The notion that the individual owns himself or herself is the essential, axiomatic, necessary, defining condition of a civilized society. It’s axiomatic in the sense that it is a priori, self-evident, categorical, certain and beyond dispute. It’s apodictic — a necessary truth, an absolute certainty not requiring proof. It’s an assumption the truth of which if not assumed can never be established.

It’s necessary because without self-ownership, there can be no freedom. Civilization and freedom are inseparable concepts. The essence of civilization is the freedom of the individual.

The moral and ethical opposite of freedom of the individual is slavery.

The essence of slavery is that the individual is owned by another or a group of others. Logically it follows that if a person is a slave, then the products of the slave’s labor are also owned by the master(s).

Slavery has been a universal feature of human society across the ages. Outright slavery is now nearly universally condemned but disguised forms of slavery exist even in the most advanced “civilized” societies. It’s called taxes. It’s a nice euphemism, a very thin veneer that rubs off at the slightest examination to reveal the ugly truth that lies beneath.

Outright slavery means, first, that the slave is not free to choose (he is either mandated to do or prohibited from doing things), and second, his income is taxed at 100% (whatever he produces is taken by the master.)

Modern day slavery though not as crude or outright as in the past is nevertheless very real. The modern slave masters are called “the government” or “the state.” The government dictates through laws, rules and regulations what the individual is permitted to do and what is prohibited. Licenses and permits abound.

Modern day slavery involves the taking of less than 100% of the individual’s income or property by the government. Some governments take only half of an individual’s income, and therefore the individual is only 50% slave, and 50% free.

Curiously, modern day slavery survives for the same reason that full-blown slavery survived for nearly all of human existence: it was accepted and considered the norm. People saw nothing wrong about full-blown slavery then; now people see nothing wrong about partial slavery.

The common objection to equating taxes with slavery is that taxes are essential and it’s the price we pay to live in civilization. That’s absurdly absurd.

“What about the roads?” Without taxes there’d be no roads, the objection goes. The list is quite varied: what about education, what about law and order, what about social justice, what about equality, what about national defense, … The whataboutery is endless — as endless as what the government feels justified in doing.

The basic point is that nearly all of what the government does with taxes is unnecessary, and much of it is a pointless, costly waste of blood and treasure. Modern-day governments are the most powerful slave owners humanity has ever encountered. The irony is that people are willing slaves. It’s time that this ended. But I’m afraid that given the slave mentality of the people, it won’t be any time soon.

Author: Atanu Dey


15 thoughts on “Slavery”

    1. Bitcoin is fool’s gold. What is it? a store of value or medium of transaction? Pumpers need to make their mind up on it. If it is a store of wealth and US $ is somehow “corrupt” money than why is everyone excited when the price of Bitcoin in US $ goes up??
      If its medium of transaction, then why would someone use it when existing methods are cheaper.
      When computer science jargon is needed to explain a basic thing as money – you can be assured that obfuscation is going on – or some utopian thinking is involved.
      Anyway, when the Bitcoin bubble bursts all this will be a moot point. (when 10 yr will get to its proper value)


      1. rcwpacct2019,

        Seems like you have bitcoin figured out and have made your conclusions, and here you are making vague hateful monologue irrelevant to the point made above. Like every hater you are waiting for bitcoin to go away.

        Consider your plight when it doesn’t go away and continues to work the way it has been working for the last 12 years?

        It would be a nice thought exercise for you and every hater to ponder about- why bitcoin hasn’t died yet? Why does it continue to work even though the market price for it has had multiple 80% draw downs. Would the number of people keeping a significant part of their cash balance in bitcoin ever tend to decrease? What would the holders sell their bitcoin for? papers with a dead guy’s picture and few numbers on it? Or for a yellow rock? 🙂

        Are we in fact observing a new monetary good undergoing monetization in real time?

        In 2021, Gold is fool’s bitcoin.
        * No cap on supply.
        * Expensive/hard to verify the metal.
        * Easy to confiscate.
        * Tedious/expensive to transport across the globe.


        1. <

          blockquote>why bitcoin hasn’t died yet?
          I already mentioned why the price of Bitcoin is high. Good luck to the HODL crowd.
          You are mentioning all the wonderful benefits of this complicated system. I wonder why Bitcoin is the favorite tool of ransomware criminals and other anti-social elements. It may have great benefits as you list (I am not smart enough to understand it, yet I realize that everything that is complex is not automatically valuable only owing to its complexity)


          1. Am honestly surprised in you admitting to not understand bitcoin. Every hater who I have come across online/meatspace who is adamantly negative towards it rarely admit this fact.

            As someone who is professionally been programming for 10+ years and have a high level conceptual understanding of cryptography math, I wouldn’t call bitcoin’s design as complex.

            It’s simplicity is its beauty.

            Its designed to resist being controlled. It’s designed to work. It feeds on human greed and produces a continuous record of truth. The ledger contains nothing but truth. This could very well seem like tall claims from a ‘pumper’, but in all goodwill- It’s not foolish to reconsider one’s beliefs.

            This book by Eric Voskuil is very well written for a non technical person to understand bitcoin’s design, game theory and economics. –


  1. The modern slave masters are called “the government” or “the state.”

    You forgot to mention the full cast of characters in the class of modern slave masters: banks, moneylenders, rentiers, landlords, etc. The person pictured in the post is most likely a debt slave to some landlord or moneylender, rather than a tax slave to the local government!

    Consider the following situation: a person buys a plot of land (say 100 sq. yards) for say ₹ 1 lakh. In the meantime the local government constructs a road or a metro line adjacent to the plot and say the market price of the same plot appreciates to ₹ 1 crore, with absolutely no effort by the owner of the land. If the government chooses to tax this land when it is sold at say 50%, has the owner become a tax slave?


  2. Just as there are different versions of equality ― at times dramatically opposed to one another ― there are different versions of freedom. Freedom in Kantian sense is entirely different from freedom in the utilitarian sense, or freedom in the tradition of of natural rights. One should specify which philosophical school one belongs to, so that meaning of freedom becomes clear.

    A person with philosophical outlook different than yours might argue that freedom must be understood in the context of power. As Bertrand Russell had noted, “The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics. Like energy, power has many forms, such as wealth, armaments, civil authority, influence on opinion. No one of these can be regarded as subordinate to any other, and there is no one form from which the others are derivative. The attempt to treat one form of power, say wealth, in isolation, can only be partially successful, just as the study of one form of energy will be defective at certain points, unless other forms are taken into account.”

    Coming back to point, if we take power as the starting point of any social analysis, the meaning freedom and slavery changes radically. People maybe free to run their own business, but may not have capital to do so. In that case, they’re forced to work for others who have capital. Those may subject him to a master-servant relationship. Is this freedom? Not if we realise that the individual is essentially powerless.

    You maybe an excellent boxer, and you may say to others that they’re free to box with you. If they get defeated, so much worse for them.
    Therefore, we have to see the distribution of power in the system in order to speak of freedom or slavery. Lenin had famously remarked that “Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”

    If you model the government or state on how corporations function, you’ll easily see the totalitarian nature of corporations. They decide what you wear, how to talk, how many time you can use washroom etc. There’s established hierarchy. Orders flow from top, those at bottom execute it and so on.


    1. The very notions of “distribution of power” or “distribution of wealth” are suspect and perfectly meaningless when applied mindlessly. Wealth justly acquired is morally, ethically, economically and socially justified. Wealth so obtained is not “distributed” by some agent from some pre-existing pile of wealth. Wealth has to be created, and if the process of creating and possessing wealth is just, then the “distribution” obtained is not something that one can decry or remedy any inequality that obtains. Envy of the wealth of the wealthy who have obtained it fairly is not praiseworthy. Envy is a vice, not virtue.

      I recommend a close reading of Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia.” And maybe even reading Milton Friedman.

      Corporations don’t have the power to force anyone to do anything; only governments have. What is reasonably objectionable and bad is crony socialism. The cronies are the government and corporations. The corruption of corporations begins and ends with the government. Only if governments are prohibited by law from meddling in the economy — that is from favoring businesses — will the government’s cronies not have the power to coerce people.


      1. “Wealth justly acquired is morally, ethically, economically and socially justified.”

        This presupposes existence of uneven power distribution as just. And within that framework, the test of justice is exercise or violation of free choice. Once the game is set, one can always smuggle ‘free’ choice.


      2. It makes little difference whether economy is ruled by one totalitarian institution, or by many. Those on receiving end will face totalitarianism nevertheless.

        In a state run economy, government is the sole totalitarian institution. In capitalism, government, along with multiple corporations are totalitarian institutions.


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