December 2, 2013
Speculation is rife among scholars and historians about exactly when the Christ Child was born. There is some consensus is that Jesus was not born in the month of Tevet, on the cusp of the Winter Solstice. Based on cultural and agricultural tradition garnered from the New Testament, some contend that He was born in the Hebrew month of Nisan, known in the West as early spring. The tradition of Christmas in December has powerful meaning, however, and in the Northern Hemisphere where cold grips the world, fog, ice, and darkness have become powerful symbols of the fate that would befall Creation if the Savior had never come to be.
What Wise Men?
Winter, with her churlish grin
Has come to sift the frail
Her murky robes draw in the sun
To hide behind a veil
Heat withdraws, creations flee
When Winter does reveal
Earth’s truest, cruelest nature
Which no man can appeal
For Winter’s cold’s a symbol
Of the irredeemable abyss
A plan without a Savior
A freezing, a scorching furnace
What is Creation without its God
To grant suffering’s currency worth?
To ennoble every anguished day
With the brightest Hope of Earth
Man, in his bleak mid-winter
Has no power of his own
To break the bands of loneliness,
The death of flesh and bone
What wise men gave us Christmastime
When the sun withdraws her light
When nature in her violence
Stills enemies from their fight?
For Baby Jesus, He was born
On a mild, Springtime night
The Lamb with lambs came to the world
The Light that shames all light
So here we do remember
Salvation’s humane design
How Jesus Christ is Light and heat
Midst, fatal Wintertime
The power of our Savior,
One singular force to prove
That icy, dark perdition
Is vanquished by His Love
November 30, 2013
This article was originally published by Zbigniew Mazurak and subsequently reposted with permission by Reagangirl.com on 11/29/13.
Among the many lies being repeated by the Left in defense of Obama’s plan to further deeply cut America’s nuclear deterrent is the blatant lie that America can safely afford to continue cutting its deterrent indefinitely and could maintain deterrence even with a significantly reduced arsenal. Obama made that blatant lie himself during his infamous June 19th speech in Berlin, and the White House trots out that lie in its pseudo-”fact sheet” about Obama’s plan.
But they’re blatantly lying. America’s nuclear deterrent is already barely adequate (as well as old and in need of modernization). It cannot be cut indefinitely. In fact, it cannot be safely cut any further.
To provide credible nuclear deterrence, you need to:
1) Be able to threaten the vast majority of all of your adversaries’ military, economic, and other strategic assets with destruction (threatening only some, or half, or 55%, of them is woefully inadequate because the other half or 45% will survive), and to threaten all the assets of Russia or China you need THOUSANDS of warheads; and
2) A small nuclear arsenal would not be survivable – it would be easy for an enemy to destroy in a first strike. The smaller it is, the less survivable and easier to destroy in a first strike it is. A few submarines and a few bomber bases would be far easier to destroy in a surprising first strike than 14 submarines, several bomber bases, and 450 ICBMs in hardened siloes.
These two interrelated factors are extremely important because what determines your deterring ability – or the lack thereof – is how many warheads and delivery systems you have left after a possible enemy first strike. If you have a large number of these left to unleash a devastating second strike on your enemy, he won’t attack in the first place. But it has to be a large number – huge enough to devastate his entire country, economy, and military. This is a numbers game. Here, numbers reign supreme.
What are the nuclear capabilities of America’s potential adversaries? Who are the adversaries America must deter?
Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (including 1,550 deployed) and up to 4,000 tactical warheads – and the means to deliver all 6,800 if need be.
Its 434 ICBMs can collectively deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; its 14 ballistic missile submarines can deliver over 2,200 warheads to the CONUS (while sitting in their ports); and each of its 251 strategic bombers can carry up to 7 warheads (1 freefall bomb and 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles). Its Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 1,700 warheads to the middle of America.
Russia’s strategic nuclear triad consists of:
- 251 intercontinental bombers (64 Tu-95s, 16 Tu-160s, 171 Tu-22Ms), each capable of carrying 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and one free-fall nuclear bomb;
- 75 SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads and 38 penetration aids each);
- 136 SS-19 Stilletto ICBMs (up to 6 warheads each);
- 171 SS-25 Sickle single-warhead ICBMs;
- 75 SS-27 Stalin single-warhead ICBMs;
- 18 RS-24 Yars ICBMs (4 warheads each);
- 13 ballistic missile subs capable of carrying 16 SLBMs and one (the Dmitry Donskoi) capable of carrying 20 SLBMs; each sub-launched ballistic missile, in turn, can carry 4, 10, or 12 warheads depending on the type (R-29RMU Sinyeva, RSM-56 Bulava, or R-29RMU2 Liner, respectively). Russia has ordered hundreds of these SLBMs.
In total, Russia’s ICBM fleet alone – to say nothing of its submarine or bomber fleet – can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS. Russia’s bomber fleet could deliver over 1,700.
In recent years, while the US has been steadily cutting its arsenal unilaterally under New START, Russia has been growing its own, as it is allowed to do under the treaty. Also, the document contains no restrictions whatsoever on road- and rail-mobile ICBMs, treats every bomber as if it were carrying a single nuclear warhead, and doesn’t limit Russian ICBMs’ carriage capacity or throw-weight – which are huge loopholes that Russia is only too eager to exploit.
Russia is now developing a rail-mobile ICBM as well as replacements for Russia’s older ICBMs: a heavy ICBM called “Son of Satan” (designed to replace the SS-18 Satan) and a mid-weight ICBM called the Rubezh to replace the SS-19 and SS-25, while continuing RS-24 Yars production. Meanwhile, the US has no plans to develop a road- or rail-mobile ICBM (although the USAF is considering the rail-mobile version), and development of the next-generation ICBM – the replacement for America’s aging Minuteman ICBMs – has been delayed by many years for political reasons.
Moscow is also developing and testing an IRBM, the Yars-M (AKA Rubezh), in violation of the INF treaty – showing that arms control treaties signed with Russia are worthless pieces of paper.
On top of that, Russia has a huge tactical nuclear arsenal – much larger than America’s. Estimates of its size vary, but various sources say it numbers up to 4,000 warheads (all deliverable) – much more than America’s ca. 500. These 4,000 warheads can be delivered by a wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles, to theater strike aircraft, to bombers, to torpedoes and surface ships, to cruise missiles, to artillery pieces, because they come in various forms: nuclear bombs, torpedo warheads, depth charges, artillery shells, cruise missile warheads, etc.
China, like Russia, has a large nuclear arsenal – far larger than the 240 warheads American arms control advocates claim. In fact, China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, most of them hidden in the 3,000 miles of tunnels it has built for its arsenal. The two estimates come from Gen. Viktor Yesin (Russian ICBM force CoS, ret.), and Professor Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist during the Cold War. The existence and length of these tunnels is a confirmed fact.
To deliver its warheads, China has:
- 36 DF-5 heavy ICBMs (up to 10 warheads each);
- at least 30, and likely far more, DF-31 ICBMs (3-4 warheads each);
- at least one DF-41 heavy ICBM (10 warheads);
- 20 DF-4 IRBMs (3 warheads each);
- 20 DF-3 single-warhead MRBMs;
- 100 DF-21 MRBMs;
- 500 DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao cruise missiles;
- 440 nuclear-capable aircraft (Q-5, JH-7, H-6) each with at least one warhead attributed to them (the H-6K bomber variant can carry several nuclear- or conventional-tipped cruise missiles as well);
- 1 Xia class SSBN with 12 single-warhead JL-1 missiles; and
- 5 Jin class SSBNs with 12-24 4-warhead JL-2 missiles, with a sixth under construction to replace the Xia class boat.
On top of that, China has between 1,100 and 1,600, and possibly more, short-range ballistic missiles, though it isn’t known how many of these are armed with nuclear warheads.
China, of course, stubbornly refuses to reveal anything about its nuclear arsenal, while falsely claiming it pursues a “minimum nuclear deterrent” policy, even though it is evident to everyone except the willfully blind it has thousands, not mere hundreds, of warheads.
Over a year ago, this writer, based on very conservative estimates of China’s missile stocks and their warhead carriage capacity, estimated China had 1,274 nuclear warheads. This was calculated as follows:
I started with the 440 aircraft-deliverable nuclear bombs owned by the PLAAF and attributed to its H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft. Then, I added 10 warheads for each of China’s 36 DF-5 ICBMs, then, one DF-41 ICBM with 10 warheads, then, 40 DF-3 and DF-4 MRBMs, then 100 DF-21 MRBMs, then 90 warheads for China’s 30 DF-31 ICBMs, and finally, 12 warheads for China’s 12 JL-1 SLBMs and 240 warheads for its (at least) 60 JL-2 SLBMs (12 missiles per boat, 4 warheads per missile).
Keep in mind that the 4-warhead JL-2 is just the basic variant of the missile. China is already developing (if it hasn’t already deployed) two new variants of the JL-2: Jia, capable of carrying 8 warheads over 12,000 kms, and Yi, capable of carrying 12 warheads over a distance of 14,000 kilometers. China is also building a sixth Jin class submarine to replace the sole Xia class boat.
So in the future, China will have even more ballistic missile subs, more SLBMs, and more nuclear warheads than it already has – which means the number of nukes required to deter China will only grow.
And I was so conservative in my estimates that I didn’t count a single Chinese SRBM or cruise missile as being nuclear-armed. If any such missile is armed – and the DOD says 500 such land-based missiles are – China’s nuclear arsenal – and the US arsenal required to deter Beijing – are even greater.
Besides Russia and China – two huge nuclear threats to US and allied security – the US also has to deter North Korea (which already has ICBMs capable of reaching the US) and Iran (which, within a month, may have enough HEU to build a nuclear warhead).
So the US currently has to deter three, soon to be four, hostile nuclear powers, two of whom have large, diverse, and very capable and survivable nuclear arsenals.
On top of that, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies, many of whom will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues to cut its umbrella. 66.5% of South Koreans already want to do this, and Japan has facilities enabling it to produce enough fissile material for 3,600 nuclear warheads if it chose to.
You see, while Russia and China are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US is a protector of itself and 30 allies.
In addition, Russia is blatantly violating the INF Treaty by developing and testing an IRBM, and also violating the CFE Treaty! How can we trust Russia to comply with New START and reciprocate the newest cuts proposed Obama when Russia is not complying with existing arms reduction treaties? We can’t!
Yet, the advocates of cutting America’s nuclear arsenal want the US not only to slavishly adhere to such treaties (while Russia doesn’t), but even cut its arsenal further deeply and unilaterally.
Then there’s North Korea with its nuclear arsenal (which it has recently announced it will grow its nuclear arsenal) and ICBMs capable of reaching the US, and Iran, which is coming closer to achieving nuclear weapon status everyday. Only nuclear weapons can protect America against these threats. So they are HIGHLY RELEVANT in the 21st century.
Besides deterring nuclear attack, nuclear weapons also protect America’s treaty allies against a large-scale conventional attack – ensuring that it has never happened so far since WW2.
But if the nuclear arsenal is cut further, and America’s already deficient conventional capabilities continue to atrophy under sequestration, a large-scale conventional attack is inevitable.
The military and geopolitical reality is simple. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal further deeply and unilaterally, a nuclear first strike by Russia or even China is virtually guaranteed – as is the acquisition of nuclear weapons by America’s allies in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, none of whom can afford to bet their security, and their very existence, on the “less nukes will make us safer” and “a world without nukes” fantasies of Barack Obama and his pacifist friends in Western pro-disarmament organizations.
The opinions expressed by Ziggy’s Defense Blog do not necessarily reflect those of Reagangirl.com.
November 29, 2013
In a sexually confused world where women who stay home with their children are mocked by pop culture, and men who protect and provide for their families are a dying species, it’s to be expected that the inventors of policies destructive to marital love and the nuclear family would live outside those traditional norms.
Powerful liberal men, no matter how libertine and abusive they are, always seem to have women who stand by them through storms of scandal and public humiliation. The National Organization for Women (NOW), like a battered wife watching her sisters sustain beatings by a troglodyte husband, stands silent in the wake of the most recent attack on a woman by ultra-lib sniveler, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir. Bashir’s scatological attack on Sarah Palin is too vile to be recounted here, but it’s hard to imagine anything more hateful and misogynistic than his unhinged rantings against the beautiful, accomplished, tough, and principled Palin.
The silence of the National Organization for Women and other so-called women’s groups in the face of venal assaults on women who just happen to believe in conservative principles, and live those principles, leads one to believe that liberal women encourage cultural rape when committed by liberal pig men. Even when liberal women are victims, if the men are politicians or pundits who toe the liberal line, the leftist agenda always supersedes any consideration of their personal dignity or respect for their womanhood.
Hillary Clinton and Huma Abadin are just two examples of smart, educated, accomplished liberal women who stay with their wiener-wielding, whoremongering husbands, despite the fact they have their own successful careers and cash aplenty. Normal people like you and I are left breathless at the lengths to which these lib gals will go to defend their husbands and protect their marriages. Behind the veneer of veneration for their families, however, is something fundamentally flawed about the liberal female mindset that naturally draws them into relationships with the very men who once justified the existence of the modern Feminist Movement; male chauvinist pigs.
Liberalism, and its mutant daughter, militant Feminism, defy human nature. Feminist theory deconstructs human nature by denying or attacking the natural biological roles that men and women fill as functions of human procreation and survival. Progressive Feminists–lib gals–adhere to the notion that women who strive to compete with men for jobs, political office, etc., are actually like men in their emotional makeup and social roles. In order to be true to Feminist theory, women like Hillary and Huma cannot expect their husbands, with whom–according to Feminist theory–they have few differences, to treat them with the dignity afforded by traditional male/female, husband/wife, father/mother roles. In other words; for a liberal woman to decry the wolfish, unfaithful behavior of her male chauvinist pig husband would constitute a fundamental hypocrisy. Feminist theory holds that since women and men are only superficially different, that for a woman to want a husband to be a faithful, respectful, protective partner in marriage would require acknowledgement that male and female roles are deeply different, and that the traditional model of marriage is biologically driven as well as being a construct of social evolution.
The following values are rejected in Feminist theory, and are therefore unimportant to the powerful liberal men with whom lib gals like Huma and Hillary hook up.
Chastity: Remember the unattractive, amorphous Sandra Fluke? This “iconic” lib gal who spawned the Democrat social platform in 2012, espoused one value, and one value alone; promiscuity. Fluke personified the modern Feminist approach to sex. It is not about love, relationships, children or the formation of families. Sex is about doing it as much as one wants, with no limitations, and no consequences. Fluke, the Feminist Betty Boop, is really just a liberal male politician in a frumpy suit. Liberal men, when groping unwilling victims, tweeting pictures of their private parts, or cheating with multiple partners, are only displaying behaviors that Sandra Fluke and her militant feminist sisters advocate.
The Sexual Revolution assassinated the rules of chastity upon which all social interactions between men and women were once based. The Feminist Movement asserted that if men can’t get pregnant through sex, that women–who are just like men–shouldn’t have to get pregnant either! Declining moral values, the loss of norms like courtship and abstinence before marriage, preceded institutionalized abortion. These concepts all came from Liberal thought and Feminist theory.
I actually feel a little sorry for guys like Wiener, Clinton, Spitzer, Filner, etc….ad nauseum, who, when acting within the philosophical boundaries of the chosen ideology of their girlfriends and wives, are publicly renounced and prosecuted. Hell’s bells! It must be confusing to be a male politician simply living the Liberal American Dream.
Ideology: Liberal women are inculcated via Feminist theory to love power more than relationships. Feminism teaches that relationships, especially those with men, are oppressive, and that marriage constitutes a form of socially sanctioned rape. Many liberal women simply expect their liberal husbands to be womanizers–or manizers–because to them, marriage is an unpleasant pretense necessary to broaden their appeal to a center-right electorate. Although liberal power marriages may produce children, the innocents are not always sacred charges to their political parents, but rather resume’ enhancers; proof positive that every mandate put forth is indeed “for the children.” “Look at me, I have a child! How could I possibly not care about the children?”
In simple terms, feminist thought regards norms associated with traditional marriage and marital roles as hypocritical. To be true to their favored ideology, lib gals have no choice but to overlook the salacious actions of their partners.
Dignity in traditional sexual roles: Traditional marriage and the nuclear family were casualties of the Sexual Revolution of the 60′s and 70′s. Again, liberal–progressive–feminist thought decried the sovereign family, consisting of a husband and wife at the head, and children who were supported, taught, and protected within the home, as an outdated, unnecessary encumbrance on individuals who wanted to “find themselves” without old-fashioned social constraints.
The nuclear family, however, is the most successful model ever tested for the perpetuation and progress of mankind. One man/one woman marriage is founded in biological and social-emotional reality. The normal developmental paths that lead children to want to marry a member of the opposite sex have been derailed in recent decades by the LGBT lobby, as well as political and fiscal policies that reward unwed mothers and cohabitating couples while punishing married couples. But without those phony impositions pushed by social evolutionists–and crappy legislation–men and women prefer to marry and bring children into the world to be raised and taught within their own homes.
In a sexually confused world where women who stay home with their children are mocked by pop culture, and men who protect and provide for their families are a dying species, it is natural that the inventors of policies destructive to marital love and the nuclear family would live outside those traditional expectations. Liberal male politicians and their feminist wives don’t even believe in the traditional roles of the sexes, so why the hell would they worry about living them?
Women in the news and politics may caterwaul about those “awful cheating men,” and ask the question, “How can strong, ambitious, progressive women such as Hillary and Huma endlessly tolerate such unfaithful pigs?” The answer lies within their own belief system. Anthony Wiener, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and every womanizing liberal Democrat male to bedevil the political waters with his lasciviousness is simply a product of liberal women.
by Marjorie Haun 11/29/13
November 28, 2013
Was Norman Rockwell a Communist sympathizer?
What an odd question, you may think to yourself. Your answer may be, “Of course not, why, Norman Rockwell was as American as apple pie and pizza.” After all, Rockwell has been called ‘America’s Favorite Illustrator.’ He was an emotionally engaged observer who chronicled everyday American life throughout the mid-20th Century with affection and great skill. His paintings are the most memorable and iconic to come out of the “greatest generation.” To utter the name Norman Rockwell is to whisper “America.” Maybe.
It is instructive to understand from what source the inspiration for Rockwell’s most famous paintings, “The Four Freedoms,” came.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
excerpted from the Annual Message to the Congress,
January 6, 1941
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a Progressive in the tradition of John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson. He was of the Progressive school of thought that government itself was the engine of a nation, that people served the government so the government could then care for the needs of the people–the very model of Socialism. We know this as much through FDR’s deeds as his words; the exhaustive alphabet soup of government programs that came out of the New Deal: AAA, CCC, CWA, FLSA, TVA, WPA, and dozens in between. He gave us the dysfunctional behemoth, Social Security. He exacerbated the scope and longevity of the Great Depression with his Keynesian economic policies. FDR grew government big, real big.
It is this which makes the last two Freedom Paintings suspect: Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship are some of the most dear of our enumerated constitutional rights. They are intrinsic to Americanism and are natural facets of human liberty. But where the heck are the rights to not want for anything and the right to be fear free to be found in the first 10 Articles. I think some Communist made them up.
In Marx’s writings on Historical Materialism it is the asserted role of the state to provide an economic system in which there is no competition and, theoretically, no scarcity. The model of Communism provides for state control of the means of production and distribution, with the idea that no one would ever want for anything. This, of course, is the lie of the millennium, but heck, it sounds good. People shouldn’t have to want for anything. Golly gee, it is a nice big government that makes sure everyone has everything they could ever need. Who wouldn’t want a gargantuan government-issue turkey on their Thanksgiving table?
Karl Marx purported that the state should have the power to do many things, such a eliminating the fear of exploitation. Other tenets of Communism attempt to take fear out of the equation: universal health care, a job, housing, food, education, all run by the government, thereby eliminating the human anxiety of having to earn, provide for, and protect oneself. FDR extended this into the “freedom from fear” of physical aggression by a foreign enemy. (Remember Pearl Harbor, ya’ll) In Rockwell’s Freedom from Fear we see two concerned parents tucking their sleeping children into the safety of their bed. Did Rockwell really think that FDR’s policies could keep the boogeymen out from under the kiddie’s beds?
Norman Rockwell worked to the extremity for six months on the Four Freedoms. They were finally published in 1943 by The Saturday Evening Post. But while Rockwell was doing a Michelangelo, his inspiration, FDR, was trying to figure out how to take down and re-build the United States Constitution. In FDR’s 1944 State of the Union Speech he schooled Americans on the virtues of big government. “Necessitous men are not free men,” said he. And he went on to enumerate his “Second Bill of Rights.” This consists of the positive rights that say what government must do. These are the most dangerous rights of all.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed. (this from the man who segregated the military)
Among these are:
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living
The fight of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad
The right of every family to a decent home
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment
The right to a good education
Do I really think Norman Rockwell was a Communist sympathizer? Nuts! He was just a dupe, like so many who were, and who still are, deceived by FDR’s helping hand of big government. In 2011 American we are living the consequences of FDR’s brand of progressive Socialism. The poor are still with us, government is still inefficient and wasteful, the national debt is bleeding the lifeblood out of the economy, and his big government schemes–those which he implemented and those of which he could only dream–Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare, universal health care, nearly 20% of Americans on government food programs, and heaps of intrusive government regulation, are dooming prosperity for generations to come.
Norman Rockwell could not have known how the ideas that so enamored him, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear, would become ideas that are making the America he painted a thing of memory. Norman Rockwell’s America is being destroyed by the notions, which 70 years ago, seemed to him so very charming, so very…American.
By Marjorie Haun 11/28/2013
November 26, 2013
I’m what you call a Redneck Blueblood.
John Alden and Priscilla Mullins took passage to the New World on the Mayflower. They married while in Plymouth Colony and begat Elizabeth.
Elizabeth married Samuel Bartlett and begat Elizabeth.
Elizabeth married Joseph Bartlett (a distant cousin) and begat Betty.
Betty married Benjamin Rider and begat Betsy.
Betsy married Nathanial Churchill and begat Lydia.
Lydia married Daniel Cook and begat Elizabeth.
Elizabeth married George William Mann and begat Lydia.
Lydia married David Barclay Adams and begat Gilbert.
Gilbert married Thurza Armelia Allen and begat Thurza.
Thurza married Cornelius McDougall and begat Shirley.
Shirley married Frederick Snyder and begat….ME!
I am a big fan of the Separatists and the Strangers and the crew of the Mayflower. Not one of these tough cookies chose to return to Mother England, even after a brutal Winter had left half of their loved ones and friends in the cold clay of the Atlantic coast. There is also no question in my mind that their survival and the perpetuation of that mission hinged upon one man, a Pawtuxet native named Tisquantum, or Squanto.
Squanto was born circa 1580 and, in 1614, he was deceived and accosted by one of John Smith’s lieutenants, Captain Thomas Hunt, along with a number of other Native Americans. The Pawtuxet, along with several other coastal tribes, participated in the fur trade with the pre-Mayflower English explorers and entrepreneurs who patrolled the New England coast. Squanto’s band believed they were going aboard Hunt’s ship to make a transaction. The trust these Natives had in the fur-traders cost them their freedom when they were trapped and forced below hatches to be taken to Malaga, Spain for the express purpose of enriching Hunt with the silver that their muscle and blood could bring. Some of the local friars in Malaga discovered the treachery of Thomas Hunt and took custody of a number of the Native Americans before they were all sold into slavery. Squanto was among those few.
As a result of the kidnappings, the relations between the English and the Nauset and Pawtuxet tribes deteriorated and hostilities raged. The Native peoples drove away the English and French ships that visited the coast and in 16 17 one of the French ships was burned and almost everyone aboard was killed. Meanwhile, Squanto and some of his friends were learning the doctrines of Christianity from the friars in Spain. Disastrously, life in the Pawtuxet and Nauset villages on the site of the future Plymouth Colony, would come to an abrupt end. A European strain of smallpox or TB spread through the population of the Pawtuxet village and, in a season, killed them all. Many of the neighboring tribes were heavily hit with the plague.
The only survivor from that village, Squanto, had but one goal, to return to from Europe to his native home. Squanto had no way of knowing that his family, friends, and life as he had known it, had been wiped out. He somehow found his way from Spain to England. He was discovered and taken in by John Slaney, the treasurer of the Newfoundland Company, and began to learn the King’s English. Slaney recognized Squanto’s value, as an interpreter and expert on the natural resources of North America, to the Newfoundland Company. Squanto’s desire to return to his home and people was bearing fruit when he sailed with his new company to Newfoundland, or so he thought. While in Newfoundland Squanto met another of John Smith’s cohorts, Thomas Dermer, who employed Squanto as an interpreter and possible peacemaker to the remaining Pawtuxet and Nauset tribes with whom he hoped to re-establish trading practices. In 1619 Squanto and his employer, Captain Dermer, sailed from Newfoundland to New England to mend the broken ties between the white men and the Natives.
When they arrived at Squanto’s village there stood little more than the skeletal timbers that framed the wetus which once housed the extinct villagers. Squanto’s heart was surely broken when he saw that his longed-for home was little more than an ancestral necropolis. Simultaneously with Squanto’s return home sailed a three-masted “fluyt”, the Mayflower, from England with her cargo of opportunity-seekers and religious agitators. These adventurers, the Strangers, and religious wanderers, the Separatists, were ill-prepared for the privations of the harsh New England coast, and the crowding and hardships aboard ship would prove lethal once they had set anchor. Even after fixing their hopes on the banks of Plymouth Harbor, the bitter season spent between the common house on shore, and below decks on the Mayflower provided a vector for infection and despair, and one half of their men, women and children perished.
In the spring of 1621 the crew of the Mayflower prepared to return to Plymouth, England. The captain offered passage to anyone who wanted to return to the civilized shores of the Motherland. Not one of the colonists chose to go home. Each soul, tested by death, despair and toil, and facing a precarious future, lingered in their land of promise. But the Pilgrims were hapless townspeople. They worked hard to raise their little community but they lacked the essential skills and knowledge they would need to farm and reap the harvest that would be required to get them through another winter. On March 16, 1621, Samoset, an ambassador for Massasoit of the Wampanoag, strolled into the town, (probably chuckling under his breath) and, in his peculiar version of English, matter-of-factly welcomed the settlers to their new home. They were flabbergasted and amazed when Samoset returned six days later with Massasoit, Quadequina, a deputy to Massasoit, and Squanto, with his more refined English. Squanto became the primary mediator and interpreter for the Pilgrims. All during that spring Squanto remained in Plymouth Colony and taught its inhabitants the native secrets of fertilization, rotation, native plants and seeds, and of using the signs in nature to provide the optimal conditions for a bounteous harvest. As for Squanto, perhaps, he felt he had returned home. Plymouth Colony was built partially upon the ruins of his defunct village. And he had been accepted as a savior by the Pilgrims into their daily lives.
Squanto provided the agricultural expertise the colonists would need to survive in their new home. He also served as an important emissary of peace between the Pilgrims and the Native tribes that were still smarting from their underhanded treatment by some of the European traders and explorers. Squanto seems to have been provided to the Pilgrims to secure their survival by the very God in whose name they ventured across the ocean in search of religious liberty.
The harvest season of 1621 provided a bounty beyond that which the Pilgrims themselves required. Massasoit joined the 50-some settlers along with the majority of his tribe, over 90 Native men, women and children, for a three day feast of celebration and gratitude. Their’s was a feast of Thanksgiving, friendship, and peace; a peace between the aboriginal inhabitants of the coastal region and some strange, religious refugees, that would last more than 50 years.
Squanto died in 1622 of either natural disease, or as some have speculated, poisoning by one of the native tribes, for having used his emissary status for personal gain. However, when Squanto knew death was imminent he asked Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony, to pray for his soul, that it would enter into Heaven and find rest with the Christian God. Squanto may have sensed the significance of his death as a passageway into eternity. It is unlikely that he could fathom the impact that his life and service would have upon the future American nation, its survival as a fledgling republic, and the roots of its Christian heritage, that would prepare it to become the greatest nation ever to grace the face of the earth. A nation that would not be a respecter of men, but of the law, and of the unalienable rights given to all by their Creator; the first nation to be established upon the rock of Liberty.
Squanto could not have known that generations of Americans would be born out of those pitiable newcomers whom he tutored in the intricacies of the soil, weather, wildlife and the seasons of his native home. Squanto would have balked when presented with the legacy of freedom that emerged from the seeds of religious liberty and holy conduct that marked the purpose and priority of the Mayflower Pilgrims.
by Marjorie Haun 11/26/2013
November 25, 2013
by Marjorie Haun 11/25/13
November 23, 2013
“The most perfect social structure on earth is the nuclear family, with a righteous father and mother as its government, working it its own best interests.”
The first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony evokes images of a harmonious, even miraculous gathering; the blending of cultures, and a celebration of the blessings of Heaven. But that is the happy ending. The harsh truth of tiny Plymouth Colony was not so agreeable. The spirit of community, taken to its extreme in the midst of intense survival pressures, nearly wiped the Pilgrims out before they could plant, harvest, or give thanks at all.
When the Mayflower arrived in what would be called Plymouth Bay Colony, or New Plymouth, it was late in the Autumn of 1620, and winter was closing in. By the time its passengers had surveyed the land, secured their scant provisions, and abandoned the darkness and stink of the Mayflower’s lower decks, snow had hit the New England coast.
The colonists had stayed aboard the Mayflower for several weeks after reaching North America while the coast was reconnoitered and a suitable place to settle was found. Ironically, after losing only one man during the trans-Atlantic voyage, once the Mayflower took anchor, infections and vermin stalked the dank living decks of the ship, and men, women, and children daily began to succumb to the filth and disease. Water and food were severely rationed, but beset with fear and weakness, disembarking the ship and setting up shelters on land seemed too great a task. But the the model of communal living the passengers of the Mayflower reckoned was their only security, actually threatened their very survival.
The Mayflower Compact was not an enumeration of laws, but a covenant made by the members of the colony to establish civil laws, and combine in a cooperative effort to secure the “general good” of one another. The Mayflower Compact, signed on November 11, 1620, was a contract designed to bind the Pilgrims together as they confronted the brutal conditions threatening their isolated and tiny company.
The colonists, because of a lack of ready resources and increasingly harsh weather, quickly erected a “common house” shared by all until other, single-family, quarters could be built. The colonists, through ignorance or desperation, failed to understand that the pathogens and parasites that plagued them on the Mayflower, would be carried into this new community space where, again, they would dwell in close quarters. The cramped decks of the Mayflower were merely being recreated in the little settlement in the form of a 20 x 20 ft. common dwelling.
Sickness, scurvy, and exposure, by midwinter 1621, had wiped out fully half of those who had sailed from England. The problems with the communal model at Plymouth Colony continued after the winter of 1621. The deeply spiritual Puritans believed in the principles of sharing and sacrifice not as merely economic considerations, but as Godly directives. They wanted to fulfill the promise they had made to help one another survive.
Governor Bradford established a “communistic” economy under which the Colonists were to function. Bradford and his agents set up a community “storehouse” through which food was strictly rationed to each family. Many of the Colonists were weak and incapacitated and the few who could work began to complain that they alone bore the burdens of the rest. Some who felt that their rations were insufficient took to stealing from the others. Since each family of Plymouth had been assigned a little plot of land, and their means and form of production were highly controlled by the Bradford’s government, the Harvest Feast of 1621 would not have been remarkable at all that had the Wampanoag Natives not been so generous with their offerings of wild game.
It took Plymouth Colony until 1623 to realize the advantages of the free market system in crop production. After the deadly winter of 1620-21 and a couple of anemic years that followed, the colonists determined that maximizing their crop production, and deregulating the farms themselves, yielded better results than centralized planning and communal living. Governor Bradford later reflected upon the Plymouth experiment in Socialism:
“The experience that was had in this commone course and condition, tired sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; –that the taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a comone wealth would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontente, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte. For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and service did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in divission of victails and cloaths, than he that was weake and not able to doe a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalised in labours, and victuals, cloaths, etc., with the meaner and younger sorte, thought it some indignite and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe service for other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brooke it. “
The leaders of Plymouth reconsidered…
“All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expecte any. So they [the pilgims] begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in miserie. At length after much debate of things, the Gov. (with the advise of the cheefest amongest them) gave way that they should set downe every man for his owne perticuler, and in that regard trust to themselves… And so assigned to every family a parceel of land. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov. or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into the feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set corne, which before would aledge weakness, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and opression.”
The best, most moral economic system ever devised, is Free-Market Capitalism. The ideal and central unit of a healthy society is the nuclear family, governed by parents who act in the interests of that family. Governor Bradford his colonists cannot be faulted their failed experiments in communism. But it would prove an insult to the legacy of the Puritans if their descendants failed to learn from their tragic errors. In extreme survival situations communities pull together, and that’s a good thing. However, family units, living apart from one another in their own homes, provide a natural barrier to the spread of contagions. And the family, with parents working in the best interests of the children they love, are most blessed by a the freedom and potential of Capitalism.
The Plymouth Colonists have left an invaluable legacy in both history and principle. We can learn from their courage. We can learn from their devotion to the idea of free religious expression. And, we can learn from their mistakes.
By Marjorie Haun 11/24/13