Discussing The Meaning of “Slavery”

This is a transcript of a discussion from my Discord server.

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“Government” always contains coercive force (aka more like an abusive broken family). An anarchic community is more akin to a loving family.




SOURCE: https://thebiggestpicture.net/Mark_Passio

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > Abdul
I don’t accept the definition of “statist”, “slavery” or description of Christ. But hey, diversity of thought is what makes Life interesting.

Abdul > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
“Anarchism” is the main definition I wanted to highlight with these. What’s your definition of slavery & statism?

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
Slavery is a claim of ownership. Ownership is the supreme right to decide what’s done to/with a thing. Government claims the supreme right to decide many things about you. Government is slavery, even if to a degree less than 100%.

Not sure where there’s room for disagreement.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > Abdul
A statist an advocate of a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs. Slavery is what blacks experienced prior to the Civil War.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
As long as there is freedom of thought – there will be disagreements. Only a tyrant would limit “room for disagreement”.

Abdul > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
Yes, I can agree with that. The definition of statism and slavery is more of a personal one in this diagram (though not mine as I didn’t make it).

Real slavery is very harsh, I know this first-hand. But again, it doesn’t mean we should put up with a rubbish system and be complacent about it.

BastardChris > Abdul
“Real slavery is very harsh”—this is typically phrased “hard slavery” as opposed to “soft slavery”. Hard slavery is the initial phase of enslavement. Hence, African American’s ancestors were among the latest to be enslaved.

Abdul > BastardChris
Yes, this is a good distinction. Most of us are under some kind of soft slavery (many still are under hard slavery to this day).

BastardChris > Abdul
The individual’s experience of slavery is often derived from both self-awareness and the willingness and ability to resist. During the first generation of “hard slavery” brutality may be consistent regardless, but after the first generation or two most comply without resistance.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
Is there room for disagreement on the fact that fire burns paper? Of course not. It’s not tyrannical, it’s just Truth.

Seriously, I would like to hear what you (or anyone else) feels is wrong with my previous statement. Which part do you disagree with?

”Slavery is a claim of ownership. Ownership is the supreme right to decide what’s done to/with a thing. Government claims the supreme right to decide many things about you. Government is slavery, even if to a degree less than 100%.”

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
There is such a thing as fireproof paper which would constitute a disagreement with your “Truth”. To deny room for this disagreement of fact would be the act of a tyrant.

Govt is just people. So it appears you are saying that people who serve in govt are slaves. And people who leave govt service are slaves. And everyone not in govt service is a slave. If so, then everybody is a slave and if everybody is a slave – no one is a slave.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
I knew you would do that. I would have to qualify my statements for 10 pages in an attempt to cover every dishonest loophole, and even then you’d still find one because that’s what you’ve trained yourself to do. A person has to care and proceed in earnest for valuable discussion to happen.

You know what I mean, and you know there’s such a thing as indisputable facts. Pointing this out is not tyrannical. Plus, I’m not saying I won’t hear and field challenges; I’m saying that as an honest investigator, I don’t see any valid refutation.

Government is not people, it’s a concept that inspires a particular mode of interaction. It is morally and conceptually identical to slavery, though it may take many forms (just like property theft, physical abuse, or any other form of interaction).

To find valid refutation, we have to find something invalid in one of the statements or in how they link together. I just can’t find it, so I’ve accepted the position. If you or anyone else can, I’m open to hearing it and changing my position immediately.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
My factually based disagreement with your paper “Truth” scenario, is a dishonest loophole? That’s a typical response of a closet tyrant. You apparently have a problem with me simply because I can find the flaws in your assertions and premises. So to you, being earnest is not raising fact based disagreements? I say again, ” As long as there is freedom of thought – there will be disagreements. Only a tyrant would limit “room for disagreement”. Many scientific “Truths” have been found to be false with the passage of time and experiment. But for the freedom to think differently, science would have never progressed beyond incorrect “Truths”.

True, govt is a social construct, however it cannot exist or do anything (like enslave) without people to implement it – therefore govt is made up of people. And these people, according to YOUR definition of “slavery” – are slaves. In fact, everybody is a slave using your definition and logic. And if everybody is a slave – it logically follows no one is a slave because no one is a master.

Are you trying to reify the concept of govt?

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
If I were to qualify my statement to indicate what we both already knew was my intent (by saying, ”Fire burns XYZ type of flammable paper”, for example), then your dishonest loophole would have been closed, but I thought we could dispense with such formalities since the point was so obvious.
Some things are absolutely true (at least by any measure that you and I are currently capable of employing), are they not? Things have properties, ideas can be logically organized. The sun rises in the east. I was born a male human. Is there room for disagreement here? These words mean something specific, and they accurately describe a current or historical fact (within a certain paradigm of reality).

Well, within our shared, everyday paradigm of reality, government is slavery. Each is both a slave and a master of sorts. The driver in antebellum slavery was a slave who whipped and commanded other slaves. In the same way, the politician is slave to his dark occult overseers, and master to the enforcement officer (not as an inherent feature, but according to the manner of their relative interactions).

We both know what I’m talking about—why burden our talks with such distractions? I will eternally review my position, but as of now, I see no way around this conclusion. If you or anyone else can, I am sincerely eager to hear it.

So far, I’ve not heard the idea validly refuted by the standard rules of linear, logical thinking, nor have I seen contradictory anecdotal evidence to suggest that legislation is not identical in its fundamental concept to chattel bondage (though it may differ in ostensible form).

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
It’s very simple. I don’t accept your broad description of slavery or that it can be less than 100%, your take on govt notwithstanding. Your “logical” conclusion is that everyone is a slave. Therefore, if true, linear, logical thinking would hold that no one is a slave because no one is master. Using your “logic” of ownership (of any kind) – if you don’t produce, via your ownership, your own food, clothing, water or other necessities of Life – you are a slave to those who have ownership of those things. You must work as a slave to someone who has ownership of a business in order to purchase the necessities of your Life from those who own them.

You then shift and say, “Government claims the supreme right to decide many things about you”. That is not a claim of ownership anymore than if you made such a claim. Does a parent thus own their children, using that logic? I guess an employer would own you as well?

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
But isn’t slavery always less than 100%? Nevermind the fact that the master cannot directly control the thoughts or actions of a man, but he doesn’t even intend to…

He doesn’t tell him which hand to use to feed himself, nor how many times to chew. He often allowed him the entire Sunday to do as he pleased. So as a crude estimation, even the dusky slave of the antebellum south was only 85% a slave (being off 1/7th of the week). Was he not a slave by your definition?

Please explain the relevancy of this “percentage of slavery” idea to the nature of the interaction. Theft is theft, penny or pound, is it not?

Government being the most overt example of slavery being discussed, I’d rather hold off on more nuanced matters (like employment) until this has been resolved.

I have already described how one can simultaneously fill both roles, slave and master, and it’s easy to see how when you think of slavery as a mode of interaction, rather than something that establishes mutually-exclusive roles.

Parents are stewards, not masters. Again, I’d rather handle one issue at a time. We’ve still got the percentage thing to settle. Better yet, maybe you should just define what “slavery” means from your perspective.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
My definition of a slave is very simplistic. To be a slave is to be owned by another person. A slave is a human being classed as property and who is forced to work for nothing and can be bought, sold or traded. In many cases they are looked upon as less than human. Btw, not all slaves got Sunday off as you describe.

“Parents are stewards, not masters”. Remember that statement for later discussion along with “Government claims the supreme right to decide many things about you. Government is slavery, even if to a degree less than 100%.”.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
What does it mean to be “owned” by another person? What is ownership? This is the main issue that we need to iron out. What follows is just commentary.

Slaves don’t work for nothing, they are generally compensated with the necessities of life, and protection from external threats. By your definition, slavery has never occurred (possible rare individual instances notwithstanding).

As a general note, please don’t say things like, ”Not all slaves had off on Sunday…”, because it’s irrelevant to my point. My point is about the nature of the interaction, not about particular expressions of it. Your definition has these particular qualifiers which result in ludicrous conclusions…

So if a person is not “classed” as property, they are not in a circumstance of slavery? What does classing do to change the nature of an interaction? “A rose [or thorn] by any other name…”, no?

“Can be bought, sold, or traded.”

What do you mean by “can”? Permitted by the surrounding people? If we make trading slaves illegal and just keep them for ourselves, are they no longer slaves?

“They are looked upon as less than human”.

What if I wholly recognize their humanity, but choose not to duly acknowledge it through my actions? Still a slave or no?

These descriptions all rely on a legalistic paradigm—it’s all about what people think, “officially” declare, are willing or unwilling to enforce, etc. It’s all subjective.

If we get to make up what’s slavery and what isn’t by official decree or personal opinion, this is essentially saying there is no such thing as slavery in objective reality (or that its objective existence is one of fiction).

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
I’ll try to make it even simpler. A slave, in my context, would be no different than a plow horse/mule. If you’ve never lived on a farm, I don’t know if you can grasp this simple example of ownership and the nature of the interaction.

Abdul > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass & bbblackwell
I get where both of you are coming from. Imo this questioning is about acknowledging the degree of slavery.

I doubt anyone here is under 100% slavery, but by the same token, I doubt anyone here is under 0% slavery either (or 100% freedom).

I think Chris’s distinction of soft slavery & hard slavery is perfect. I don’t know exactly at what point we would consider someone as being under hard slavery, but I’m sure it would be a high percentage.

We’re all under some degree of soft slavery (which simply is not in the same league as hard slavery). If you have enough freedom to express your thoughts online on platforms like discord, imo you cannot be considered to be under hard slavery. However, if you are being forced to pay taxes, this easily falls under soft slavery—you are not free as a bird, but you’re not a chained slave either.

Naunce is important; it’s the same reason why in order to be truthful (and accurate) we must acknowledge the degree of morality. You may have every right to repeatedly bang your head against the wall, but that is simply not a “wholly” moral action (it’s perhaps less moral, or if severe enough, perhaps even outright immoral).

I think introducing more nuance to this discussion of slavery is important. Just because someone may not be under hardcore slavery, that doesn’t mean that they are therefore completely free, and just because someone may be experiencing some elements of slavery, doesn’t mean that they are a complete slave.

So perhaps the phrase “government is slavery” can be expanded to: government is a form of self-imposed soft slavery (in the aggregate).

There’s a point where the degree of soft slavery gets so bad that it ought to be considered hard slavery, but I’m not sure where that line would be drawn (any thoughts on that?)

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > Abdul
Soft and hard slavery are terms being manipulated to fit a narrative – govt is a slavery. I’ll use those terms for a bit. While in some cases of govt hard slavery might be true, it does not apply to the US, in general, imo. However, I also am of the opinion that transfer of wealth, via force of govt, is a form of slavery of those who have wealth subject to said transfer. Maybe I could agree to that as being soft slavery of the non-self-imposed kind.

But my definition of slave or slavery does not include such distinctions as hard or soft slavery. A slave, like a mule, would be maintained to effect the most productive use of their labor. No such thing as soft or hard slavery of a mule.

BastardChris > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass & bbblackwell
I think trying to distinguish between hard and soft slavery boils down to how long the chains of slavery are. In other words, how much can the enslaved get away with—even temporarily—before the slave driver’s exert violence upon them. For example, in antebellum slavery, it was mostly impossible for the enslaved to “educate” their own children. The slave master’s insistence on “educating” the enslaved children remains today but there are many more slaves and less slave driver’s which doesn’t negate the (threat of) violence, but there are more opportunities today to evade the violence—at least temporarily.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
Incidentally, I’m glad you’re highlighting how animal exploitation is slavery, and I also understand what you’re getting at.

Now, if you treat someone like a plow horse only 6 days a week, or maybe only half of each day, or only if he chooses to remain within a certain boundary, or if he owes you money, or he committed an act of theft 2 years ago, or even if you only treat him that way for 5 minutes then let him go forever… It doesn’t change the nature of that interaction. It changes duration and form, etc., but water is water, regardless of how much their is or what shape glass it’s in.

What would you have us call this interaction? I call it slavery because its exploitation with the specific context of overriding the victim’s will with a superior claim, not just violence.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
I tried to give a simple example of what a slave would be imo. And now you want to be pedantic. I’ll try again to be clear. A slave, like a mule, would be maintained to effect the most productive use of their labor. You wouldn’t starve, or otherwise not care for, your mule which would be detrimental to its productivity. You wouldn’t mistreat any of your farm equipment that would cause harm to its ability to be productive.

For instance, for city people, you would keep your vehicle maintained in good working order and give it gas/oil/water so that it may be productive when you call upon its “labor” to work for you. That’s the nature of interaction – maintaining the ability of a working asset to be at its greatest productivity. A slave or mule owner cares not about what the asset thinks, dreams or wills.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
I do not disagree. You have described a certain aspect of the slavery mindset, but again, it focuses on a superficial and variable aspect of the phenomenon. I don’t see how slavery as a whole is being defined by these sorts of descriptions.

If the master did not take care of his slaves well (and many didn’t, indulging their personal degeneracy, or finding it more profitable to work slaves to death and replace them, rather than treating them well), does this mean it’s no longer slavery?

And this description could easily apply to government, so I don’t think it demonstrates how governmental systems differ from chattel bondage in their core interaction with the people.

Government is a management system whose participants are charged with making it a maximally successful farm. Success, however, is defined by the goal. That goal may not always be so obvious, especially when dealing with the bizarre figures who direct government from their remote positions outside of popular society.

Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass > bbblackwell
I was further describing my definition of slave/slavery. I wasn’t looking for you to agree or see it my way. You may disagree but, that’s the beauty of the freedom of diverse thought. Likewise, given my definition, we will disagree about “govt slavery” and your descriptive belief about it.

You ask, “If the master did not take care of his slaves well (and many didn’t, indulging their personal degeneracy, or finding it more profitable to work slaves to death and replace them, rather than treating them well), does this mean it’s no longer slavery?”

That makes no sense. We’re talking about a business asset, its maintenance and its usage, not the destructive treatment of it. A dead slave is no longer a business asset, slavery notwithstanding. If the master chose to work his slave or his mule to death or work his tractor until the engine blew up – to increase his profit (which is the goal of a business) – from his business standpoint that is an efficient use of the asset.

bbblackwell > Juan Galt Legal Bad Ass
Ah well. I don’t think we’re getting anywhere here, but we gotta try every now and then Hahaha.

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