Norman Rockwell's famous painting of Thanksgiving is just one of four from his Four Freedoms series, his "Freedom from Want." It is fitting to have a day to share the blessings of our abundance with those we love and cherish. But freedom from want is the simply the effect. The right to Life, Liberty and Property are the means, and our labor is the cause. As summarized by Tom Bethell, "When property is privatized, and the rule of law is established, in such a way that all including the rulers themselves are subject to the same law, economies will prosper and civilizations will blossom."
Freedom of Speech
Freedom from Fear
Freedom of Religion
I was fascinated to see these paintings used as posters to support the war effort in WWII, which is a nice reminder that freedom is not free.
In addition to provding the conditions for the greatest production and accumulation of wealth, Bethell reminds us, "Private property is the most peaceable of institutions, encouraging its owners to cultivate their own gardens and do so productively rather than to organize into armies and raid the storehouse of neighbors."
So I give thanks today, for family and friends, for peace and abundance, and the freedoms which make it all possible.
Quotes from The Noblest Triumph, by Tom Bethell, 1998.
For a nice summary of the history of Thanksgiving as it relates to property and prosperity, see Thinking Man's Thanksgiving post, and "The Pilgrim’s Most Important Discovery” by Robert Sirico, WSJ Nov. 26, 1997. For a firsthand account, see Of Plymouth Plantation by Willaim Bradford, with special attention to paragraphs 216-217.