Thursday 17 October 2013

Why do modern Leftists *pretend* to be against slavery?


Of course slavery is certainly a bad thing in the narrow sense that nobody would want to be a slave all else being equal.

But in real life all else never is equal - and the question is what other considerations are in practice allowed to weigh in favour of tolerating slavery.

Modern Leftists pretend to be 100 percent under-all-circumstances against slavery; but in real life they always make an exception when to suppress slavery would entail going against those principles which Leftists hold to be more important - such as the privileged status of some social groups.


Thus slavery has been re-introduced into Britain in the past few decades, to a significant but unmeasured extent (certainly some thousands of slaves, maybe tens of thousands depending on definitions) within protected and privileged ethnic groups; and this has happened unopposed, uninvestigated and almost-entirely unprosecuted by government agencies (although to keep Britain free from slavery would nowadays be very easy indeed; easier than at any time in history); because Leftists operate on the basis that the actual real life slave-holding groups happen to be those who Leftists believe should have privileged status with respect to law and regulations.

(Indeed, laws and regulations are nowadays really only intended to apply to the productive and well-behaved among the native population, and perhaps only fully applicable to the productive and well-behaved adult men among these.)


So, given that Leftists are prepared to tolerate, conceal and protect actual slavery as it exists now in Britain, and of course much more widely and openly in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, why are Leftists pretending to be theoretically vehemently-opposed to slavery?

Quite simple: because to claim to be utterly opposed to slavery under and conceivable circumstance enables Leftists to claim absolute and qualitative moral superiority over all previous historical societies which openly had slaves - which is pretty much all recorded human societies them until circa 1800.

That's all there is to it.



ajb said...

A common historical form of slavery - debt slavery - is quite common nowadays. It is 'distributed' - the debt holder is typically one legal entity, the employer another, instead of having those both in the same personage, as was the more typical form.

The net result, I think, isn't that much different. People are more or less forced to work at jobs they dislike in order to pay their debts off.

This state of affairs is now taken for granted, and not recognized as 'slavery' in any significant sense. Instead, people just grumble about it while continuing to think of themselves as 'free' in the relevant senses.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - I am talking here about old fashioned slavery, when somebody owns somebody else. There are many intermediate states between this kind of slavery and freedom, also many degrees of societal (religious, legal etc) regulation of the master slave relationship.

One irony of slavery is that the worst treated slaves left almost no record since they were simply worked to death - while the better treated slaves were well documented.

Hence the places which treated slaves better tend to be most vilified (since we know what happened there); while hardly anybody remembers the places where all the imported slaves were simply worked to death and left virtually no descendents - eg North Africa and the Middle East.

Even within the Americas, in the Northern part of the continent the slave population was growing and self-sustaining, while the Southern part (eg Brazil) required continual fresh supplies of slaves since they were killed faster than they reproduced - yet, again, the most blame goes to the places that treated slaves better.

Slavery is one of those topics where most peoples' understanding is so partial and distorted that they almost always draw the opposite conclusion from the correct one (e.g. Britain is blamed for trading in slaves which everyone did because it was profitable and beneficial, instead of for abolishing slaves at truly vast cost in treasure, lives and travail); yet their gross, endemic and ignorant errors are protected from correction by self-righteousness hysteria.

Nicholas Fulford said...

Slavery is illegal in Canada, (which is where I live.) Does slavery still occur here? In the illegal world of human trafficking, and especially with respect to sex-slaves it continues to exist.

I doubt that many who are not involved in making money from slavery are supporters. I have not tried to seek it out, nor do I feel the inclination to do so. I oppose it on moral and legal grounds, and support efforts on the part of my government to curtail it.

I do have one interesting observation to do with slavery in the United States in the 19th century: Poor immigrants who were not slaves often were treated worse than slaves. Why? Because a slave has value to the slave's "owner", whereas a poor immigrant hired at low cost to do dangerous work is not owned, and hence there is little vested in the health and safety of this person.

asdf said...

Strange enough right on yahoos front page.

Keep in mind American's fought a war to free about 4 million slaves, but today there are still 30 million slaves and nobody cares.

Bruce Charlton said...