posted at 9:49 am on November 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
On behalf of everyone at Hot Air, I want to wish all of you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has two qualities for me, a combination of contemplation and Americana that makes it one of my favorite days of the year. The act of giving thanks makes us count our blessings and truly and actively consider them, and not necessarily in a religious context, although for me that’s a major component of it. I’m grateful, for instance, for the political system that allows for peaceful transfers of power every four years, because in many nations, that does not exist. I’m very grateful for the men and women who will celebrate Thanksgiving in faraway places to ensure our liberty and help bring freedom to others.
On a more personal level, I’m thankful for the people who make it possible for me to earn a living doing something I love — Hot Air readers, Michelle Malkin, Allahpundit, and the rest of the Hot Air team behind the scenes. My family is spread out over the US today; we’re in California, while our son, daughter-in-law, and the Little Admiral are in Alabama with my DIL’s family having a Gulf Coast Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for my DIL’s family, who have adopted us and shown us great love, and I’m especially thankful to the Lord for my granddaughter and my granddaughter-to-come (in December).
Michelle writes today about her gratitude for self-reliant Americans, and that brings me to the American-ness of Thanksgiving. In recent times, people have challenged the notion that the Puritans of New England were the germination of our liberty. The Puritans did not exemplify religious freedom, it is rightly noted; they only wanted that freedom for themselves and demonstrated a remarkable inflexibility towards those of other religions, notably Catholics. They expelled people who disagreed with them, most famously Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, on religious doctrine and other disputes.
However, that sells their influence short, as Ira Stoll’s book, Samuel Adams: A Life explains. The act of sailing into the unknown and carving out a life without a safety net was uniquely liberating. Europe had been a feudal society in which absolute authority had been imposed over its people through both the church and the monarchy. While technically still loyal to the latter, the aristocracy became a remote consideration within a very short period of time for the colonists, whose concerns focused mainly on survival. They had no one else but themselves to assist them, and that kind of self-reliance teaches that people don’t need feudal lords to run their lives.
By the time the mid-eighteenth century arrived, the descendants of those pioneers developed a deep appreciation for both liberty and property rights as the basis of their politics. They understandably resented any imposition of outside authority other than that necessary for the common defense. The Puritans and their descendants may have done so imperfectly, but their survival and success in colonization directly led to the revolution that followed 150 years later and the nation that resulted, for which we express thanks today.
So let’s finally give thanks for our imperfect national ancestors, who founded this holiday and created the impulse that would liberate half of the world.