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CmdrSlander
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Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Feb 24th, 2013 at 7:24pm
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Let's say that slavery, actual slavery (not "wage slavery" or some other form) was occurring somewhere today on a large scale. Obviously, the slaves are having their rights violated and are being forced to work without their consent, and this is wrong. Is there a Libertarian way to bring about and end to such a practice?

It seems like the only way slavery has ever been ended in our history was through very un-Libertarian acts (governmental fiat, aggression) and I was wondering if there is a Libertarian solution to involuntary servitude?
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #1 - Feb 24th, 2013 at 7:58pm
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Aggression is moral if and only if it is targeted at aggression itself.
  

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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #2 - Feb 24th, 2013 at 8:18pm
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"Libertarian Way" ?

Not sure I understand what this is. Just to point out, libertarianism is non-utopian. So there is no one way, or one idea.

Slavery is against libertarianism. Also, wage-slavery is nothing to discount, because its conditions are often the worst form of slavery.


If you want to end slavery, you have many tools. You can buy the slave, and free them, as well as many economic strongholds against the owner.

The biggest issue is the social acceptance of an action. That is where everyone should begin addressing the problem. Of course, I would suggest an actual remedy, as most idiotic critics can point out the obvious bad without adding a solution. Example: When I see a black cloud of smoke coming out of a machine, I can easily say, "Hey look, pollution, that's bad and should end", but without constructive intuition, I wouldn't really help anyone by stating the obvious. If anything, I would demonstrate how ignorant I am on the subject. Instead, you open the marketplace of ideas, and find an actual solution catered to the needs of present day and to the current problem.
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #3 - Feb 25th, 2013 at 4:53am
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First solution: get rid of the state, which enslaves us all.
  

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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #4 - Feb 25th, 2013 at 1:15pm
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Yes, offer to buy any slave you encounter and then free them of any obligation to you for freeing them.
  

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The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else.
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #5 - Feb 26th, 2013 at 4:49am
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Zimobog wrote on Feb 25th, 2013 at 1:15pm:
Yes, offer to buy any slave you encounter and then free them of any obligation to you for freeing them.


Where does the money come from and what keeps the slave trader from simply enslaving more people, perhaps even the person just freed?

Libertarianism endorses goverment to protect the inalienable Rights of the Person from violations committed by other persons. With that mandate government must also have the authority to use force to combat acts of aggression by individuals in society. The use of force (aggression) by government to end slavery is an act of self defence on behalf of the slave by government.

Of course there are those that might endorse vigilantism but the problem is that vigilantes are not constrained to the same extent as government. Government can be constrained by accountability to the People but vigilantes fundamentally are not constrained as they are answerable to no one.
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #6 - Feb 27th, 2013 at 12:33am
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How did countries other than the U.S.A end slavery?
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #7 - Feb 27th, 2013 at 12:48am
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bonfire wrote on Feb 27th, 2013 at 12:33am:
How did countries other than the U.S.A end slavery?


Different situations had different results.

The more common ending of slavery happened when the slaves themselves self-educated and evolved into a position of solidarity to outnumber their masters.

Some nations over-extended their efforts, and they did, indeed, economically collapse. This left many masters unable to afford to board and feed slaves.

And the often overlooked. The change of heart. When a man of influence realizes he has done a grave wrong, and liberates those he has enslaved. This often leads to option A, and sometimes option B, because without the motivation, the nation-state has to spend money to enforce its mastery and obligations at the same time.
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #8 - Feb 27th, 2013 at 1:24pm
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Crystallas wrote on Feb 27th, 2013 at 12:48am:
The more common ending of slavery happened when the slaves themselves self-educated and evolved into a position of solidarity to outnumber their masters.

As Dr. Benjamin Carson said, 'When you educate a man, you liberate a man'. Which goes strongly with my belief of 'knowledge is power'.
  
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Re: Is There a Libertarian Way to End Slavery?
Reply #9 - Feb 27th, 2013 at 10:09pm
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I think the best way to abolish slavery is for government (yes, it will probably take a government) to set a date for abolishing slavery and make clear that the government will no longer support slavery -- everywhere slavery has depended on government support, such as fugitive slave laws, enforcement of laws against slaves being able to learn how to read, to travel freely, etc.  Government should pay slaveholders for their slaves at the market rate, and slaveholders should be able to do whatever they want with the money except going back into the slave business in the government's jurisdiction. 

American abolitionists were horrified at this approach, saying that the slaves, not the slaveholders, deserved compensation, since the slaves were forced to work for nothing.  Of course, that was true.

But there's another issue.  After emancipation, most of the former slaveholders and the former slaves were likely to remain in the same society, and the former slaveholders would have more clout -- they were better educated, they had more resources, more political influence.  There would be nobody to protect the former slaves from the former slaveholders if the former slaveholders were motivated to take vengeance for losses against the former slaves. 

That's what happened in the United States.  More than 700,000 people were killed in the U.S. Civil War, the bulk of the damage was in the South, and the former slaveholders were ruined, since they lost all of their substantial investment in slaves.  Naturally, they were bitter.  Before the war, slaveholders were cruel, but they has incentives not to kill slaves whom they had paid for. After the war, since they didn't own the slaves, they didn't lose anything by joining the KKK and other such terrorist groups and killing former slaves.

Here's a critical point: nobody could be counted on to protect the former slaves from the former slaveholders.  President Lincoln's hand-picked successor Andrew Johnson helped white supremacists regain control of the South.  Abolitionists in Congress prevailed for a while, but after 1870 they began dying off.  Other issues arose, such as dealing with Indians, and most federal forces were withdrawn from the South to deal with them.  Then in 1876, there was a contested presidential election.  Republicans -- the party of Lincoln -- decided that their top priority was getting their guy, Rutherford B. Hayes -- into the White House.  In exchange for that,  they agreed to let the Democrats control the South and do whatever they wanted to with the former slaves.  As we know, while slavery was indeed abolished, blacks were terrorized and denied their civil rights for another century. 

So the Civil War didn't turn out to be a short-cut to achieving full civil rights for blacks.

Now compare the American experience with that in the British Caribbean which had something like 700,000 slaves.  Parliament appropriated about 20 million pounds to pay off slaveholders in Jamaica and Britain's other colonies there.  The process of emancipation began in 1833.  Some of the former slaveholders took their money, settled in the United States and got into a different business.  Some of the former slaveholders took their money and became landed aristocrats in Britain.  Still others used their money to buy machinery for continuing to be in the sugar business in the Caribbean.  All of this was a lot better than having incentives to kill blacks. 

I believe this British emancipation was the most peaceful of all major emancipations.  The British didn't protect the former slaves, because Britain's principal strength was its navy, not its army.  On the other hand, not much protection was required, because the former slaveholders had been bought off. 

The last emancipation in the Western Hemisphere occurred in Brazil, and there some interesting strategies.  In major  areas of Brazil, abolitionist groups persuaded slaveholders -- especially those with perhaps one or two household slaves -- to free them and, in many cases, to sell them.  The aim was to create slave-free zones, then to make them bigger.  The more slave free zones there were, the more places for slaves to run away, and the number of runaways increased.  There was some violence as slaveholders stepped up efforts to prevent slaves from running away, but the runaways couldn't be stopped, and the end of slavery in Brazil came peacefully in 1888. 

Impressed as I have been that nobody could be counted on to protect former slaves from former slaveholders if the former slaveholders were motivated to avenge their losses after a violent emancipation, I'm inclined to think it probably would have been better if the South had been allowed to secede.  I expect emancipation would have come maybe two or three decades later, but full civil rights would have come much sooner. 

Consider these possibilities:

Before the Civil War, Northerners permitted Southern slave hunters to seize runaway slaves as far north as Boston without a jury trial.  Runaways were safe only if they got across the Canadian border. 

If the South had been allowed to secede -- rejecting the Union and the Constitution -- I expect there would have been a nationalist reaction in the North.  I doubt that Southern slave hunters would have been permitted to come into Northern cities and continue seizing slaves.  Canadians couldn't do that. 

I'll have to see if I can finish these thoughts in another post.
  
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