Happy Thanksgiving 2011

We would like to take this time to wish all of our readers a very warm and happy Thanksgiving. This of course includes our readers around the world, who can also share in the special message of this most American of annual holidays, wherever they may be.

As always, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect upon and be thankful for the blessings in our lives.

In the United States, we certainly have an abundance of things to be thankful for, chief among them being a system which preserves human freedom and thus allows individuals to try to improve their situation by starting businesses, changing jobs, gaining new skills, and otherwise working to make things better. The byproduct of the free choices of individual Americans over the centuries has been a host of innovative products and services, new companies and new industries, medical cures and bounteous farm produce, all of which have enormously improved the world and created more wealth and prosperity than has ever been seen in human history.

Thanksgiving reminds us of this fact, and the humble origins of the holiday itself remind us that none of this was automatic: the first Thanksgiving on these shores, in 1621, was celebrated by a band of Plymouth Bay pilgrims who were not guaranteed of anything, including continued survival, and who would probably not have survived had it not been for the techniques taught to them by the Wampanoag Indians who were also present, and who brought the main course.

All of this is doubly pertinent this year, coming on the heels of nationwide protests by many who appear to be either misinformed about the freedoms that create such economic progress (and we would argue that the ability to start companies with limited liability, and the right to pay employees including CEOs as much as you want with privately-owned money fall into the category of "freedom"), or who are openly hostile to systems that give individuals and businesses such freedoms and who would rather have a system in which government bureaucrats or other dictocrats tell people what they can and cannot do instead.

We recently saw a video from a commentator named Bill Whittle, who with cutting insight suggests that the very prosperity that our system of freedom has created may in large part have led to the entitlement mentality so visible among many of the recent protestors. He proposes that some real exposure to the elements for just a few days each year might lead to a real change of views, and his arguments make some pretty good points about the benefits we often take for granted.

It occurs to us that the message of Thanksgiving is nearly the exact opposite of the mentality of "entitlement." We hope that perhaps the annual observation of Thanksgiving will renew the wonder we should feel at the incredible bounty that the attempt (however imperfect) to institute a system based upon human freedom has unleashed since America was founded.

For readers who would like to revisit our previous four years of Thanksgiving messages on this blog, you can do so by following these links: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.

We wish you all a very wonderful Thanksgiving.