What do you think of slavery?

Oct 2017
243
America ??
Welcome to millennium’s temple of the mind!
Read well below my brothers & sisters.

Today happens to be the 219th birthday of Nat Turner, whose rebellion played an important role in shaping antebellum society, & is also why I’ve decided to post this thread today.

What are justifications of slavery? What do you consider slavery, & how would you define it? & most importantly, what are your thoughts of it?

Perhaps slavery is no longer a major social issue as it has been universally made illegal as well as morally repulsed across the world over the last century & a half. Slavery is now largely thought of as a distant historical issue & it’s modern forms a marginal atrocity committed by the occasional evil or desperate people.
But this might have the effect of making people not realise how historically ubiquitous slavery was. As ubiquitous as it was historically, that means that it wasn’t just an occasional misfortune, it really means that it was a major role in societies, that lots of random people could easily find themselves in that situation, that any of us, if born in the past could have as well. Do you think legal slavery is realistically possible in the future, either in a continuation of our civilisation, or an emergence of another, either from our rubble/ashes, or from scratch?

Slavery has been far from a uniform historical phenomenon, it has various forms, & I understand that the popular image of slavery which is full chattel slavery was much less common that other forms, but of course not to say that it wasn’t common. Slavery is so deeply established in society that even by the time of our earliest records slavery was already an immemorially old established institution. Slavery’s unknown origins are shrouded in mystery along with the origins of civilization, & like agriculture, likely originated independently in a variety of ways across the world. It’s origins definitely seem to be on par with the origins of agriculture or at least settled living, but possibly even among hunter-gatherers, making it one of the oldest institutions of mankind, almost to suggest that it’s part of intimate human nature in some way, which is alarming & should be taken seriously shouldn’t it?

To me, out of all the injustices throughout history, the one aspect which has puzzled me the most is slavery. Most of history is fairly logical to me, reflecting human beings’ strive for success, happiness, overcoming struggle, & fulfilment of emotional needs, as well as justice, basically what just about any common sense person would agree that’s what he or she would think or do in those kinds of situations. Of course there are plenty of historical atrocities, but they were usually relatively short term & committed to peoples deemed as deserving in some way or outsiders, & in most cases were not living long term or nearby to the point of getting to know each other intimately well, hence justifying those atrocious acts. But slaves usually live well within the society of the oppressor, & there’s more than plenty of time to get to know them intimately enough, not to mention opportunities for the slaves to express themselves including their discontent at their conditions if it’s even permitted, to be able to draw potential conclusions that they may be as human, sensitive, & intelligent as yourself to the point of being able to question whether their enslavement is even fair at all, isn’t there?
I believe that it’s scientifically proven that human brains are nearly all identical & vary only very slightly, so probably proves that we’re all bound to think & feel the same way, so therefore it has always puzzled me to how human beings like you & I can come up with a long term in terms of its duration of practice as well as historical record & gross a practice as slavery. Slavery can perhaps be seen as a long term sacrifice of the socially or practically dead?

My best conclusion is that it was the enlightenment of the past 3 centuries or so as well as scientific progress since the scientific revolution which played the biggest role in developing modern principles of morality, many of our principles of morality rely upon science like proving how suffering is real & bad for the body as well as mind, & that before the enlightenment, many of our modern principles of natural rights just didn’t seem obvious to our ancestors. What do you think?

Might the fact that slavery was universally prevalent in a variety of forms throughout history, & only very recently been universally recognised as inherently wrong, suggest that it might be more necessary than imagined & might not be as inherently wrong as it may at first seem?

I’m hoping to have a serious in depth debate about slavery other than the traditional binary notion that it is wrong period, I chose to post this thread in the philosophy & sociology section over any other for this reason.

Let the debate begin!
 
Last edited:

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,800
First comment is that "slavery" is too generic a term, as it covers many different kinds of situations...... Indeed it would be good to come to a common definition: for example are serfs to be considered slaves or not ? are women forcefully married to be considered slaves or not ? are workers who may not leave their employer until they pay their debt (a still common situation with illegal migrants for example who must pay back the cost of their trip) slaves or not ? etc...

Aristotle claimed that slavery is good for the slave... There may actually been some truth in that with regards to the slavery that was most frequent in his time and place.... This would explain in part why the practive was so common..... both parties (master and slave) found some benefit in the situation....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Millennium and dvch

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,923
Yötebory Sveriya
Every leap of civilization was built off the back of a disposable workforce. We lost our stomach for slavery. Now we can only provide so many from the lowliest rungs of the globalized workforce. That barren pasture of a Western earth, empty and salted, right here. We have so much left to occupy; planets, asteroids, and the dead space between the stars. Our world, the seat from which we change the heavens. We need more slaves than can ever be acquired. Billions, so we can be trillions more. And capture the stars, retake Eden and conquer heaven by storm.



...seriously, kidding! I’m all for smashing bonds and liberating the last struggling worker. We have automation technology and a wealth of knowledge to repair this beautiful planet which humanity crushes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Millennium
Nov 2016
1,006
Germany
I would like to discuss here the origin of slavery and the historical connection with the oppression of women, which was a milder form of slavery.

It’s origins definitely seem to be on par with the origins of agriculture or at least settled living, but possibly even among hunter-gatherers, making it one of the oldest institutions of mankind, almost to suggest that it’s part of intimate human nature in some way, which is alarming & should be taken seriously shouldn’t it?
All this is completely wrong. Slavery was not introduced until the 5th millennium BCE, during the Sumerian Bronze Age, that is, ca. 5,000 years after the beginning of agriculture. Slavery presupposes warfare, which has developed by about 5,000 BCE.

Patriarchy was from its beginning in the 5th millennium BCE intrinsically based on slavery. In Sumer, where slavery first emerged, enslavement started with war prisoners. Non-Sumerian tribes were often raided especially for the purpose of enslaving them. The male slaves were used as workers (sometimes blinded to prevent escape) while the females mostly served as concubines, that is, sex slaves. Presumably, the practice of oppressing strangers has lowered the threshold of inhibition for the oppression of members of one's own people, leading to an increased hierarchization of society and - above all - to the ultimate oppression of women by men, which was previously not a social practice.

For example, the institution of concubinage shows how patriarchy handled monogamy: females were forbidden to have more than one love-mate while males were allowed to have a number of such. In marriage, the legal supremacy of the man applied - demonstrably from the 3rd millennium BCE onwards. A free man could, for example, sell himself and/or his wife and/or his children into slavery for a certain period of time in order to settle debts (debt bondage). As a rule, of course, he did not sell himself, but only his wife and/or children. The woman, on the other hand, did not have the right to sell her husband; in such cases she was exclusively an object, not an acting subject. In this sense she was the property of the man. Since Urukagina's reform in 2,350 BCE a man was allowed to smash his wife's teeth when he thought that she had said something disrespectful. Conversely, this was of course unthinkable. A man was also allowed to hold a second wife - the other way round (polyandry) was forbidden by Urukagina's reform.

The Origin of Patriarchy and Warfare in the Neolithic - by Gerhard Bott
 
Last edited:
Aug 2011
161
The Castle Anthrax
I'm also against it. It's unnatural. Men and women ought to be free.

Slavery is now largely thought of as a distant historical issue & it’s modern forms a marginal atrocity committed by the occasional evil or desperate people.
I disagree. I believe human trafficking is slavery. It's a shame on our modern contemporary enlightened and scientific society. The International Labour Organization reckons there were over 40 million victims of human trafficking in 2016. Not exactly a distant historical issue.
 

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,791
USA
In the ages of the Roman Republic/Empire, The Persian Empire as well as Ancient Greece...was slavery in these societies instead a form of servitude wholly different compared to say the racial or even chattel slavery that we saw post middle ages from the likes of the USA pre civil war, The Third Reich, as well as in the modern times ISIL , The Taliban and AQ.

Would folks compare slavery in the USA pre civil war which saw no white slaves but only black slaves with the type of slavery that we saw from the Reich and later ISIL? Or is US slavery on its own level? It would seem US enforced slavery pre WW2 was a lesser so called evil comapred to the Third Reich enforced slavery via the camps in the WW2 era , or the slave markets ISIL used to operate a few years back.

How does Indian, Chinese and Japanese enforced slavery/servitude come into play in this conversation? How was slavery/servitude in the history of India, Japan and China for example?


Now what about Arab/Muslim/Jewish enforced slavery/servitude of the ancient and middle ages, how does this compare to slavery/servitude that Christians may have engaged in throughout history.

We know today its the Christian majority countries in North and South America, Europe and one country in all of Africa and the middle east which is South Africa that today have the most liberal values, how much of a role has history played irt the fact that today its Christian majority countries that are the most diverse and liberal for example allowing LGBT marriage as well as citizenship to potential citizens regardless of race or religion and that is a key factor here. Did the stories of the middle ages involving Richard the Lionheart, King Arthur, Robin Hood for example to take from the rich and give to the poor, the notion of the Round table which seems to say equality for all play into the fact that North and South America, as well as Europe are the most free and liberal areas of our current world? And of the ancient and middle ages, which areas were the most liberal perhaps which areas had no slavery whatsoever but perhaps a system that involved servants or peasants?
 
Last edited:

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,791
USA
I'm also against it. It's unnatural. Men and women ought to be free.



I disagree. I believe human trafficking is slavery. It's a shame on our modern contemporary enlightened and scientific society. The International Labour Organization reckons there were over 40 million victims of human trafficking in 2016. Not exactly a distant historical issue.
Agreed Im also against slavery. I imagine most if not all posters on this board are against slavery.

Workers have it a bit tough today, not as bad as they did in the sweatshop days of the Industrial ages. But not as good as they had it in the USA for example in most of the 20th century.