Comment Of The Day: “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday”

Before Thanksgiving completely out of view in the rear view mirror, I’d like to recommend Steve-O-in NJ’s valuable, as always, overview of the holiday and its meaning, historically and to our American society now. This is a particularly good candidate for Comment of the Day because, as always on holidays, traffic was confined to only the most active commenters, and many may have missed it.

In response to the post, “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday,” heeeer’s Steve-O!


C.S. Lewis writes that history taught under a tyrant’s rule was “duller than the truest history you ever read, and less true than the most exciting adventure story,” while designated hero Prince Caspian is taught the truth in secret – that the tyrant is trying to cover up the past for his own benefit.

As far as I know, Joy Reid, who I think did another piece bashing the 1950s, has no background in history or much of anything else. She is simply someone who spreads anger, hatred, and unhappiness into the world in the interest of feeding the confirmation bias of her idiot followers and sowing discord and division otherwise.

Celebrations of thanks in Europe date back at least to the chanting and later singing of the Te Deum, a fairly lengthy prayer of praise offered in thanks for victory in war, recovery of leaders from illness, and just about any good event, the idea being we mortals should acknowledge whence whatever blessings we received came. The idea goes back still farther to the 100th psalm, “Praise the Lord all ye lands,” sometimes sung in the Christian tradition as “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”or other translations.

Services of thanksgiving were and still are a thing in Europe not necessarily tied to any one particular day or event. For the first century or so of this nation’s existence, that was the case here also. Washington was the first president to proclaim a one-off day of giving thanks,and other presidents followed the custom by presidential proclamation as they saw fit. In fact the ancient Te Deum was offered after the Battle of New Orleans in the Cathedral of St. Louis, the oldest continually used cathedral in North America.

Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as the victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and other places made it clear that the Southern cause was doomed and it was just a matter of time, proclaimed the idea of a permanent national day of thanksgiving to the Father, but it wasn’t until the time of FDR that the holiday took on the form it has now, fixed to the Thursday of the last full week in November. The pilgrims did in fact celebrate the fact that their colony was still in existence after a harsh winter that killed large numbers including their governor John Carver. The assistance of the Wampanoag Indians, especially Samoset and Catholic convert Squanto, was invaluable in making it possible for them to survive. Yes, things would later go bad between the settlers and the Wampanoag, but they weren’t there yet, and it wasn’t the pilgrim’s idea to simply wipe away the Indians so this new land would be theirs and theirs alone.

Further south the Virginia settlers had in fact brought the first slaves to North America (I think the Spanish simply enslaved the Indians rather than bringing in new slaves), but any celebrations they had had nothing to do with that.

The problem with this celebration, as people like Joy Reid, fueled by pseudohistorians like Howard Zinn, see it, isn’t that the history around it isn’t perfect or has some aspects that modern Americans can find troubling. It’s that it is a unified celebration unique to this country, giving thanks for this country and all that it is. They can’t stand this nation nor its values, so they do a lot of “yes, but…” which is the very thing they condemn the other side for. Some of it is probably genuine anger at previous injustice, but that’s futile, since there’s no undoing the past. A lot of it is probably a cynical attempt to keep this nation divided and stoke hatred for anything vaguely traditional. There’s telling the truth, then there’s telling parts of the truth to advance your position. That’s just what Zinn did and just what Joy Reid is parroting.

7 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Thanksgiving At Ethics Alarms: The Ethics Holiday”

  1. Great post Steve. It should be pointed out that the original socialist distribution of resources by the Pilgrims led to the starvation in the early years. Only after those producing what was needed to survive were allowed to keep what they made did the Pilgrims have a chance to survive. The egalitarian system, then as now, was exploited by those who wanted their share without contributing enough for sustainability.

  2. They hate that people in a difficult situation found solutions to their problems and thrived then immediately turned around and credited not themselves nor government, but God. When the Leftists take over fully – Thanksgiving will still be there. But it will be government worship.

  3. I reread Lincoln’s proclamation establishing the holiday. I noted the absence of mention of the Pilgrims. What was prominent was the call for rpeentence and renewal of our need for the grace of God, to forgive us of our sins. the sin Lincoln was referencing was in particular the sin of the horror of the ongoing civil war. President Lincoln specifically called for a day of prayer & fasting in reperation for that sin. We have made it a day of feasting and excess, perhaps we should return to the original ideal?

    • Well, at the Thanksgiving ecumenical service the chorus I belong to sang at, the sermon was about being thankful every day. That might also be an ideal to return to.

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