Monday, January 12, 2009


No, slavery is not forced labour. It isn't a legal term. Neither is it a form of property. Neither is it racism nor nationalism. These things are only symptoms; they are not the real essence of slavery.

Slavery isn't a "socio-economic formation." It isn't a "stage in the historical development of mankind." These are but convenient words used by people who want to conceal the true essence of slavery.

The essence of slavery can be clearly seen in the experience of Moses with his people, the Israelites. The people of Israel were in slavery in Egypt, they were forced to do exhausting labour, subject to cruel taskmasters, no human rights, and the Egyptians slaughtered their children.... And when Moses took them out of the land of slavery to bring them to the Promised Land of liberty, they rebelled and complained, "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic" (Numbers 11:5). The former slaves remembered the slavery not for the taskmasters, the whippings, and the forced labour. They remembered it for the things which they "did eat freely."

The Stugatskie Brothers see the essence of slavery just the same in their novel, The Second Invasion of the Martians. In the "fist invasion of the Martians" in H.G. Wells' novel, War of the Worlds, the Martians come with arms and force. But the Martians in Strugatskie's novel know very well the nature of man and the essence of slaver. They don't conquer by force; they just supply everything that man needs.


And slavery wins.

Slavery doesn't start with the slaveholders. Slavery starts with the slaves. It doesn't start when someone draws a gun and forces other people to work for him. It starts when people refuse to take care of themselves and their families and want someone else to provide the necessary things for them - from cradle to grave. Slaves come when man decides to abandon the responsibility to make decisions for his own life and leaves those decisions to other people. The true essence of slavery is in the self-conscious exchange of liberty for security. Slavery is in the self-conscious surrender of individual rights and responsibilities to other people and institutions. Slavery is in the sheepish instinct to seek for a shepherd to graze and shear you.

We can say in today's social and political language that slavery is the government welfare. It is in the government medical care for people who never care about their own health. In the pension plans for people who never want to think about their own future. In the free government educating for the children of parents who can make children but are unwilling to take care of them. In the regulations imposed upon personal and economic life.

The Constitution of Bulgaria proclaims, "the Republic of Bulgaria is a welfare state." This welfare state can be found in the tariffs that give security to the ineffective Bulgarian producers. In the labour legislation that represses the employers and gives security to the workers irrespective of their performance and skills. In the government certificates "for life" for university professors who desire security against competition from young, energetic, and ambitious scientists. In the government licensing of vast branches of the market that gives security to the old guilds against the newcomers into the market. In the election promises for free breakfast for schoolchildren or free dental fillings for the elderly people. And so on.

All these things are slavery. Fundamentally they have had the same motive: Man's desire to abandon his responsibility for his own life and work. People who insist on these things make the same cry as those Israelites of old: "We were very well off when we had fish for free, and leeks, and onions, and garlic." "We were taken care of." "We want now to be taken care of." Even if this means to be beaten with whips and to work full days under the tropical sun. Even if it means to be burdened under 60 percent tax rates. To have to wait in long lines before greedy heartless bureaucrats. To be humiliated and to see our life, liberty and property taken away from us. Give us our daily piece of bread...for freeee!

A nation of slaves doesn't have a future. It dies. Whether from foreign invasion, or by the emigration of the young and active people (the slaves' children), or by natural dying out. The European Union can't save itself. Promises for more free pieces of bread won't save it -they will only kill it. Slaves do not have a vision for the future, and therefore they cannot have a future.

Only the free man has a future. The future belongs to those who have taken their responsibility for it. The rest is self-delusion and utopianism.

-Bojidar Marinov

-Edited by David Mueller

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