Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You Don't Work, You Don't Eat

"When our people were fed out of the common store, and laboured jointly together, glad was he could slip from his labour, or slumber over his taske he cared not how, nay, the most honest among them would hardly take so much true paines in a weeke, as now for themselves they will doe in a day:  neither cared they for the increase, presuming that howsoever the harvest prospered, the generall store must maintaine them, so that wee reaped not so much Corne from the labours of thirtie, as now three or foure doe provide for themselves."

Captain John Smith (1580-1631)
Jamestown Virginia

On 10 April 1606, the Virginia Company of London was granted a charter by King James to establish a colony in Virginia in North America.

In December three ships were dispatched with 104 settlers, including one Captain John Smith. 

Establishing the colony in 13 May 1607, they named it Jamestown, in honor of the king.  It was the first permanent settlement of England in North America.

The colony was originally governed by a council of seven men, with Captain Smith named as one of them.

They set up a common system whereby each would work for the good of all, and each would receive what they needed from a common store.  Things did not go well, for many years.  Sooner or later, as we know and are taught by Socialism, you run out of other people's Corne...

The colony suffered from food shortages, unhealthy drinking water, disease and attacks by the pesky, nearby Powhatan Indians.  It was during a small expedition into one of the Powhatan villages, in a desperate search for food, that Captain Smith was captured.  It was on this expedition that Captain Smith was saved from execution by the daughter of Chief Powhatan, named Pocahontas, and was released to return to James Fort.  When he got back there were only 38 settlers left alive.

Smith returned in January with food sent by the Chief, but misfortune struck and part of the fort was lost to fire.  Smith found the settlers engaged in searching for gold and idling their time.  He immediately took action.

Quickly elected president of the settlement, Smith instituted his famous "if ye shall not worke, ye shall not eate" edict.  Success ensued, the death toll dropped, food was harvested in abundance, a well was dug, houses were built and the colonists made pitch, tar and soap to return to England.

Captain John Smith wrote about this turn around in his autobiography, with one quote recorded above.  When each colonist was given his own plot of land to farm, and earn a return from, and was forced to work for his own welfare, the profit that followed literally saved the colony from ruin.

Phillip L. Barbour, a Smith biographer, wrote, "Captain John Smith has lived in legend even more thrillingly than even he could have foreseen.  Let it only be said that nothing John Smith wrote has yet been found to be a lie."

This, by the way, is the same experience as was had, and written about, by William Bradford in New England.  The story we hear about "the first Thanksgiving" is NOTHING like what really happened.  The "First Thanksgiving" was rather a celebration of the successes of capitalism which Bradford instituted there, as did Smith in Virginia.  We know this from Bradford's own journal!  It's as if Bradford learned from the Virginia experience!

It reminds me of the sixth chapter of Proverbs, where six different things that are hated are written about.  Look at verses 6 - 8:  "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise:  Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth in the harvest."

That's right, idlers do not contribute.  In fact, when there are idlers expecting an entitlement from the "common store" (meaning from the work of others), everybody suffers. 

The free enterprise of providing for oneself and contributing in that way is the true principle, demonstrated by and practiced in nature.  When one is providing for oneself, there is no need of a boss or directive telling how one must work.  One sinks or swims.

The people of Jamestown learned to develop their own capital and contribute what capital they could not simply for personal profit and gain, but for the gain, and survival, of the whole. 

And the colony of Virginia survives, even today!


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