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All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice

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JMHX
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All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 12:49 PM Reply

When Homer described Ulysses as saying "All slaves are slaves by choice," you can be certain this was the impression he meant to make on the listener. Given the environment of the times, Homer could well have used any phrasing he'd wanted. But there remains the statement, picked up now and then throughout the centuries. Our civilization has carried the statement in the 1100s as defiantly Anglo peasants revolted against their French dominates, and again in the 1500s as global trade created amazing networks of subservience and dominance in trade. And again in the 1790s and 1800s when the voice of Socialism and representative government reared against the totalitarian nature of the dying feudal system on the European mainland.

All slaves are slaves by choice.

It's an interesting thought. All systems of influence are in some way consensual, either by mutual agreement or by force of arms. A slave has the option to rebel. This can be a terrible option, one with no viable chance of success, as is currently the case in places like North Korea. Rebellion means certain death. But the choice remains to break the bonds of subservience to totalitarian governments. The French at the dawn of the 19th Century made the conscious and bloody (and ultimately disillusioning) choice to abandon the position of slavery. Others, like those in Thailand and Burma and Vietnam, seem to go through cycles of different classes throwing off the bonds of slavery in order to exert their new class power by repressing and oppressing those who previously stood as the masters.

All slaves are slaves by choice.

But consider a few thoughts as you craft a response and share your thoughts. Take a system like North Korea, where state re-education from childhood is commonplace. The very idea of an alternative system of governance has been denied formation in the minds of so many North Koreans. If this is the case, and the very idea of revolt is stricken from collective consciousness, is slavery still a choice? Does choice depend on a knowledge of options, or merely their existence? And beyond that, if the state makes the exercise of a choice difficult to the point of ensuring death, have they effectively removed that choice and thus rendered an insurmountable slavery?

Consider a slave who, though in bondage, never has a desire to flee because the very awareness that there exists anything outside slavery has been erased by those in power. Can one still blame that slave for a failure to recognize his plight? Can we, standing here with the awareness we have, really blame the slave and not the slave master for his condition? Can we really expect every individual citizen, without support, to rise up and exert their tiny scraps of political force?

If not, then building structures becomes important, structures that reinforce ideals of independence and liberty. And who is going to build those structures? Certainly not the government or the slave master whose goal is to keep the slave dependent. Not the private sector, which has anyway quite a profitable engagement going on between the market and the slave owner. Not the public sector, which is made up mostly of those who benefit from the current system more than they might a more enlightened system.

To whom can we turn?


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leanlifter1
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 01:19 PM Reply

Coercion is not by choice and that is kind of the idea behind Coercion to get people to do what they do not normally choose.


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JMHX
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 01:36 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 01:19 PM, leanlifter1 wrote: Coercion is not by choice and that is kind of the idea behind Coercion to get people to do what they do not normally choose.

You just said coercion is not a choice by defining it as the most salient (by force) of other choices.

Sigh.


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leanlifter1
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 01:41 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 01:36 PM, JMHX wrote:
At 12/14/12 01:19 PM, leanlifter1 wrote: Coercion is not by choice and that is kind of the idea behind Coercion to get people to do what they do not normally choose.
You just said coercion is not a choice by defining it as the most salient (by force) of other choices.

Sigh.

What you tried to say did not make any sense.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 05:01 PM Reply

A point you tried to make but never really finished is the perspectve point. If a slave doesn't believe they are a slave, is it slavery at all?

The definition of servitude (which is a part of the definition of slavery) is: a condition in which one lacks liberty. Liberties are 100% subjective. An act one does not view as part of liberty does not create servitude when removed.

So if the 'slaves' believe they have control over thier lives, the objective fact that they do not, would not make them a slave.

At 12/14/12 01:41 PM, leanlifter1 wrote: What you tried to say did not make any sense.

Makes a great deal of sense.

Succumbing to coercion is a choice. You have the choice of doing what the coercer wants or the choice of disobeying and facing the consequences.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 06:32 PM Reply

You bring up an interesting point. My ultimatum for life is not so different from what you're proposing right now: If you're not happy, die. If life isn't worth it, then why continue to participate?

The biggest problem with this statement is that overcoming fear isn't always easy to do. Try jumping in front of a train. There are tons of physiological reactions in your body that will make it extremely difficult to do so. Similarly, try punching a random person in the face. Better yet, do it to a cop. Acting so far outside of what is culturally accepted is surprisingly difficult.

At 12/14/12 05:01 PM, Camarohusky wrote: A point you tried to make but never really finished is the perspectve point. If a slave doesn't believe they are a slave, is it slavery at all?

The definition of servitude (which is a part of the definition of slavery) is: a condition in which one lacks liberty. Liberties are 100% subjective. An act one does not view as part of liberty does not create servitude when removed.

So if the 'slaves' believe they have control over thier lives, the objective fact that they do not, would not make them a slave.

You hit the nail right on the head there. If you're not aware of an alternative, then do you really see yourself as a slave? Without a reference point, what makes a life in servitude seem insufficient?

I have sometimes considered that our cultural idea of progress is what causes a lot of misery nowadays. Back during the middle ages, disparity in wealth was completely unbalanced, but the people never dreamed of ascending the social ladder or attaining a higher class, so it didn't bother them the way it bothers us today.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 06:50 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 05:01 PM, Camarohusky wrote:
Succumbing to coercion is a choice. You have the choice of doing what the coercer wants or the choice of disobeying and facing the consequences.

You are thinking to far into the extremes. If you quite your job or mess up you income you will starve and be homeless in time simple as that. You have no choice but to work a job or create if you are so lucky to be in that position to uphold the status quo which means in essence cyclical consumption of useless China made junk that you get ripped off on each and every day.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 07:03 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 06:50 PM, leanlifter1 wrote:
At 12/14/12 05:01 PM, Camarohusky wrote:
You are thinking to far into the extremes. If you quite your job or mess up you income you will starve and be homeless in time simple as that. You have no choice but to work a job or create if you are so lucky to be in that position to uphold the status quo which means in essence cyclical consumption of useless China made junk that you get ripped off on each and every day.

You could still oppose that system, but your option is limited and terrible by comparison. Systems and structures maintain themselves not by being absolutely good, but by being substantially better than alternatives. It's how a system with high economic growth and good social programs can also so effectively oppress civil liberties with minimal complaint. The alternative is too bad for individuals to revolt.


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leanlifter1
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 07:16 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 07:03 PM, JMHX wrote:
Systems and structures maintain themselves not by being absolutely good, but by being substantially better than alternatives.

Americanism, European,Asian, Aussie, Indian etc ... lifestyles are not sustainable at all and if you need proof I suggest you consider peak Oil pricing for you "Monetary Economically" minded. Socioeconomic oppression holds back innovation and prosperity for all.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 14th, 2012 @ 09:56 PM Reply

At 12/14/12 06:50 PM, leanlifter1 wrote:
You are thinking to far into the extremes. If you quite your job or mess up you income you will starve and be homeless in time simple as that.

No you won't.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 03:49 AM Reply

At 12/14/12 12:49 PM, JMHX wrote:
It's an interesting thought. All systems of influence are in some way consensual, either by mutual agreement or by force of arms. A slave has the option to rebel.

I disagree with that statement and here is why. Some slaves don't have the ability to rebel. Example: Lets say there's a woman that is a sex slave. Her master has her tide up to a bed and rapes her whenever he feel like it. She is still a slave but she clearly does not have the power to rebel. In this case she doesn't have the choice to not be a slave.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 08:25 AM Reply

Well thankfully we live in a deterministic universe, at least on any meaningful scale, therefore they truly don't have a choice : D

And further: Can a person or group be happier as slaves than free?
Are animals enslaved? How smart do you have to be to be considered enslaveable ? If you don't think you're enslaved, are you?
What is slavery? Is a police state slavery? In that case, isn't any state a form of slavery?

So many questions, so many useless answers haha.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 15th, 2012 @ 10:39 PM Reply

At 12/15/12 08:25 AM, poxpower wrote: Well thankfully we live in a deterministic universe, at least on any meaningful scale, therefore they truly don't have a choice : D

And further: Can a person or group be happier as slaves than free?
Are animals enslaved? How smart do you have to be to be considered enslaveable ? If you don't think you're enslaved, are you?
What is slavery? Is a police state slavery? In that case, isn't any state a form of slavery?

So many questions, so many useless answers haha.

During the Antebellum period of US history that was actually an argument. People pointed out that slaves in America were healthier and had a higher standard of living than peasants in Europe (this having to do with slaves being incredibly expensive thus making it a good idea to make sure they're well) and that black people were happier being slaves than being free. That of course was bullshit, slaves were happy to be free even if it meant their standard of living would drop, but the idea that blacks led a healthier lifestyle than factory workers was pretty grounded in statistics.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 16th, 2012 @ 04:12 PM Reply

At 12/16/12 03:24 AM, Austerity wrote: Anyone can fall into a subservient position or powerful position, depending on their spirit.

Was my post invisible? Clearly the girl who is a sex slave and is tide down to a bed can't help the fact that she is in a subservient position, regardless of her spirit.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 03:53 AM Reply

At 12/14/12 12:49 PM, JMHX wrote:
All slaves are slaves by choice.

Most of you people are looking at this from a very entitled American perspective. Sometimes the only choice is slavery or death.

DEATH. Let that sink in so that you can actually see what kind of choice most people around the world have.

To possibly put it in perspective for you folks who can't fathom it, you also supposedly have a choice when it comes to fighting traffic tickets. But most of you don't, because to you it's not a choice. You don't have the money for the lawyer and to miss the days off work. And most of you are likely scared of the court system and the police and you just want to "put it behind you."

Imagine then, a country in which the entity which has a monopoly on force can do whatever the fuck it wants to you. Anybody who can't sympathize and who wants to Drudge Report this whole topic up like everybody always has a choice isn't being honest. Exercising choice, even in a society of rights, requires a bravery that most people simply do not have.


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JMHX
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 11:07 AM Reply

At 12/16/12 04:12 PM, Jmayer20 wrote:
At 12/16/12 03:24 AM, Austerity wrote: Anyone can fall into a subservient position or powerful position, depending on their spirit.
Was my post invisible? Clearly the girl who is a sex slave and is tide down to a bed can't help the fact that she is in a subservient position, regardless of her spirit.

Yeah, yours was a bit too concrete...I think you missed the point of the question. It's not to craft a scenario where you don't physically have a means of opposition, but to consider what is requisite for someone to feel slavery, whether that kind of feeling is a consensual relationship.

The woman on the bed has options - she can avoid eating or drinking so as to starve to death, ending the situation. She can empty her mind so that she denies her captor all but the physicality of her presence. She can even mentally defy the captor by continuing to fight.

But assume she had been born into it, with no awareness of anything else. What then?


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 17th, 2012 @ 09:39 PM Reply

I had thought the commonplace definition of slavery was a situation where an individual is legally defined as the property of another person, to be utilized in the same fashion as any physical object legally owned by an individual.

Of course you can have more poetic definitions of slavery that permit


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 12:32 AM Reply

At 12/17/12 11:07 AM, JMHX wrote:
Yeah, yours was a bit too concrete...I think you missed the point of the question. It's not to craft a scenario where you don't physically have a means of opposition, but to consider what is requisite for someone to feel slavery, whether that kind of feeling is a consensual relationship.

The woman on the bed has options - she can avoid eating or drinking so as to starve to death, ending the situation. She can empty her mind so that she denies her captor all but the physicality of her presence. She can even mentally defy the captor by continuing to fight.

But assume she had been born into it, with no awareness of anything else. What then?

OP said "All slaves are slaves by choice," Not some, not most, ALL. That leaves very little room for interpretation. All I did was show that there are exceptions to what he said.

As far as the women not eating or drinking clearly you have not heard of intravenous feeding or force feeding. As to emptying her mind I don't know about you but most people can not just turn their brain off. Maybe that's not what you meant. If not then your going to have to explain that better. Even if she could do that it does not change the fact that she is still a slave and maybe the physicality is all the slave master wants maybe he wants to use her like a blow up doll.

Finally, what do you mean by "She can even mentally defy the captor by continuing to fight."? Does that mean that she yells at him or calls him names? If so then so what. It wont stop him from raping her and besides he can always gag her. As to if she was born into it with absolutely no concept or hearsay from the outside world then she probably wouldn't even know the concept of freedom. But that's not what OP said. Also I really don't see your point.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 01:39 AM Reply

I skimmed topic, but I will just reply with my two cents since I saw nothing that really pushed for a response from me.

The OP argument is technically true, but the technicality of it does not address the substantive issues of how some decisions are made. Any fair legal system will make a distinction between a choice made of free will and a choice made out of duress and, in most cases, people will not be held responsible for decisions made under duress when that duress was the sole or major motivating factor in why they chose to act the way they did.

To be more accurate, the argument should be All Slaves are slaves by choice or by force (which is also historically accurate).

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 04:24 AM Reply

To JMHX

The thing you seem to not realize about slavery is its definition. Slavery is the ownership of another person. That's it. It does not mention how the slave reacts to this nor how the master treats his slave. Your idea of resisting there master is meaningless. The master still owns that person making it slavery. So until the slave is freed or escapes (which the slave in my example can't do) the person is still a slave.

My point is you are looking at this in to much of black and white terms. Your looking at this as ether a person is a slave because they let themselves be a slave or they are not a slave because they rebel. I am trying to show you that it is much more complex then that and that there are examples of how that is not true. There are exceptions to what you just said. I made that clear. So the best argument you can make is most, not all but most slaves have a choice. But even then I don't see the point you are trying to make because we all know the alternative is worse.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 06:38 PM Reply

At 12/18/12 12:32 AM, Jmayer20 wrote:

As far as the women not eating or drinking clearly you have not heard of intravenous feeding or force feeding.

See, this is what I mean. It's not really being honest to the spirit of the thought experiment. It's like someone responding to the old thought experiment of "If a cell of yours was replaced with a cell of an alien, one cell at a time, at what point do you become mostly alien?" with an answer of "Aliens don't exist."

Finally, what do you mean by "She can even mentally defy the captor by continuing to fight."? Does that mean that she yells at him or calls him names? If so then so what. It wont stop him from raping her and besides he can always gag her.

Refusing to be broken isn't the optimal, but it is indeed a choice.

As to if she was born into it with absolutely no concept or hearsay from the outside world then she probably wouldn't even know the concept of freedom.

Now see, there we go. I can work with that. "IF she was born into the world THEN she wouldn't know the concept of freedom." I want someone to tackle that part, I find it interesting.

But that's not what OP said. Also I really don't see your point.

Obviously I'm enslaving people and trying to find the best way to deny them a choice.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 06:40 PM Reply

At 12/18/12 04:24 AM, Jmayer20 wrote: To JMHX

The thing you seem to not realize about slavery is its definition. Slavery is the ownership of another person. That's it. It does not mention how the slave reacts to this nor how the master treats his slave. Your idea of resisting there master is meaningless. The master still owns that person making it slavery.

This is another example of being too concrete. A lot of the others have given great examples of conceptual slaves. Keep in mind that restricting a word to its present definition often misses the point of the thought experiment. And I don't put a thought on breaking free in a legal sense for that reason. The idea itself goes well beyond a single definition of owned persons.


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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Dec. 18th, 2012 @ 07:02 PM Reply

We may not be able to control our circumstances, but at least we can control ourselves and how we react to those circumstances.

In other words, choosing to submit instead of fighting, even if it merely means dying in order to be free, is still a choice. The feasibility, practicality, chance of success, enjoyability, fondness of the outcome, or the propriety of the choice does not remove the fact that it is a choice.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Jan. 1st, 2013 @ 03:37 AM Reply

And all rape victims chose to be pregnant, and all poor people chose to be poor.

Oh wait...
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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Jan. 1st, 2013 @ 12:11 PM Reply

At 1/1/13 03:37 AM, T3XT wrote: And all rape victims chose to be pregnant, and all poor people chose to be poor.

Oh wait...

Those are things that aren't related to choice.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Jan. 2nd, 2013 @ 01:55 AM Reply

At 1/1/13 12:11 PM, Camarohusky wrote:
At 1/1/13 03:37 AM, T3XT wrote: And all rape victims chose to be pregnant, and all poor people chose to be poor.

Oh wait...
Those are things that aren't related to choice.

That was kinda supposed to be the joke.

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Response to All Slaves Are Slaves By Choice Jan. 2nd, 2013 @ 10:35 AM Reply

By saying it is their choice you are equating being tortured or murdered to the negative consequences of the life choices you make as someone living a comfortable middle class existence in a first world country. You don't seem to fully appreciate what suffering is.

Anyway technically it isn't their choice, if they rebel they are killed, they are still being treated like slaves by their captors. Homer lived at a time when slavery was commonplace and if he opposed it and caused a ruckus the local tyrant would have him killed.