In Defense Of Slavery
(I have taken many of the arguments I am currently hearing and imagining them being employed by someone a couple of hundred years ago)
I’m sick of people saying slavery as a way of organizing an economy is bad. Have there been abuses? Sure. Is the system perfect? No. But we must remember that the United States of America was built on slavery. Our very culture of freedom and opportunity would not today exist if it were not for an economy based in slavery. No, it is not perfect. And yes, there are ways it can be improved. Nevertheless, slavery is the greatest economic system that has ever existed.
Before you consider throwing out the economic foundation that our country was founded on in favor of some foreign system, take a long hard look at what the alternatives are. Take a look at the Native American tribes in the west who do not have an agrarian economy based on ownership of other people. Everywhere their tribes are failing, their way of life disintegrating. Instead of intelligent employment of slaves to produce what they need, they rely on buffalo for food, clothing and housing. And what is the result? A rapidly shrinking supply of buffalo. When will they admit their system does not work?
Regard, also, our neighbors to the south. Why, it has been scarce two score years since Mexico has done away with slavery, and in that short amount of time, their ability to govern their own affairs has been so lacking that the United States was forced to take control of the territories of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Texas, clear proof that an economy based on slavery is superior to the alternative. In Central and in South America, too, once-thriving industries have suffered as the result of a transition to a non-slave economy. Their mining of precious minerals has plummeted, their rubber plantations a mere shadow of what they once were.
What many regard as cruelty and injustice in a slave-holding economy is actually part of a self-regulating system. For example, many people are disinclined through experience with other forms of economies to climb underground to dig for emeralds. These individuals, lacking in personal ambition, must be induced to be productive members of a society. Likewise, there are many who are unwilling to do the work of picking cotton, ironing people’s linens, and slopping out the barn. It is the unfortunate burden of those better capable of understanding how the world operates to ensure others do their part.
Of course, the tools employed to ensure compliance in a system based on slavery can seem harsh to those unfamiliar with the system. But it has been demonstrated time and again that the whipping and enslavement of workers has dramatically decreased the need for prisons. In many cases, sparing the rod is not ultimately the most compassionate treatment.
And while the slave seems at first glimpse to be a tool and not a treasured member of society, nothing could be further from the truth. The slave is the most highly valued resource of the slave owner. The owner of a plantation is quite aware, believe you me, that all the wealth he has acquired could not be achieved without the labor of his slaves. That is why he will do everything possible to be certain his slaves are kept at peak operating efficiency.
For example, slave owners have an economic stake in keeping their slaves well-fed. It hardly requires explaining that the better nourished a slave is, the more productive he will be and the richer his owner will be in return. Moreover, a sick slave is an unproductive slave, which is why a smart slave owner will make sure the slave who is sick, or injured due to corrective whipping, will receive adequate health care. Why, one could hardly imagine a worker taking as much interest in his own health as the man who owns him.
Now, I won’t pretend that there aren’t flaws and imperfections in the slavery system. But most of these flaws result not from the practice of slavery but due to government interference in a pure slavery system. Well-meaning but ignorant do-gooders are always trying to improve upon the slavery economy, but in the end they only do more harm than good. The system works best when it is allowed to work as it was intended. Outside interference will only make things worse.
Lastly, there is the racial component to slavery. On this subject, I must wholeheartedly agree with the critics of slavery. For too long, the racial identity of slave owners has been overwhelmingly white while slaves have been disproportionately persons of color. This needs to change, and we must do whatever it takes to make sure people of color have access to the ownership of slaves of whatever color, gender, or orientation. But it would be a foolish mistake if we were to, in the process of integrating the ownership of slaves, harm the very institution that has allowed so many slaveholders and slaves alike to experience a wealth other nations (the Cree Nation, the Navajos, and the Cherokee, just to name a few) can only dream of.
We do not need to abolish the slave economy, we just need to ensure that it is allowed to work as it was intended and without bias as regards to race, gender, or sexual bias.