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On Slavery/Servitude?

Yassine
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8/15/2015 3:26:39 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
*Please do not troll or revile this topic*

- Historically, Slavery/Servitude has been one of the foundational institutions shaping the backbone of Society across the World. It was practiced in a wide variety of forms, some really beneficial, some really unpleasant, even inhumane. This thread is aimed at discussing Slavery & Servitude as a human condition, its ethical framework, its manifestation in the past & the present, & its status in the future, near or far.

- I am not particularly talking here about the so-called slavery that existed during the pre-Civil War period in America. I refer to Slavery in all its forms. This of course excludes some forms of servitude considered noble, such as that towards one's parents.

- Slavery has been compared to many other common practices, such as: labor, prostitution, domestic service, military service, nationality & even religious following. The justifiability of these comparisons originates not from the label of 'Slavery' as been publicised, but from the aspects beneath the label these practices share, which I like to discuss. More specifically, the aspects of subordination, coercion, compliance, constraint, oppression, exigency, hardship... Of course, not all these exist in all the different forms of Slavery. The point is to emphasise its more interesting aspects. I mean by:
> Subordination: inferiority in rank, importance or treatment.
> Coercion: persuasion through legal or illegal pressure, force, deception or threats.
> Compliance: obedience, conformity or submissiveness to legitimate or illegitimate authority.
> Constraint: restraint or confinement to a particular set of circumstances by an external agent.
> Oppression: persecution, abuse, or unjust treatment of subjects.
> Exigency: necessity due to an urgent set of circumstances, such as debt, sickness...
> Hardship: harsh, burdensome or distressful conditions of practice.

- Before someone jumps off & shouts "but I am free", "I can chose"...blahblah, let me remind you that the practice of Slavery I am referring to is its broad sense. So, please no off topic discussions about the Fugitive Slave Act or something like that. In the Ottoman Empire for instance, slaves made up two of the four ruling factions, they had the right to contract their owners, buy their freedom, own property, marry who they chose, enjoy holidays... In Thailand, slaves were considered high class domestic servants. In Morocco, a category of slaves comprised the noble class in the regime. & so on.

- Issues I am interested in discussing:
1. Nationality: at what point, or under what sort of regime, would subjects of the state be considered slaves? Same question for subjects of invasion, subjugation or occupation by another state.
2. Military Service: considering that this practice is very similar to common slavery, & aside from the initial choice the person makes to join the institution (some forms of slavery involve a person choosing to become a slave, or declining to obtain freedom), what you think makes soldiers different from slaves? How about compulsory military service? (given that using actual slaves as soldiers was common practice in the past, by the Hans & the Turks for example).
3. Domestic Service: here I am interested in: first, the occupation itself, given that it's often-times practically identical to some forms of slavery ; & second, in its more extreme forms, such as domestic servitude for rich, powerful or dangerous people involving odd job prescriptions.
4. Religious Following: this one is intriguing, for when it comes to religion, some aspects of Slavery exist inherently therein. It would be interesting, for example, to know where to draw a line between obedience to God & obedience to Man, especially since exploitation of people based on religion was & still is not uncommon.
5. Labour: in three parts. One: forced labor, at what point it should be called slavery? Or is it itself a form of slavery? Two: employment: given that some forms of servitude are contractual, what would essentially differentiate employment from servitude? Three: child labor, more precisely, labor of persons not yet legally responsible.
6. Prostitution: this practice is generally governed by an underworld where elements of servitude (coercion, oppression, exigency...) are very present. Do you think prostitution can mostly, or sometimes, be considered a form of servitude?
7. Supremacy & Racism: I mean by racism here any discrimination against an ethnic, racial, structural, regional or religious group. I am here interested in the unjust or oppressive treatment of alien groups in its relation to being a cause or a consequence of slavery?
8. Service: fundamentally, Slavery or Servitude are just more lasting & more intense cases of Service. If we account for the different forms of Slavery & the different forms of Service that existed, is there an ethical framework that could set a boundary that separates these two practices? Does it have any relevance? How would you personally define it?
9. Mechanical Servitude: personally, I think unless human beings are completely replaced by machines, where machines fulfil their every need, there will always exist the necessary institute of Servitude. How do you imagine the future of mankind in relation to Servitude?
10. What are your thoughts on Servitude in general as a human condition.

- Please share your thoughts. I await your contributions.
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ford_prefect
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8/16/2015 10:09:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 3:26:39 AM, Yassine wrote:
1. Nationality: at what point, or under what sort of regime, would subjects of the state be considered slaves? Same question for subjects of invasion, subjugation or occupation by another state.
If the regime doesn't allow people to leave the country, then you could argue it is practicing a form of slavery. If the regime allows the conquered people the same rights as their citizens, including the right to leave the country, then it is not slavery.
2. Military Service: considering that this practice is very similar to common slavery, & aside from the initial choice the person makes to join the institution (some forms of slavery involve a person choosing to become a slave, or declining to obtain freedom), what you think makes soldiers different from slaves? How about compulsory military service? (given that using actual slaves as soldiers was common practice in the past, by the Hans & the Turks for example).
Compulsory military service is not slavery, assuming the citizen has a choice to renounce citizenship and avoid serving. If they have no choice, then I would consider it a form of slavery.
3. Domestic Service: here I am interested in: first, the occupation itself, given that it's often-times practically identical to some forms of slavery ; & second, in its more extreme forms, such as domestic servitude for rich, powerful or dangerous people involving odd job prescriptions.
Not quite sure what you mean by this.
4. Religious Following: this one is intriguing, for when it comes to religion, some aspects of Slavery exist inherently therein. It would be interesting, for example, to know where to draw a line between obedience to God & obedience to Man, especially since exploitation of people based on religion was & still is not uncommon.
The only religion I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of is Catholicism. Catholics do not consider ourselves slaves to God because we have the choice to serve him obediently or not (free will). I also think there is a huge difference between obedience to God and obedience to man.
5. Labour: in three parts. One: forced labor, at what point it should be called slavery? Or is it itself a form of slavery? Two: employment: given that some forms of servitude are contractual, what would essentially differentiate employment from servitude? Three: child labor, more precisely, labor of persons not yet legally responsible.
Contractual labor cannot be slavery. Nor is child labor, assuming the child's parents agree to the work. Child labor in the conventional meaning is usually a bad thing, but not for the same reason that slavery is a bad thing.
6. Prostitution: this practice is generally governed by an underworld where elements of servitude (coercion, oppression, exigency...) are very present. Do you think prostitution can mostly, or sometimes, be considered a form of servitude?
Prostitution is wrong for other reasons. But most of the time it is not slavery, unless the prostitute is being forced to work by her pimp.
7. Supremacy & Racism: I mean by racism here any discrimination against an ethnic, racial, structural, regional or religious group. I am here interested in the unjust or oppressive treatment of alien groups in its relation to being a cause or a consequence of slavery?
There is usually a strong connection between the historical oppression of particular ethnic groups and those groups' subsequent treatment by society after their enslavement has legally ended. However, they are two distinct phenomena.
8. Service: fundamentally, Slavery or Servitude are just more lasting & more intense cases of Service. If we account for the different forms of Slavery & the different forms of Service that existed, is there an ethical framework that could set a boundary that separates these two practices? Does it have any relevance? How would you personally define it?
Slavery is easily defined, servitude on the other hand can mean many things. I personally favor a broad definition of servitude that includes many things from slavery, indentured servitude, serfdom, and even contractual employment. According to the old analogy, servitude is the set of all rectangles, while slavery is a specific type of rectangle, namely a square.
9. Mechanical Servitude: personally, I think unless human beings are completely replaced by machines, where machines fulfil their every need, there will always exist the necessary institute of Servitude. How do you imagine the future of mankind in relation to Servitude?
Mechanical servitude already exists but I don't consider it a bad thing. Machines do not have souls and were expressly created to serve humankind.
10. What are your thoughts on Servitude in general as a human condition.
Servitude in general is a natural state of life. All humans answer to somebody, whether it be your parents, God, your boss, society, etc... However I think slavery is a type of servitude that is particularly vile and unnatural. Voluntary servitude is fine, involuntary is not fine.
Yassine
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8/16/2015 11:10:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/16/2015 10:09:10 PM, ford_prefect wrote:

If the regime doesn't allow people to leave the country, then you could argue it is practicing a form of slavery. If the regime allows the conquered people the same rights as their citizens, including the right to leave the country, then it is not slavery.

- So you argue that the right to leave the borders is the only criteria for determining if a regime is enslaving its subjects. What of Martial Law for example?

Compulsory military service is not slavery, assuming the citizen has a choice to renounce citizenship and avoid serving. If they have no choice, then I would consider it a form of slavery.

- They generally have no choice, even without compulsory military service. As far as I know, once you get into the military, you can't get out. Those that get out are either relieved by their superiors (their 'masters'), or had to spend several months to several years in prison. In fact, I can hardly see any obvious difference between Slavery & Military Service, they both share: subordination, coercion, compliance, constraint, hardship...

Not quite sure what you mean by this.

- I am speaking of housekeeping performed by maids or butlers in exchange for a salary or a home... & more importantly, about the domestic work that involves odd job prescription, when the maid for example is working for a powerful man & is duped or coerced through legal or circumstantial pressure to perform some sexual or demanding work. A phenomenon not uncommon by any means.

The only religion I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of is Catholicism. Catholics do not consider ourselves slaves to God because we have the choice to serve him obediently or not (free will). I also think there is a huge difference between obedience to God and obedience to man.

- I am not speaking of what the religion originally teaches, being a revelation from God or not. I am speaking of religious adherents who follow their monks or priests as being the voice of God on earth. In that case, how would we differentiate, individually or collectively, between serving God himself or serving the whims of these monks & priests?

Contractual labor cannot be slavery.

- Why is that specifically? There exist forms of slavery that are contractual as well, much like contractual labor. How would you differentiate between the two?

Nor is child labor, assuming the child's parents agree to the work. Child labor in the conventional meaning is usually a bad thing, but not for the same reason that slavery is a bad thing.

- Which reason is that then?

Prostitution is wrong for other reasons. But most of the time it is not slavery, unless the prostitute is being forced to work by her pimp.

- Don't you think fear is a form of coercion as well?

There is usually a strong connection between the historical oppression of particular ethnic groups and those groups' subsequent treatment by society after their enslavement has legally ended. However, they are two distinct phenomena.

- Which do you think is worse, slavery without racism or racism without slavery? I mean by slavery without racism, a state where the master considers his slave or servant his equal in humanity & in statute. & I mean by racism without slavery, a state where the racist considers the other beneath himself in humanity & statute.

Slavery is easily defined, servitude on the other hand can mean many things. I personally favor a broad definition of servitude that includes many things from slavery, indentured servitude, serfdom, and even contractual employment. According to the old analogy, servitude is the set of all rectangles, while slavery is a specific type of rectangle, namely a square.

- As I mentioned in my OP, I refer to Slavery in its general practice. The reason why I used Servitude & Slavery interchangeably is because, when considered in their broad sense, both these terms mean virtually the same thing. Serfdom may be considered a from of servitude in some areas, but it's considered a form of slavery in others. The same goes for indentured servitude. & also because, in Arabic, Slavery & Servitude are the same, they share the same word!

Mechanical servitude already exists but I don't consider it a bad thing. Machines do not have souls and were expressly created to serve humankind.

- Do you think there will come a time where machines will replace human service entirely?

Servitude in general is a natural state of life. All humans answer to somebody, whether it be your parents, God, your boss, society, etc... However I think slavery is a type of servitude that is particularly vile and unnatural. Voluntary servitude is fine, involuntary is not fine.

- What do you mean by voluntary & involuntary servitude? Why is slavery vile & unnatural? There are bad & good forms of slavery as there are good & bad forms of labor or service, don't you think so?
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ford_prefect
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8/17/2015 3:44:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/16/2015 11:10:48 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/16/2015 10:09:10 PM, ford_prefect wrote:

If the regime doesn't allow people to leave the country, then you could argue it is practicing a form of slavery. If the regime allows the conquered people the same rights as their citizens, including the right to leave the country, then it is not slavery.

- So you argue that the right to leave the borders is the only criteria for determining if a regime is enslaving its subjects. What of Martial Law for example?

Yes, I believe that if you have the freedom to leave and live in another country, then you are not a slave. If martial law prevents you from leaving peacefully, then I suppose it could be considered slavery. But that's not usually the purpose of martial law.

Compulsory military service is not slavery, assuming the citizen has a choice to renounce citizenship and avoid serving. If they have no choice, then I would consider it a form of slavery.

- They generally have no choice, even without compulsory military service. As far as I know, once you get into the military, you can't get out. Those that get out are either relieved by their superiors (their 'masters'), or had to spend several months to several years in prison. In fact, I can hardly see any obvious difference between Slavery & Military Service, they both share: subordination, coercion, compliance, constraint, hardship...

First of all, without compulsory military service, everyone in the military agreed to sign up knowing the consequences of deserting. Even so, I think the US military at least has a procedure for requesting a dishonorable discharge if you really don't like it. Now if there is compulsory service, to me that would constitute slavery if and only if your government told you that you couldn't leave the country and forfeit your citizenship as a way to get out of it. If you don't have that choice, then yes, it's slavery.

Not quite sure what you mean by this.

- I am speaking of housekeeping performed by maids or butlers in exchange for a salary or a home... & more importantly, about the domestic work that involves odd job prescription, when the maid for example is working for a powerful man & is duped or coerced through legal or circumstantial pressure to perform some sexual or demanding work. A phenomenon not uncommon by any means.

I see. If the maids or butlers agree to working in exchange for a salary/room and board, then I would consider it servitude, but not slavery. The reason being that they can quit and find another job if they want to. Obviously pressuring your employees into sex is a bad thing, but it is not slavery.

The only religion I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of is Catholicism. Catholics do not consider ourselves slaves to God because we have the choice to serve him obediently or not (free will). I also think there is a huge difference between obedience to God and obedience to man.

- I am not speaking of what the religion originally teaches, being a revelation from God or not. I am speaking of religious adherents who follow their monks or priests as being the voice of God on earth. In that case, how would we differentiate, individually or collectively, between serving God himself or serving the whims of these monks & priests?
Well, as a Catholic, I believe that the Church and its clergy are representatives of God on earth. Others may question that, but if I did, then I would simply stop being a Catholic. In any case, even the Pope himself cannot forcibly compel anyone to do anything they don't want to do.
Contractual labor cannot be slavery.

- Why is that specifically? There exist forms of slavery that are contractual as well, much like contractual labor. How would you differentiate between the two?
Slavery is by definition, not contractual. If you agreed in good faith to the contract, then it isn't slavery. Servitude, sure, but not slavery.
Nor is child labor, assuming the child's parents agree to the work. Child labor in the conventional meaning is usually a bad thing, but not for the same reason that slavery is a bad thing.

- Which reason is that then?
I think child labor is wrong because children should be getting an education, not working.
Prostitution is wrong for other reasons. But most of the time it is not slavery, unless the prostitute is being forced to work by her pimp.

- Don't you think fear is a form of coercion as well?
Yes, and if a prostitute literally fears for her life unless she obeys her pimp, then I'd agree that's slavery.
There is usually a strong connection between the historical oppression of particular ethnic groups and those groups' subsequent treatment by society after their enslavement has legally ended. However, they are two distinct phenomena.

- Which do you think is worse, slavery without racism or racism without slavery? I mean by slavery without racism, a state where the master considers his slave or servant his equal in humanity & in statute. & I mean by racism without slavery, a state where the racist considers the other beneath himself in humanity & statute.
Interesting question. Both are bad, but I'd say slavery is still worse, simply because it has the legal power behind it. Racism can definitely be terrible, but it isn't necessarily institutionalized and can be combatted more easily than a legal form of slavery.
Slavery is easily defined, servitude on the other hand can mean many things. I personally favor a broad definition of servitude that includes many things from slavery, indentured servitude, serfdom, and even contractual employment. According to the old analogy, servitude is the set of all rectangles, while slavery is a specific type of rectangle, namely a square.

- As I mentioned in my OP, I refer to Slavery in its general practice. The reason why I used Servitude & Slavery interchangeably is because, when considered in their broad sense, both these terms mean virtually the same thing. Serfdom may be considered a from of servitude in some areas, but it's considered a form of slavery in others. The same goes for indentured servitude. & also because, in Arabic, Slavery & Servitude are the same, they share the same word!
I disagree with this. In English, Spanish, and French, there are two different words because they are two different concepts in Western culture. I also think this is our main area of disagreement on this subject. Basically, I think that if you have the freedom to avoid or leave your current situation, then you are not enslaved.
Mechanical servitude already exists but I don't consider it a bad thing. Machines do not have souls and were expressly created to serve humankind.

- Do you think there will come a time where machines will replace human service entirely?
Not entirely, but mostly, yes.
Servitude in general is a natural state of life. All humans answer to somebody, whether it be your parents, God, your boss, society, etc... However I think slavery is a type of servitude that is particularly vile and unnatural. Voluntary servitude is fine, involuntary is not fine.

- What do you mean by voluntary & involuntary servitude? Why is slavery vile & unnatural? There are bad & good forms of slavery as there are good & bad forms of labor or service, don't you think so?

I would say slavery is never a good thing, because to me slavery means that you have only two options, obey or die. Service is fine because you can obey or refuse to obey, and end your service without dying.
Yassine
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8/17/2015 5:35:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/17/2015 3:44:48 AM, ford_prefect wrote:

Yes, I believe that if you have the freedom to leave and live in another country, then you are not a slave. If martial law prevents you from leaving peacefully, then I suppose it could be considered slavery. But that's not usually the purpose of martial law.

- But, actual slaves can also renounce their citizenship & leave their homeland as well. Maybe not everywhere, but that was the case in many places in the World.

- Also, what if the regime treated their subjects as property while allowing them to leave if they wish, would that be considered slavery?

First of all, without compulsory military service, everyone in the military agreed to sign up knowing the consequences of deserting. Even so, I think the US military at least has a procedure for requesting a dishonorable discharge if you really don't like it. Now if there is compulsory service, to me that would constitute slavery if and only if your government told you that you couldn't leave the country and forfeit your citizenship as a way to get out of it. If you don't have that choice, then yes, it's slavery.

- Again, some forms of slavery operate in the same framework you're referring to. They can leave their country & that's it. The issue here is what makes soldiers not slaves?

- Just so we are on the same page, I don't mean by slavery the kind that existed in the States, or Europe alone. I mean all kinds of slavery that existed in the West, the East, the North & the South.

I see. If the maids or butlers agree to working in exchange for a salary/room and board, then I would consider it servitude, but not slavery.

- Some forms of slavery also involve work in exchange for salary or sponsorship.

The reason being that they can quit and find another job if they want to.

- That's not true always. First, some slaves can leave if they chose to & not necessarily get killed or punished for it. Second, some forms of help involve not being able to leave as well, or at least for a good amount of time. Third, even contracts involve not being able to leave before due date.

- Now, that been said, how would you really differentiate between a domestic servant & a slave in the general sense? What is it that essentially separate these two occupations?

Obviously pressuring your employees into sex is a bad thing, but it is not slavery.

- Why do think that is the case?

Well, as a Catholic, I believe that the Church and its clergy are representatives of God on earth. Others may question that, but if I did, then I would simply stop being a Catholic. In any case, even the Pope himself cannot forcibly compel anyone to do anything they don't want to do.

- Don't you think the Pope is in a position to abuse his power? Haven't popes in the past abused their authority? If so, would obedience to such a person be considered servitude to Man?

Slavery is by definition, not contractual. If you agreed in good faith to the contract, then it isn't slavery. Servitude, sure, but not slavery.

- Maybe in Europe & America. The world is a big place, there are countless forms of slavery. & there indeed do exist contractual forms of slavery. From my own background, in Islam, there are different contractual forms of slavery.

- Here are some examples:
> Mukharaja = a feudal contract between the slave & his master or someone else, in which case, the master has a right to a portion of the slave's income following 4 guidelines:
1. Taradi = mutual consent (on the amount).
2. Istita"a = capacity (the slave can only provide for his master if the income he makes is surplus to his livelihood).
3. Mu"na = if the income of the slave is not sufficient, the master has to aid him.
4. Ijbar = compulsion, if the master forces the slave to provide more than he can, the master loses the privilege of Mukharaja.

> Mukataba = a binding contract between the slave & his master to the effect of buying his freedom.

- Here, we consider these practices forms of slavery. That may not be the case for your world, but it is the case for our world. That's why I mentioned that Slavery & Servitude are ultimately the same thing, from a broad perspective that is.

- So, here is my question to you: if a practice in your world is considered ordinary service, & in another world it is considered a form of slavery, would you be ok with it? Why?

Yes, and if a prostitute literally fears for her life unless she obeys her pimp, then I'd agree that's slavery.

- How about fear of pain, or fear of shame, or fear of refusal to pay... would these count as coercion?

- The idea here is that most forms of slavery I know of involve the above fears. Fear of death is an extreme case of slavery!

Interesting question. Both are bad, but I'd say slavery is still worse, simply because it has the legal power behind it. Racism can definitely be terrible, but it isn't necessarily institutionalized and can be combatted more easily than a legal form of slavery.

- That's what I was asking about. I meant by equal in statute, as in: equal from a legal standing. In the sense that, the master & his slave both answer to the law in case of injustice done by or to either party.

- So, to reformulate my question, which is worse (or better) statutory slavery or institutionalised racism?

I disagree with this. In English, Spanish, and French, there are two different words because they are two different concepts in Western culture. I also think this is our main area of disagreement on this subject. Basically, I think that if you have the freedom to avoid or leave your current situation, then you are not enslaved.

- In some cases slaves ultimately possess that option as well. Reciprocally, other practices, such as labour, don't necessarily have that option. Having the freedom to leave the current situation in employment is not in its effective sense. There are often legal repercussions to such actions, which is an aspect shared with slavery as well. In the strict sense, slaves can leave their masters as well, but there will likely be legal consequences.

- Here is a for instance. In Islam, slaves can chose to leave their situation by buying their freedom through a binding contract called Mukataba. If they are qualified, the contract can be even enforced by law if the master refuses to sign it. So, according to you, this would not be slavery, whereas we call it slavery. I get the impression that you're not familiar with the non-western forms of slavery, those in the Islamic World, or the Orient, such as in China, Japan, India...

- Question: if a practice in another world is considered slavery, though it isn't in your world, would you be ok with it? Why?

I would say slavery is never a good thing, because to me slavery means that you have only two options, obey or die.

- Never heard of it put that way :) . I guess we are working with completely different concepts of slavery!

- For instance, in Islam, obey or die is not an option. Killing one's slave warrants the death penalty. Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever kills his slave, we will kill him, and whoever mutilates his slave, we will mutilate him.". So, unless the master was eager to follow his slave to the afterlife, I doubt he'd put him in an "obey or die" situation.

Service is fine because you can obey or refuse to obey, and end your service without dying.

- That goes for many forms of slavery as well, probably most even. I think the 'dying' thing is too extreme & a little exaggerated. Probably some cases ended up that badly, but I don't think every slave in America was faced with that ultimatum. People generally have compassion & care, more or less, for their slaves! As far as punishments go, there are far lesser ones than death! For example: withholding payment, retaining sponsorship, additional work, transfer, enlisting...
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riveroaks
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8/18/2015 3:43:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 3:26:39 AM, Yassine wrote:
*Please do not troll or revile this topic*

- Historically, Slavery/Servitude has been one of the foundational institutions shaping the backbone of Society across the World. It was practiced in a wide variety of forms, some really beneficial, some really unpleasant, even inhumane. This thread is aimed at discussing Slavery & Servitude as a human condition, its ethical framework, its manifestation in the past & the present, & its status in the future, near or far.

- I am not particularly talking here about the so-called slavery that existed during the pre-Civil War period in America. I refer to Slavery in all its forms. This of course excludes some forms of servitude considered noble, such as that towards one's parents.

- Slavery has been compared to many other common practices, such as: labor, prostitution, domestic service, military service, nationality & even religious following. The justifiability of these comparisons originates not from the label of 'Slavery' as been publicised, but from the aspects beneath the label these practices share, which I like to discuss. More specifically, the aspects of subordination, coercion, compliance, constraint, oppression, exigency, hardship... Of course, not all these exist in all the different forms of Slavery. The point is to emphasise its more interesting aspects. I mean by:
> Subordination: inferiority in rank, importance or treatment.
> Coercion: persuasion through legal or illegal pressure, force, deception or threats.
> Compliance: obedience, conformity or submissiveness to legitimate or illegitimate authority.
> Constraint: restraint or confinement to a particular set of circumstances by an external agent.
> Oppression: persecution, abuse, or unjust treatment of subjects.
> Exigency: necessity due to an urgent set of circumstances, such as debt, sickness...
> Hardship: harsh, burdensome or distressful conditions of practice.

- Before someone jumps off & shouts "but I am free", "I can chose"...blahblah, let me remind you that the practice of Slavery I am referring to is its broad sense. So, please no off topic discussions about the Fugitive Slave Act or something like that. In the Ottoman Empire for instance, slaves made up two of the four ruling factions, they had the right to contract their owners, buy their freedom, own property, marry who they chose, enjoy holidays... In Thailand, slaves were considered high class domestic servants. In Morocco, a category of slaves comprised the noble class in the regime. & so on.

- Issues I am interested in discussing:
1. Nationality: at what point, or under what sort of regime, would subjects of the state be considered slaves? Same question for subjects of invasion, subjugation or occupation by another state.
2. Military Service: considering that this practice is very similar to common slavery, & aside from the initial choice the person makes to join the institution (some forms of slavery involve a person choosing to become a slave, or declining to obtain freedom), what you think makes soldiers different from slaves? How about compulsory military service? (given that using actual slaves as soldiers was common practice in the past, by the Hans & the Turks for example).
3. Domestic Service: here I am interested in: first, the occupation itself, given that it's often-times practically identical to some forms of slavery ; & second, in its more extreme forms, such as domestic servitude for rich, powerful or dangerous people involving odd job prescriptions.
4. Religious Following: this one is intriguing, for when it comes to religion, some aspects of Slavery exist inherently therein. It would be interesting, for example, to know where to draw a line between obedience to God & obedience to Man, especially since exploitation of people based on religion was & still is not uncommon.
5. Labour: in three parts. One: forced labor, at what point it should be called slavery? Or is it itself a form of slavery? Two: employment: given that some forms of servitude are contractual, what would essentially differentiate employment from servitude? Three: child labor, more precisely, labor of persons not yet legally responsible.
6. Prostitution: this practice is generally governed by an underworld where elements of servitude (coercion, oppression, exigency...) are very present. Do you think prostitution can mostly, or sometimes, be considered a form of servitude?
7. Supremacy & Racism: I mean by racism here any discrimination against an ethnic, racial, structural, regional or religious group. I am here interested in the unjust or oppressive treatment of alien groups in its relation to being a cause or a consequence of slavery?
8. Service: fundamentally, Slavery or Servitude are just more lasting & more intense cases of Service. If we account for the different forms of Slavery & the different forms of Service that existed, is there an ethical framework that could set a boundary that separates these two practices? Does it have any relevance? How would you personally define it?
9. Mechanical Servitude: personally, I think unless human beings are completely replaced by machines, where machines fulfil their every need, there will always exist the necessary institute of Servitude. How do you imagine the future of mankind in relation to Servitude?
10. What are your thoughts on Servitude in general as a human condition.

- Please share your thoughts. I await your contributions.

Slavery is the theft of someone else's labor and the exploitation of their human rights.

Anciently slavery evolved from warfare. Cities were sacked by warrior armies. The men were killed. The women and children were enslaved. And the riches of the town were stolen. The Trojan War is the first account we have of this about to happen in the Iliad by Homer. The ancients considered sacking cities a grand endeavor, but by modern standards it is a crime.

The institution of slavery continued through Roman times by all nations.

During the Christian era the Muslims continued to practice slavery.

Ultimately Muslim slavery of black Africans spread to the American colonies, first by the Dutch seafaring traders then by all the European seafarers.

The Caribbean and the Atlantic southern colonies were perfect for the exploitation of black Africans.

The American Civil War ended that in the USA, and by then European nations had again given up the notion of the acceptability of slavery.
Yassine
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8/18/2015 4:26:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 3:43:54 AM, riveroaks wrote:

- Although this comment is largely off topic, I shall reply to it nonetheless.

Slavery is the theft of someone else's labor and the exploitation of their human rights.

- Not necessarily the case, although, wrongful appropriation & exploitation is done with or without slavery.

Anciently slavery evolved from warfare. Cities were sacked by warrior armies. The men were killed. The women and children were enslaved. And the riches of the town were stolen. The Trojan War is the first account we have of this about to happen in the Iliad by Homer. The ancients considered sacking cities a grand endeavor, but by modern standards it is a crime.

- Also wrong on so many levels. There has been wars & sacking of cities throughout History, even now. But, that's not all there was to it. All great civilisations were begot from very chaotic circumstances.

The institution of slavery continued through Roman times by all nations.

- The present topic is discuss its extension in form into the modern time as well, among others.

During the Christian era the Muslims continued to practice slavery.

- All the world practiced some form of slavery or another, what's your point?

Ultimately Muslim slavery of black Africans spread to the American colonies, first by the Dutch seafaring traders then by all the European seafarers.

- Muslims enslaved primarily Europeans, for obvious reasons. The overwhelming majority of slaves in the Muslim world were in fact whites from Europe or central Asia. Black slavery is more an Americano-European theme.

The Caribbean and the Atlantic southern colonies were perfect for the exploitation of black Africans.

- As I said, this topic is about Slavery with a capital S! Slavery, in all its forms ancient & modern. Not just those associated with black american slavery & such.

The American Civil War ended that in the USA, and by then European nations had again given up the notion of the acceptability of slavery.

- Although inaccurate, this is irrelevant to our topic of discussion, which I specifically pointed out in my OP.
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Yassine
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8/18/2015 4:31:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 4:21:43 AM, Greyparrot wrote:

Wouldn't all forms of servitude be defined as contractual slavery?

- I am not quite sure what you mean by that! In our worldview, slavery & servitude are the same thing. In Arabic, 'Ubudyyah means both 'slavery' & 'servitude'.
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8/18/2015 4:44:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 4:26:34 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/18/2015 3:43:54 AM, riveroaks wrote:

- Although this comment is largely off topic, I shall reply to it nonetheless.

Slavery is the theft of someone else's labor and the exploitation of their human rights.

- Not necessarily the case, although, wrongful appropriation & exploitation is done with or without slavery.

Anciently slavery evolved from warfare. Cities were sacked by warrior armies. The men were killed. The women and children were enslaved. And the riches of the town were stolen. The Trojan War is the first account we have of this about to happen in the Iliad by Homer. The ancients considered sacking cities a grand endeavor, but by modern standards it is a crime.

- Also wrong on so many levels. There has been wars & sacking of cities throughout History, even now. But, that's not all there was to it. All great civilisations were begot from very chaotic circumstances.

The institution of slavery continued through Roman times by all nations.

- The present topic is discuss its extension in form into the modern time as well, among others.

During the Christian era the Muslims continued to practice slavery.

- All the world practiced some form of slavery or another, what's your point?

Ultimately Muslim slavery of black Africans spread to the American colonies, first by the Dutch seafaring traders then by all the European seafarers.

- Muslims enslaved primarily Europeans, for obvious reasons. The overwhelming majority of slaves in the Muslim world were in fact whites from Europe or central Asia. Black slavery is more an Americano-European theme.

The Caribbean and the Atlantic southern colonies were perfect for the exploitation of black Africans.

- As I said, this topic is about Slavery with a capital S! Slavery, in all its forms ancient & modern. Not just those associated with black american slavery & such.

The American Civil War ended that in the USA, and by then European nations had again given up the notion of the acceptability of slavery.

- Although inaccurate, this is irrelevant to our topic of discussion, which I specifically pointed out in my OP.

At least you understand that Muslims are largely responsible for black African slavery.
Yassine
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8/18/2015 5:08:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 4:44:33 AM, riveroaks wrote:

At least you understand that Muslims are largely responsible for black African slavery.

- You mean the fact that most black African slaves were muslims?
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8/18/2015 7:33:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 5:08:42 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/18/2015 4:44:33 AM, riveroaks wrote:

At least you understand that Muslims are largely responsible for black African slavery.

- You mean the fact that most black African slaves were muslims?

No. Virtually all black African slaves were heathens not Muslims.

But historically it was North African Muslims who captured them and sold them to the Dutch for transport to America.
Yassine
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8/18/2015 9:13:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 7:33:20 PM, riveroaks wrote:
At 8/18/2015 5:08:42 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/18/2015 4:44:33 AM, riveroaks wrote:

At least you understand that Muslims are largely responsible for black African slavery.

- You mean the fact that most black African slaves were muslims?

No. Virtually all black African slaves were heathens not Muslims.

But historically it was North African Muslims who captured them and sold them to the Dutch for transport to America.

- I just realised you're an ignorant troll ; thus, I have absolutely no interest in arguing with you. & so, I'll be ignoring you from now on. Best of luck. Bye. :)
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8/18/2015 11:10:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/18/2015 9:13:25 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/18/2015 7:33:20 PM, riveroaks wrote:
At 8/18/2015 5:08:42 AM, Yassine wrote:
At 8/18/2015 4:44:33 AM, riveroaks wrote:

At least you understand that Muslims are largely responsible for black African slavery.

- You mean the fact that most black African slaves were muslims?

No. Virtually all black African slaves were heathens not Muslims.

But historically it was North African Muslims who captured them and sold them to the Dutch for transport to America.

- I just realised you're an ignorant troll ; thus, I have absolutely no interest in arguing with you. & so, I'll be ignoring you from now on. Best of luck. Bye. :)

Well that makes you even more ignorant, since you don't know your Muslim slavery history. Good luck and goodbye.
Objectivity
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12/30/2015 9:29:40 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 8/15/2015 3:26:39 AM, Yassine wrote:
*Please do not troll or revile this topic*

- Historically, Slavery/Servitude has been one of the foundational institutions shaping the backbone of Society across the World. It was practiced in a wide variety of forms, some really beneficial, some really unpleasant, even inhumane. This thread is aimed at discussing Slavery & Servitude as a human condition, its ethical framework, its manifestation in the past & the present, & its status in the future, near or far.

- I am not particularly talking here about the so-called slavery that existed during the pre-Civil War period in America. I refer to Slavery in all its forms. This of course excludes some forms of servitude considered noble, such as that towards one's parents.

- Slavery has been compared to many other common practices, such as: labor, prostitution, domestic service, military service, nationality & even religious following. The justifiability of these comparisons originates not from the label of 'Slavery' as been publicised, but from the aspects beneath the label these practices share, which I like to discuss. More specifically, the aspects of subordination, coercion, compliance, constraint, oppression, exigency, hardship... Of course, not all these exist in all the different forms of Slavery. The point is to emphasise its more interesting aspects. I mean by:
> Subordination: inferiority in rank, importance or treatment.
> Coercion: persuasion through legal or illegal pressure, force, deception or threats.
> Compliance: obedience, conformity or submissiveness to legitimate or illegitimate authority.
> Constraint: restraint or confinement to a particular set of circumstances by an external agent.
> Oppression: persecution, abuse, or unjust treatment of subjects.
> Exigency: necessity due to an urgent set of circumstances, such as debt, sickness...
> Hardship: harsh, burdensome or distressful conditions of practice.

- Before someone jumps off & shouts "but I am free", "I can chose"...blahblah, let me remind you that the practice of Slavery I am referring to is its broad sense. So, please no off topic discussions about the Fugitive Slave Act or something like that. In the Ottoman Empire for instance, slaves made up two of the four ruling factions, they had the right to contract their owners, buy their freedom, own property, marry who they chose, enjoy holidays... In Thailand, slaves were considered high class domestic servants. In Morocco, a category of slaves comprised the noble class in the regime. & so on.

- Issues I am interested in discussing:
1. Nationality: at what point, or under what sort of regime, would subjects of the state be considered slaves? Same question for subjects of invasion, subjugation or occupation by another state.
2. Military Service: considering that this practice is very similar to common slavery, & aside from the initial choice the person makes to join the institution (some forms of slavery involve a person choosing to become a slave, or declining to obtain freedom), what you think makes soldiers different from slaves? How about compulsory military service? (given that using actual slaves as soldiers was common practice in the past, by the Hans & the Turks for example).
3. Domestic Service: here I am interested in: first, the occupation itself, given that it's often-times practically identical to some forms of slavery ; & second, in its more extreme forms, such as domestic servitude for rich, powerful or dangerous people involving odd job prescriptions.
4. Religious Following: this one is intriguing, for when it comes to religion, some aspects of Slavery exist inherently therein. It would be interesting, for example, to know where to draw a line between obedience to God & obedience to Man, especially since exploitation of people based on religion was & still is not uncommon.
5. Labour: in three parts. One: forced labor, at what point it should be called slavery? Or is it itself a form of slavery? Two: employment: given that some forms of servitude are contractual, what would essentially differentiate employment from servitude? Three: child labor, more precisely, labor of persons not yet legally responsible.
6. Prostitution: this practice is generally governed by an underworld where elements of servitude (coercion, oppression, exigency...) are very present. Do you think prostitution can mostly, or sometimes, be considered a form of servitude?
7. Supremacy & Racism: I mean by racism here any discrimination against an ethnic, racial, structural, regional or religious group. I am here interested in the unjust or oppressive treatment of alien groups in its relation to being a cause or a consequence of slavery?
8. Service: fundamentally, Slavery or Servitude are just more lasting & more intense cases of Service. If we account for the different forms of Slavery & the different forms of Service that existed, is there an ethical framework that could set a boundary that separates these two practices? Does it have any relevance? How would you personally define it?
9. Mechanical Servitude: personally, I think unless human beings are completely replaced by machines, where machines fulfil their every need, there will always exist the necessary institute of Servitude. How do you imagine the future of mankind in relation to Servitude?
10. What are your thoughts on Servitude in general as a human condition.

- Please share your thoughts. I await your contributions.

I will just make the point, all other points aside that slavery, even benevolent slavery is absolutely immoral. This obviously excludes parental relationship, but other than that any sort of coerced slavery that deprives one of their liberty is immoral in all circumstances. Now realize that what you call servitude (prostitution, contractual employment..? etc.) are not forms of slavery or servitude since they are wholly consensual acts or agreements. I do not agree with your premise that the only distinction between service and servitude is the intensity and length, the key difference is autonomy and liberty. But cross apply my answer to all of the relevant questions, slavery is absolutely immoral and cannot be justified in any circumstance.
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12/30/2015 10:19:55 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/30/2015 9:29:40 PM, Objectivity wrote:

- You did exactly what I warned agains in the OP :) . As the OP suggests, I mean by Slavery or Servitude all practices deemed as such around the world, not just in pre-Civil War America!

I will just make the point, all other points aside that slavery, even benevolent slavery is absolutely immoral.

- Why is it such?

This obviously excludes parental relationship,

- Why should it be?

but other than that any sort of coerced slavery that deprives one of their liberty is immoral in all circumstances.

- Deprivation of liberty, in what sense? Why?

Now realize that what you call servitude (prostitution, contractual employment..? etc.) are not forms of slavery or servitude since they are wholly consensual acts or agreements.

- Not necessarily. One: Prostitution, for instance, involves inherent factors such as fear & submissiveness, liberty & such practices are often & mostly at odds, how doesn't it compare to slavery? Two: an employ can't just leave his employ, there will be repercussions, where is the liberty in this? Three: there are forms of slavery which are contractual & consensual just the same, what distinguishes employment from these practices?

I do not agree with your premise that the only distinction between service and servitude is the intensity and length, the key difference is autonomy and liberty.

- Autonomy & liberty aren't necessarily exclusive to either service or servitude. There are circumstances in which neither occur, & others where both occur. Where to draw the line?

But cross apply my answer to all of the relevant questions, slavery is absolutely immoral and cannot be justified in any circumstance.

- How about "citizenship", or "military service"...? What's the difference between these practices & slavery in its broad sense? For instance, what makes a soldier, essentially, not a slave?
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Objectivity
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12/31/2015 1:25:48 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/30/2015 10:19:55 PM, Yassine wrote:
At 12/30/2015 9:29:40 PM, Objectivity wrote:

- You did exactly what I warned agains in the OP :) . As the OP suggests, I mean by Slavery or Servitude all practices deemed as such around the world, not just in pre-Civil War America!

If you didn't want to reply you shouldn't have, I gave a disclaimer at the beginning.

I will just make the point, all other points aside that slavery, even benevolent slavery is absolutely immoral.

- Why is it such?

It violates the autonomy and liberty of its victim

This obviously excludes parental relationship,

- Why should it be? Because parenthood is itself a separate entity,

but other than that any sort of coerced slavery that deprives one of their liberty is immoral in all circumstances.

- Deprivation of liberty, in what sense? Why? If you are a slave are you free to refuse to work for said person or do their bidding? Are you free to go and act as you please? If not then it is a deprivation of liberty.

Now realize that what you call servitude (prostitution, contractual employment..? etc.) are not forms of slavery or servitude since they are wholly consensual acts or agreements.

- Not necessarily. One: Prostitution, for instance, involves inherent factors such as fear & submissiveness, liberty & such practices are often & mostly at odds, how doesn't it compare to slavery? Two: an employ can't just leave his employ, there will be repercussions, where is the liberty in this? Three: there are forms of slavery which are contractual & consensual just the same, what distinguishes employment from these practices?

We are speaking of negative liberty, in the first instance prostitution is slavery when it is coerced through pimps, but if it is just a woman voluntarily selling her services to another person it is a voluntary transaction, not slavery. Second, repercussions for your actions is a consequence of liberty, not slavery. If I eat twenty big macs a day from McDonalds and become obese that is not slavery, it is a repercussion for a poor decision, the same for leaving your job without having another lined up. Also if a form of slavery is contractual in the sense that both parties consent to the agreement, it's not slavery, its a voluntary transaction.

I do not agree with your premise that the only distinction between service and servitude is the intensity and length, the key difference is autonomy and liberty.


- Autonomy & liberty aren't necessarily exclusive to either service or servitude. There are circumstances in which neither occur, & others where both occur. Where to draw the line?

Consent

But cross apply my answer to all of the relevant questions, slavery is absolutely immoral and cannot be justified in any circumstance.

- How about "citizenship", or "military service"...? What's the difference between these practices & slavery in its broad sense? For instance, what makes a soldier, essentially, not a slave?

Citizenship could be slavery depending on the rights afforded to you within the society you live in. Conscription is slavery since its not consensual, but if you sign a contract to be a soldier for so many years you aren't enslaved. It's less complicated than you try to make it out to be, consent is where the line is drawn in every instance.
Yassine
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12/31/2015 3:10:55 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/31/2015 1:25:48 AM, Objectivity wrote:

If you didn't want to reply you shouldn't have, I gave a disclaimer at the beginning.

- That was my pre-disclaimer.

It violates the autonomy and liberty of its victim.

- Not necessarily. & why victim? & don't other ordinary practices, sometimes, violate the autonomy and liberty of its victims. How autonomous is someone working for his boss? How much liberty does he really have? He can't just leave on a whim without repercussions! & what if he leaves, isn't he just gonna end up working for another boss. My point is, deep down, on a moral & ethical level, what really distinguishes a worker from a slave?

Because parenthood is itself a separate entity,

- What?

but other than that any sort of coerced slavery that deprives one of their liberty is immoral in all circumstances.

- You're taking slavery to mean not-liberty by definition. So, in case there is a form of slavery which has elements of liberty, it isn't slavery?

If you are a slave are you free to refuse to work for said person or do their bidding?

- Sometimes, not more free than an employee refusing to work for his boss.

Are you free to go and act as you please?

- Sometimes, not more free than an employee acting as he pleases.

If not then it is a deprivation of liberty.

- Is Labor, thus, deprivation of liberty?

We are speaking of negative liberty, in the first instance prostitution is slavery when it is coerced through pimps, but if it is just a woman voluntarily selling her services to another person it is a voluntary transaction, not slavery.

- Well, this could be said about slavery just the same. Slaves are "voluntarily" providing services in exchange for shelter & sustenance. In a world where fear & submission are present, how can volition coexist?

Second, repercussions for your actions is a consequence of liberty, not slavery. If I eat twenty big macs a day from McDonalds and become obese that is not slavery, it is a repercussion for a poor decision,

- What if that decision was made for you? As per how the labor system works. The boss decides, & the employee/worker fulfils.

the same for leaving your job without having another lined up.

- Sometimes you can't leave your job, or else there will be serious legal consequences. The same way slaves can't run from their bosses, or else sometimes there will be repercussions.

Also if a form of slavery is contractual in the sense that both parties consent to the agreement, it's not slavery, its a voluntary transaction.

- As I was saying, there ARE indeed contractual forms of slavery. The point being, how do you distinguish the ordinary practices from slavery. Are those contractual forms of slavery not immoral?

Consent

- So, Service is immoral too, if, for instance it was hereditary, or for instance, it was compulsory (such as compulsory military service), or, if it relates to monasteries & such?

- Some forms of slavery involves people voluntarily accepting being a slave, for instance, to pay a debt, or to repay a big favour, or to serve an order.... Well, the same way, 'free' people chose to accept working a job they hate to pay their debts elsewise their families become homeless, or accept joining the military service, from which they can't recant... Now, ethically & morally, where is the essence of difference here, if there is any?

Citizenship could be slavery depending on the rights afforded to you within the society you live in.

- It's not like you chose to become an American or otherwise, the same way born slaves didn't chose to be in that situation or otherwise. People tend to prefer their homeland, just because they were born there, what matters what rights they have?

Conscription is slavery since its not consensual,

- Then how is it moral according to you? Or else, why is it immoral?

but if you sign a contract to be a soldier for so many years you aren't enslaved.

- Won't be enslaved for that number of years?

It's less complicated than you try to make it out to be, consent is where the line is drawn in every instance.

- Consent can mean a wide range of things, & is never certain. Is someone whose child is dying in the hospital singing a contract to save his child really consenting , would he consent if the circumstances were different? Is the consent of someone with serious capital entering into a transaction the same as the consent with a jobless person from a the lower class?

- The discussion is on an ethical & moral level, in which case, consent can mean what you want it to mean. Did you decide the legal application of 'consent' in your country? Then why necessarily abide by it?
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