It continues to surprise me how little the average US citizen knows about history, and it's certainly true that the Disneyesque conception of Pilgrims as harmless cartoon characters in funny clothing is held by most. The reality, however is different in every detail. First of all, the Pilgrims were by no means the first European settlers in North America, as England had established tobacco plantations decades earlier. Furthermore, the Pilgrims were fleeing religious prosecution in the same way Nazis fled to Argentina after WWII. They were such an unpleasant and intolerant group of fundamentalists that even the famously patient and humane Dutch eventually insisted they take their toxic fantasies elsewhere. Then, when they did show up on the shores of North America they initially refused to believe that winter was coming and regarded native asseverations as wicked Devil-inspired temptation designed to lead them away from their absolute faith in whatever plan they imagined their god had for them. Only thanks to the local Indians sharing precious food with these ungrateful bigots did the Puritans manage to survive their first winter in the New World - and frankly it's a great shame they did. The grotesque fantasy of Thanksgiving, invented to "bind the nation" in the years after the US civil war, is a shameful and disgraceful distortion of history.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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