June 23, 2020 at 10:13 pm #31936
Human nature evolved outside of complex civilization. We are not conditioned to live in density and complexity. Cruelty naturally comes from structuring complex society. It is a miracle there have been pockets of broad (though hardly universal) civil protections.
I have to wonder if wars won, and power wielders vs submissive majorities (and slaves) influenced our genetic makeup, e.g. via the spread of Genghis Khan (and other dominant male and accommodating female) genes. Also kind of like pet (and other domesticated animal) breeding, where human cultural preferences shape species over thousands of years.
Confederate flags on pickup trucks driven by rednecks make me think of another “in your face” kind of machismo… ugly American type, like those who are recently feeling more empowered to come out, with Trump. I also saw them come out like that during the Iraq war when Bush was president.
I am happy to see protesters coming out now advocating for justice, and it’s happening not just in USA. From what I’ve seen here, they’re more conscientious about wearing masks than Trump fans and other enthusiastic “personal freedom” libertarians… those who also seem to scream the most against the left’s promotion of “socialistic” public health. And gun issues… but I’ll stop stirring pots here.
There’s only so much progress possible at once… two steps forward, one step back. I admit now, it was wrong to throw around that word “racist”, before Trump got elected. A lot of people on the right, understandably, were offended by that accusation. The political science definition of conservatism emphasizes preservation of traditional values and “stay the course” while holding fast to beliefs, while the definition of progressivism (obviously) emphasizes change and tolerance of novel/alien culture. (Passive racist could work better, but might not go any further white privilege.)June 24, 2020 at 2:09 am #31937
It really is just a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms since humans started herding together enough for institutionalized slavery. Of course we are always evolving, but considering slavery/servitude had emerged entirely independently of one another (in South America, Central America, Northern Europe, Middle East, India) pretty much at the point a civilization reached a certain level of concentration and sophistication…it seems a lot more likely it is a toxic byproduct of human evolution situated in a loosely populated hunter gatherer setting. There are no traces of slavery in the thousands year evolution of Native American culture (as they detached from a hunter-gatherer Asian culture in a couple waves). And yet there are clear cases of mass servitude and suffering in several societies eventually emerging with the right conditions. You’ll note just how tied up that human enslavement (and human sacrafice) is tied up in religion. Ahem.June 24, 2020 at 5:01 am #31938
Davis, am going on memory but Comanche, Apache and some other southwest plains indians had slavery (also cannibalism) and Iroquois in Northeast had slavery that predated Europeans’ entry on the scene.June 24, 2020 at 1:19 pm #31939
cannibalism?June 24, 2020 at 7:21 pm #31940
Oh yeah. They couldn’t compare with what the Mayans and Aztecs did. I mistated that: what I meant was there were no traces of slavery until they reached a certain level of sophistication and concentration. In other words, during their migration and population of the americas over the centuries there are few if any signs of slavery or servitude. As I said, slavery and servitude did emerge in the Americas. But again, they only emerged under the right conditions. And when they did, and it certainly wasn’t influenced by old world cultures. And it happened while the vast majority of the Americas didn’t do it. In other words, to say it evolved over some hundred generations of chronic human behavior is a bit of a stretch. It is very patchy and it happened independently in different spheres of the world which barely (if at all) influenced one another and it generally only emerged under certain conditions.
June 24, 2020 at 8:00 pm #31942
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Davis.
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
Its manifestation was also completely different to that of slavery during the Roman Empire. The Koran even cites better standards for the treatment of slaves than the Christian Bible does!
The New Testament follows the Old Testament, and there is nowhere to be found in its contents anything to suggest the elimination of this practice. Jesus did not condemn this practice, but accepted slavery as he accepted most institutions about him, and all superstitions. The teachings of Paul on the question of slavery are clear and explicit. Pope Leo, in his letter of 1888 to the Bishop of Brazil, remarks:
“When amid the slave multitude whom she has numbered among her children, some led astray by some hope of liberty, have had recourse to violence and sedition, the Church has always condemned these unlawful efforts, and through her ministers has applied the remedy of patience….”
St. Peter was addressing himself especially to the slaves when he wrote, “For this is thank worthy, if for conscience towards God a man endures sorrows, suffering wrongfully.”
The Church certainly saw nothing wrong with slavery when she preached patience to her slaves. It did not condemn slavery, but condemned the slaves for revolting. This was in 1888!
In the “Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics” is found: “There is no explicit condemnation in the teaching of our Lord…. It remains true that the abolitionist could point to no one text in the Gospels in defense of his position, while those who defended slavery could appeal at any rate to the letter of Scripture.”
It is true that slavery existed under Pagan civilization, but there it represented a phase of social development, while Christian slavery stood for a deliberate retrogression in social life. It was Seneca who said, “Live gently and kindly with your slave, and admit him to conversation with you, to council with you, and to share in your meals.”
Think of what would have occurred if one of our philosophers had admonished a slave-holding Christian in the above manner.
“We are apt to think of the ancient slave as being identical with the miserable and degraded being that disgraced Christian countries less than a century ago. This, however, is far from the truth. The Roman slave did not, of necessity, lack education. Slaves were to be found who were doctors, writers, poets, philosophers, and moralists. Plautus, Phædrus, Terence, Epictetus, were slaves. Slaves were the intimates of men of all stations of life, even the emperor. Certainly, it never dawned on the Roman mind to prohibit education to the slave. That was left for the Christian world, and almost within our own time.” (For a good account of the close association of Christianity with slavery see, “Christianity, Slavery, and Labor,” Chapman Cohen.)
In Rome, the slave kept his individuality, and outwardly there was no distinction in color and clothing; there was very little sound barrier between the slave and the freeman. The slave attended the same games as the freeman, participated in the affairs of the municipality, and attended the same college. The ancients kept the bodies of their slaves in bondage, but they placed no restraint upon the mind and no check upon his education. It has even been said that the slave class of antiquity really corresponded to our free laboring class. It is also well known that a well-conducted slave, by his own earnings, was able to purchase his freedom in the course of a few years.
There can be no comparison, therefore, between Pagan and Christian slavery, except to the detriment of the latter. The Christian slave trade represents one of the most frightful and systematic brutalities the world has ever known. The contrast between the Pagan and Christian slavery is even more marked when the dependence of the Christian slave upon the good nature of his master is considered. Compare this with the decrees of the Roman emperors:
“Masters were prohibited sending their slaves into the arena without a judicial sentence. Claudius punished as a murderer any master who killed his slave. Nero appointed judges to hear the complaints of slaves as to ill-treatment or insufficient feeding. Domitian forbade the mutilation of slaves; Hadrian forbade the selling of slaves to gladiators, destroyed private prisons for them, and ordered that they who were proved to have ill-treated their slaves be forced to sell them. Caracalla forbade the selling of children into slavery.”
“All that need be added to this is that the later Christian slavery represented a distinct retrogression, deliberately revived from motives of sheer cupidity, and accompanied by more revolting features than the slavery of ancient times.”June 24, 2020 at 10:43 pm #31943
It may be instructive albeit anecdotal that some of the Europeans who were captured and enslaved by native north american tribes chose to remain instead of return which suggests that slavery grew into assimilation. Not certain but think the practice of scalping was taught by the French to the natives.
Unquestionably there was a viciousness/callousness that was attendant to pious Christian belief. Just imagine how any of us would recoil at the sight of slavery. And yet it was ho hum this is our life and we will guard it zealously. Slavery is a way of life for us. There was a dehumanization that was apparently not evident or present to the same degree as it was in Christian culture.
I am reminded of how important it is to have at least a rudimentary feel for history. If you are not aware then any religious or political way of thinking may influence you whereas persons with some knowledge are tougher to fool.June 26, 2020 at 4:15 am #31945
I have read that the Greeks kept slaves almost as an act of generosity and kindness. It was an alternative to killing the defeated and captured enemy. If you just let them go, you might have to fight them again at some time in the future. When I say “Greeks,” maybe I mean Athenians. Slaves often became almost family members, entrusted with money and children to the Athenians. The Spartans? If they kept slaves, it was probably not quite the same thing. LOLJune 26, 2020 at 4:33 pm #31946
Slavery was a pretty complex phenomena among the Greeks and Romans. It ranged from a “member of the family” who had obligations in the house but also limited rights, could be educated, allowed to come and go and could buy their freedom if they worked hard. At the same time this was hardly universal and some slaves were exploited (would you be surprised otherwise). While there were protections for slaves, like courts dedicated to moving them to new owners if they weren’t properly fed or over worked, there is little doubt some were not in a position to denounce their owners. Sexual exploitation is well alluded to culturally. While yes, in many cases it was a fairly light form of slavery and not usually similar to the horrific chattel like slavery that Africans were put through in the new world by Christians, the lives of some slaves in Greece and Rome were certainly quite unpleasant. The fact that you could be sold to someone else whenever the owner liked, pretty much summed it up: you were their property.June 30, 2020 at 6:02 pm #31973
Here’s an interesting thought problem:
Let’s suppose our nation’s Founding Fathers had been alive at the time of the Civil War, would George Washington have been a Confederate general? Would Thomas Jefferson have given up his slaves and joined the North?
It’s not a comfortable question to ask, but I think our Founding Fathers, by and large, would have aligned with the Confederacy.June 30, 2020 at 7:11 pm #31974
I think our Founding Fathers, by and large, would have aligned with the Confederacy.
Yeah me too. Cotton was king.June 30, 2020 at 7:33 pm #31975
Unseen, you tell me where a man gets his corn pone…i will tell ya where he gets his pinions.
For a gold star who said that?June 30, 2020 at 7:36 pm #31976
Oh, and also those dead guys would have been union. The issue of slavery is not paramount. Just like Lincoln who did not give a dead rat’s cock about slavery preservation of the union would have been numero uno.June 30, 2020 at 7:44 pm #31977
Oh, and also those dead guys would have been union. The issue of slavery is not paramount. Just like Lincoln who did not give a dead rat’s cock about slavery preservation of the union would have been numero uno.
Not so sure. A unionist in their day was a British loyalist. They were revolutionists.June 30, 2020 at 7:48 pm #31978
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
I think Jefferson would have joined the Confederacy but only in spirit. He just did not believe that “All men are created equal”. He did not lead by example. I think that intellectually he understood that slavery was wrong but he was too much of a racist to act to abolish it. He did actually believe that the worse white person was superior to any black person, no matter how accomplished they were. I never quite figured out the contradiction that he could be so, while also being a polymath capable of profound philosophical insights. I have been meaning to read Hitchens book about him, so I had better.
Washington was a man of action and he did free his slaves. He fought for freedom alongside his men. He was an honorable and virtuous man who did not want to be a king. He did not have the intellect of Jefferson but his character traits were strong enough to build a nation upon. I cannot see him fighting for the Confederacy.
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