Before the pilgrims left Europe, they planned to live in a communal society. Within 3 years, their socialistic experiment proved to be lacking in every way. Progressives claim they are “progressing” or “moving forward” to a better society. In reality, the system they embrace already failed in America 400 years ago.
In 1620, William Bradford was in charge of the plans to the New World. He knew the 50 Separatists could not do it alone. They needed financial help. Bradford found numerous tradesmen and servants willing to join in their pilgrimage, but he still needed money. Several “adventurers”, or investors, agreed to finance the journey. But first, they required a plan for repayment.
Bradford and the investors composed a set of bylaws for the colony. For the first seven years, the colony would live in a communal system. The bylaws required all goods, food, clothing, and profits be placed in a “common stock”. Anyone needing supplies could take them from this community supply.
“The persons transported & ye adventurers shall continue their joynt stock & partnership togeather, ye space of 7 years … during which time, all profits & benifits that are gott by trade, traffick, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remaine still in ye comone stock untill ye division. …That all such persons as are of this collonie, are to have their meate, drink, apparell, and all provisions out of ye comon stock & goods of ye said collonie.”
According to the bylaws, at the end of seven years the investors would receive their payment. At that time, the “adventurers” and the people would equally divide all capital and profits. This included houses, land, goods and livestock.
“That at ye end of ye 7 years, ye capitall & profits, viz. the houses, lands, goods and chatels, be equally devided betwixte ye adventurers, and planters.”
Bradford recorded the colonists’ experiences in Of Plymouth Plantation. He described how their society failed by 1623. But more importantly, he told how they fixed it.
“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.
According to Bradford, the communal experiment proved “to breed much confusion and discontent”. Furthermore, the economy greatly slowed down.
The healthy, younger men resented others benefiting from their labor. They considered it unjust. The older men found the handouts to be humiliating and disrespectful.
“For the young men who were most able and fit for service objected to being forced to spend their time and strength in working for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could. This was thought injustice. The aged and graver men, who were ranked and equalized in labor, food, clothes, etc., with the humbler and younger ones, thought it some indignity and disrespect to them.”
The women felt force to serve men other than their husbands. They equated it to slavery. Many husbands refused to tolerate such treatment of their wives.
“As for men’s wives who were obliged to do service for other men, such as cooking, washing their clothes, etc., they considered it a kind of slavery, and many husbands would not brook it.”
In Bradford’s opinion, the communal system broke the natural, respectful relationship people should have with each other. Forcing people to be equal when they know they are not does not eliminate inequality, it embellishes it.
“If all were to share alike, and all were to do alike, then all were on an equality throughout, and one was as good as another; and so, if it did not actually abolish those very relations which God himself has set among men, it did at least greatly diminish the mutual respect that is so important should be preserved amongst them.
Bradford believed their faith minimized their hardship. Regardless, he stated the fault lies with the system, not the people.
“And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none argue that this is due to human failing, rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself”.
Bradford explained God recognized “all men have this corruption in them”. Therefore, “God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them”.
With the goal to “raise more corn, and obtain a better crop than they had done”, each family would farm their own crops on their own land.
The Governor “allowed each man to plant corn for his own household.” He gave each family their own plot of land.
The pilgrims were free to benefit from the fruits of their labor. This motivated them to work harder than ever. As a result, they produced even more crops than they imagined.
“This was very successful. It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better satisfaction.”
The women felt their chains removed. They freely and willingly became equally productive citizens along side their husbands.
“The women now went willing into the field, and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability, and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
Progressives honestly believe Utopia can be achieved by spreading the wealth around. Bradford’s documentation of the Plymouth Colony illustrates that a communal system failed with less than 100 people. With a nation of 350 million, it would be a complete disaster.
The Plymouth community turned things around and benefited with pure capitalism. When people are free to not only produce, but to keep the results of their work, the entire society benefits. America proved this until Progressive Democrat Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Barack Obama handicapped capitalism with endless social programs.
This is not progress. It’s a regression towards a failed system Americans rejected four centuries ago. Americans rejected it again with the defeat of Hillary Clinton. The election was a repudiation of Obama’s socialistic system.
This Thanksgiving we can be thankful that our eight-year experiment with a communal society will be ending very, very soon. Trump promises to remove regulations and social programs chocking capitalism. If that comes to pass, we will see prosperity in our country not seen for decades.
But that’s just my 2 cents.