Friday, November 6, 2009

The Ideology of Slavery

The ideology of a Slave Empire must assume the identity of a civilization progressing toward the education and improvement of those it considers primitive, wild, and barbaric. Hence, the notion that the civilized better the lot of the uncivilized, as well as the world as a whole, through education, and, when necessary, faster and less oblique modes of persuasion. At times, unpleasant examples must be made of the most recalcitrant among the “unwashed,” in order to “guide” the others back to the path. The exemplary killing of rebellious slaves, an apparent regression back to the former institution of human sacrifice, sustains the institution of slavery by demonstrating that it is progressive in comparison to what came before. It proclaims to the slave class: “We could kill you if we wanted to do so, and we have slaughtered subject peoples in the past, but now we only do so if you force our hand.” Necessarily, though regrettably, the costs of such a mission of civilization must be born, at least in part, by its human objects, the “under-people.” Furthermore, these under-people must be seen to be grateful, admiring, and humbly subservient beneficiaries of the ruling civilization’s graces. In its ostensibly liberal, tolerant mode, the ruling civilization may condescend to view these subjects as perennial children and pets, amusing and stimulating due to their quaint simplicity and exoticism. The longing for the exotic may even extend towards a flirtation with eclecticism: a desire to assimilate those aspects of the subject people’s culture which seem attractive as ornaments, enhancing and accentuating the superiority of one’s own. Such a stance may be accompanied by feelings of compassion toward the benighted inferior, similar to that which one might feel toward a wounded pet, or it may even take the form of sexual desire for the slave, prompted by occasional atavistic, animal urges, but it never involves losing sight of the primary assumed directive- the present dominating superiority of the ruling civilization, as justified by its eternal mission: the salvation by purification of all.

(c) Copyright 2009 by A. Rogolsky

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