Most of us know what the coming holiday called Thanksgiving is all about. No, it is not about lengthening the holiday shopping season marching on from this holiday to the next–Christmas Day, though FDR in his infinite wisdom tried to do that in 1939,1940 and 1941 by making the holiday on the third Thursday of November.
You did not know that did you, but neither did I until just recently. But the story of Thanksgiving has been around since 1621 when the colonist at Plymouth invited the Wampanoag Indians to their harvest feast. It was President Lincoln who first proclaimed it a National Holiday in 1863.
But then, there is Black Friday which this year is going to creep into Thanksgiving Day itself when Walmart announced that it will open for business at 10 pm and the hope that economic recovery and a double dip recession would be prevented by how successful this holiday season is going to be. We know by now that most retail businesses make their profits during this holiday season.
So, they–the retailers– may have a lot to be thankful for during this holiday, quite unlike the colonists who were actually and sincerely grateful because of a good harvest following a very harsh year before that. But in the harshness scenario it somewhat resembles the plight of our retailers whom because of the unsuccessful stimulus, had a very trying year in 2010.
I have much to be thankful for personally, for being in this free and prosperous country although we have taken a hit in both departments lately. But, I cannot forget the deprivation of both–freedom and prosperity–under a socialist economy, which we of course know is an oxymoron because there is all of the former which makes the latter word moot. The system that I lived under was run by ideologues whom either hated the term “capitalist” or indoctrinates oneself into hating the concept.
The economic principles espoused consisted of seizure of private property and complete control by central planning and command economy; where market forces are not allowed to operate in any fashion. But human beings will always be human beings with their innate desire to survive– which is a function of self-preservation– resorted to forming a parallel economy called a “black market’ which provided everything that human beings need within the artificially created shortages and lapses.
Reminds me, I was once escorting a professor from a socialist country–ruled by a communist party–on the second day of his arrival for a year’s tour of duty and he asked me about the “black market” which I proceeded to deny its existence. He immediately mocked me in disbelief remarking quickly that every socialist society has one in spite of my denial.
When the human spirit of competitive production is artificially suppressed, the will to produce the substances necessary for life and its comforts decline and the lowest denominator begins to dominate the scene. Rapid conversion to this new non-economy heralds the emergence of corruption which quickly becomes institutionalized and this leads to a level of poverty and misery unseen before in the same society where it has been instituted.
That was the kind of society where I lived and because of good luck and hard work I can now live comfortably and freely. For that I am very thankful to this country and its institutions and constitution, not only on this Thursday but every day that I have the privilege of living here. I wish that everybody would feel the same way but I know that I am hoping and asking too much of others, but if we lose sight of these the Hope and Change that have been promised may yet reap its grapes of wrath.
Happy Thanksgiving Folks…enjoy the holiday safely and remember to thank all those who helped to give you a reason to continue. I’ll be back in two weeks since I’ll be with my family visiting us.