Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”     Barry Goldwater

November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving: My Favorite Time of Year

by Eric

I enjoy Thanksgiving. I really enjoy it. It is, in fact, my favorite holiday. It’s the one holiday that doesn’t seem to be, for the most part, commercialized. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those who thinks it is simply awful that other holidays are about white sales, or getting presents, or buying fireworks. I think, though, that there is something to be said for a day that is about family and friends, good food and celebrating our plenty.

And the truth is, we have plenty. Even our poorest families won’t starve, nor go without shelter. They may have to swallow their pride, but food and shelter is there for the asking. We don’t worry about death squads, daily terrorism, secret police or the cellars under the prison. As much as I talk about the nanny state and the slow eroding of our liberties and rights in this country, the truth is that we live in a virtual paradise of individual liberty compared to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and so many other countries around the world. Even in comparison to countries in Western Europe, supposedly a free and tolerant place. I discussed some of this on Eric’s Grumbles, for those of you who think I’m making things up.

Stan, Did I mention (no, I didn’t, I know I didn’t) that our wonderfully Democratic German allies require that you register with city hall when you move into a new town. That they can hold you for 72 [this number may be 24 or 48, my memory isn't what it once was and I didn't go check: Eric] hours without telling anyone where you are. That a police officer can, as you related, require any citizen to show identification at any time, with or without cause?

Just think about the scenes we have seen from France these past weeks. A government mandated curfew, battles in the streets, suspension of civil liberties. I’ve travelled fairly extensively in Europe and the Middle East and I haven’t seen, even in countries that are supposed to be Liberal Democracies, a country that comes close to having the degree of individual liberty and freedom that we have. This does not mean that I think we ought to settle for what we have, it still isn’t the ideal, or even close. But we should take a moment to think about how much worse it could be. We should remember that individual liberty and free markets are at the root of the prosperity we enjoy.

And then we should sit down to our turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing, gravy, vegetables, pumpkin pie and whatever else and enjoy a great meal with our families. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow.


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