Thanksgiving: Virtue and Restraint

Written by Ben Cheek on .

I pledge not to shop on ThanksgivingBlack Friday is bleeding into Thursday as retailers open on Thanksgiving -- and many shoppers are mad about it.  Why?  Aren't these businesses just trying to serve their customers?  Shouldn't people be free to shopp whenever they feel like it?

Many of the protests have to do with what kind of Thanksgiving the workers at these retail giants are likely to have.  But I think there is something to say on a deeper level.

Sometimes we kill the things we love. Businesses love the holidays, and rightly so. The spirit of celebration and generousity can really mean a boost for business as people show love to those around them. But when we encourage greed and glutunous consumption, we exchange vice for virtue and destroy the very power that produces the adundance of the holidays. It's time for businesses to see they've gone too far!

At the heart of the issue is the same thing that often has made it difficult for me to be thankful on Thanksgiving.  If I make it a focus on all my cravings and the over-satifaction of every possible visceral desire, I've destroyed it.  You cannot be thankful if you let vice rein over virtue. 

Even if the story is just a myth, the picture of the first celebration of Thanksgiving in Plymouth was one of virtue.  After barely surviving their transition to the New World, and after the rescue at the hands of the compassionate First Nations, true virtue -- what was really important and valuable -- was crystal clear to the colonists.  And so they were purely thankful.

We as people, organizations, businesses and corporations must always fight to protect virtue.  Without it, there is nothing worth having.  Celebration becomes gluttony.  Gifts become stuff.  And we become a little less human.  Want to stand up for the virtue of Thinksgiving?  Like the FB page of Say No to Shopping on Thanksgiving!


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