Thanking the producers again
Posted by Richard on November 26, 2009
This time each year, I get lots of hits on my 2006 post The real Thanksgiving story, and a smaller bump on my 2007 post This Thanksgiving, celebrate the producers. Please check them out (and please read T.F. Stern’s comment and my reply on the latter). This year, courtesy of Doug Fabian, I bring you another thanks to the producers, this one from Jim Woods:
This Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I suspect that most of you reading this have plans to spend time with friends and family feasting on a sumptuous meal. I know I will be gourmandizing on various gastronomic delights, not the least of which will be of the fine fermented variety.
Now, amidst tomorrow’s day of celebration, I undoubtedly will be bombarded by numerous television news spots aimed at making me feel guilty for my bounty. Although not directed specifically at me, the purpose of these stories will be to remind me that I should feel fortunate to have a roof over my head, warm clothes on my back and a hot meal on my plate. Because, these stories will imply, it could be me — or any one of us — who suffers the indignity of poverty, hunger or homelessness.
The plight of those less fortunate, shown to us via remote telecast from the nearest homeless shelter or inner city soup kitchen, is supposed to be a stark reminder that those whose lives aren’t immersed in peril should be thankful for all that we have.
Well, to this I ask, thankful to whom? Who are the people responsible for providing us with the tremendous bounty most Americans enjoy?
This year, I want you to give thanks to those who truly deserve it.
This year, I want you to thank the men (and women) of genius who first discovered how to harness fire and how to forge tools for hunting. I want you to thank the men of genius who discovered how to cultivate crops and how to ferment grapes and create wine.
I want you to thank the men of genius who are responsible for creating the planes, trains and automobiles that delivered the bounty to your table. And I want you to thank the men of genius who, throughout history, plied their various trades — often in the face of unimaginable opposition — to help lift us all out of a squalid state of nature and into the magnificence that is 21st-century America.
And finally, I think we should all give extra thanks to the real unsung heroes, the capitalists, who put their money and their livelihoods at risk to fund the various enterprises throughout the ages that made modern life possible.
To all of the great capitalist heroes, I thank you from the very core of my own productive mind. I can offer you no greater tribute this Thanksgiving than to enjoy, without the slightest hint of guilt, the life-sustaining bounty you all have made possible.
This Thursday, we need to thank the men and women of genius, both past and present, who truly deserve the gratitude, yet who so often get nothing but condemnation in exchange for their tremendous achievements.
I toast you all in the name of the best within us.
Cheers to you, Jim, and to Doug for sharing your fine comments with us. And thank you, dear visitor, for dropping by. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, and as I said in 2007, remember to thank the producers who made it possible — including yourself!
If you’re religious, by all means thank God for giving humans the faculties that make our achievements possible. But don’t forget that we have free will. It’s the choices we’ve made — and that countless others alongside us and before us have made — that are responsible for the bounties for which we’re thankful today. We have to choose to exercise those faculties productively and to establish and maintain societies in which such exercise is not just possible, but encouraged and rewarded. The incredible riches all around us aren’t the result of wishes or prayers, they weren’t just handed to us — they exist because of the creativity and hard work that countless people chose to exercise. And they will disappear if people stop making those choices.
So say thanks also to William Bradford and the Pilgrims, and their Massasoit Indian friends. And to the patriots of the American Revolution. And to the Founding Fathers. And to all the scientists and entrepreneurs and capitalists and laborers who’ve created this incredible modern world in which we live. And to all the people proudly and productively working to create more every day. I bet you’re one of them, so in the words of Debi Ghate, “selfishly and proudly say: ‘I earned this.'”
On a more somber note, don’t forget that today is also the first anniversary of the Jihadist attack on Mumbai. In recent years, our friends in India have joined us in embracing freedom, opportunity, progress, and modernity. For their achievements, they were brutally punished by 7th-century barbarians. There are those who will not rest until they destroy everything we value and the wealth, freedom, and opportunity for which we give thanks. Don’t forget that.