I am usurping mouse's journal for my own thoughts. Spirited one did a journal post about slavery. Upon reading it, I found it simply did not sit well with me. There is no malice and I certainly respect the views of others. However, as I age, my views have altered significantly. I used to believe that loving a "slave" was not needed, because they are property. I maintain my vehicle, change the oil, keep it clean inside and out, but I do not love it. The same was true of women I "owned." While they had strong feelings of love for me, I had no reciprocal feelings for them, as I felt it better to keep my emotions separate from theirs. It made them, I believed erroneously, better "slaves" and myself a better "master."
Mouse has often written about the changes she has been through on her journey; I am on a journey of understanding as well.
I wrote a lengthy comment to spirited one, but felt upon reflection it required its own space. My journal is relatively obscure, so I decided to write this in mouse's space, since these ideals affect her as well.
These opinions are my own and spirited one is entitled to her opinion as well, I believe she has some terminology wrong or perhaps inappropriately applied, as instead of slavery she is confusing indentured servitude with slavery.
Indentured servitude is where a person became a slave for a period of time, to earn passage or to pay off debt. Oftentimes Judges would sentence women with small children (along with their children) to such, if their husband's passed away and left behind debts. These people could be sold to others, with the debt transferred (as you would to refinance a house or car) but remained free individuals. This was in lieu of being sent to prison, specifically debtors prisons. At the end of their service yes they were free to leave, however during their service they were in fact bound to their benefactor, and often subjected to cruel treatment.
The chief issue with indentured servants being brought to the new world (America) by their benefactors or owners, is that they would blend with everyone else. They could easily escape to a new area, and start their lives over (yes in hiding somewhat). Thus leaving the owner in a situation of having a paid a debt, without being properly compensated.
The darker people were more easily recognized and became the norm throughout Europe and Americas. And yes, while they could be freed either by their masters, or if they escaped making their way into "free territory" (Canada in North American), there were no guarantees that if they returned their papers would be honored. Some were captured and made slaves again. Some who "lost" their freedom papers were also made slaves again. Many do not realize even our founding fathers here in America grappled with the complex issue of slavery, and some refused to sign the Declaration of Independence because a few wished for a clause to exclude the broad use of slaves, while others still opposed that.
We, as peoples, have a long history rife with subjugation of others, ancient Egypt kept Jews as slaves. Babylonians as well kept slaves, as did the Roman Empire. By historical record these people were property and not treated well at all. Most died young and all were considered expendable.
In India they are called untouchables, although the sentiment is changing. They are for lack of a better term kept at the bottom with no chance of bettering themselves, education, medicine, and even access to clean water are restricted – these peoples are nothing more than slaves subjugated by their low status in society. In the twentieth century the Nazis stripped the Jewish people of their identity, their possessions and treated them as slaves, and exterminated millions. They were made to work in camps, experimented upon, and were treated as less than human, in other words subjugated by their Nazi counterparts. Genocide or ethnic cleansing is slavery to the highest degree and still goes on today. The useful ones are spared, made to work for the governments in exchange for their lives because they can serve a purpose, while millions of others are executed and tossed away into mass graves. In parts of middle eastern countries, women are still subjugated by men, and can be killed by male members of their family and yes they are sold to their husbands in the form of dowry. The Taliban believes women and girls should not be educated.
Remember we are not even discussing the sex trades. Where children from poor countries are traded like chattel. Young girls and boys from all over the world are kidnapped, never seen again, and traded to these countries, used as sex slaves. Their lives are meaningless. When they outgrow their usefulness they are generally murdered and their bodies dumped like trash. The governments acquiesce to the abuse, doing nothing to stop it.
In the BDSM world there are consensual slaves but I am growing ever uncomfortable with that distinction. Perhaps I am too worldly and too thinking, but there are those, as in all society out on the fringe who do believe that once someone hands over their lives to another are nothing more than chattel. I have known many women, who envied those who were kidnapped and forced into slavery. One in particular would masturbate while reading the Time Magazine story of "the girl in the box." I laughed it off as fantasy until one day she disappeared and have no idea what became of her.
The moniker of Master is something I have grown difficult with as well for some time. While I do pride myself on being in control of mouse, and the head of my house, I am exceedingly pained by those on the fringe who believe because I am often kind to mouse, regularly use common courtesies, and behave as a gentleman I am less. However mastery has different definitions and seems, at least to me, to be more acceptable, than slave.
I myself would like to see a different terms or definitions put to use in the BDSM world, since the Webster Dictionary carries watered down definition of the word, which is somewhat demeaning, and ignores vastly the moral ramifications of that very word, "slave." Perhaps adding "consensual" is enough to distinguish it, however I remain conflicted.