Ayn Rand (author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) described Thanksgiving as “a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers’ holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production.”
It’s not your great-great grandmother’s Thanksgiving wish, but it’s the truth.
Consumption is the reward of production. Without production, there’s nothing to consume.
Instead of acting like everything we consume (food, electricity, technology, fuel) came from nowhere, or arose by accident — and subsequently feeling guilty about it — why not consider what makes life on earth possible? It’s production, and all the thinking that goes into it.
“Society” didn’t create this incomparable abundance. Nor did any supernatural phenomenon. It’s all the result of individual human effort. Those who choose to produce are the ones who provide. Thank them – and thank yourself, if you produce as well.
Without producers, we’d all starve. And we would enjoy none of the pleasures of twenty-first century civilization. We’d literally be in the dark. Internet? Forget about it. Without the thought to enable production, our humanity would perish. The animals and the forests would survive, but we would not.
No other period of history has come close to producing the plenty that those of us in the post-capitalist world enjoy today. I say “post-capitalist” because we have moved beyond the original hands-off capitalism that made this turning point in human history possible, starting in the nineteenth century. But it’s the remnants of capitalism still sustaining us, and that got us started in the first place. We drift away from the social system of production at our peril.
Human beings are the real endangered species, because nature will not sustain us. Only our minds and productive efforts will.
Thankful for what you have? Human productivity, thought, and reason are the best of the human spirit that makes it all possible.
Sure … Give thanks on Thanksgiving Day. But make sure you’re thanking the right things. And the right people.
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