Thursday, 28 June 2012

Are you against slavery?

*

You say you reject the wisdom of the tradition, the moral consensus of many centuries of our best ancestors, because they believed in slavery - whereas we know that slavery is absolutely wrong.

*

I see: are you against slavery then?

Okay, but just let me check: is slavery acceptable under any possible circumstances? Are there particular situations when slavery is OK?

Maybe there are some people who ought to be allowed to have slaves?

No, no and no, you answer... I see.

*

So, how do you feel about the fact that slavery never was abolished in several parts of the African continent, is still there, is growing - was that okay, should it be tolerated?

And how do you feel about the re-introduction of slavery into Europe and the UK over the past decade or two - is that okay, should it be tolerated?

What? You didn't realize slavery had been re-introduced?

Don't you read the newspapers? Or maybe you prefer to ignore the reports because slavery was brought to Britain by migrants from slave-owning societies and sub-cultures.

*

So, just how important to you is this issue of slavery?

Are you against slavery even if it is within oppressed minority groups - or do you think that excuses them: maybe we ought to tolerate slavery in Europe and the UK, so long as it isn't done by the native population - is that what you think?

*

Well, now you know about slavery in the UK and Europe - what should be done?

Is this important, is it urgent, is it a major priority?

Should we eliminate slavery (because it can be done, it has been done in the past) when it exists - say- a few streets away from where we live...

if so, then how quickly: over the next few days, weeks, months or years?

Decades?

*

Ahh... I see... You don't like this line of reasoning.

I begin to understand.

You reject tradition because people in the olden-days had slaves and so were by definition less moral than modern people, than you and I - but you don't really object to slavery as such.

*

You don't much like slavery, but you don't really want to do what would be necessary to eliminate it.

In fact you are quite happy to tolerate slavery.

Slavery isn't really that important to you, is it?

I thought not.

*

Now, why do you reject the wisdom of tradition?

*