The Pilgrims and Socialism

 

 

 

From  Of Plymouth Plantation, by Governor William Bradford:

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. 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 the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.

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9 Comments

  1. “And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance)”

    This recalls a distinction drawn in Scots law between the “dominium utile” or ownership of the use and the “dominium directum” or ownership of the land itself.

    Feus were originally granted for life only, which explains the casulty of relief, payable by the heir or singular successor, when he was entered with the superior, for originally he had no right to the feu, unless the superior granted it to him of new.

  2. The will to survive in the sovereign person enables him to work miracles, In the Soviet Union when state collective farms were established production fell to a point where the farmers could not feed themselves. The Soviet Union allowed the farmers to own the produce of seven feet around their house foundation. 70% of the farm produce was grown on their seven feet of earth. It exemplifies that acknowledging the freedom of the human person will result in success of whatever job they assume.
    .
    Working for another without recompense or as a nameless cog in the engine of another’s prosperity is doomed to failure unless the individual wills to give the other his initiative.
    .
    Communism is doomed to failure because communism rejects the individual human person in favor of the group, the communist party. A group, a communist party cannot be sovereign unless the party counts the sovereignty of every member.

  3. T. Shaw: “Socialism will work this time. My socialism professor said so.”
    .
    I cannot go over Cooch’s Bridge without remembering that you told me about it.T. Shaw. Today, I went over the bridge three times. It would have been four but someone had flattened a polecat on Rt. 72.

  4. Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance)””
    .
    Today, we have, in America, the Homestead Act. To build or improve any parcel of public land within five years will allow the person who improved the land to purchase the land for a miniscule amount of money like $5 per acre.

  5. “Communism is doomed to failure because communism rejects the individual human person in favor of the group, the communist party. A group, a communist party cannot be sovereign unless the party counts the sovereignty of every member.”
    .
    The God Who gave the sovereign individual personhood can and does give the party, the group sovereignty as well, but only under the same laws as govern the sovereignty of the individual and through the sovereignty of the individual. The state is constituted as a group by citizens to serve the individual as stated in the Preamble of our Constitution.

  6. The will to survive, the human will to live becomes the state guarded right to life. Man’s natural will to survive is the natural human right to life.
    .
    The atheist through atheism refuses to accept, that is, to believe in the reality of the human soul. Atheism refuses to acknowledge “their Creator” of The Declaration of Independence. Atheism denies the immortality of the immortal human soul, the endowed gifts of free will, intellect, sovereign personhood and the promise of eternal life. What else is there for the atheist to believe in except turning his neighbor into a beast of burden to be treated with scorn for having belief in life, free will and freedom?
    .
    Every newly begotten soul, a new posterity, brings with his immortal human soul the promise of eternal life. A promise atheism rejects and refuses to honor among men.
    .
    The will to survive begets the will to have the neighbor survive. Man’s will to have the neighbor survive constitutes the state.

  7. Mary de Voe wrote, “Today, we have, in America, the Homestead Act. To build or improve any parcel of public land within five years will allow the person who improved the land to purchase the land for a miniscule amount of money like $5 per acre.”
    An excellent system.
    In ancient Rome, a similar system – the Lex Sempronia Agraria – was proposed by the Tribune, Tiberius Gracchus in 133 BC. He proposed any landless citizen could acquire 30 jugera (about 300 acres) of the public land in this way, which would have provided many of the urban masses with a livelihood, increased corn production and also rendered them liable to military service. Many scholars believe that, if adopted, it would have saved the Republic.
    One of his supporters was the jurist, Scævola, many of whose opinions can be found in the Digest of Justinian, from which they have passed into most modern Civil Codes.

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