Rollin' Like Sisyphus

181 Years

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline, The Next Ten Years by Huckleberry on May 7, 2014

Magic, man...

Magic, man…

Here’s another quick math problem.
Subtract 181 from 5,500.
What do you get?
The sum total of recorded history in years where slavery was an institutionally accepted aspect of human existence. The 181* is the amount of time that the known world** has formally abolished the practice, and save for a couple of messy wars, slavery – chattel and otherwise – exists on the fringes of the civic order.
Or so most thought until a gang of Muslims Freedom Fighters absconded with a gaggle of “Westernized” teenage girls, threatening to (or already have) sell them on the market for the low, low price of $12 USD per. Despite that the slave trade has been increasingly robust however much underground it is during the past couple of decades, the Would-be Watchers of Our Time seem Shocked and Appalled that groups of the Powerful would do to groups of the Powerless basically what they’ve done for all of recorded history, save for a rough sliver of time amounting to about a third of 1%. And do keep in mind, that’s only the Professionally Estimated determination of recorded history as roughly 5,500 years. It would be foolish to assume that the practice came about at the exact same time as the written word.
So what’s my point?
Surely I can’t be excusing this type of behavior.
Of course not.
But it helps to note that historically, one can make the case that human ownership of other humans is the default setting much more easily than one could argue the inverse. The fact that it’s becoming much more of a widespread, underground-but-just-barely-below-the-surface practice now underscores the points I’ve been making about our decline. We think our technology, our prosperity and our social and civic conventions will trundle onward and upward; that once a thing is learned it is enduring.
I’m here to tell you, it ain’t no such thing, and the future is going to look so much like the past it’ll make your head spin. Just keep in mind, between the Fall of Rome and the end of the Renaissance, concrete was nearly unreproducible magic.
* Roughly
** While a few countries managed to beat Britain to the punch, none had the scope and breadth of the largest empire in the world outlawing the practice entirely. And hey, that was only a cool 618 years after Habeas Corpus became a thing, so there you go.


2 Responses

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  1. El Borak said, on May 7, 2014 at 12:44

    It all comes down to available energy, which is nascent wealth. If powerful people can live well without the blood and pain and shit-smell of slavery, then they will. But if rather than using oil for the energy it takes to live wisely, agreeably, and well they must use something else… well then, we will get the morality we can afford. Same as it ever was.

    • Huckleberry said, on May 7, 2014 at 14:08

      we will get the morality we can afford

      This is really the bread and butter of it, yeah.

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