I cannot believe this Thursday is Thanksgiving. I have never had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving stateside – I imagine many of you are having mixed feelings right now – some of you may be stressed about all the shopping and cooking you will have to do over the coming days, others may be worried about that crazy uncle coming over who will want to talk politics, and others may be lonely because they have no one to spend it with.
Regardless of the time of year, we will see arguments that advance a more centralized government (even thou some arguments may have the best intentions in the world). One argument I have seen discussed on social media over the last few weeks is the moral and economic question:
Should businesses be ALLOWED to open on Thanksgiving?
I have seen may excuses from BOTH SIDES on why business should not be allowed to open on Thanksgiving.
Our friends on the “left” might say:
- Those greedy millionaires never rest trying to screw the customer out of more money
- It’s not fair to the workers – they have families too you know!
Our friends on the “right” might say:
- It’s not like Thanksgiving when I was growing up. Everything was shut. People had respect.
- You should be better prepared. If you forgot something – tough!
Most Important Premise of Freedom
Before we try answering this question (which is also apt for Christmas and other traditional holidays), may I remind you of the single most important premise of freedom and limited government – Sometimes the outcome of freedom REALLY SUCK!
Freedom is really easy to support when you have a favorable outcome, it’s a test of your character and your belief in freedom when the results are not desirable or hurt you personally.
If you seek to control the outcome, then you are not for the eternal principles of freedom and limited government – you are for freedom and limited YOUR WAY.
If you accept this premise, then we can move on to the argument of whether or not a business can open on Thanksgiving.
Where is FREE CHOICE?
Anytime I deal with principled questions, I always try to look at the moral foundation. One of the key foundations America was built upon was a principle of all are created equal – While America still has a long way to go in achieving this, it is something the world has never truly understood nor embraced.
Therefore if we are all created equal to you, how can one person turn to another and legally control their life. In this case, how can one person or anyone else tell a business owner how and when exactly they can run their business or how they can operate it?
If you believe one can tell another how to run their business, you either do not believe all are created equal, or you believe that at some point in time, you or a politician gained additional rights and are now their superior and can tell them what to do.
Supply and Demand
To prove this example to the maximum, let us use the language of the “left” and the media. Let us assume the only businesspeople who open on Thanksgiving are those greedy 1%ers who want to screw you out of more money.
The laws of supply and demand are the exact SAME regardless of your PERSONAL ideology on economics.
Those greedy businesspeople will only open if there is a PROFIT to be made. If people did not spend money on products and services, do you think they would open?
If you look above I used the dirty word PROFIT and not sales. Do you think businesses would open if only a few people needed their products / services, but the sales did not cover all the operating costs including wages, light, heat, insurance, and stock?
Therefore, if you believe the narrative that businesses are greedy, they are not opening out of the goodness of their hearts, they are betting people will need their products or services. So ultimately it is the actions of the people that determine if a business is opened or closed for Thanksgiving.
That all sounds great Jonathon, but you are forgetting the workers and how unfair it is on them and how they are being exploited – they are just like the rest of us and want to spend time with their families. But does everyone view Thanksgiving the same?
- What about those folks who would prefer to work if they had the opportunity rather than just sit around?
- What about the folks who do not share your views on the day and decide not to celebrate?
- What about the folks who have no family due to location or bereavement and have no one to celebrate with?
- What about college kids who can’t return home and would be stuck in a college dorm alone with nothing to do?
There is always another side to the narrative. Imagine you are one of these people who would either appreciate the company or the wage for working on Thanksgiving, should they be deprived of that opportunity because you have an opinion on what’s unfair in life?
I am noticing a growing hatred towards both profit (which WE ALL seek) and business in our society today. Earlier to prove a point, we used the narrative of the “left” about business owners being greedy. But let’s look if that is the truth.
Firstly look around at the businesses which will likely open this Thanksgiving. Are they businesses with large turnovers like banks, lawyers, and stockbrokers? Or are they the local small businesses which provide everyday products like gas and food?
Secondly, today we love looking at the end results and outcomes for our talking points / fancy headline, but never dig any deeper. In business today we love to discuss (and attack) the narrative of how much money the businesses / individuals make, but when was the last time someone looked at their sacrifice and risk they took to make it happen.
Those who will demean the business owner who opens Thanksgiving will only look at the profit. However should we not also consider their sacrifice – their sacrifice to open their doors today when they could have been around family, had a rest, watched a game or done some other hobby?
The great thing about real freedom is no-one controls it, but you control 100% of YOUR LIFE.
If you don’t like businesses opening on Thanksgiving, then don’t shop on Thanksgiving and if enough people feel the way you do, business won’t open.
Lastly, as a society, we are always searching for reasons to be outraged. This Thanksgiving I want to salute those in society who are not only working today but those who are SERVING today – those men and women whom we rarely see until we need them. I am talking about the REAL HEROES in society – the police, firefighters, emergency personnel, and those who serve in the military in America or overseas. We are forever grateful and you will always be loved!