On Thanksgiving, we should thank ourselves and the other producers who make the good life possible.
Ah, Thanksgiving. The word conjures up images of turkey dinner, pumpkin pie, and watching football with family and friends. It kicks off the holiday season and is the biggest shopping period of the year.
Children are taught that Thanksgiving came about when Pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. It seems we vaguely mumble thanks for the food on our table, the roof over our head, and how lucky we are in spite of these hard economic times. After all, our lives are so much better than, say, those in Bangladesh.
But surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday.
What should we really be celebrating on Thanksgiving?
Ayn Rand described Thanksgiving as "a typically American holiday" whose "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." She was right.
This country was mostly uninhabited and wild when our European forefathers began to develop the land and then build spectacular cities, shaping what has become the wealthiest nation in the world. It's in the American spirit to overcome challenges, create great achievements, and enjoy prosperity.
We recognize that individuals free to produce create enormous wealth. We uniquely dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. It's no accident that Americans have a holiday called Thanksgiving – a yearly tradition when we pause to appreciate the bountiful harvest we've reaped.