The Slave Test
Are you a slave? Recently I wrote about how governments manufacture and evoke powerful symbols to essentially brainwash us and keep us obedient. I used an analogy of similar tactics in the past to efficiently maintain the obedience of household slaves. I have a friend who claims my language is far too strong. He says I overuse words like “violence” and “slave” to artificially infuse my arguments with emotion when I’m talking about governments. I can’t really recall his exact argument but I think it amounted to “Nuh uh!”. But I thought of a way that he, and others who agree with his assertion could prove me wrong. They can take the slave test!
The slave test is very simple and fair. In fact, it places the burden of proof on me. After all, I acknowledge that I’m making some pretty strong claims. Are my uses of emotionally charged words like “violence” and “slave” actually accurate in the manner in which I use them while describing the nature of governments?
So let’s consider what it really means to be a slave. A slave is someone who must obey the orders of his or her master(s) under the threat of violent punishment. So we can actually address both of my oft-used words in one experiment. Also, I acknowledge that slavery requires such abuse on an institutionalized level. If a man threatens you with violence if you don’t hand over your wallet, I would immediately concede the term “slave” is inappropriate. You’re just a victim of an isolated violent crime. To achieve the status of slave, you’d need to continually be under the threat of violence to produce for and obey your masters.
An important part of the slave test is to avoid engaging in any aggressive behavior that might actually justify violent intervention. If you attack someone, people are likely to intervene on behalf of the victim and might even make some sort of demand like “Stop attacking that helpless elderly woman!” and they might even back the demand up with a threat of violence. I wouldn’t consider such an example as evidence that you’re a slave. So for the test to be accurate, you must avoid any such acts of aggression.
Bearing that in mind, the slave test is incredibly simple. Just act like a free person. Go about your own business doing as you please violating no one, and politely decline to obey any orders. For instance, if someone claims you must produce for them on a regular basis, decline their demands. If you get a regular bill in the mail for anything you didn’t explicitly request, send it back with a polite statement that you choose not to pay. If, while driving safely without causing any accidents or harm, you get a blue light signal requesting that you pull over, give a polite wave and continue about your business. If after not paying one of those regular bills, you receive a printed order to show up at a certain location at a certain time, politely decline. If a man orders you to get in the back of his locked car, assert your freedom and politely decline. If you are able to peacefully go about your personal activities and politely decline to obey all orders, and if you are not subjected to violence for disobeying, then you have passed the slave test! Congratulations! You’re a free person.
Stay tuned! Next time, in case anyone happens to fail the slave test, we’ll talk about how to calculate what percentage a slave you are. Here’s a hint– You won’t need your calculator.