Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

There are few blights on a society like that of willfully holding another in bondage. How any one can make it moral in their own mind to own another human being is completely beyond my capacity to accept. We are thinking, feeling creatures of wonderful abstract, each and every one of us. We belong to no one but ourselves. To take that away from someone is perhaps the worst crime that could ever be committed.

I could go the obvious route on this one, talk about America’s own sordid history with trade in human souls. Perhaps instead I can write about slavery in its more insidious forms, the wage slavery in which workers are paid next to nothing and do all their buying from their employers, or the reintroduction of the chain gang which to some (not me, but some) is a just punishment for being a “criminal.” Somehow, though, neither of those feels appropriate.

That’s because obvious, old-fashioned slavery still happens. Do I think those hidden forms need to be addressed? Certainly and I and others have written about them in the past and will again. For now, however I cannot ignore that in this “information” age, so many continue to feign ignorance over the fact that people are still held in servitude, convinced by their “owners” (I put this in quotes b/c while they may be the others’ de jure owners, no one can truly own you but you) that this is the life they deserve.

I would like to take a break from mentioning America in this issue, but just because I won’t be writing about the once legal slave trade in this country does not mean I will give it a pass. Because it still happens here. We still have immigrants, looking for a better life brought by smugglers to work in mansions and sweatshops, right here in this “land of the free.”

You would think that all the amazing time-saving toys and tools we have, the endless entertainments, the ever flowing intoxicants and gustatory delights, all the art and culture and simple inanimate markers of status no one would feel lured by the cheap thrill of owning another human being. Which is what this comes down to. These modern-day aristocrats are not looking to save the relative pittance they have to pay domestics, they want that ultimate status symbol and nothing assures you of your superiority like the deed to another person. I would hope after twelve thousand years of civilization we would be past this. It appears though, that my hopes are in vain.


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