If You Were Out Shopping on Thanksgiving, You Wouldn't Be Reading This Right Now

[OK, granted, you could be reading this on
a phone or something.]

Here’s the lede from
my latest column at Time.com
, which went live just

If there’s one thing even more uniquely American than choking
down mouthfuls of turkey no one wants, green bean
casserole no one admits to preparing, and pumpkin pie that no one
remembers buying on Thanksgiving, it’s going shopping all the time.
For god’s sake, George W. Bush counseled a nation still
reeling from the 9/11 attacks that when the going gets
tough, the tough go shopping. “Take your families and enjoy
life the way we want it to be enjoyed,” he said. Forget
baseball—shopping is the national pastime.

Given that, I’m genuinely
amazed at the pushback against plans by Walmart, Target,
and other major retailers to open their doors on a day that
everyone has off but no one has anything to do. Being disgusted by
the willingness of stores to open for business on, what, the
10th or 20th most solemn day of the year isn’t just
incomprehensible, it’s positively anti-American.

As Calvin Coolidge put it famously to a bunch of
newspaper editors back in 1925, “The chief business of the
American people is business.” Just as you can’t have Thanksgiving
without a meal that fully no one actually enjoys (and a guest list
that always seems only slightly less arbitrary, resentful, and
ill-mannered than the manimals in The Island of Dr.
), you can’t have a functioning free-market economy
without massive amounts of shopping. Every day is “Buy Nothing Day”
in North Korea and look where that’s got them.

Please check out the whole thing.

Please note that this column in no way is a call for mandatory
shopping or opening of stores on this or any other holiday. But it
is an argument for unfettering markets even on this hallowed day
(wait, is this Gettysburg sesquicentennial?).

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/28/if-you-were-out-shopping-on-thanksgiving

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