Creative Destruction

October 24, 2006

A Proposal to Republicans

Filed under: Human Rights,International Politics,War — Robert @ 2:47 am

Let’s go for a twofer.

The Republican Party ended slavery in this country. (Lots of other people helped, to be sure.)

Let’s end slavery in the world.

You have read the same depressing news stories as I have. Slavery is on the verge of making a transcontinental comeback.

How should we do it? It beats the hell out of me. This is a “man on the moon” type decision.

But we could do it, probably much as the British did it once – with fire and steel. (Although it would be nice if we could do without the fire and steel for once.)

It’s a job worth doing.


  1. Actually, I haven’t read about a resurgence of slavery. I don’t suppose you mean the off-shore outsourcing of labor of the sort that has earned so much enmity for WalMart and Nike. Can’t you point me in the right direction?

    Comment by Brutus — October 24, 2006 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  2. Republicans are on the wrong side of that movement now.

    Republican President Bush went to war in 1991 to preserve a slaveholding monarchy in Kuwait from an invasion from Iraq. Once restored, the promises of reform itself that the Kuwaitis made turned out to be empty — confined to rennaming public buildings and providing military basing for the current Iraq War.

    The U.S. has likewise taken a completely hands off approach to all conflicts in Africa, where slavery persists in some areas. The largest U.S. military base on that continent has fewer than 400 U.S. troops (it is in Egypt and oriented towards the Middle East, not the rest of the continent) and is otherwise pretty much limited to embassy guards. We have done little or nothing to intervene in even genocidal conflicts there like Rwanda and Sudan. Similarly, the U.S. took a very modest role in addressing the civil war in Liberia, despite that nation’s strong historical ties to the United States.

    Admittedly, Colorado did pass a law, at the request of our Republican Governor, criminalizing slavery in the special session its legislature held in 2006. But, existing state and federal laws were already doing a good job of addressing the handful of cases that have come up in the state without a specific state law (a recent slavery case in Denver’s suburbs was handled under extortion, rape, and theft statutes, and there is a federal law criminalizing slavery).

    Another case with a slavery case, in which a Jon Benet Ramsey rape-murder suspect was being investigated for child sex offenses, was arrested in Thailand, and was extradicted to Boulder at the request of its Democratic D.A., ended up freeing the suspect from what amounted to complicity in sex slavery charges while proving a bust (not that I blame them, the guy did, falsely, confess to the crime and was wanted on a warrant for child porn charges in California that had to be dropped when the incompetent police lost the evidence).

    Comment by ohwilleke — October 24, 2006 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  3. Can’t you point me in the right direction?

    Been trying for 20 years, amigo. 🙂

    These folks seem to be on the right lines.

    Comment by Robert — October 24, 2006 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  4. It seems that you are referring to the abuses of companies such as WalMart and Nike. In skimming the website you pointed to (thanks, BTW), I discerned a shift in the definition of slavery from the institutionalized and publicly supported varieties known in history (ancient Egypt and 18th- and 19th-century America spring to mind) to the exploitative practices of economic actors along the lines of Dickensonian England (child labor and indentured servitude). I’m not quite sure how to classify the practice of kidnapping young women (and men?) and/or impressing them into sexual servitude. I doubt they are sold on the open market the way it was once done.

    Modern human rights abuses and labor exploitation are criminal and punishable. I’m not yet convinced it’s proper to reclassify them as slavery.

    Comment by Brutus — October 25, 2006 @ 11:46 am | Reply

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