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Do you support slavery? Most people do. — 143 Comments

  1. Holly:
    Well said!! I believe in what you’ve said and always have. I’d also add in property rights because the Founding Fathers actually wanted the right to own property included.
    When I read this..I could imagine John Galt speaking the words.;-)

  2. There is no right to enslave anyone. But that will not stop people from doing so. There should be a right to own the products of your labor–all of it. That this post had to be written is sad. America has always fallen short of the ideals that makes it unique. We used to try to live up to those ideals, then we pretended to try to live up to those ideals. Now it is called “being selfish” to ask to keep the product of your labor. It is called noble to sacrifice, and that we ought to be proud to pay our taxes in this land of the not so free any longer. We are asked to give back that which we have taken, a public education as an example. No one dares calculate all of the ways in which you are beholden to those who are infirm, children are used as an almost universal blank check to get any usurpation of our liberties past us. And as the sun sets on our once precious liberties, let us bow our heads in sorrow at how easily we have given them up, and we should feel shame for those who died to make sure we had an opportunity to taste the sweetness of freedom. How fleeting it was.

  3. I fear some people are missing Holly’s point.

    Holly is not against taxation; she makes it clear that a police force, an army and a judiciary and all the rest of the infrastructure are necessary and to have them they have to be paid for. That requires taxation.

    Reading between the lines she doesn’t seem to be a minimalist fanatic who thinks that countries other than her own who have made democratic decision about how they allocate resource for the above and details such as maintenance of social infrastructure that goes with it (buildings and roads) and support for the commonwealth such as sanitation and literacy have a right to do so.

    What she seems to be objecting to is what amounts to the social manipulation. This has many names ranging from “Propaganda” to … well, social engineering. Some of it good and some of it bad.

    I’m not going to be an absolutists and decry all forms of propaganda. As a means of eduction about safety and health we cannot do without it. As a means of altering political opinion … well maybe. Would you rip down a poster saying “Don’t Drink and Drive”? How about one saying you should not be a racist?

    But things that start of good can get out of hand. It is reasonable for a government to want to encourage people to develop, perhaps develop a nascent industry to generate more jobs and perhaps produce something that replaces an expensive import. So they impose an import tariff. That’s a tax, a specialised tax.
    Its well meaning. But perhaps they forget to turn it off years later. Perhaps, as with the domestic oil industry, there get to be not just tariffs but subsidies and a whole mess of detailed differences. Which leads to the situation Holly describes and more where the open and fair commercial decisions are subsumed by restrictive “policy”.

    They say “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions”. no doubt there was a Good Intention behind the grant and subsidy that Holly wrote about, something to encourage writers. But along the way the Powers That be have become wary of abuses and Frauds and layered more and more controls and requirements, and the people that revel in petty bureaucracy had a hand in it as well. So the original purpose became subverted and distorted.

    Now multiply that a Big Number.

    Remember, the government is the largest employer in many countries, and the government lobbyists make up a large population surrounding them. All have an agenda. Even the purest, the most lofty of agendas gets distorted out of all recognition by the time is passed into law.

    I’m sure the well meaning people who wanted to encourage new writers would be shocked by Holly’s observations and cry “NO! That’s not what we meant!” Well tough, that’s what you got ‘cos that’s the way the system works.

  4. I’m not entirely sure where I stand on type-3 slavery, I think I agree with Holly but these things always take a while for me to mull over.

    Maybe this is irrelevant, but I expected this article to be about child labour, labourers abroad being paid a pittance for making products that are shipped over into rich countries and sold cheaply (looking at YOU, Primark).
    I know this is not an issue with this argument specifically, pointing out a kind of slavery that might be arguably worse doesn’t change the fact that some other, lesser kind should be discussed and tackled, and that anyone who is thoroughly opposed to type-3 slavery doesn’t care or isn’t doing enough to combat other kinds, or other issues. (I get this all the time when people find out I’m vegan- “Well what about X issue which is worse than animal cruelty?” I say being vegan doesn’t stop me caring about domestic abuse, child labour, insert-your-injustice-here…).

    Like I said, maybe I’m off topic. But I just wondered what others who agree with Holly think about offshore labour, and buying all sorts of products which in all likelihood had gruesome beginnings (animal products, foods, fur, leather) or were manufactured by people in third-world conditions for horrendously low pay. I try to “buy ethically” when I can, as a student and an aspiring writer I can’t really afford it, and anyways, how are we meant to KNOW what stuff is ethically produced and what was built on the back of slave labour? I guess fairtrade is the first step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t seem like enough.

    Does anyone else get overwhelming bouts of guilt about stuff like this?

  5. The citizens of America promote their own enslavement by voting in men like George Gush and Barack Obama. They claim they will help one class by infringing on the rights of another. It sickens me to see these occupy wall street folks think it is ethical to demand unequal treatment of a different class in the name of equality. The government has us bickering over who they will enslave more. Government is never the answer, the only job they have is to protect our rights, and that’s it. That is all the constitution calls for.

  6. Reading your articles, you seem to have many beleifs that disagree with my own, but that only makes me respect you more because you do an excellent job justifying your point.

    As for form 3 slavery… I don’t disagree with you completely, but right now I think it’s better than any known alternatives. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  7. I have kept this article intact as a demonstration, that yes, most people support slavery willingly, and that most do so based on their own greed—their thought that they can somehow obtain via “legalized” theft what those who have been more productive have earned, while never considering that those who have been even less productive than them will be stealing everything THEY have earned. — Holly Lisle

    This was interesting. I came here ready to agree with the whole slavery is bad thing but I read your article and I now agree with slavery. I am a slave, your a slave, we’re all slaves so why get upset about it? I’m not even going to take some phony moral high ground and pretend I wouldn’t love to own slaves if I had the chance. We all know deep down inside we would.

    Everybody wants to get filthy rich and have servants who wait on us hand and foot and wipe our asses, but we won’t admit that we really want slaves. People even treat their kids like slaves. It’s human nature it seems to sit on your fat ass and prosper while someone else toils.

    Today we have corporations that would love nothing better than to be allowed slave labor here in the US. They lower wages, cut benefits, and lengthen working hours in the pursuit of getting as much free labor as they can out of us, and we eat it up. We buy stock in the companies that treat their employees like shit so they can squeeze another dollar of profit out of them for their slave holding investors.

    Yeah, we’re all in on it. So, I say if we’re all slaves and all slaveholders what’s the problem? Keep on truckin’.

    • And here someone happy to be a parasite chimes in.

      No, NOT everyone wants to be filthy rich and have servants. I for one have worked for everything I have in my life, and am happy to do so.

    • I have to strongly disagree with that sentiment. I have never and would never want to own another human being, in any way, shape or form. That whole thought of having that manner of control over another human life disgusts me.

      I’m also quite happy to wipe my own ass, thank you very much.

      As to the corporations you spoke of, their employees need to either suck it up or find better jobs.

      I hate my job. I teach long hours, for little pay, and also suffer the colorful threats I get every day from my lovely students. But, I need to make money to live, so I suck it up. I’ll keep this job or take on an equally worse one until I have enough experience for a better job, or until I can make it as a writer.

    • I would never, ever want to “own” another human being. The whole idea of that is sickening to me. I agree with you about corporations wanting to suck as much money & benefits out of their employees as they can (I happen to be in a situation like this right now). It’s awful but it makes business sense.

  8. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

    • Have you ever stopped to consider that most of the “services” the government spends taxes on, it has no right to offer? That if the government only offered those services it legitimately can offer, we would not HAVE a monstrous tax burden?

      • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument] Was a demand for me to re-support what I have presented without in any way supporting the writer’s own assertions.

        • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

          Please note that ‘Welfare’ listed as defined today, did not exist in the 1700’s. In fact, it did not exist until the early 20th century. It was never intended that the produce of one individual be taken in whole or in part and given to another by the federal government. This is known as communism and/or socialism.

          • And yet politicians CANNOT remove the social welfare systems in place today, because they know they’d be voted out next election if they did. Those systems are retained precisely because the majority of people prefer them to be. If that weren’t the case, they’d have already been removed.

            We get the government we deserve. 😉

            • I’d already put a lot of thouht into this subject, and came to basically the same conclusions (except on proper use of force, which I’m still mulling over, re: protecting vs. overprotecting the kid). Here’s why: I accidentally sat down at someone else’s computer at school. He was reading a speech Davy Crockett gave to congress on this very subject. Here’s a link to it. Link It’s much more eloquent than I can be, and fully explains the government/#3 slavery issue. I only read it once (then the guy came back) but it’s stuck in my head for about 10 years as food for thought.

              As for me… well, without disclosing too much personal detail, I’m working to get out of being a #3 slaveholder to the people of Wisconsin. I’m technically still in to one particular person besides that, but out in practice. It’s hard, and there’s a lot of temptation to just say “heck with it”. But it is possible to get out of slavery–no matter which end you’re in on.

        • Government is not a human being. Its rights are not the same as that of an ethical human being. It only serves the rights of human beings.

          Whether we like it or not, writing is not a right, so a government would have no right (as it would violate its only principle) to infringe on its creation, distribution, or existence in general.

          Writing, and anything that was not a basic human right, would exist outside of the government, driven by people.

      • And here is the crux of the whole matter, Holly – the greatest part of the so-called services (perhaps better denominated ‘usurpations’) this government offers it has no right to offer. The genius of the Founders was to set up a central government with certain enumerated powers. The idea that the Constitution limits the Federal government is so little-understood – even by Congress – that it seems alien when mentioned.

        Yes, we are slaves; and we vote in our slave masters – whoever promises us the most bread and circuses.

      • “Have you ever stopped to consider that most of the “services” the government spends taxes on, it has no right to offer?”

        Unfortunately, not many people have stopped to consider this because they’ve been so conditioned by the status-quo of expanding government that they think it’s okay. Probably most of what government taxes and pays for nowadays doesn’t fall within their enumerated powers. And many people either don’t care, or they support government’s escalating money grabs.

      • I think we’re missing the point of my post. I didn’t really want to get into an argument about taxes; no two people will ever have the exact same opinion on taxes and we could sit here and argue about it all day and make no headway.

        What I take issue with is your assertion that taxes=slavery and that anyone who disagrees with you is inherently wrong and a supporter of slavery. I do have a question that hopefully you can clarify though: you made a rebuttal on someone’s comment that there are no “lesser” forms of slavery. If I’m understanding that correctly, you’re essentially saying that your 3rd definition of slavery is just as bad/wrong/immoral as the 1st and 2nd. Taking this further, are you suggesting that having to pay income tax is as bad as human trafficking and sex slave trade? That strikes me as fairly insensitive.

        • READ THE DAMN POST. I did not say that taxes equal slavery. Read what I actually wrote.

          Voluntary taxes as well as payment by those who use them for the services government LEGITIMATELY offers can cover legitimate government expenses.

          • Jamie,

            Holly isn’t saying any taxes are equal to slavery. She is just arguing the current tax system in American is slavery.

            Holly said Form 3 slavery is “the involuntary removal of the products of labor of one human being by force for the enrichment of another human being or a government.”

            The current tax system in America collects taxes (product of labor) and uses them for the enrichment of others, thus creating slavery by Holly’s definition.

            I still maintain that choosing to remain in a country is volunteering to submit to that country’s tax system. If we volunteer to stay in the United States, it’s not an involuntary removal of products of labor. We choose to stay.

    • “Taxation doesn’t really seem like slavery to me since everyone is putting something in and everyone is getting something out of it.”–Jamie

      Um, no. Not everybody is paying in. Half of the people in this country pay NO taxes, even though some of them do earn money. Funnily enough, the non-tax-paying half is also the half that sucks up the most of the tax money that the honest half pays in. There are folks who truly can do nothing for themselves–but not half of the population! This non-taxpaing half of the country are the slaveholders.

      And no, we don’t al take this stuff for granted. “Granted.” Granted by whom?

      Don’t get me started on public schools, because they are the poisonous root our problems.

      I almost didn’t comment on this post, because all I had to say after I finished reading Holly’s words was, “Yep.”

      Personally, I don’t enjoy debate. You said your piece and I said mine.

  9. Let me first say that I appreciate the discussion, Holly, as well as the invitation to discuss these issues at a high level, which we don’t get enough of in the point-scoring pundit-sphere of Fox News and MSNBC, et al. My hope is that we debate with a spirit of humility, courtesy and genuine curiosity to find the truth. Our prides be damned.

    Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

    • While you disagree with me, you do not support your point.

      I do not lump “degrees of limitation of choice” into any version of slavery.

      I only include those ways in which people as individuals or people acting in the guise of “government” use force to coerce other individuals.

      Changing what I said does not invalidate my argument, and claiming a metaphysical origin to the rights of humans is expressly what I DID NOT do.

      So please support your assertion that any human being has the right to force another human being to work to support him.

      • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

      • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

        • Wrong. All people have these (and I would add other)rights. Government does not grant these rights – though they might take them away or kill you for expressing them.

          As Heinlein phrased it, “‘Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law’ — in fact, it’s a law of nature — but don’t forget that it also applies to lynch mobs.”

          Whether you accept that the natural rights are God-given as stated by Founders in the Declaration of Independence, or exist because “Man is a wild animal” as Heinlein expressed, we still have thse rights . We may abidcate tehm to a government in return for our lives, but the government does not create or grant them.

          • Jim, I’d agree with you completely that government does not create those rights (although some governments – good governments, in my opinion – do make efforts to preserve those rights).

            I’m fairly sure they are not a given, though. The concept of human rights is a very new one, really. Over humankind’s history, they’ve only been codified the way we think of them today for the blink of an eye. And even those are changing – for instance, in many countries healthcare is now considered a human right, and that debate is now raging here in the USA as well.

            But here’s the rub: we can declare whatever rights we want, but those rights will only last for precisely as long as we are willing to be vigilant in their preservation and are willing to fight to defend them (and by fight, I don’t mean just the physical, but the physical is of course sometimes necessary).

            The minute we no longer value those rights enough to defend them, we will no longer have them.

  10. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  11. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  12. Thank you for articulating so well what my intuitive muse has been trying to communicate to me in my writing. I’ve found a recurring theme of my stories to be drowning and asphyxiation, and have recognized that one reason I feel this way might be watching my gainfully employed income disappear into the vast wells of social security, medicare, income tax, toll roads, sales tax, property tax…heck, the city (Chicago) even has something called an amusement tax.
    I hope they don’t find out that I can amuse myself quite well, thank you very much, because that would have consequences wouldn’t it?
    The first step in solving a problem is to be aware of it. Thanks for shining a brilliant beam of enlightenment onto this stone that drags down our purportedly free society.

  13. A few later reflections and response to some of the comments (speaking only for myself, of course):

    1. Holly does not belittle the Form 1/Form 2 slavery which exists in the world by also point out that Form 3 exists.

    2. Holly notes that there are legitimate government functions which are properly supported by taxation, and states that taking beyond those limits is a form of enslavement of those taxed to support illegitimate activities. There are perhaps reasonable differences on where those lines should be drawn. Much scientific research can be argued to be legitimate. Providing services for those who are physically unable to care for themselves is a charity — whether or not not the government should supply that charity instead of private sources is proper for debate, and a case might be made that a combination of public and private sources offers the best care for those in need. But the government using tax money — or borrowed money that our children will have to repay thorugh reduced standards of living — to pay for wholly unnecessary “protections,” to ensure higher compensation rates than the economy can support, to make payments to individuals for which neither the government nor the people have any comensation in return, or to protect the well-to-do from failed business risks, is clearly beyond the legitimate sphere of government and I don’t wish to be a part of that.

    If you wish to take pot-shots at this, please respond to me rather than Holly.

  14. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

    • I am in favor of funding for education, including the arts, for children. – the problem with having the government “pay” for education is you end up with very bad and very expensive schooling. Parents would still be better off and spend less money if they paid for their own schools – they would also have control over what their kids are learning, which they don’t have when the government is paying. In fact, the government isn’t “paying”, they are taking money away from taxpayers and adding layers of management that have nothing to do with education and everything to do with keeping people on government payrolls.

      • We homeschool our kids. My wife was a HS teacher before we had them, and she stays home with them to handle most of their education now.

        But make parents pay directly for education, and you have to make it optional.

        Make it optional, and you will have millions of parents who opt out, many of them working, and poor anyway, and incapable of offering their children a good alternative. The result would be millions of children with no education at all, essentially doomed to menial labor for the rest of their lives for their parents’ decisions.

        Fixing our education system should be a priority. Doing so with the price tag of making education unavailable to millions of kids isn’t the way, though.

  15. Many years ago, when the National Endowment for the Arts was under fire, a local writer contributed a column to the newspaper in defense of it. Her argument? The NEA had given her a grant so that she could take a sabbatical from her college teaching job and write a novel. Wasn’t it wonderful?

    I remember thinking “I’d like to take time off and work on a novel.” Like the columnist, I had two small children and worked full-time, although for less money than she no doubt did. It seemed incredible that she was not the least embarrassed to take money from me and others like me so that she could more easily fulfill her dream.

    That was the first time I pondered on the strange, upside down attitude of elitist entitlement.

  16. This pretty much nails my thoughts about taxes and similar things. For a long time I’ve tried to figure out what bothers me so much about higher taxes for people earning more (in Sweden they have to pay loads more in taxes).

    It basically means if you get over a certain amount of money each month/year you have to pay a larger percentage of your salary in taxes. Basically you are being punished for being successful and that just isn’t right. The government is basically saying they would rather you be only mildly successful, while the government would collapse if all the rich people suddenly earned less.

    I’ve had a hard time to explain this to other people, since my thoughts haven’t been thoughts but feelings and loose ideas.

    What you say about it being more like slavery makes a lot of sense.

  17. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

    • a) I would encourage you to avoid personal attacks, since they don’t rest on logic or solid argument. Calling someone’s fiction writing “lack(ing in) passion, composition, and depth” is hardly relevant to a debate on ethics and slavery.

      b) I’ll grant that there are millions of people in the world living in either indentured servitude, serfdom, or outright slavery (unlike Holly, I see a degree of difference in all 3 of those terms).

      c) Acknowledging the existence of (for convenience sake, I’ll use Holly’s terms) slavery Form 1 and Form 2 doesn’t invalidate (or validate, or even logically affect) the argument that slavery Form 3 exists. You seem, primarily, to have an issue with the terminology: that Form 3 would be called “slavery”. Disregarding the terminology, perhaps you’d care to weigh in on the human rights abuse (or lack thereof, perhaps) of taxation at the point of a gun?

      • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

        • Holly did not equate getting turned down for a grant with slavery. She equated being forced to pay a significant proportion of an individual’s income for optional programs the taxpayer may not support with slavery. If you’re going to disagree, at least get the facts right.

          And although I do not claim to know Holly personally, I do know of her as a reader of her work, and someone who enjoys the benefits of the writing community she founded. And the idea of calling her “selfish” is absurd to anyone who knows the first thing about her. If you’re going to utter slurs against someone you don’t know at all, you ought to try to get those right first, too. It tends to make it hard to take anything you say seriously.

          • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

            [snipped for unsupported argument]

        • You may have also missed the phrase, “in the early nineties”. That’s approximately TWENTY YEARS AGO now. I do believe twenty years is a long time to wait before posting a piss-and-vinager rant (a week is also a long time to wait for those types of rants).

          Further, you’ve demonstrated that you haven’t read a single thing Holly’s written, including the entirity of this post. Go read “Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood” and “Vincalis the Agitator”. Heck, I’ll even lend you my copies so you don’t have to pay for them yourself, so long as you are willing to read them carefully.

          • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

            [snipped for unsupported argument]

            • 1. What have you read?
              2. How is the rant selfish?
              3. How do you define selfish?
              4. The emails are opt-in. There’s an opt-out link at the bottom of every one of them.
              5. How were you personally insulted?
              6. What’s the difference between Holly’s definition of slavery and yours?
              7. What’s your definition of whining?
              8. (From your reply to Ray, above) What part of this isn’t real life?

              • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

                [snipped for unsupported argument]

  18. I like the way you laid out the argument, providing definitions first, working from the worst (form 1) to the least (form 3) but I must disagree with your final conclusion.

    Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. While it was not an outright argument in favor of slavery, as many were, it WAS an unsupported argument that the government had the right to spend the money taken at gunpoint in redistribution schemes, and that this was somehow different than slavery.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  19. So if I’m to understand your position, taxation of income is slavery, while taxation of goods is not because the purchase of goods is voluntary. The founding fathers agreed, that is why the constitution forbid the taxation of income, which was later changed through an unfortunate amendment, which people were rather tricked into adding because they were promised only the rich would be taxed. That’s how slavery usually begins, you think you’re going to get something for nothing, but in the end you realize you have agreed to give everything for nothing.

    On another note, a well treated slave may actually enjoy living in slavery and would turn against anyone who sought to free them. That is because it is an easy life, free from making difficult choices or taking responsibility for themselves. Therefore even the slaves themselves might in certain circumstances reject freedom for slavery.

  20. Holly,

    You should be writing for Townhall.com along with many other excellent, conservative writers (and the occasional RINO). I think I read somewhere that you are not a big fan of Christianity, but your view of being an ethical human being, is in fact, the Bible’s view (the Ten Commandments, the teachings of the Jesus and the Apostles). Our Founding Father’s clearly realized this when they established the Constitution. Excellent analysis and one I will borrow in the future (giving you credit, of course).

  21. The post is unsupported. Your argument as it stands is that you think slavery is okay if you like what the slaveowners are doing with the money. Is that what you want to stick with?—Holly Lisle

    Hm… this may hold true in some areas, but not others. Science for its own sake has long term benefits for all, yet much science that holds benefits for all is not commercially viable. If the government didn’t fund, say, studies on pollution and then enact pollution controls based on that hard, scientific data, we would be even worse off than we are. (And the corporate lobbyists are still trying to fight any controls they have.)

    Much science has been studied for its own sake, but ultimately led to great innovations that were commercially viable. However, no one would fund the study from a purely economic standpoint, and so, without government backing, those industries that later sprung from that new knowledge should justifiably be paying taxes to help support science research.

    • Agreed. Lots of science research (particularly “basic” science, like new math equations) is an economic externality: it benefits everyone, but doesn’t benefit anyone individually enough to justify that individual putting his time/money into the research. Science research is often a huge boost to the economy at large, but not commercially viable on an individual level.

  22. Sometimes using a graphic term such as ‘slavery’ is the only way to make people understand that just because something has ‘always’ been does not mean that it is ‘right’.

    It’s amazing how something that goes against the stated moral standards of a particular group (Form 1 of slavery before the American Civil War for instance) can be accepted by most of that group as ‘right'(or much worse, inevitable) simply because the practice has existed for a lengthy time span. The longer the dubious moral practice has been in place, the more it has the superficial appearance of being accepted, of being ‘right’…because the society has accepted the practice that directly opposes their stated moral values…by not fighting to change it, they have accepted in by default…just as the citizens of the United States did while human slavery was legal.

  23. Holly, this is spot on. Clear and direct and indisputable.

    I’d like to answer some of the people above who are saying it’s silly to worry about this when there’s all the human trafficking going on. I find that a little short sighted, when the acceptance of any form of murder should be abhorrent, as well as any form of stealing. How do we know where the line is drawn? And isn’t it obvious that once you begin down a road, it’s nearly impossible to split hairs. Look at what happened to the Jews in WW2. We all know that didn’t happen over night, but in degrees. Until people couldn’t see truth and good anymore. And human beings were being slaughtered by the millions.

    So, today we see that it’s wrong to take a girl from her home and force her to do things against her will. But what happens when the government decides every child must “volunteer” two years of their life for the common good? We’ll say, well, it sounds reasonable, at the time, it’s needed–or whatever excuse the government deems worthy. And soon the children are being told what is needed and only certain jobs are made available to them, and only certain families are allowed certain rights. Until human life is only a tool for the government to promote its own interests, rather than the interests of the individual. Does any of this sound familiar? Can you say: China?

    There is a direct difference between people who agree with forced taxation and people who believe it is wrong.

    One believes strongly in the interest of the collective and one believes in the rights of the individual.

    The income tax is actually a very young idea in America, and I believe a lot of people are waking up to the reality of it’s deceptive and abhorrent nature.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Holly!

    • You have outlined the path “slavery by degree” always takes if unchecked. It works on the principle of boiling a live frog—you put him in a pot of cold water and heat it up a little at a time until he’s cooked (and dead).

  24. Holly,
    Your line of reasoning reminds me of the great SF writer Robert Heinlein, (and that’s a compliment).
    But, here’s my problem. It seems to me that your reasoning could be applied to any tax funded government action with which any individual disagrees. For example, you’ve used the example of non commercial writing being funded, but others might use the same rationale to argue against, say, any government funded health care.
    So, in the end, aren’t you simply making a case against the idea of taxation, period?

    • No. Consider:

      Humans have the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. These rights encompass self defense, property ownership, and the choice to pursue any work or interest that does not infringe on the rights of others.

      Humans by necessity must create some form of government to protect themselves from those who would infringe on their rights. To do this, they must pay the costs of that government. So the LEGITIMATE use of government is the protection of individual rights.

      Sales tax plus payment for services used would cover the costs of legitimate government services. Military, police, courts.

      Healthcare is not a legitimate government service.

  25. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  26. Sometimes using a graphic term such as ‘slavery’ is the only way to make people understand that just because something has ‘always’ been does not mean that it is ‘right’. It’s amazing how something that goes against the stated moral standards of a particular group (Form 1 of slavery before the American Civil War for instance) can be accepted by most of that group as ‘right'(or much worse, inevitable) simply because the practice has existed for a lengthy time span. The longer the dubious moral practice has been in place, the more it has the superficial appearance of being accepted, of being ‘right’…because the society has accepted the practice that directly opposes their stated moral values…by not fighting to change it, they have accepted in by default…just as the citizens of the United States did while human slavery was legal.

  27. I suspect it will take a visit from the Almighty to end slavery once and for all. As long as there are those who would be Lords over the rest of us, there is a need to “Promote the common defense” as Mr. Jefferson so aptly put it. So at what point do taxes stop being part of a mutual compact (in the form of a government) for the common good and become instead an instrument for the promotion and maintenance of slavery. Five percent? Ninety-five percent? Most of us agree that some taxation is essential in order to accomplish big things that individuals cannot do alone. So how do we do that if not by taxation? Should we collect free-will offerings? Should the government pass the hat when we need a bridge replaced or a nest of terrorists raided? Impractical as a solution in a world with evil people in it. That’s why I say that a world without slavery would need a visit by the Almighty to clear out the riff-raff. Just sayin’.

    • Taxes stop being part of a mutual compact when they are not voluntary.

      Sales taxes on non-food items are voluntary. Direct payment by those who use legitimate government services for those services would also be voluntary.

      Your argument, “Slavery is okay because I can’t think of anything better,” is not support. I’ve left your post as an example of how people permit their rights to be stolen.

  28. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

  29. I must say that it has been a few months that i, on and off (as much as my schedules allow) take a peak at your posts or guidelines about writing, and many a times feel compelled to contribute or write something.. But every time, because i love to write and read other forms (say non-fictions), i feel a little out of the party.. (And i am also not a very regular writer, so…)
    But this time you did drag me into it…
    Not commenting on the full post yet..just wanted to say its a breeze of fresh air to read about such a subject from an American..!! I appreciate you writing on this… What many in that part are realizing today, others in the enslaved regions grow up with…
    If you can and you still stay silent, it won’t be termed impartiality…it will be actually supporting the masters..
    No offense meant!

  30. The government-sponsored work study jobs and federal aid bothered me, when I was in college. I accepted them, because I knew that my own wages were being garnished to support them, and at least that way I’d benefit. (And as the nation gets increasingly in debt, please forgive me for wondering where the spending money’s coming from.)

    Looking back, I’m not sure I’d do that again. Federal aid, maybe, but my state also has state aid (which the taxpayers voted for, as I recall).

    Outright grants, though, always made me cringe. Thanks for articulating why.

  31. Hmm…

    Kind of ironic. What you’ve just said is an undercurrent theme in my series.

    I use blurbs to start my chapters and one of them just happen to be:

    — Have an inalienable right to make a prosperous living in the society of origin or current society of residence.

  32. Interesting point and I agree with you completley. But thats the rub isn’t it? In the current economic/ Governmental climate its hard to exactly know what goods and services you are using and buying or benefiting from with Government bailouts and Government supported buisness, and banks, and loans, and Government programs designed to ‘help’ the poor. This is something that I am personally dealing with right now and a thought that I know well, and one that I personally hope never to deal with in my writing career. Personally I think I would rather live on the street then take this kind of ‘help’ for my career.

  33. Basically, if I understand this right, you’re saying that taxation is a form of slavery, because it’s involuntary

    NOT ALL FORMS OF TAXATION ARE INVOLUNTARY. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

    [snipped for unsupported argument]

    • I read a book once called “Land of the Possible” which was written by some people who were trying to imagine what a utopian society might look like, how it might be run, and how people would live.

      There were a number of issues in the book that were questionable, but one of its favorite ideas was the level of taxation was chosen by each community in regards to how many services they wanted. If a person didn’t like the level of taxation and service in the town he lived in, he could move to another town where that level was different.

      I think this is a similar idea to how the United States was originally envisioned; the federal government would control only a very few things, with states deciding how much infrastructure they wanted. And, if you didn’t like the amount of infrastructure or the way things were handled, you could move to another state in the union. It hasn’t worked out that way, but these days there is a push for decentralization in many groups.

      But the right to do whatever one wants and not be interfered with is, quite possibly, as much of a pipe dream as anything else. Our culture is more like that now in some ways than has ever existed before, and we have phenomenally record levels of crime, despair, depression, suicide, and other sorts of misery and suffering. Is this our ideal?

      I recall the film “Fiddler on the Roof”–where “Tradition!” is that by which people keep their balance, where everyone knows “who he is, and what God expects him to do”. There are hardly any such societies left in our world now; most of them have been absorbed or destroyed, but there are cultures that keep this ideal of prescribed behavior and roles according to various qualifications. Religious cultures particularly. I have found them (the ones I’ve hung around with at least) to be overall quite HAPPY.. at least compared to us. The Amish, for example, have taken a deliberate stand even within our country.

      The nice thing about religiously oriented cultures is that tithing is a high priority, so nobody has to do any frisking because of the value that individuals place with the religious rules, structures, values, traditions, and administration that govern their lives.

      I’m not saying that religion can’t be corrupted and used for manipulation and extortion. It happens all the time–as it does with everything in this world. But religious cultural structures, used honestly and sincerely and with integrity, seem to be extremely humanizing.

      I respect the view that individual right and freedom is the highest good. I don’t see it as the highest good, but more as a law of the universe–which will be followed inevitably. We always have to pay back, in some way, the extent of force and suffering we visit on others, and so the most pious way to live is the way described in this post. However, I don’t think that merely following this overarching law of the universe will save anyone from suffering, or gain them, necessarily, the happiness and fulfillment they seek. That is a journey that must be undertaken with more than just that (although one must have freedom, in some sense, to undertake it, certainly).

      I also respect the structures and authorities that make it possible for limited, imperfect individuals to accomplish more than they would be able to alone, to draw on the rich wellspring of succession, experience, and knowledge passed down. If you want to learn to play the violin, you don’t pick up a violin and decide your own way how to do it. You find a master violinist whose playing strikes you, who is the image of the place you want to be, and you ask him to teach you.

      I do not think that this would be as possible in an entirely libertarian society–which is the law of nature. Again, the law of nature is wonderful and we violate it at our peril. But to make it the highest good is to get dangerously close to “might makes right”–to my right to do something being contingent entirely upon my power to do it–and requiring that everyone do as they like AS LONG as they don’t hurt anybody else seems a bit fallacious, for you are still applying a standard, a cap on a person’s freedom, and one that has no deeper, symbolic, or philosophical basis. Where, practically, are the distinctions drawn? No, I think that human life, to avoid conflict, degradation, and social Darwinism, has got to have higher values than simple freedom to life and action.

  34. You have explained perfectly the difference between the liberal and conservative in the United States today. The liberal spends freely of “public” money but reluctantly of his own for the same cause. The conservative spends freely of his own money, but only reluctantly spends “public” money for the same cause.
    I begrudge the government nothing when it comes to the execution of its legal powers, however when the government itself becomes the slaveholder, where does one go for recourse?

  35. Holly,
    Very well said.
    My only difference is that I would not construe your list of individual rights to be exhaustive. In particular, the historical right of happiness has included the right to maintain and enjoy the fruits of your labor for yourself and your prosterity — that is to say, property rights. The remainder of your definition is worded sufficient generally to encompass the rights of free association and other related rights. Similarly, the right to self defense self defense encompasses preservation of liberty and property.

    • “Property rights” and “the right of the individual to own the products of his effort” are the same thing. I covered everything you note. I simply used different words.

  36. Very good. I commend you for thinking, and thinking twice.

    I expected a completely different point of view, but was pleasantly surprised. Most creatives, authors, English major types I’ve run into have been conditioned to think otherwise.

    Your article underscores why the power to tax is more than an economic issue. It can be abused and strike at the core of what it means to be a free human. And that puts us in the realm of morality.

    • I didn’t go to college. I went to a two-year tech school, became an RN, and worked primarily as an ER nurse for ten years to pay my bills while I learned how to write and sell my fiction. By doing this, I bypassed the nonsense English majors are forced to accept if they want to pass their courses.

  37. This is an interesting point of view:
    ” If the government claims the right to force from Bob a percentage of his productive effort for as long as he produces, then Bob is a slave of the government to the degree that what he has created is taken from him—AND if you receive any portion of the products of his forced labor, you are a slave owner by degree, and Bob is your slave by that same degree.”

    Interesting, because all people are taxed. And all people benefit from the services those taxes provide. Meaning by extension that all people are slaves, and are also slave owners, and that no ethical government can exist because no government can survive without taxation! 😉

    I’m not sure that really works – i.e., I’m not sure that your position that taxation = slavery is a supportable one. At the very least, what your thesis proves is that some sorts of slavery (if you call this slavery) are not only desirable, but *essential* for the existence of civilization.

    But an interesting post, anyway, especially in light of the recent “House Slaves vs Spartacus” issue Mike Stackpole raised re: trad pub writers vs indies.

    • Interesting, because all people are taxed. And all people benefit from the services those taxes provide.

      Because something is the default does not mean it is right. Taxes can be voluntary, as in taxes placed on goods and services not necessary to sustain life, so that those people who choose to purchase such goods and services support the government voluntarily.

      A tax on income is not a moral or ethical tax, and no, not everyone benefits from such a tax. Welfare recipients benefit through the enslavement of the working class (and by working class, I include every human being who works productively, not just the middle class). So do Medicare and Medicaid recipients, the recipients of art grants, the recipients of science grants, and so on.

      All of these monies are forced from the individuals who earned them to give to those who did not.

      No form of slavery is desirable, all forms of slavery are immoral.

      But thank you for taking the time to step forward as a knowing supporter of slavery. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to prove my point.

      • You’re welcome. 😉 I find the debate interesting. =)

        Voluntary taxes – taxes on services and goods – are problematic at best. Right now, for example, we see enormous growth in internet sales, which are largely untaxable.

        I pay more taxes than any employed person because I’m SELF-employed, so must pay the part you pay, PLUS the part your employer pays for you, and I pay it on every penny I make on the internet. “Untaxable?” You have got to be kidding me.

        Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

      • All people are taxed – that isn’t true. There are people in the world who pay no taxes at all. Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

        • Warren Buffet is a terrible example, Charlotte – he’s the man who showed his tax form to the world to demonstrate how bad the system currently he. He supports higher taxes – for the wealthy, not for the middle class. He also paid almost seven million dollars in federal income tax in 2010 – which was only about 11% of his income, but hardly what I’d call “not much”. 😉 Main thing is, he’s the leader of a rather small group of the uber-wealthy who are actually in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy, so he’s not a great example.

          The very poor don’t pay much tax, true; that’s because they’re getting a stipend to live on in the first place. Do we feel that everyone who is destitute should simply be allowed to starve or freeze? Maybe. If we decide that support of the poor is no longer a priority, then it’s our job as voters to elect people who will remove that support.

          We get the government we deserve, folks, because we voted for it. If you think the priorities of our spending are wrong (and I agree, they often are), then it is our job as voters to elect people who will fix that.

          But tossing out the entire tax system isn’t the answer.

          • Not everyone does get the government we deserve. Some of us get the government voted in by looters, parasites, and thugs.

  38. How does a government provide services without form #3 ? I’m thinking of something as simple as road maintenance. I’m on a disability pension in Aust, paid by the government. Without form #3 I would be dead

    How do corporations who pay for only a fraction of the value of what an individual produces measure up against form 3?

    • Voluntary taxes, at the federal, state, and local level, or by requiring payment for services currently given for free, such as use of the courts for contract arbitration.

      And if individuals work voluntarily for corporations, they accept the terms of their employment. If they do not like the terms of employment, they must choose to seek employment elsewhere, or else employ themselves.

      • Holly, I agree almost entirely with your original post. (I could raise a few minor quibbles, but those are nothing but details.) But I disagree at least in part with your position on corporations. Corporations derive their power from special privileges granted them by the government, which allow them to gain an economic advantage. At least in the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt made executive decisions during World War Two that threw the weight of government behind certain corporations to the detriment of others. (If you’ve ever heard of Willys-Overland Motors, designers of the Jeep, and wondered why they no longer exist, while a few automakers thrived during the war, that’s the answer.)

        I am of the opinion that, as long as corporations are able to exert economic power based on any special legal status, or otherwise gain from the actions of government, then they leave individuals negotiating with them at a disadvantage. If an individual offers a job for a certain wage, it is easy for others to shun those who offer unfair wages in favour of those who are fair. Once corporations gain enough leverage to control significant sections of that market, then they can use that economic leverage to distort the market and exert pressure on individuals.

        In fact, the largest quibble I have with your original post is the fact that even an individual, at least in theory, could secure enough power to, without using physical force, leave others with no choice but to submit to them. Scale exerts a force of its own. In the terms of the original post, I consider this merely a quibble, because it would be difficult for any individual to achieve that kind of scale. But once legal means are created for individuals to join their interests in a corporation, it becomes much easier to achieve that sort of scale.

        There are examples of businesses that have grown so wealthy they could offer products at less than their own cost, for no other purpose than to destroy their competition. Once enough of the competition has been destroyed, they are then able to raise their prices and lower their wages, because they can exert what I would call an “invisible force” – that of being the only game in town.

        • But your example supports MY argument. Government has no business granting favors to business. That is entirely outside the realm of legitimate government.

          Government has not business granting favors to ANY special interest groups.

      • Because the post itself is unsupported, it’s content has been cut. I have far too many like it, and do not wish to have uncontested, unsupported arguments in favor of slavery on my weblog.—Holly Lisle

        [snipped for unsupported argument]

  39. Holly, what you have written here is the most non-political political statement that I recall ever having read. It is truly a wonderful summary that all Americans…no, Earthlings…should read.

    I must admit that I generally gloss over your articles, but this title was intriguing and the article supports the title very well. I promise to give your writing a bit more attention in the future!

    Karl

  40. I’ve come to these conclusions as well, Holly. Thanks for sharing your opinions. The longer I live (which hasn’t been all that long) and the more I see of these, the more I want everyone to have real freedoms.

  41. Thank you so much for this post! Are you an Objectivist? It sounds like you are. You go, girl!

  42. I thought this was going to be a post about human trafficking in the sense of forced prostitution and manual labor, i.e. the real horrors 8 million people are living with every day in the world. Oh well.

    • And this is why the OTHER sort of real slavery is not just permitted, but actively supported in this country and others. Because people say, “Oh, that’s not real slavery.”

      You have taken the position of supporting real slavery by default. Please support your position.

  43. May I please use this in my college composition class to discuss and to introduce definition essays? Kelley

    • The right wing and the left wing political groups in the US are BOTH groups comprised of people who advocate the use of force against individuals. It does not matter whether the group advocates force for the benefit of “the many” or “for God.” The result is exactly the same.

  44. I absolutely agree with your position on slavery. I do believe that the modern day term would be human trafficking. I live in a large city and most everyday I can read about some group being busted for it especially young girls in a sex ring that were brought in from Mexico for it.

    • No. This is nothing like human trafficking, which is Form 1 slavery: Outright ownership.

      No decent human being comes out in support of human trafficking. The vast majority of decent human beings, however, advocate Form 3 slavery: Slavery by degree.

      • This is an interesting (and accurate) distinction.

        The reason I find it interesting is because human trafficking or Form 1 slavery is clearly “ugly”. It is impossible to pretend there is anything good about it. Form 3 slavery, which most people support, creates a certain distance between the masters and the slaves, so instead of the ugliness being out in plain sight, it is hidden. The society we live in rejects outright ugliness, and prefers to create elaborate fictions to justify the things it deems “necessary”.

        But, in reality, what is the difference between those elaborate fictions, and the Southern fables of “happy darkies” (their term – I use it as a quote, not because I endorse it) used to justify Form 1 slavery?

        • Indeed, what IS the difference between a life of coerced labor, brutal violence, and enforced ignorance, undergirded by intense racial antipathy; and having a certain percentage of your income removed before you ever see the paycheck?

          • Just time.

            One is outright slavery, and the other is slavery by degree, and all slavery by degree becomes, if unchecked, outright slavery.

            • So, rather than present a legitimate argument for why you believe form 3 slavery cannot, over time, become form 1 slavery, you simply recite the horrors of form 1 slavery.

              Yes, outright ownership of another human being is ugly and no sane human being will argue that it is right. Holly certainly did not do so, nor did she in any way belittle it.

              But why should form 3 slavery also be belittled. Government taxation serves to give things to people who have not earned them. Every year, government programs get bigger, and taxes go up. Eventually, perhaps in a few decades, perhaps in a century, everything will be “taken care of” by the government. As a wise man once said, “government powerful enough to give you everything, is powerful enough to take it all away.”

              If that isn’t slavery, I don’t know what is.

            • All right. Here’s an example of 3->1.

              In Wisconsin, if the parents of a child are not living together in the same household, the state steps in and demands that one or both parents pay a percentage of their income, as determined by the court, to the state. This income is then distributed to whomever the state determines is best able to care for the needs of the child. Often it’s one of the parents. If that parent refuses the money, the state keeps it. It must still be paid.

              Now, if a parent under this ruling has no income, he or she is still required to pay a given dollar amount, with 1% intrest added monthy per late or missing monthly payment. Furthermore, if this parent then does their taxes, the state has the ability to reappropriate any and all of the “stipend” (tax refund the broke parent lives on) and distribute it when they see fit: 6 months after it posts from the federal government.

              Ergo, the parent MUST work, or depend solely on non-government charity to survive. Upon beginning employment, the parent’s wages are garnished, lest he or she have the option not to pay. 3->2.

              Now, said parent is recieving 83% of his or her paycheck, which then has taxes removed, leaving (oh heck with the pronouns) him with about 40% of his paycheck. This amount is not enough for him to get a decent place to live–decent defined as “up to city code”. So he must take another job, with garnished wages there. He may even have to take a third job so that he can put gas in his car to get to all these jobs.

              Now… how much of his time has the government taken away by ordering this payment? What can he do to change his circumstances? Unless the parents form a single household again (unlikely), then he must decide between sleeping and self-improvement. Poor sleep has been proven to cause poor job performance, so losing sleep isn’t really an option if he must keep his jobs. So he can’t really improve the situation, and must simply keep at it until every child he’s fathered is over the age of 18, when the state stops requiring payment.

              At this point, 2->1. The state owns him in all but name, because he has no time of his own: he is reduced to survival and child support payments. IF the two parents form a single household, the state owns both of them, because their persuit of individual happiness via freedom from one another is impossible without risking the survival of one or both of them.

              2->1 may only last as long as it takes for the kid to reach adulthood, but… how long do you have to be a slave before it’s too long?

              This is my experience. If you see flaws, feel free to point them out, but for the love of whatever you love, suggest a way to fix it that won’t result in dead bodies or traumatized kids.

  45. I like the way you worded that.

    I think this is why I’m struggling so much with how to form hubby’s museum’s legal entity. It’s a not for profit, private venture, so I can’t make it an LLC. But it doesn’t meet the standards for a non-profit or a private foundation either (we aren’t seeking financial support from anyone else to fund it, and we don’t have the three people needed to make a legal non-profit entity). I think this sums up why I’m resisting the process so strongly — my gut tells me it’s wrong.

    (Boy, am I glad this human can do simple math! 😉 )

    • Why not make it a for-profit private museum? You’ve paid for everything in it, collected it yourself, purchased the building in which to house and present it, made upgrades to the building, and will have to pay someone to be there to to show people through.

      So why not simply charge admission and count whatever you make against whatever you spend? The fact that you don’t actually make a profit on it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the right to try.