Monday, June 8, 2015

Marjorie Spiegel (In Defense of Slavery)

She compares human slavery with animal enslavement.  She had several pieces of shocking evidence that left me on the edge. An example is a quote she had there by James Boswell where he says that African savages were off being slaves because it saved them from massacre, intolerable bondage in their own country and according to him introduced them into a much happier state of life. Another example was of Aristotle who believed that the victims had to be transformed from the mind of oppressed beings to thankful underlings. That they should be grateful for being used, appreciated, and protected, while fulfilling the needs of their superiors.  In comparison being a tamed animal is good because it secures the animal’s survival.  Aristotle also claims that if physically born stronger than other humans then these people are slaves by nature and “better” for them to be subject to this kind of control. He believed certain animals and certain humans were physically born to be of assistance of others and the rest to be useful for community life. Another interesting idea is from John P. Kennedy, which he believed that the slaves he wrote about in his book could never be more happier. That no tribe of people has ever passed from barbarism to civilization protected, supplied and secured from harm the way the “negroes” were on the farm he observed.  

Spiegel then compared the slaves from such farm to chickens in an egg factory. She interviewed a worker from the farm in which he believed that the chickens were happy and that they were actually “protecting” them from predators. Speigel then says how both animals and slaves were being ignored and society defends the violation of another’s life through our denial of reality which makes us uncomfortable. An example is how people happily bring their children to the zoo to see the animals totally ignoring the treatment of the animals, their happiness, their lost freedom and the destruction of their natural habitats. The most shocking thing I read in the article was how in 1906 an African Pygmy was displayed in a zoo in a cage with chimpanzees.  Her last quote says something along the lines that if you can live with cruelty around you and live comfortably then you are lost.

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