I have been thinking about just what it is that distinguishes slaves from masters. The slavery of the progressive revolution is not exactly like Roman slavery, or Greek slavery, or southern cotton plantation slavery, or even modern Islamic slavery. I had the idea to write something about this while reading over at David Warren’s site.
It seems a common contemporary view that slavery is something, a status or state in life which is forced upon unwilling victims, who are definitely not us. Traditional slavery is an attempt to dehumanize people and treat them as domesticated consumable assets like beasts of burden such as horses, cattle, oxen, etc. Slaves are forced to work against their will, using violence or the threat of it, with no pay.
At the simplest level, slavery produces a continuous state of conflict between the slave and the master. The master forcing or coercing the slave to perform a service or function for the master from which the master derives material reward. Like beasts of burden, slaves are treated as commodity that can be bought and sold, and disposed of when there is no further utility to be had. In some societies and eras, such as 18th and 19th century North America, the commodity value of slaves increased dramatically. At other times and places, such as today, the commodity value of slaves is minimal; they can’t be sold for much and are considered “disposable people”.
Another characteristic of slavery from ancient Babylonia, Greece, and Rome through the early 20th century to the modern 21st, is the masters attempt to physically distinguish slaves from free people. Most instances of slavery were and are not based on the concept of race. We see this in the ancient world, as well as in 20th century state slavery in Germany and Russia, and modern slavery. When masters could not easily identify slaves as such, they branded them, shaved their heads, made them wear special clothing or badges, or used some other physically distinguishing characteristic to “mark” them as slaves, including such things as where they live and how they tracel.
Perhaps a more inclusive definition of slavery might be that a master has autonomy and free will and a slave has neither. Notice also that while we commonly associate “slavery” with a state in life which is forced upon unwilling victims, it is in fact much more common for “slaves” to voluntarily submit themselves to this status because it is “easier” or perhaps the only concept they have of “normal life”, as we see today for the vast majority or workers in North America and Europe and China, and all the little Stans, in fact pretty much everywhere you see socialism and totalitarianism as the culture.
It doesn’t seem to much matter whether slavery is forced upon a person, as in the case of Islamic sex slaves, or one submits oneself to the strictures as a minimum wage hand to mouth labourer of any sort, be it a sex worker, a burger flipper or an office cube drone. One way of looking at all “work” is that we sell ourselves, our energy, time, and talent, on a daily basis for some kind of return. As in ancient slave societies the higher the skill and talent of the slave the higher the position and reward. The lower the skill and talent the lower the position and the less value attached to that person.
Disclaimer for the nit pickers: we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately