Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Modern Slavery

A dear friend expressed her hope that one day we Americans will live as free men under capitalism rather than as slaves under socialism. I find this to be a very peculiar meme, but it is a powerful one in this country, attaching itself, as memes do, wherever it finds welcome. That real slavery exists, slavery for labor and slavery for rape-oriented sex, and that it is common in the world even today, is something I think that she knows and deplores.

My friend has so many choices, so many perks for just being born in the United States. For her or for anyone in her position to complain that living under an active but benign public sector is akin to living in slavery just strikes me as wrong. It is an instance of how our chosen predispositions cause us to open and allow certain dogma to enter our minds and stick there. And I think that we do choose our predispositions and through them the meme parasites we allow to enter us and tag along.

When untold numbers of women, children and men are held under duress and forced to work or forced to open their legs for someone who purchased them for that purpose in a commercial exchange, it takes deep self-involvement to equate the pressures of living a middle class lifestyle in the United States with slavery. But that is a very American thing to do. We get frustrated easily in this country, especially the better off we are. It does not take much to make an American feel put upon. I know. I am one. I have felt the road rage.

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