I believe that everything should be brought into the light of truth and the only way to do that is to question everything, even our most basic beliefs. For example, we are all taught that slavery is evil and should be eradicated from the world. I am going to question that belief and I can already hear the collective gasp of indignation.
I actually believe in slavery as it is proposed by the bible. In today’s “enlightened” system of crime and punishment, this is the way things work. Let’s say, one day I wake up and my car is gone. I call the police, they show up and file a report. If I have been paying theft on my auto, I get at least some of the money back, but probably not the full worth. I am left without a car until I buy a replacement. If, by some miracle, the police catch the thief, my car is probably gone, chopped for parts or abandoned somewhere. It is actually worse if they catch the thief because now I will have to pay taxes to support his incarceration. His family will probably require some form of social service because of the stigma and the lack of income. After this episode, his children have a greater likelihood of following in their father’s footsteps. It is unclear to me what benefit is derived from prison. It has become a form of graduate school for prisoners.
I prefer slavery. Allow me to explain. In a biblical framework, in the same episode, if the police capture the criminal, he has to pay for my car AND pay a fine. If he cannot, he is sold as a slave. Slavery in biblical terms is for a limited period of time and the slave retains many rights. The owner of the slave also is responsible for the welfare of the slave’s family. I get my car back. I even get paid for the inconvenience. When the period of slavery ends, the master sends the slave away with a party and presents. There is no stigma. He has, quite literally paid his debt. And not to society. He has paid his debt to the person to whom he has incurred the damages.
The USA has the highest per capita prison population in the world. American troops are fighting to liberate Afghanistan, which has one tenth the per capita prison population. Prison does not serve the victims. It rarely rehabilitates the criminals. Norway has an interesting approach. According to Wikipedia, “the maximum determinate penalty (civilian penal code) is 21 years' imprisonment, but only a small percentage of prisoners serve more than 14 years. Prisoners will typically get unsupervised parole for weekends, etc. after serving a third of their sentence (a maximum of 7 years), and can receive early release after serving two thirds of their sentence (a maximum of 14 years). In 2008, to fulfill its requirements under the Rome Statute, Norway created a new maximal penalty of 30 years for crimes against humanity.” Norway has a per capita prison population of 71 per 100,000, one tenth of that in the US. The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service has a “reintegration guarantee for those who have served their sentence. They shall – if relevant – have an offer of employment, education, suitable housing accommodation, some type of income, medical services, addiction treatment services and debt counseling. Relevant services will be identified and included in such a way as to optimize their effect by reintegration coordinators employed by the correctional services. The guarantee is political in character and not legal. It represents the intentions of the whole government and its underlying public institutions to cooperate around this issue.”
I prefer slavery to prison. It works. It is fair. I should stipulate that slavery does exist in the modern world, almost exclusively in Islamic countries. It would be more accurate to say that I believe in slavery but not in the ownership of humans. Slavery can even be an alternative to bankruptcy. A person can sel himself into slavery in order to pay off debts. Aaah, you say, a debt should not limit a person’ freedom. Actually, in any case it does. And what is the difference between slavery and the situation that so many college students find themselves in upon graduation? They have been compelled by the reality of the workplace to relinquish their freedom. Slavery takes many forms. I prefer the biblical variety.