Sliding Back To Slavery – Kate Paulk
Before I get to the meat of this, I should probably mention that if there’s anyone in the entire universe who won’t get pissed off about what I’ve got to say they probably don’t have the capacity to understand it. It has to do with things we in the USA and most of the rest of the Western world have been taught are forbidden.
And no, it’s not racist. It just steps on a lot of the fences that have been built around the concept of racial bigotry so people can’t accidentally be racist. Sarah’s mentioned the way humans everywhere do this: if something is taboo, then a whole ring of related things also become taboo so nobody accidentally breaks the original taboo.
The problem with that is that eventually you run out of taboos and wind up in the realm of “Everything that isn’t permitted is forbidden” instead of where we of a more freedom-loving bent prefer to be, “Everything that isn’t forbidden is permitted.”
Okay. So, that said, we Odds are among those fighting the slide of the USA (and with it, the rest of the Western world) back into the bad old days where anyone who wasn’t in power was functionally owned by their nation/state/kingdom/whatever. I’ve seen the confusion over why people keep wanting “the government” to take care of things without realizing that in doing so people are giving up their freedom.
The simple fact is, the USA is an outlier nation built on the backs of some truly extraordinary outliers.
“Normal” humans (by this I mean “pick a random person from anywhere in Europe, Asia, or Africa”) are tribal. If we were using animal terminology, we’d be either pack or herd animals, to the extent that most people (at the 90% or higher kind of range, the last time I was looking at the research) would rather remain at the bottom of the pecking order in a social/societal hierarchy than attempt to exist without one. In short, they’d rather be slaves with a more or less predictable existence than be free without any of those certainties.
In the USA and the other colony nations where the percentage of people descended from colonists and willing immigrants is markedly higher than any other demographic (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc.) there is a much stronger interest in and desire for individual freedom. The entire Anglosphere tends to value individual freedom more highly than most other cultures.
Now, here’s the fun part… Those Americans whose ancestors arrived in the USA as slaves are observably more inclined to follow the lead of their “tribe”, whatever they consider that tribe to be. Why? To start with, the African tribes who raided other tribes for slaves chose the more passively inclined tribes as their targets (who wants a rebellious slave?) and sold them to the Islamic slave trade initially. At least one tribe practiced human sacrifice on a scale that reputedly made the Aztecs look like pikers – and most of the sacrifices were slaves taken in raids. Guess where the more rebellious captives wound up?
You got it.
Then, of course, the nature of slavery favored people who accepted their current position at the very base of the social structure (although this apparently wasn’t the case: many slaves considered themselves better off than poor whites in the region who didn’t have their security – the poorest whites often had less to eat and weren’t able to dress to the standard even field slaves got). The rebellious and difficult died. The ones who accepted their situation and behaved lived and had children.
Add to that the way outliers when left to themselves tend to revert to the mean, it’s not that surprising that the USA is slowly (trust me, this is slow. One law at a time, as it were, not least because if we don’t realize what’s happening we’re not going to kick up a fuss over it) reverting to the historical mean of rule by force, where the Party boss or the Lord or whatever you call him gets the bulk of the goodies and the freedom and the rest of us get to work and have a mostly-secure life as long as we don’t step outside our protected (but is that barbed wire to keep the world out, or us in? You know the answer, Comrade, but you know it’s a very bad idea to let anyone else realize that you know) compound.
In this, the left is the party of Big Brother Government, and the right the party of “We’re making out okay, what the hell do we know about this shit anyway?” (largely, I think, because the left is pushing the Party-above-all model onto its membership, where the right still seems to feel that forcing party unity is somehow dirty – and thank your deity of choice this is so, because the Republican power brokers clearly don’t like it that way).
There are battle lines being drawn all over the nation, all over the world. Sometimes the choice is between one form of slave-master and a different kind. Sometimes freedom is an option. Sometimes even in the USA.
Until the plantation gates close and there is nowhere that offers freedom as a choice, we Odds have hope. The tension between the human desire to belong to a tribe, the tribal need for its members to conform to norms, and the need for the tribe to accept its Odds if it is to flourish instead of stagnate will always exist. We Odds will always be fighting for the freedom to be ourselves.
As long as the fight is one that we can win, I’m good with that. I might be Odd and a bit scary (at least, people tell me I’m scary), but then, so is freedom. And having experienced it, I say it’s worth fighting for.