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.

Discussion (25)¬

  1. Lumpy says:

    I’m sooooo totally NOT a slave!
    Having the balls to stand up to the thugs is not an easy thing to have but I’m so unwilling to let them get the better of me.
    There are worse things than death… slavery is one of those things.

  2. Mitch says:

    Excellent post as always. You truly have a brilliant mind and are excellent in presenting these ideas in a very powerful way. I would love to see more writing from you, maybe a book?

  3. Kawlinz says:

    Just because they don’t have to pull out the whip for you to follow orders, it doesn’t mean they won’t when you disobey.

    Imagine a bunch of slave-owners who have a bunch of slaves, but it gets too cost effective to keep them in your field. So they let the slaves work other places, but the slaves still have to give them half of the income. They have benefits, but does that make the situation any more moral?

  4. LSNL says:

    That reminds me of this;

    “Home of the Slave”

    You are a slave.

    Free people can refuse demands for their lives,
    their time, their assets and their children.
    Slaves cannot. You can be forced to do something
    or to surrender something that you don’t wish to.
    You are a slave.

    You are forced to surrender half your life’s work
    to the government in taxes, fees and seizures.
    You are a slave.

    You are watched, spied on, limited, silenced, and
    taxed. The governors can do what they want, take
    what they want, and you cannot refuse.
    Government’s thugs can search through your
    records without warrant, and break into your home
    at will. Are you able to refuse them?
    No? - You are a slave.

    You live under a government that takes your
    wealth and your children. It lies to you to keep
    you docile and scares you to keep you obedient.
    You have little power over your life.
    Congratulations - You are a slave.

    Free people can say “no”.

    “Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you.
    May your chains set lightly upon you; and may
    posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
    Samuel Adams

  5. Mike says:

    Dale, your writing is brilliant. I love what you say and how you say it. Love it! Thanks for the “Slave Test,” and for the funny closer: “Here’s a hint– You won’t need your calculator.”

  6. eddie says:

    A little arrogant in the beginning and taking it to a personal level. but I like it, altho it doesn`t stop being left in the abstract. Are we slaves to food? is obahama the biggest slave?

  7. Kawlinz says:

    Eddie: I think the reason we can say we’re not enslaved to food is because food isn’t making the choice to be dependent on it, or force us to eat it. being a slave to breathing is definitely much different than being slave to another person (or group of people) because of the element of choice.

  8. Matt says:

    “You can be a slave your whole life and not even know it. How can you tell if you’re wearing a leash when you never go too far from the peg.”

  9. TranceAm says:

    There are 2 ways to come in contact with the fascist steel boots of the masters law enforcers..
    You either kiss them, or they kick you on the other side of your digestive tract.

    Good Piece.
    We can conclude that we all can consider ourselves slaves.

    And the ones claiming they are not, have just not yet found themselves in the situation that the government knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that said individual is a potential revolting slave, carrying a meme that could infect the other “good/ignorant” slaves. and should be terminated to keep the flock save from said meme..

    Now how are we going to change this from a couple of individuals carrying that meme, to the whole flock carrying the meme of a very ugly reality?


  10. [...] The Slave Test February 2nd, 2009 [...]

  11. Areté says:

    Ah how I love thou straightforwardness! =)

  12. Ginny says:

    Just discovered your website, and I must say, it is incredibly good. I love it, you express things in a clear and powerful way, and make it easy so that anyone and everyone can understand it. I’ll be watching you! (sounds kinda creepy, but I mean it in a good way :) )

  13. Always says:

    Oh look at us. We are all slaves. Ha Ha Ha at us. WTF. There will always be someone big, some organization which will rule. Either it’s gangs or governments or both.

  14. Stormcrow says:

    Always: Gangs, governments, both; You repeat yourself.

  15. Aaron Kinney says:

    People running around not obeying orders? My God, it would be ANARCHY! ;)

  16. Seth says:

    This post is fuggin BE-YOO-TEE-FUL. I am definitely going to use this rhetorical device in future discussions.

  17. ken says:

    We all assent to a certain degree of slavery.

    This post is ipso facto proof of such a claim.

    We have computers, or access to them, the internet (or access to it), education (or access…), etc…

    This is tacit assent to enslavement of various people and groups across the globe in terms of the life cycle of the material and service goods associated with such things.

    Then the concept changes to “Do you balance that out? Are you accountable for it?” Saying you are free is not accepting the role of ‘master’ in this sense.

    Even as “Master’s Tools” such items come at a cost.

    Enslavement is worse when we do not see it, or acknowledging it, fail to act in ways to balance it out according to our participation in such systems.

    Police and Government are easy (and high priority) targets for such ideas, but even in some anarchist utopia there will always be enslavement. Living free as an individual probably will always have some equilibrium with respect for someone else’s boundaries.

    Any system, community, or entity by definition limits itself in some way for a particular aim. A master is enslaved by its own status, still culpable, but not something to be eliminated, something to be assessed and atoned for.

    The slave test, like many ideas focused on only one dimension of a dichotomous system, is incomplete.

    ….But in the right direction.

  18. I think you’re confused. You really need to read up on the millions of slaves in our world today and what they are having done to them. Yes, we are a part of a system. Slavery altogether is such a sad subject… In America, we enslaved like a production line, sad enough, but Today’s Modern Day Slavery is at its worst. We are free to smile, love, see the light, etc… Your slave test is reckless to hope for people to understand the sadness in slavery. Do another research on slavery and come back with those thoughts. You have a great mind…
    Venita Benitez -

  19. Kawlinz says:

    @ Venita

    “Pleasant Slavery” is still slavery. If your owner gives you lots of bonuses and perks, it’s still slavery. Saying that we’re not slaves because we have more “generous” owners is like saying that if the slave owners are nice enough, then slavery is ok, which it isn’t.

  20. drockel says:

    I choose to remain in the matrix maybe even change the matrix to my benefit. In a system of total anarchy the strongest group with the biggest sticks ends up with all the goods and the benefit of all the labor. Even if no new government is established a strict set of unwritten rules come into existence to ensure that someone does not die every time two people meet. It’s a sign a structure to have the moral ability to see a world where no one goes destroying the world with nukes. Anarchy leaves no system to prevent the affliction of the many by the few. No volunteer or temporary army can train in two months to prevent an invasion that happens today.

    I want more freedom, but am willing to accept the current level of oppression in exchange for avoiding warring parties trampling over my food supply ever few months. A world where my family truly could starve to death something we won’t allow in our society even if we should.

  21. Dearest Kawlinz,
    Ther is no such thing as pleasant slavery. We are earth beings. Who are the owners? There are many blacks and people of color who give lots of bonuses and perks. Are they slaver traders? We must all study the past, look into the future, and share information in today. What are you doing, right now, to help our children and thier generation on slavery awareness? The subject of slavery is painful however it is our history. We need to be able to talk about it (shalvery) with today’s generation without scaring them to the point of rejection. Rejecting the subject!!! How else are they (you and me) going to get involved? “Which is it?” I AM NOT A SLAVE! I AM FREE!!!!! by the blood of Our Lord.

  22. Kawlinz says:

    @Venita: I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I know there’s no such thing as pleasant slavery, that’s why when I mentioned it, it was in quotes, to denote “Hey, I don’t think that slavery is pleasant at all”. In fact that’s what my entire post was about.

  23. Okay…
    Thanks for keeping it real!