"[Thanksgiving] is a producers' holiday." - Ayn Rand

Posted by GaltsGulch 4 years, 4 months ago to The Gulch: General
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"[Thanksgiving] is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production." - Ayn Rand

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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 4 years, 4 months ago
    To Objectivists, Thanksgiving is a producers' holiday. That, however, is not what Thanksgiving is about. I am going to take some heat for saying this, but I am going to put both an historical and a metaphysical perspective on Thanksgiving.

    Elsewhere in this thread, MikeMarotta suggests that we should celebrate Thanksgiving the Ayn Rand way - by thanking oneself. For what? Does anyone owe himself/herself anything?

    For what does an Objectivist have to be thankful? Arguably, nothing.
    One might claim that an Objectivist should be thankful for his/her existence. If so, whom would you thank? If one is Objectivist, then does that mean that one is being grateful for value-for-value exchange? If one is truly giving value-for-value, you really don't have to be thankful for the other person's participation in the exchange. ... If one is truly Objectivist, then the only people that one could be thankful to would be ... the only people whom can never be fully repaid - one's parents.

    Pilgrim Christians and Indians invented the holiday not just to celebrate "the result and reward of production". They gave thanks to their deity. And precisely what did the Pilgrims give thanks for, and to whom?

    1) They gave thanks for their very existence to their deity.

    2) Thanksgiving is the English equivalent of the Greek word "Eucharist", which comes in turn from a number of Jewish blessings that thank their God for both their existence and their salvation. Yes, with Thanksgiving, Christians are giving thanks to God for the sacrifice of what they consider to be God's son, Jesus. From Paul's 1st letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:23-24): "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'"

    I am not arguing here on behalf of Christianity, but don't co-opt the holiday. It has a meaning that Objectivists should revile.
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    • Posted by Maritimus 4 years, 4 months ago
      Hello, J,
      We meet again! To disagree, again!

      "For what does an Objectivist have to be thankful? Arguably, nothing."

      As you yourself say, we should be grateful to our parents for giving us life and helping us to become the best humans we can be. I am grateful to our daughter in law for raising our grandchildren and running the household for our very successful son and their children, choosing to do so instead of pursuing a "career" (as if parenting were not the most important career there is). Some people dare despising that choice!

      We should be grateful to our friends for their friendship and support in need. Also, for discussions and debates, which deepen our understanding of philosophical concepts.

      No doubt, you are right in your claim that the Pilgrim Christians and the Indians instituted Thanksgiving to express their gratitude to their deity(ies?). But, as so many other things, the holiday evolved into a uniquely American celebration. In its essence, it does not need Christianity, nor is it a co-opted Christian holiday. In my turn, last Thursday, before the turkeys, to identify for what I am grateful, I said that I am grateful to the American people for deciding to try to change the direction of our country. I perceive it as a holiday instituted by Christians, not as a Christian holiday.

      As an aside, I think that Christianity is an evolution from the Jewish religion. It happened after the Romans conquered Greeks (and many others). It happened in the part of the world that we now call Hellenistic. Both the Romans and, particularly, Christians suppressed the flourishing of free thought and knowledge that ancient Greeks developed. To me, one of the most brutal enforcers was Augustine of Hippo. The result was nearly 1000 years of Dark Ages. Only when Italians rediscovered humanity of ancient Greeks, they managed to initiate the Renaissance, which evolved into Enlightenment and ... you know the rest of the story.

      Another aside. The fact that "Eucharist" is a Greek word does not give it an "imprimatur" of the ancient Greeks. It is a Greek word because, at the time, in the Hellenistic world, that language was the language of knowledge and learned conversation.

      Friends as before?

      All the best.
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 4 months ago
    I think it its a good time to celebrate the demise of Hillary and the revolt of the deplorables. Maybe we will get a bit of a reprieve from the march towards more socialism for a while.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 4 months ago
    To me, Thanksgiving is the greatest of all holidays. It is not a tribute to a man or a myth but to life itself. A tribute to men's ability to create wealth and through that the ability to enjoy the fruits of that wealth. It is also a good time to share the achievements of oneself, and family, and friends and those who have contributed to one's well-being. There is nothing better than a bountiful meal, a feast, if you will, to illustrate the year's achievements.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 4 months ago
    "Thanksgiving is the perfect time to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships, and property – all the values we most selfishly cherish. We should thank authors whose books made us rethink our lives, engineers who gave us the BlackBerry and iPhone , and financiers whose capital has helped build entire industries. We should thank ourselves and those individuals whose production makes our lives more comfortable and enjoyable – those who help us live the much-coveted American dream." --
    "Celebrate Thanksgiving the Ayn Rand way: Thank yourself" By Debi Ghate in the Christian Science Monitor, November 25, 2009

    Find quite a bit more if you goto the Atlas Society and enter "Thanksgiving" in the search box:
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  • Posted by diessos 4 years, 4 months ago
    Which makes it my favorite holiday..... along with the stuffing :)
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 4 years, 4 months ago
      It's my favorite too! I start cooking early in the morning. I spend just about all day in the kitchen with my bottle of wine, a couple podcasts to listen to. I like that we get family to convene at my house and there are no pressures to shop and give gifts - the gift is the visit. Oh, and I love food. I love to cook. This year I'm trying a new stuffing with cornbread and sausage. And, I'm doing a new sweet potato dish - cooked in my big cast iron skillet southern-style. Oh yeah...
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 years, 4 months ago

    I'm making two turkeys, brussels sprouts and beets! Love brussels sprouts, with bacon and a little maple syrup! Beets with goat cheese, balsamic glaze and walnuts!
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  • Posted by chad 4 years, 4 months ago
    I find it interesting that the holiday was started by a group of would be religious socialists. Their initial attempt to live by the credo that the collective owned everything and decided who benefited failed and nearly killed them all. With no one to 'bail' them out it quickly became obvious that this would not work and if they were to survive the only hope was every man for himself and you had better produce or die. The results of everyone making their own choices in giving their own effort with the reward being the individual determined how their production would be used or traded resulted in a supply greater than their needs. A celebration of freedom of choice resulting in a great reward of production. The ability to consume more than needed results in a stable economy and the ability to choose one's destiny. A great thing to celebrate.
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  • Posted by wiggys 4 years, 4 months ago
    The only unfortunate thing about Thanksgiving this year is the fact that so many producers are no longer producing. But what it represents should always be honored.
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  • Posted by $ mminnick 4 years, 4 months ago
    If it wasn't for producers we wouldn't even have this country or the level of freedom we have. Of all of the holidays we celebrate, thanksgiving is the one that all (almost all) can agree on. It is a time to give thanks for all we have and all the freedoms we have.
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