Monday, December 9, 2019

Why I Don't Give Thanks on Thanksgiving

As a follow up to my post, Should Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving?, Michael Edelstein emails:
Well done!

I’ve long wondered who or what we’re giving thanks to.

Mises or Rothbard? They’re dead. I don’t believe in reincarnation, seances, or ghosts. Same with my parents, who did their loving best in raising me. Same with Albert Ellis, who taught me how to enjoy life and opened my mind to a rewarding profession.

God? I’m an atheist.

This leaves you, Bob. Thank you for your warm friendship, libertarian education, magnificent blogs, helping to spread the Gospel according to St. Albert, and your marketing acumen and conscientiousness in publicizing TMT.

Does Thanksgiving have a personal significance for you?

Warm regards, Michael

Hi Michael,

Actually, it doesn't have any personal significance to me in terms of thanking anyone.

My post about Thanksgiving  was more to just throw a punch at the lefties who suggest that celebrating Thanksgiving is hypocritical because they allege it is a holiday set aside to celebrate co-operation between Pilgrims and Indians, when, as my post makes clear, it was no such thing.

I tend to look at Thanksgiving as a break from the regular routine and a good opportunity to get together with family and good friends. But I am always cognizant of the fact that it is a government declared holiday. I tend to rank government holidays as to how much harm they do in pushing government propaganda and the greatness of the state.

From this perspective, I consider Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Presidents' Day among the most dangerous, though I would put election day above them if it ever became a national holiday.

I consider Labor Day as being Marxian.

And Thanksgiving and New Year's as being the least harmful.

I consider Columbus Day as absolutely awesome given its current politically incorrect connotation.

As for actually giving thanks, I think you are on the right track when thinking about it in terms of giving thanks to individuals.

There is a lot mystical about how most seem to actually look at Thanksgiving. Remember, the first thanksgiving gatherings were about giving thanks for a good harvest, a good hunt, lots of rain or whatever. This is pretty close to worshipping a rain god, a sun god, a harvest god, etc. And in the modern era, worshipping increasing standards of living (with the implied suggestion that government has a lot to do with it).

I am all for an increasing standard of living but I am not going to pretend it makes any sense to "thank" the standard of living god.

I see giving thanks as a personal thing. If someone does something special for me, I tend to thank them immediately---and remember it forever if it is significant enough.

No government declared day required for me.

For me, Thanksgiving day is about friends, family, food and football and if I think about it beyond that it is usually associated with how much I hate the state and how the state even tries to wiggle its way into good times that have nothing to do with it.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.

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