It’s little remarked upon, but the vast majority of people alive today are descended from slaves and peasants. Most of these people remain emotional slaves and peasants.
Nietzsche was the last prominent scholar to make such statements, though most misunderstood him. Nietzsche was what I like to describe as a sort of modern Ancient Greek philosopher. He was a philologist; a classicist. His actual philosophy is something like what I’d imagine a pre-Socratic such as Heraclitus might be if he were a Polish Lutheran with poor digestion, writing in Wilhelmine German. The pre-Socratics were the philosophy of the Hellenes at their peak. Socrates was a sort of Jonathan Rawls. The Hellenes even well past their prime were mostly concerned with what we now call moral philosophy rather than analytic philosophy: how to live.
Nietzsche’s admonition of slave morality is precisely the type of thing an Ancient Greek philosopher would say, and should be taken in a similar spirit. Recognizing that most of the people around you are spiritual and mental slaves, descended from spiritual and mental and ultimately actual slaves is important in understanding the condition of The Current Year.
The peasant/slave reaction to saying this, is of course, cattle-like fear and loathing. Most people think slavery consists in some sort of S&M accoutrements, like in the TV shows. The reality is, slaves through most of human history didn’t require shackles to keep them fixed in place, and they slept in beds and performed work which was normal for their times. Slavery was, and is, very much a state of mind.
Some of the slaves of ancient times were that way because they were born to it. Others became slaves through conquest or debt. The actual conditions of slavery were not generally distinguishable from the life of a free man: slaves worked in agriculture, but also as artificers, clerks, engineers, bankers, even high viziers in some government roles. Slaves were allowed to hold some forms of property, had religious liberty within the household cult, and while they were allowed families, they were not allowed a lineage: they had no family name. Much like most men living today, they have a last name, but generally have no idea as to their lineage past their grandparents.
Some of the Greeks thought certain people were made by nature to be slaves: people who had no capacity for foresight or self-discipline. Aristotle said that unlike animals or very young children, the slave could understand reasoning; he just couldn’t do it himself. Essentially, Aristotle was describing the current year NPC, which is probably why the meme stings them so greatly. As he put it in book one of Politics, “For the slave has no deliberative faculty at all.”
Classical-era slaves were forbidden many things available to free men: for example, they were forbidden gymnastics, weightlifting and wrestling in Athens. These sorts of exercises make the slave more dangerous as they build thumos (“spiritedness”, roughly) and character. Even gladiators were fed a diet consisting of legumes, breads and porridge – the kind of slop the sinister docker-pants-wearing goons in WEF meetings would like the whole world to eat along with cockroach tapenade.
Xenophon in his Education of Cyrus describes how Cyrus kept the conquered peoples in bondage after conquest. Quite simply, he made them into sybaritic degenerates: the pleasures of the slave. Have fun, don’t exercise. Here: have some more wine. Don’t experience too much hardship: that would be unpleasant. Slaves were portrayed in the arts as timid, dumb and cowardly. More or less like suburban office dwellers, the types of people who publicly and immediately forgive the killers of their children.
Tyrants and tyrannies love slaves and slavish subjects. Nero famously gave slaves the right to take their masters to court. This wasn’t some prototypical love of human dignity or “civil rights” – through perhaps it was done for similar reasons. It was explicitly done to reduce the status of free men. They were all slaves to a tyrant such as Nero. Aristotle knew:
“Again, the evil practices of the last and worst form of democracy are all found in tyrannies. Such are the power given to women in their families in the hope that they will inform against their husbands, and the license which is allowed to slaves in order that they may betray their masters; for slaves and women do not conspire against tyrants; and they are of course friendly to tyrannies and also to democracies, since under them they have a good time. ”
The history of modernity is to a certain extent is the mobilization of historical peasant and slave classes for other tasks. Past mobilization was done for warfare and industrial production. The dipshits in power (mostly clerks and slaves themselves, all stupid) now think automation is so well developed, the mass should be back to overt slavery and peonage.
The greatest fear of our enemies is that large numbers of free men will stop acting like slaves. Hence their shrill terror of men with the relatively trivial self-discipline to exercise with weights, stop masturbating, tan their balls or declare they won’t eat the bugs. The spirit of not being a slave: to die rather than submit – the virtues of yesteryear crush the life out of the flabby eunuch class.
I’ll let Aristotle have the last word:
“…the tyrant should lop off those who are too high; he must put to death men of spirit; he must not allow common meals, clubs, education, and the like; he must be upon his guard against anything which is likely to inspire either courage or confidence among his subjects; he must prohibit literary assemblies or other meetings for discussion, and he must take every means to prevent people from knowing one another (for acquaintance begets mutual confidence)… In short, he should practice these and the like Persian and barbaric arts, which all havethe same object. A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies, like the ‘female detectives’ at Syracuse, and the eavesdroppers whom Hiero was in the habit of sending to any place of resort or meeting; for the fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out. Another art of the tyrant is to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another. Also he should impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring. … Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property. The tyrant is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader.”