “Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you’re laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.” This is what happened. After everybody had their own plot of land and were allowed to market it and develop it as they saw fit and got to keep what they produced, bounty, plenty resulted.
“And then they set up trading posts, stores. They exchanged goods with and sold the Indians things. Good old-fashioned commerce. They sold stuff. And there were profits because they were screwing the Indians with the price. I’m just throwing that in. No, there were profits, and, “The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London.” The Canarsie tribe showed up and they paid double, which is what made the Canarsie tribe screw us in the “Manna-hatin” deal years later. (I just threw that in.) They paid off the merchant sponsors back in London with their profits, they were selling goods and services to the Indians. “[T]he success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans,” what was barren was now productive, “and began what came to be known as the ‘Great Puritan Migration.’
But this story stops when the Indians taught the newly arrived suffering-in-socialism Pilgrims how to plant corn and fish for cod. That’s where the original Thanksgiving story stops, and the story basically doesn’t even begin there. The real story of Thanksgiving is William Bradford giving thanks to God,” the pilgrims giving thanks to God, “for the guidance and the inspiration to set up a thriving colony,” for surviving the trip, for surviving the experience and prospering in it. “The bounty was shared with the Indians.” That’s the story. “They did sit down” and they did have free-range turkey and organic vegetables. There were no trans fats, “but it was not the Indians who saved the day. It was capitalism and Scripture which saved the day,” as acknowledged by George Washington in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789, which I also have here.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
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