Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Pilgrims and property rights

Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 28,  2019

Chew on this during your Thanksgiving dinner discussions: The Pilgrims tried socialism and nearly starved to death.

Fox Business’ John Stossel writes that the New World settlers learned the hard way the value of property rights. That lesson, Stossel notes, is what made the first Thanksgiving possible.

The Pilgrims were religious, united by faith and a powerful desire to start anew, away from religious persecution in the Old World. Each member of the community professed a desire to labor together, on behalf of the whole settlement.

In other words: socialism.

But when they tried that, the Pilgrims almost starved.

Their collective farming — the whole community deciding when and how much to plant, when to harvest, who would do the work — was an inefficient disaster.

“By the spring,” Pilgrim leader William Bradford wrote in his diary, “our food stores were used up and people grew weak and thin. 

Some swelled with hunger… So they began to think how … they might not still thus languish in misery.”

His answer: divide the commune into parcels and assign each Pilgrim family its own property. As Bradford put it, they “set corn every man for his own particular. … Assigned every family a parcel of land.”

Private property protects us from what economists call the tragedy of the commons. The “commons” is a shared resource. That means it’s really owned by no one, and no one person has much incentive to protect it or develop it.

Read John Stossel’s column at Fox Business. 

Listen to more:

Explore More
Lawsuit: Madison schools’ gender identity policy violates parental rights

Lawsuit: Madison schools’ gender identity policy violates parental rights

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL)  this week made good on a previous threat, filing a lawsuit alleging Madison Metropolitan School District’s policies on gender identity violate parental rights. 

Read More »

February 19, 2020
Assembly unanimously passes drug transparency bill

Assembly unanimously passes drug transparency bill

In an overwhelming show of unanimity, the Assembly on Tuesday passed a prescription drug transparency bill by a 96-0 vote. 

Read More »

February 19, 2020
Bill seeks $500,000 for school video game competitions

Bill seeks $500,000 for school video game competitions

With just two in five Wisconsin students able to read and solve math problems at grade level, two liberal lawmakers want the state to spend a half million dollars in taxpayer money on a grant program for student video game competitions. 

Read More »

February 19, 2020
Bloomberg: Taxing poor people is a good thing

Bloomberg: Taxing poor people is a good thing

Billionaire liberal presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s campaign slogan should be: Open mouth, insert foot. 

Read More »

February 19, 2020
Big Labor’s big payday

Big Labor’s big payday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow House Democrats have passed a bill that would kill a vital worker freedom law and deliver generous gifts to their Big Labor friends. 

Read More »

February 18, 2020
Attorney: Food truck fight bigger than small town lawsuit

Attorney: Food truck fight bigger than small town lawsuit

A lawsuit against a Door County town board is about more than the entrepreneurs’ right to operate a food truck on their property, according to the attorney for the plaintiffs. It’s about a basic free-market principle. 

Read More »

February 18, 2020
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *