Thanksgiving, Collectivism and Christianity

I know way too many ultraliberal folks. (Probably comes from living in California.)

That being the case, Thanksgiving is not only a day for giving thanks, but it is a day of annual inevitability when the conversation at some point will turn and someone will assert that Thanksgiving is the very model of socialism and a demonstration of how collectivism is the moral duty of mankind as demonstrated in the Bible.

Said assertion means Thanksgiving is also the day when I annually choke on a piece of pumpkin pie.

It doesn’t seem to matter if I change the guest list from year to year, somehow a member of the Marx family always finds a seat at the table.

Over the years, I’ve managed to trim down my rejoinder from the original semester-long upper-division seminar to a few easy-to-follow (for non-liberals at least) paragraphs.

The first Thanksgiving was not about collectivism. The original Mayflower Compact embraced a socialist plan for the Plymouth Colony, but after two years of utter failure and near-starvation, the colony’s leaders wrote a new charter that protected private property and encouraged capitalism. It’s that capitalist experiment that led to the bounty of the first Thanksgiving.

We used to know this as a country, but leftist education has steadily erased the details of our history and denied its lessons.

People get confused by collectivism because its advocates are very good about twisting their message to play on people’s empathy for the plight of their fellow man. Using words and phrases like “inequality,” “systemic discrimination” and “privilege,” advocates of collectivism are able to fool people into thinking they are doing good for society by giving up their individual rights.

[See also, “Grateful TO WHOM? Atheists & The Thanksgiving Holiday.”]

One of the most pernicious themes of this line of thought is the notion of “collective salvation,” which socialists like President Obama use to convince people that the Bible promotes collectivism.

One of the most fundamental ideas behind Judaism and Christianity is that of the individual’s personal relationship with God. The Bible has plenty of examples of individuals sacrificing themselves for the good of their community or group, but that’s not collectivism, that’s love for God and your fellow man.

Even if the apostles shared everything in common, that’s not the collectivism of the Left because the individual chooses to sacrifice himself for the good of others. “No greater love has a man than this …” is a call to honor God, not to surrender your rights. “Collective salvation” is not biblical because at the end of the day, you will be held responsible for what you do, not what other people do.

There’s a good reason that doctrines and advocates of collectivism typically start by denying God. Judaism and Christianity are about loving God and growing spiritually by voluntarily sharing and sacrificing. Collectivism is about power and legalized theft by an elite.

It’s like that old saw about the sandwich: Two hungry men were walking down the beach. One had thought to make himself a sandwich. The other had none. Seeing that his companion was also hungry, the first man cut his sandwich in two and gave half to his companion, who was grateful. Out of gratitude for the first man’s help, the second man offered to carry his pack for a time. Because of one act of generosity, the two men formed a relationship based on mutual respect, gratitude and aid and became friends. That’s the Judeo-Christian model.

On another day, two different hungry men were walking along that same beach. This time, a government official rode up on horseback and took the entire sandwich. He tore the sandwich in two, kept two-thirds for himself to cover his costs, and gave the remaining third to the second man. Then the official rode off. The first man resented the second man for eating what he had not earned and the government official for taking what the first man had made for himself. Because the third of sandwich was not sufficient to quell his hunger, the second man resented the first for not giving enough and the government official for not handing over more. The official meanwhile feasted and laughed as he ate most of the sandwich himself. The two men grew to hate each other. That’s the collectivist model.

As the story suggests, biblical charity builds communities and strengthens bonds between people.

Collectivism only destroys, which is what we’ve seen over President Obama’s two terms.