In defence of slavery

I hate that loaded term.  Slavery.

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There were a lot of great things about slavery.

For one thing, it was the mainstay of economic growth. You probably couldn’t have HAD the industrial revolution without slavery, let alone the old South.  The glory of Athens would’ve been nowhere.  I just wish more people had told those idiotic anti-slavery campaigners (Wilberforce, Lincoln), ‘Naive moralising is all very well but what about JOBS!’

Plus, the slaves were better off then.  In the days of slavery, at least the masters would look after their property, feed them, house them, tuck them into bed at night.  No such luck now – look at all the poor bastards, forced to fend for themselves in Detroit.

And you know, it’s not that I don’t like other races. Actually some of my best friends are African (ex-boyfriends, actually).  But even the most ardent supporter of liberties has to recognise that these people are primitive. It’s in the natural order for us white people to look after them, nay, USE them.  Left to themselves, they’d just run about and gore each other.  Look at Liberia.

Some point at the cruelty, the abuses.  Babies ripped from mothers’ arms, men forced to work in the cotton fields till they dropped, people forced into crowded transport ships to die in their own filth, then tossed overboard like so much bad meat.

But those were the exceptions.  Looked at with a calm and rational eye, slavery made good economic sense.  Slavery is natural.  And after all, it’s not as if they were fully human, any more than animals are.  And just like animals, they were just as brutal to each other as we were to them.  Law of the jungle.

Talking of animals…could someone run me through the meat industry’s arguments again?

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40 comments

  1. and now we have even more ingenious and insidious ways of perpetuating slavery. The corporate world’s systematic exploitation of the globe in collusion with political indifference means 1/8 th of the world is starving, the major economies are driven by manufacturing sweatshops where workers (slaves?) earn around 50 cents a day …(this is in India), while the rich live decadent lifestyles and grow obese and propound “trickle-down” economic philosophy. Or start wars.

  2. WOW Rose you have guts. It’s hard to dispute absurdity, innit? The sad thing is, to some people this makes sense … and that’s sad. Thank God for humor … how could we accept inhumanity? Come to think of it … it’s hard to accept even when we make fun of it. xx

  3. There is nothing that was or is “great” about slavery. The only defense of it can possibly be that it was the paradigm of a time and place that is totally irrelevant in this day and age. As such the defenders of it with the arguments given here were justified in their beliefs AT THE TIME. It took paradigm shifting events (such as the U.S. Civil War) to put the lie to these fast becoming outmoded practices and myths.

    I agree with iamnotshe in their assessment of your “guts.” I once did a college paper, defending euthanasia for the old, poor, and sick and gave as (at least) one of the arguments that the euthanized individuals could be used as a food and protein source for the world’s hungry by means of cannibalism and use of waste body parts for fertilizer.

    Playing the Devil’s Advocate can be fun as well as enlightening.

    • I guess the thing about slavery was, it did have a lot of economic benefits, and the abolition of it put a lot of people out of work, not least the slaves. Versions of it are used in the middle east, with Pakistanis and Asians supplying the slave labour. I don’t think economics and jobs can ever really be used as an argument for doing what is basically immoral.

      • And slavery didn’t facilitate the industrial revolution either — in fact it hindered it. Slaves as agricultural adjuncts keep the cost of agriculture low and therefore inhibits innovation in industry. Also, slave labor is highly inefficient in industrial production models for performance and training. Construction not so much, but you’ll find the artisans of the construction trades are usually not slave labor unless they have been elevated from it.

      • I was thinking of the money brought in by the slave trade to the British empire. But it was an off the cuff comment – it may well not have been so. I guess they thought it made economic sense at the time. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not REALLY arguing that slavery was a good thing in any way – I’m just making the point that the arguments for slavery follow much the same lines as the arguments for that other highly immoral activity, meat production (immoral because of the way it’s done more than the fact that it is done).

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      • I knew you weren’t arguing for slavery rose. Velly Velly tounge in cheek, what what? Like my essay on euthanasia. *wink wink*

        It was indeed argued as a good economic model and it was the sophist and specious arguments that were made that fooled many. The truth of it only became completely verifiable in hindsight.

  4. Slavery in the Caribean and America began with white slaves. when Columbus discovered the new world, he told everyone it wsa paradse so everyone rushed to go there. Then they discovered it was hot, with strange diseases, hurricanes and the same people in charge as at home, so they decided to stay in Europe, so to supply the labour, they sent out political prisoners, the poor and then when they ran out of them, they started buying them from Africa. a lot of the Irish were sent to Barbadoes where they are called the red legs.

  5. Yes, Rose; the similarities between the slave traders of old and the slave/animal traders of today may have the same basis upon which to negotiate: The economy and a causal reaction of one dominant party over an assumed subordinate, with all the ensuing rationalizations.

    • Yes, it’s a moving article. I think I’d read somewhere that Noam Chomsky was arrogant and sometimes mendacious, but this is a much better case. I saw Argo last night and was reminded how US foreign policy has made the world a much worse place in many ways (although in other ways I’m sure they’ve contributed for the good).

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  6. Ha! Excellent Rose – closing, that is.

    I was reading along, thinking, this is tongue in cheek, sure, BUT BRAVE!! I wasn’t sure how you were going to end it, but it ended perfectly.

    Re your mention of babies ripped from mothers’ arms – that really got to me. I really, really felt that…

    • Yes, I think all mothers feel empathy about that kind of thing..I can’t read or watch anything which has bad things happening to children in it. Even bits of the news.

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  7. Actually, slavery makes very poor economic sense and the lack of a robust foundation to the Southern economy was one of the prime reasons the South was unable to sustain it’s effort during the War of Northern Aggression.

    The meat industry’s primary (and convincing and correct argument) is that meat is delicious.

    • Well, I acknowledge that other people like it. But ultimately, delicious or not, we can’t use that or any other argument to justify cruelty. At least, so I think. The time’s coming when we’ll be able to manufacture meat without animals, though, and it will be a lot cheaper. (I still won’t eat it though because I don’t like it that much)

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  8. That’s one of the best eye grabbing “must read” titles that I’ve seen in a while, and it got me over here in a hurry. And your post was every bit worth the read, because it’s great, and your writing reminds me of the reverse position shock value strategy of Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal”, in which he suggested that “the Irish problem” could be solved by encouraging the Irish to eat their children.

    Impressive post, Rose. Very impressive.

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