The memoirs of Plymouth governor William Bradford describe the first attempt of socialism in North America; unfortunately if President Obama follows through with his campaign slogans we will experience this again, and with the same result.
Bradford's historical accounts describe failed economic practices that are similar to the “spread the wealth” idea expressed by Obama. The members of the Plymouth colony arrived in the New World with a plan for collective property ownership which reflected the views of the aristocratic class in the 1620s, similar to today’s elitists. The Plymouth charter called for farmland to be worked communally and for the harvests to be shared. "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."
American free marketers will probably not be surprised that the colonists starved. Men were unwilling to work to feed someone else's children. Women were unwilling to cook for other women's husbands. Fields lay largely untilled and unplanted. "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."
Famine came as soon as they used up their provisions. After famine came plague. Half the colony died. However, unlike most socialists, they learned from their mistakes and departed from the socialist paradigm. They gave each person a parcel of land to tend to for themselves. "At length, after much debate of things, the Governor … gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves … And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end."
The results were overwhelming. Men worked hard where before they had constantly malingered. Fields were not only tilled and planted but also diligently harvested. Colonists traded with the surrounding Indian nation and learned to plant maize, squash and pumpkin and to rotate these crops from year to year. The harvest was bountiful, and new colonists immigrated to the thriving settlement.
"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 colonists departed from the socialist intellectual ideas of their time. They concluded that the ancient principles of private property as recorded in biblical times were superior to the utopian speculations of Plato and his 17th-century imitators. Human nature was a fact of life, socialism always fails. No amount of wishful thinking by socialist–minded elites like present-day liberals can change the cold facts of reality today as they were unable in the Plymouth colony.
"The experience that was had in this common course and condition … may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's … and that the taking away of property … would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God."
It should be genuinely scary to us all that a leading member of the left intellectual establishment-a group that will rule both of our elected branches-doesn't know about America's first experiment with socialism. On top of that, they don’t care to know. Neither did their socialist predecessors who, ignorantly and blithely, imposed on our forebears a system that led to malnutrition, pestilence and mass fatalities. I think it has always been that way.
People in ivory towers, ivied halls, foundation-funded think tanks or newsrooms still dream of replacing a system that has worked for over two hundred years with a failed notion of “fairness” as expressed by Barack Obama and his supporters. Liberals write books and articles telling the way we live now are wrong and how much better everything would be if we embraced “change” and agreed with them. Not only should we “give to each according to their needs from each according to their means”, but we must willingly give up our superior way of life as compared to most of the rest of the world by embracing the false unsupported premise of environmentalist socialists to save the planet. When the famines, tortilla riots or credit collapses come, (and some already have) the rest of us must deal with the consequences.
It has been proved that the "vanity and conceit" (Bradford's phrase, not mine) of the intellectual elitists ends in disaster-but by then they've already moved on to something else. When we remind them that their ideas have been tried-and found wanting-in the past, they cavalierly deny history, put their hands over their ears and cry even more loudly for "change." If we listen to them, we deserve what we will get.