Thanksgiving Story: The Pilgrims, Socialism, and Free Markets

pilgrims-300x215The story of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving is widely taught in all our schools. What is seldom taught, however, is what those Pilgrims learned, at great pain, about Socialism versus Free Markets.

The Pilgrim experience stands as the most authentic-ever, real-life comparison of socialism versus free-markets for human interaction, commerce, and governance.

As a reminder, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in November, 1620. They promptly lost half their population to starvation, sickness, and exposure that first winter, and they fared little better the second winter. We were all taught that a Native American named Squanto taught the survivors to fish, plant corn, use fertilizer, and hunt deer.

What most of us never learned (or glossed over) was that the original contract the Pilgrims brokered with their London sponsors required that everything the Pilgrims produced was to go into a common store, and every member was to be allotted one equal share.  Further, all the land they cleared and all the buildings they constructed were to belong to the whole community rather than to any individual.

To those with visions of utopian egalitarianism (which today’s Left piously calls Social Justice), this must have sounded like the ideal society.  Free of outside evil influences from Europe, personal property and greed were to be banished.  Everyone was to work hard for thecommon good, and altruism was to be its own reward.

How did it work out?


In the two winters beginning in 1621 & 1622, many died from starvation, pneumonia, or both.  Here are excerpts from Governor William Bradford’s own retrospective summary of the community’s experience with what we now variously call collectivism, socialism, or communism:

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. 

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.

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.

In other words, said the Governor, it simply didn’t work. Mankind’s nature simply wouldn’t accommodate it, no matter how “ideal” it may have seemed.

Bradford had discovered that even these most idealistic of peoples had no reason to put in any extra effort without the motivation of personal incentives to do so.

Wisely, in April, 1623, Bradford abruptly abandoned collectivism. Instead, he assigned a plot of land to each family, permitting them to keep everything they grew or made and to market anything they didn’t consume themselves.  He actually harnessed all that awful human ”greed” and put it to work in a free-market system.

So how did free markets and private property work out for the same people in the same place under the same circumstances?


The Pilgrims soon had more food than they could eat or trade among themselves.  So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Native Americans.  They paid off their debts to their London sponsors and soon attracted a great European migration. They still had plenty of problems, but hunger was never again one of them.

As Bradford summarized the new approach:

The women now went willing into the field, and took their little ones with them to plant corn, while before they would allege weakness and inability, and to have compelled them would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

This [new approach] 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.

Most importantly for us today, Bradford wrote about the bitter lessons learned from the failure of original plan:

Let none argue that this is due to human failing rather than to this communistic plan of life in itself ...

In modern times, when confronted with the undeniable historical record of socialism’s failures, the Left usually argues that the “right people” weren’t in charge, and if only they had been, their utopian socialist vision would have succeeded. If Bradford could speak, he would surely disagree based on the Pilgrims’ real-life experience.

So …

Why isn’t this lesson featured up front, in neon lights, in American history classes? Why isn’t it the lead story of the Pilgrim experience?  Why has the history even been falsified and its most important lesson ignored?

Perhaps it’s because the people who write our history textbooks still don’t want to believe it. Perhaps those authors still cling to the hope that some form of their beloved utopian socialism, collectivism, Marxism, communism, … will one day triumph over Private Property and Free Markets.

Unfortunately for those authors, the historical record couldn’t be clearer. For Americans, the Pilgrims’ experience should rightfully be our Exhibit One. In our own time, Milton Friedman said much the same in this now-classic video clip.

milton-friedmanWhen it comes to bettering the life of the common man, Free Markets and Private Property work — the alternatives don’t.

Granted, socialism, fascism, communism and other grand central-planning systems may work for a little while, after a fashion, most especially for those in power. But eventually they always fail, hurting most the people those systems were supposed to help — to the point of killing them. Yet even to this day, people keep falling for the false promises of those failed systems of human interaction and governance.

Finally —

For more than 3000 years at Passover, Jews around the world have been re-telling the story of their deliverance from slavery. And for over 2000 years at Easter, Christians have been re-telling the story of their redemption.  Now that it’s been nearly 400 years since the Pilgrims landed in America, perhaps we could begin re-telling the real story of Thanksgiving every year, headlining those life-and-death lessons the Pilgrims learned about the differences between Socialism and Free Markets.


The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings;
the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill

[Note: This is an updated version of articles written in January, 2011, and the Novembers of 2012, 2013, and 2014. This article was originally published at]

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Congressman Trent Franks On NAU Shooting, US House Leadership

Here is the latest video from Congressman Trent Franks on the NAU shooting. Congressman Franks also addresses why leadership in the US House is changing and what is pushing those changes in leadership. Congressman Trent Franks opposed Kevin McCarthy’s intention to seek House Speaker as a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

Franks points out that the Senate filibuster has been the elephant in the room when it comes to what is driving a change in the next Speaker of the House.

Aaron Borders Asks for Clergy Rights Bill in Next Arizona Legislative Session

Aaron Borders, Second Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Maricopa County, is asking Arizona legislators to consider a Ministers & Clergy Rights Bill in the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

Borders is not so interested in rehashing the controversy surrounding 2013’s SB 1062 bill as much as affirming right of conscience protections.

In a recent interview, Borders said, “this is a completely separate issue. Now that it’s legal in Arizona to have same sex marriage, it is not my business to interfere. There are clergy in Arizona who will happily perform same sex marriage ceremonies. However, many who have chosen to stand behind their constitutional right to practice and uphold their religion by not performing these marriages feel threatened with lawsuits against them and their congregations and frankly, that requires legal protection. Such a law as a Ministers & Clergy Rights Bill would protect the rights of Arizona ministers and pastors from costly, frivolous and unconstitutional lawsuits that would bring undue hardship on local congregations who are simply excising their religious beliefs in their place of worship.”

Borders is referring to a 2008 account of a lesbian couple in New Jersey seeking use of a beach side pavilion operated by a Christian organization as well as the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges as reported in Christianity Today.

Aaron Borders is not new to standing up for the First Amendment’s religious freedom. He has been an outspoken Christian activist participating in his local church since he was a boy.

Nearly 15 years ago he and his older brother and one of his sisters recorded a Southern Gospel Record when he was barely 15 years old. He recently performed with his siblings in a ‘reunion of voices’ at the church he grew up in during a visit to Ohio.

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Ken Bennet isn’t the only Republican politico who has a love and proclivity for music.

Borders is currently serves as one of the music directors at his local Church in Phoenix. It is a small, but growing congregation in the valley. He also serves as the project manager and building fund raiser for the church.

Aaron Borders stated, “Our congregation is growing and we need to do a solid remodel to make better use of our building to accommodate the growth God has blessed us with.”

Borders also periodically fills in for his 90-year old World War II veteran pastor and bringing sermons before his congregation.

Borders believes that Ministers & Clergy Rights legislation will especially help smaller churches continue to operate without fear of legal threats and lawsuits.

Kelli? Alex? Liberal Senator John McCain? Vote Now In Our AZSen Primary Poll

With the official launch of radio host Alex Meluskey’s campaign and last week’s launch of KelliPAC, we’ve decided to gauge the current level of support of each of the probable AZSen candidates.

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Voting will close Sunday at 8pm.

Symposium on Countering Islamic Fundamentalism, Nuclear-Armed Iran


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Arizona First in Nation to Pass Civics Education Initiative


Large, Bipartisan Majorities Show Support for the First Step in a Rebirth of Civics Education

Phoenix, Arizona – With large, bipartisan majorities in the State Legislature, Arizona today became the first state to pass the Civics Education Initiative.  The Civics Education Initiative requires high school students, as a condition of graduation, to take and pass the USCIS Citizenship Civics Test – the test all new immigrants must pass before becoming citizens.

“Proud day for Arizonans as we become first in the nation, and lead the way to the bipartisan passage of the Civics Education Initiative in every state,” said Frank Riggs, President and CEO of the Scottsdale-based Joe Foss Institute, the organization promoting the legislation.

Beyond Arizona, eighteen other states are currently considering this critical legislation. North Dakota and Utah appear to be next in line, with legislators and supporters in those states eager to follow Arizona’s lead, with the North Dakota House of Representatives also passing the bill today by an astounding 85-1 margin.

The leadership of the Joe Foss Institute and the Civics Education Initiative would like to extend special thanks to Governor Ducey, prime sponsor Majority Leader Steve Montenegro (R-13), House Government and Education Committee Chairman Bob Thorpe (R-6) and the members of his committee, and Minority Leader Dr. Eric Meyer (D-28).

In the Senate, special thanks go out to Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough (R-17), Senate Education Committee Chairman Kelli Ward (R-5) and the members of her committee, Senator Barbara McGuire (D-8), and Senator Carlyle Begay (D-7).

“It’s a New Year, and a new day for students here in Arizona and across the country who will now have the basic tools they need to become active, engaged citizens,” concluded Riggs.

The bill passed the Arizona House by a vote of 42-17. In the Senate the results were similarly positive, with 19 for and only 10 voting against.

WATCH: A Video Message from The Joe Foss Institute to Governor Ducey 

Scott Smith’s Pursuit of Big Pay Raises

At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.

Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.

Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.

Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.

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During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.

If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.

During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.

One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.

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The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.

Mesa Mayor & Council Compensation Footnotes

One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.

Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.

Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.

But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.

Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.

For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.

Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.

The Voting Pattern of Michele Reagan

It is time to

Do NOT vote for Michele Reagan. She sold the Republicans out in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013.

It is time for all Republicans to take a stand and hold those we elect accountable.

Michele Reagan has a bad pattern that is not Republican and is not Principled

  • Michele Reagan voted to not notify a parent if their own child was to have an abortion.
  • Michele Reagan voted to teach sex education to kindergartners.
  • Michele Reagan voted FOR Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.
  • Michele Reagan voted to give entitlements to illegal immigrants by removing the Proof of Citizenship Requirement.
  • Michele Reagan voted for budgets that spent more money then she knew she had.
  • Michele Reagan voted in 2004, 2008, and 2013 with a handful of Republicans and ALL the Democrats for a Democrat deficit budget.

But she is really nice.  And she wants to be one step away from being the Governor of Arizona.

It is time to hold Republicans accountable.


2013: Republican Legislative Districts and Counties CENSURED Michele Regan saying:

“we therefore disassociate ourselves from the governor and these legislators, and encourage other Republicans to likewise disassociate themselves from any of the above who may be candidates for any office in the upcoming 2014 elections, or any election thereafter, and affirm our withholding of support of all kinds.”

2006:  Michele votes to stop the notarization of parents when a child wants an abortion joining with 100% of the Democrat caucus and 2 other Republicans on HB 2666 – Notarized Parental Consent for Abortions.

2013: Michele voted for the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Then she voted against it.

Michele votes ‘YEA’ for Obrewercare, SB1492, joining 5 Republicans and all the Democrats, in the middle of the night, after Senator McComish makes a motion to suspend the rules, to stop Senate President Andy Biggs from trying to save Arizona from the train-wreck that is Obamacare.

Michele changes her reason for her vote but now she is saying, “I voted for the Andy Biggs budget.”

No she did not.  Andy Bigg’s budget was modified so badly that even he voted against it.

2009:  Michele sponsors a bill to teach sex education in the Kindergarten classroom, HB2544.

2008: In 2008 Michele voted for a deficit producing budget, ‘YEA’ with three Republicans, 100% of the Democrats, and Governor Napolitano on HB2209 to pass by a 31 YEA to 29 NAY vote.

(No Republican that voted for the 2004 or 2008 budget is serving in an elected office except for Michele.)

2004: Democrat budget: Michele voted ‘YEA’ with 14 Republicans for Democrat Janet Napolitano’s budget to raise the state budget more than a billion dollars.

Resolutions were passed by every district but one demanding her loyalty to Republican planks saying:

Do not sell out our Republican principles and the promise of 3 years funding that will benefit a few special interests at the cost of our State sovereignty and our core Republican values. We will adamantly oppose those who compromise our core values for short term political expediency.”

She sold YOU OUT.  Did you mean it?  Do NOT vote for Michele Reagan.

It is time for Republicans to hold those we elect accountable for their votes.

For a copy of this document to print out and distribute:
For a copy of the STATE BLACKLIST to distribute:

Danny Ray’s Campaign Piece Provokes Questions on the Gubernatorial Race

Yesterday I was visited by a member of Danny Ray’s campaign team here in northeast Mesa and was provided with this piece of campaign literature.

Danny Ray for Mayor Mesa

Of course, I’ve watched the voters of Mesa authorize the mayor and council to take the city deeper into debt through bond elections – against my advocacy and wishes.

But what really provoked my interest was who has been in leadership over the years approving increases in the budget and amount of debt.

Having been the former Communications & Outreach Director for AFP-Arizona, I jumped over to the local government scorecard put out by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Arizona to refresh my memory on how the City of Mesa scored. Here’s a screenshot of their performance from 2008-present:



As you can see, no one on the current council scored anywhere close to taxpayer-friendly. This confirms what Danny Ray has been campaigning on but it also reveals something about the former mayor and his effort to get a promotion to Arizona Governor.

While I like the fact that Danny Ray seems to be an anti-establishment candidate, I’m now wondering just who took Mesa in the direction its currently going and how that might be injected into the gubernatorial race.

Just sayin’