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Adding Some Thanks To Thanksgiving

Much lore has been handed down to us about our Thanksgiving holiday, from its earliest celebration by the Pilgrims with their Native American neighbors, to its being declared a national holiday by George Washington, to its anchoring in a single shared day of celebration by Abraham Lincoln, and more.  Much, too, has been spoken and written of how fitting it is that we should give thanks to God for creating the heavens and the earth Pilgrimsand the creatures inhabiting our fair planet.  To all of the above, I say: Hear! Hear! 

Yet, even as we gather to feast in the company of those we love, and to offer up our prayers of gratitude, we would do well to pause for further reflection about all the wonderful advancements that we now take for granted—advancements far beyond the wildest dreams of our forebears on that fateful day at Plymouth Plantation—and to give thanks to those human beings whose ingenuity, effort, coin, and perseverance made them possible for us.   

If you harbor any doubts about this, just look around you and behold the multitude of wonders, from the brick-and-mortar of our homes and the glass-and-steel of our commercial buildings, to the abundant furnishings contained within them, to the rich variety of foods stocking our pantries and refrigerators, to the highly varied wardrobes we sport, to the marvelous vehicles we use to move about, to the complex devices we enjoy for communication and entertainment, and—most of all—to the thousands of businesses dedicated to finding more and better ways to please us.  

How did these wonders come to be?  The liberal-progressive-socialist belief is that government should take the bow.  This view was voiced not so long ago by President Barack Obama, when he opined that our businesses owe their success to government infrastructures such as roads and sewers.   

But even poor nations with big totalitarian governments also have such infrastructures, yet they lack anything remotely approaching the richness and vibrancy of our private sector, leaving their people with considerably less to give thanks for when, as now, the winter approaches.  So, while infrastructures can make it possible for businesses to come into being, they are like blank canvases that may—or may not—become works of art that enrich other people’s lives. 

The real answer is that America’s wonders arose because free people with talent, drive, and vision willed them into existence, so that they could please other persons and earn rewards from them—rewards that we call profits.  In the process, Americans succeeded by conferring greater benefits of value upon one another than any other people in recorded history ever managed to do.   

Our commitment to universal education aided this process, better enabling us to grow our distinct talents in different directions, fostering ever-increasing degrees of specialization that led to ever-increasing benefits of value.  America was not just the land of liberty, but also the land of excellence, because we allowed ourselves to reward excellence, and to reward it better than mediocrity—a concept anathema to socialists everywhere.  

With the exhausting election cycle now behind us, and with the advent of a new administration dedicated to lightening the crush of taxes and regulations that have stymied our economic growth, we are on the verge of an economic renaissance.  If we resolve to make America all that it can and should be, starting with ourselves, just imagine how much more our future generations will have to be thankful for as they, too, look about them at the wonders in their own midst.

Blaine Winship is the author of Moralnomics: The Moral Path to Prosperity (Moralnomics Press), available in hardcover from moralnomics.com and in e-books from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.  (“Moralnomics” is a trademark owned by Blaine H. Winship.)

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