POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Thanksgiving and the Big Seven

by David Trumbull

November 16, 2007

I am persuaded the Gods confer several benefits upon us which we are not sensible of, upon no other motive in the world than the mere pleasure and satisfaction they take in acts of kindness and beneficence.
--Plutarch (1st century pagan Greek philosopher)

I am continually amazed by how much the ancients got it right. And by how much today’s liberals get it all wrong. This past week, with his state suffering from one of the worst draughts in history, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue prayed for rain. There were protesters, of course. Today you can’t have a prayer in America without a protest. If I were governor and my state was suffering as Mr. Perdue’s is I’d be praying to my God and covering my bets by enlisting Buddha, Vishnu, and Zoroaster to boot. Therein lies the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals believe, in spite of all evidence—earthquake, fire, and storm—that man is in charge of his own destiny and that of the planet. Conservatives do not.

This brings us to Thanksgiving Day, perhaps the most conservative of holidays.

First, everyone knows it is about giving thanks to God. Sure, one hears the odd story—usually of dubious provenance—of a teacher in some government-run school saying that the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians. And everyone has a big laugh because everyone knows that the fourth Thursday in November—like our Pledge of Allegiance and the motto on our coins—declares to the world that America believes in, depends upon, and is specially blessed by, God. That last part brings us to Americans’ pride in our own way of life as superior to all others, indeed the envy of the world. Oddly, pride leads the liberals’ list of capital sins just as it does the familiar list drawn up by Gregory the Great.

Greed and gluttony go hand in glove with Thanksgiving, the glorification of American over-consumption. We start the day with a department store parade urging us to buy, buy, and buy! Which we do, making the Friday after Thanksgiving the biggest shopping day of the year. We proudly end it with a family meal that, in a least-developed-country, could feed an entire village for a month, leaving us in slothful drowsiness. When not sating our gluttony we watch some good old American violence—a football game as an outlet for anger and, perhaps, sublimation of lust.

What is it about thanking God that leads us to wholesale breaking of his commandments? What starts in Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Man so quickly degenerates into martini-fueled marital infidelity at the office Christmas Party and a DUI on the way home.

Liberals always think that just one more new law— Sarbanes-Oxley to end corporate greed, Melanie's Law to sober us all up—will usher in the age of the new man created in the image of man. Conservatives know better. Thank God!