Slavery is a near-human universal, and maybe even that qualifier shouldn’t be there.
Let’s say that when humans – who are just hairless, tailless apes, remember? – get beyond the hunter-gatherer level, and start to form larger societies, they also take a step foward in (long-term) rational behavior towards defeated enemies.
One small tribe which defeats another small tribe – fighting, say, over access to good hunting spot, like a water-hole – has every motive to kill all the males, except for those young enough to be adopted into the tribe. (I have read that the Comanches killed the unwanted young children of their captured enemies by grabbing them by the legs and swinging them against trees, smashing their skulls that way… however, I don’t believe it, because Progressives tell us that the Native Americans were natural Greens, living in harmony with nature … and this might have damaged the bark of the trees.)
But once a tribe has reached a certain size, and has discovered the advantages of fixed agriculture … then it becomes rational not to kill your enemies, but to enslave them. A step forward. The next step is to disarm them – no Second Amendment for defeated enemies! – and leave them alone to grow their crops and tend their flocks, but to exact tribute. The origin of taxes.
Now … slavery and the semi-slavery of serfdom, was absolutey universal. In the morality of the time, to spare a defeated enemy’s life in battle, provided he became your permanent servant, was the norm. Great thinkers like Socrates and Plato and Aristotle didn’t give it a second thought. The Bible, including the New Testament, takes it for granted.
It slowly died out in Europe, at least for fellow Europeans. The Muslims still practiced it, including enslaving thousands of Europeans whom they captured during slave-raids on England and Ireland.
So when the human race took another step forward in establishing wage-labor instead of feudal serfdom, and Republican government instead of monarchy, slavery – of Africans – was simply not seen as morally wrong by the great majority.
Note that African slaves were usually bought from other Africans, who had conquered them in war and enslaved them. Africans didn’t think slavery was wrong. Only some Europeans did, and over time, their views prevailed … in Europe, and in part of America.
Christianity played a big role in this, by the way.
But not in that part of the world where slavery was integral to the economy … and where slaves existed in large numbers. (Read about the Nat Turner slave revolt, and what happened to captured whites – the same thing that happened to them in the great slave revolt of Haiti at the beginning of the 19th Century.)
So for decades after it had been abolished in the Northern states of America, and in Great Britain, it still prevailed in the Southern states, and the Caribbean.
The slave-owners had strong material reasons to resist keeping up with the advancing morality of Europe, and to retain the morality of Africa with regard to slavery. As Bertolt Brecht said, ‘Erst kommt das Fressen …dann kommt die Moral.’ (First come the eats, then comes morality.)
They weren’t going to give up their slaves – and bankrupt themselves – any more than Patooka is going to give back the stolen property he now enjoys to the Aborigines, or our American moralizing Lefties are going to do the moral thing and return their stolen property to the descendants of the Native Americans. (I’m 1/16th Choctaw and have repeatedly asked for my cut, but will these white Lefties do the right thing? Ha.)
So it’s extremely easy for white Progressives to sit back and condemn the Southern slave-owners for acting like Plato and Socrates and Jefferson and Madison and Washington … and like the white Progressives of today who stubbornly hold on to their stolen Native property.
What I condemn the slave-owners for is for not being smart. If they had been like their more intelligent British counterparts in the Caribbean, they could have got the Yankees to cough up a nice sum in compensation for emancipating the slaves, and transitioned peacefully to being landowners with lots of money … who would therewith have the luxury of waxing indignant about the horrors of slavery … then they would match today’s moralizing Lefties, with their stolen native land.
Why weren’t the Southerners as smart as their Caribbean counterparts.
As I’ve said before, I blame cousin marriages.