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A High Five To History

November 24, 2011 by  

A High Five To History

Late last week, the boss sent me an email reminding me of my Thanksgiving-week deadline changes. “Perhaps you could write about something you’re thankful for” was a really gentle way of saying: “Remind us why we don’t replace you with Mr. Livingston’s grocery list?”

Duly inspired, I decided to employ some of the lessons I managed to retain from my days as a history major and raise a drumstick to a list of five entities that made Thanksgiving a holiday, as opposed to “30 shopping days until Christmas” Day:

Leif Ericson and the Vikings of circa 1000 A.D. Long before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Leif Ericson and the boys from Norway blundered onto the northeastern coast of North America — specifically Newfoundland, Canada. As it turned out, Leif and his father Eric were less than honest with the folks back home about the hospitable environs to the West, and the Vikings went back to being the scariest people in Europe. Nonetheless, had Leif Ericson not rowed the longboats to Vinland, our tale might have been very different. There is strong anecdotal evidence that Columbus knew of the Vikings’ journeys. At the very least, the people of the upper Midwest might not have those cool accents.

Don Christopher Columbus. It is hardly politically correct to praise the man considered by every good liberal to be the vanguard of the invaders who raped the New World and its people, but expecting political correctness from Outside the Asylum makes as much sense as expecting wit on MSNBC. Backed by the financial wherewithal of the Spanish crown, Columbus delivered the permanency of European domination of the Western Hemisphere. Although things didn’t work out well for the Spaniards (among others), what kind of Nation would we be if Columbus had never made his fateful voyage? The Vikings might have returned, and my name would be Sven. Still, Columbus’s establishment of sea-lanes between Old World and New set the stage for later visitors and the United States. Thanks, Chris.

The Patuxent Indians. The Patuxent Indians were a tribe local to the New England coastal regions. Tisquantum — known to the kids in the third grade Thanksgiving pageant as “Squanto” — was one of the few (possibly only) Patuxent who survived the early 17th century plagues that gave white men the sniffles and red men a one-way ticket to the happy hunting grounds. Tisquantum held the Pilgrims’ hands in those early days. In return, the Pilgrims opened the door to the endless wave of settlers who wiped tribes like the Patuxent off the planet. We got North America, but we let them keep some of the really crappy parts. Don’t mistake this for a genocidal, white-eyed rant. I never handed anyone a smallpox-infused blanket. The Indians were brutal before we showed up; we were just more efficient about it. And should you count the take at the Mohegan Sun Casino’s blackjack tables, revenge is theirs. Nonetheless, thanks. Sorry about the leptospirosis.

The Pilgrims/Puritans. Thanksgiving Day is their day, after all. In the interest of the sort of historical accuracy no longer offered in government schools, I should tip my hat to King Charles I of England. Chuck was a devotee of the divine right of kings, an attitude which the Puritans found less than godly. He persecuted them mercilessly, inspiring them to board the Mayflower, sail West, survive with considerable assistance from the locals and ultimately found the Massachusetts Colony and some lovely country clubs. They received a lot of help, but they made it. Without them, the Eastern half of the United States would be New France. We’d be eating pommes frites. Thank you, Puritans.

Almighty God. Barring His Divine guidance, this entire piece would be either moot or written in German. At the dawn of the Age of Exploration, Europe was a miserable place. The Black Plague had done to the people of the continent what smallpox and cholera were about to do to the Native Americans. The major religious influences had strayed far from His Word. The Old World was positively Hobbesian; life was indeed “nasty, brutish and short.” But the aforementioned hardy souls braved the unknown and discovered the other side of His incredible creation. And they gave thanks to Him, a worthwhile tradition I join you in continuing today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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  • Free Mind

    And we thank you and all the contributors at Liberty Digest for speaking the Truth.
    I thank the Almighty for giving us the Courage and Fortitude to Stand firm for Liberty. Go to this patriot’s site for more Truth

  • death to non believers

    how do public school teachers answer a young students question “who are we giving our thanks to ?” can a public school teacher honestly answer that question, or is that student sent to the principals office for more indoctrination (dont ask questions).

    A Happy Thansggiving to everyone.

    • Free Mind

      I think they are told to give thanks to Obama and Wal*Mart

  • CP

    They are asked in turn who and what THEY have to be thankful for, and who they think should be thanked. Although the teachers aren’t allowed to actually mention God the Father, many of them do acknowledge him in their private lives. Remember, to have true freedom OF religion, we do have to have some freedom FROM religion as well.

    • ohoh

      Pretty weak and a great excuse to squash the rights guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause with an ignorant and repressive interpretation of the Establishment Clause.

  • Old Henry

    And a Happy Thanksgiving to you as wel Ben.

    I have enjoyed your articles.

    One thought: “The Black Plague had done to the people of the continent what smallpox and cholera were about to do to the Native Americans.

    They had very lax immigration standards / borders and look what happened. Sound familiar?

    • eddie47d

      What! I thought all of our Forefathers landed on shore with legal papers in hand.At least that is what we are told by the new immigrant bashers. LOL Have a Great Thanksgiving Day Old Henry!

      • Dennis48e

        eddie you are so dense you don’t even know what borders he is refering to. He is refering to the borders in europe in the 14th and 15th centuries.

      • eddie47d

        He was also talking about the comparison with our Native Americans and how they lost out to open borders and maybe smallpox.

        • http://naver sook young

          Many Native Americans did die fron diseases introduced into America by the settlers. This is true, but it had nothing to do with us wanting to take their land. Thank you.

          Sook Young
          Wife of the Samurai


    I give thanks for those few honest, principled voices we in America’s patriotic, God fearing remnant have left to encourage and guide us, and Ben you are one of those. May God watch over and guide the truth tellers in journalism, in academia, and in public office and may your voices not be lost in the cacophony (or caca from phonies?) of liars, clowns, traitors, and globalist profiteers who would separate our children from the heritage God bestowed on this great nation. As rare as the truth is in this world, the supply always exceeds the demand, and our nation is perishing for lack of it..May we never forget that freedoms come Him, and all tyranny and oppression comes from man made governments. This is so vital to remember during the time we choose our leaders. God forbid that rich globalists & liberal media hacks would choose them for us. May God bless America and may she always be one nation under God!

    • dlb

      Barry, why do you fear your deity? You should love and embrace your deity. Also, please take the time to learn about the history of this nation we live in; from the days of the first settlements to the present and from all angles and views. You may be surprised at what you find out.

      • Opal the Gem

        Fearing God does not mean being scared of God it means recognizing his power and respecting him.

      • http://naver sook young

        Yes you may just find out that we were founded a Christian nation and thank you.

        Sook Young
        Wife of the Samurai

      • 777pearlygates

        Psalm 111:10
        The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endures forever.

    • 777pearlygates

      “caca from phonies”
      Thank you! I had a good laugh over that one!

  • s c

    Obviously, Ben, you are a myopic, racist, ‘love dem rich folks,’ REPUBLICAN source of religious discrimination and hatred [not really, Ben].
    I just wanted to get that out of my system and prevent this website’s kookoids from having a chance to say it first. Actually, the STUDY of history (American and otherwise) is very important, IF a man or woman has any plans to be aware of how we got “here,” and where we are headed, no one can afford to be ignorant or dumbed-down by choice.
    As you know, even American history suffers from historical revisionists. The REAL revisionists are the ones who try to correct the many original and flawed, hypocritical conclusions. For me, the best example of BAD history is the mythology surrounding FDR and his CRIMINALLY CORRUPT, borderline insane, America-hating ADMINISTRATION.
    I never taught history. I did, however, re-educate myself. For the most part, what I learned the first time has been corrected. When the blinders were lifted, it put me on a course that has served me well. The trick is to get others to understand how incompetent and polluted with calculated errors education in America really is, Ben.
    Like it or not [I DON'T], our elected non-leaders make life worse and more complicated every day. As a rule, anyone who wants an idea as to how America has been crippled economically, ethically, and mentally, look to Washington. I won’t call America ‘the Great _____,’ but it’s obvious that many of our non-leaders work for him.
    It’s too bad that some of our enemies have never allowed for the fact that their icons and religious “leaders” ALSO work for ‘him.’
    Happy Thanksgiving, Ben, and UP THE REBELS!

    • 2WarAbnVet

      Common sense would tell one that when a dynamic acquisitive society encounters a static stone-age society, the latter will suffer. This is particularly valid if the stone-age society possesses something of value. After the “dirty work” is accomplished it is particularly idiotic for subsequent effete generations to whine about it.

    • eddie47d

      I doubt if SC is Thankful for anything with her constant twisted words of disgust. If you re-educated yourself then you need to give that education money back . Maybe since you broke it you have to keep it! LOL. DLB below brought up some real history to go along with some of the fabricated stuff if you care to learn. Now I’m exceedingly Thankful for being able to vote and maybe not be arrested for voicing opinions like some have been. I’m Thankful for a fairly clean environment and hopefully it will remain that way.I’m especially Thankful for clean water which is a luxury in some nations. I’m Thankful for the sacrifices our troops makes and wish they could be with their families. ( I didn’t say I’m thankful for the leaders who put them in harm’s way)I’m Thankful for the Constitution which allows us to worship as we please. I’m Thankful that our Laws say that “all men are created equal” and each of us has an opportunity to achieve greatness or happiness. I’m Thankful that America makes great strides in trying to be color blind and pray that we can do better. I am especially Thankful for my children,grandchildren and my wife who is doing 90% of the preparing today. America is standing in troubled waters yet we are still a Blessed Nation. Pray for President Obama and his family even if it’s a prayer to correct what you see as wrong. May we all someday come together in peace and continue to nourish this great nation.

      • Thinking About

        Good thoughts, to hope your leader fails is hoping our nation also fails along with it’s citizens. I have prayed for our leaders in the past though I may not always like their decisions. I have hope for this great nation, I would like to extend my prayers and thanks to our troops for without their sacrafices our nation might be different. May God Bless This Nation.

  • dlb

    I know I will catch H311 for this, but I cannot agree with all of your choices. First, the Puritans after reaping the benefits of the Native American’s knowledge of how to farm decided to violate the treaty made with the Patuxant tribe at the first thanksgiving.

    Second, Christopher Columbus is more along the lines of the first terrorist of the “New World”, in my opinion. Not only did he land upon this continent, but he laid the ground work for others to begin taking Native Americans as slaves and selling them around Europe.

    Third, and perhaps the worst part of this piece, “Almighty God”. It was in the name of this deity many horrible atrocities were committed in the name this deity, countless massacres against Native Americans were committed by the colonists; followed by the local church declaring a day of “thanksgiving” for ridding the world of “heathens”.

    We should instead use this day as a day of remembrance and give thanks for being given yet another day to witness the beauty of creation by the “Creator”, or “Great Spirit”.

    • Free Mind

      You are obviously one of those Liberals with your memorized slogans.
      Also Barry never said he feared a deity(realistic people call that God, by the way).Are you trying to pick a fight over non existent words?
      If you want to keep reading this site in order to learn, that’s great, but if all you want to do is show ignorance, then go away. We hear enough fictious b.s. from mainstream media.

    • http://naver sook young

      What medications are you taking? This day was set aside to give thanks to God for all he has done for us, not for uprooting the Native Americans from their homes. By the way, you sound a lot like Altaica did when we were debating. We are a Christian nation, so please stop your ranting and lies and enjoy this day. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you.

      Sook Young
      Wife of the Samurai

      • dlb

        First, this Nation, the United States of America, was not established as a Christian nation. It was established as a nation without any religious affiliation; i.e., the government will not endorse any religion over another. Hence, it is not a Christian nation; it is a nation with many Christians.

        Second, the first Thanksgiving was in fact a time of true celebration and union between two different cultures. As time went on though, Thanksgiving became a celebration of Christianity over the Heathen,indigenous peoples by way of killing (murder, massacre, etc.). Do the research as to why Abraham Lincoln signed a Presidential Decree declaring one national day of thanksgiving.

        I am not a loon, nor am I a Liberal; I am an independent thinker who refuses to take things at face value. If we do not educate ourselves, then the Big Government will win by destroying all which we hold dear…our Freedom and our Liberty.

      • http://naver sook young

        Sorry, but we were founded on Judeo-Christian principles and our laws based on the Ten Commandments. By how much our founders always spoke of divine providence, the were Christians. I guess you have forgotten the Supreme Court case: Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States were the court ruled “This nation is a Christian nation.” We do have many Christians, but we were founded a Christian nation. We were set up with religious freedom, so we could worship God in antway we wished and not be restricted to one denomination. There is no separation of church and state in the Constitution. This just a lie made up by people who have been misguided about our history or want Christianity our of everything in this great country. His name is on all of our greatst monuments, money, and we even place our hand on his word (Bible) when we sware to tell the truth. This is a Christian nation. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you.

        Sook Young
        Wife of the Samurai

  • HHH

    There you go again, Ben, mixing metaphors and fabrications!! But this doesn’t surprise me!!

    • Free Mind

      what surprises me is that a dippy doo like you even reads. If you ever come up with something positive to say, we’d love to hear it. Otherwise go get little Chrissy Matthews to give you more Liberal lessons…you aren’t very good yet.

      • Thinking About

        Free mind, the truth shall set you free, also you cannot change what you are unwilling to acknowledge.

    • http://naver sook young

      Troll! Thank you.

      Sook Young
      Wife of the Samurai

  • http://none Mary Williams

    We are still blessed with people that believe in God and since he is in charge he is the key to hold us together.We are more blessed than foreign countries but things can improve and pray the future will be brighter for all- Happy Thanksgiving and may the holidays ahead be brighter for all. Enjoy your column . Mary

  • coal miner

    All of them have traditions of thankfulness or thanksgiving for surviving winter and for … Native Americans give thanks first to every animal whose life they take in …

  • coal miner


    Alantic Wire
    Religious affiliation may cause brain shrinkage. When this bit of research surfaced, the ensuing headlines humored a few religious skeptics. But the finding is more nuanced than merely linking the faithful to shrinking brains. As described by the research magazine Miller-McCune in May, the study found:
    This accelerated shrinkage was also found in people who reported a life-changing religious experience, as well as those with no religious affiliation.The reason, the researchers speculate, is the cumulative stress that comes with being a member of a religious minority.

  • Korean Vet

    Since I had 3 Ancestors aboard the Mayflower–I’m honored to speak-!
    William, Susanna, & 6 yr-old Resolved White were my Blood-Lines-!
    The “Mayflower” was only about 60′ long with 102 passengers & 37 crew
    members–(this ship’s about the size of a 3-bedroom house-!) Once
    it’s loaded–there’s not much room for a lot of storage-! When the
    “Plymouth-Pilgrims” arrived in America–they looked around & saw
    that they had a “Problem”-! ‘No Corner-Grocery-Stores’-! So they
    took an ‘inventory’ to see if the food they’d brought–would last
    until they could ‘plant’ & harvest it–the next Fall-! (They found
    that they were going to be ‘Way-Short’-so they “Solved the Problem”!
    Using “Common-Sense”–They decided to “Go on Half-Rations of Food”
    for the next 2 years–until the next ship arrived-! Then a ‘Crisis’
    occurred-! A ‘Vicious-Sickness’ hit for 2 months & 51 of the 102
    died-! I did research on this–& found that they’d brought a ‘Coop’
    of Chickens & stored them until the ‘Front-Poop Deck’-! By comparing
    death-rates, I believe they ran into a “Early-Form” of “Bird-Flu”,
    also known as “Spanish-Flu” that “Killed more than 60 million people
    1918-1920-! Comparing death-rates, not everybody died from it–but it
    had been a “World-Epidemic” that had killed more people than 10 yrs
    of “Black-Death” in Europe-! There were 16 adult married women on
    the Mayflower–& being ‘Below-Deck’ with these Dang-Chickens–they
    suffered the worst death-rates-! 75% of them died, leaving only 4
    that were alive the next summer-! The men exploring the coast-line
    were gone some of the time-but their rate was 50%-! And the Children,
    which–everyone feared would be weak to any disease–only had a 25%
    rate-! (But keeping kids cooped-up is almost a joke–they were out
    on deck, into the ship’s rigging–driving the ship-crew “Crazy”-!)
    “So they had the least-exposure of all–to these ‘Chickens’-!” But
    once–the Pilgrims had built dwellings–they made the Plymouth Colony
    a “Success”-! They were ‘Not’ like the “Jamestown” People–where
    nearly 1,000 arrived & “wasted most of their time”–looking for Gold,
    instead of “Planting Food” for something to eat-! Only 64 of these
    were still alive–when Lord Dela ware–sailed into the Bay with 3
    ships with more food-! (It’s easy to point-out “That you can’t eat
    Gold–if you’re DEAD-!) So much for the History-Lesson-!

  • Sancheleezy

    Thank God for candidates such as Dr. Ron Paul who believes in the U.S. Constitution, a smaller Federal bureaucracy, and Libertarian principles. There are younger politicians who also are coming on board and share his philosophy of a less intrusive and meddling Federal Government. We need to get behind him and show the elites that we are smart and mean business.


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