Politics and Economics

Progressive Slavery … part 1

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 travel.

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.

(continued…)

Cheers

Joe

CSR

Disclaimer for the nit pickers: we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

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The Inner Struggle

Reluctant Fiat …

Amazing day, actually accomplished everything I set out to do without a single crisis. +8 degrees Celsius and the ice is melting everywhere … a far cry from a few days ago when it was -20. Baked Cod and Spinach salad with Balsamic vinaigrette for supper. Sipping a nice 30 year old Port for desert and thinking on embracing God’s plan for us …

All passions, appetites and the temptations to indulge them have one thing in common: they entice us to disregard natural law and resist the Lordship of God in our lives (You ain’t the boss of me!).

The first temptation began with the Great Lie in the garden; the lie that says we can live our best life outside the rules of God, that freedom requires unrestricted autonomy (sound familiar – Anyone? Anyone?  Sorry Ferris). The three temptations we all face, while not the exact same things of course, fall into three classic categories or ways that we resist the Lordship of God in our lives.

First, we are tempted to allow sensual pleasure to occupy the center of our concerns. We focus on eating, drinking, and sex (30 year old Port?). But this is a source of great mischief, for only God can legitimately fill that central position.

Second, we are tempted by power and control. From national tyrants to petty abusers within families and friendships, power is alluring, and of course power corrupts and absolute power … well you know that one, right?

Third, we are tempted to make honour and fame our central pursuit. We indulge the narcissist in each of us. We struggle to raise our own reputation, be seen by everyone, be admired by everyone, be esteemed by everyone.

So reflect on where you are right now. What are you doing in the garden? Who is luring you and how? Are you buying into the Big Lie? Where are you in the desert? How do you stand up to the three great temptations: to sensual pleasure, honor, and power?

Are we reluctant to embrace the FIAT? Are we afraid that God’s plan for us might not be our plan for our self?  We want to do God’s will, but only if we can do it our way?

Augustine’s Confessions” is an interesting starting place for contemplating the FIAT. I first read it as a young man and was not impressed. Later, in my 40’s it was so moving that I felt like he had written it to me personally. Now, re-reading it in my 60’s I get even more out of it and am both amused and sometimes embarrassed by my margin notes from my 40’s. Vanity … all is vanity.

Augustine was the young man who prayed “Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure) – but not yet!” . So how do we approach an absolute surrender to God’s will? How do we shed the “self”?

Cheers

Joe

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Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately

 

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