Guest Editorial


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Slavery in the 21st Century

Among the greatest crimes that men can commit is to enslave other men.  Slavery is condemned by virtually all Americans.  But we fixed that, didn’t we?  Yup, we went to war, in a noble crusade, to liberate the slaves.  Those history books are full of this kind of propaganda, always ready to skew a fact in order to reinforce the twin messages:  (a) slavery is always bad; and (b) the South is always bad. 

The type of slavery condemned in the Bible is “man-stealing” – kidnapping people and forcing them into bondage against their will.  And those unfortunate Africans were definitely kidnapped – by Muslim slave traders, not Southerners, who sold them to a willing crowd of buyers, chiefly Spanish and then British, and lastly Yankee merchants who built big mansions in Massachusetts and Connecticut on the profits of selling those slaves to individual buyers (both North and South).  It was indeed a contemptible trade.  We should not be ashamed to say so.
All of that is now ancient (and white-washed) history.  But another form of slavery is still alive and well.

In the Bible we are told how a man could voluntarily bind himself as a slave, when he could find no way to make a living.  He would apply for the job!  If accepted, the master would register the deed, literally, marking the man by standing him against a post and driving an awl through his ear – a public sign of bondage.  (An earring often was worn by slaves as well.)  This form of slavery is never condemned in scripture – it was simply a life-time contract in exchange for benefits and care until death.

The other form of slavery roundly condemned in the Bible is debt bondage.  “The borrower is a slave to the lender.”  The money-lender was as reviled as the tax collector.  Today we are more sophisticated in how we go about it.  As soon as we come of age, we walk into a lending institution and take out a loan.  First it’s a credit card, then it’s a car, and then it’s a house, with a thirty year mortgage.  We live our lives in economic bondage, most of us never being free another day in our lives.  We pay untold thousands of dollars in interest to the “money masters” and we call it “the American Dream.”

If you know someone with no debt today, then you know a free man.  Chances are, he drives an older car and has a modest lifestyle.  But he’s free. 

The practices of a nation are invariably a reflection of the values and practices of a majority of its citizens, and that is why it does not occur to most Americans today that it is wrong for our nation to borrow money in order to get by.  That’s because we are, ourselves, a nation of debt-slaves.  And yet, this law is inexorable – it applies to nations just as surely as it applies to individuals – the Borrower is a Slave to the Lender.

America the Great is now a nation in bondage to the money-lenders.  Sixteen trillion dollars worth of debt that cannot and will not ever be paid back.  And we shouldn’t blame the banksters – no one forces us to borrow this money. 

This nation is no longer capable of being free again, primarily because it doesn’t have the will to become free.  We are comfortable in our luxurious bondage.  After all, our welfare and football is so superior to the Roman “bread and circuses.”

You and I can do nothing, not even voting for Republicans, to save this nation from a crushing economic collapse (or worse).  We cannot secede (yet), as a State or a Region, although that may come to be a viable option, (please hold that thought.)  In the meantime, there are things that we CAN do to become more free, as individuals  Every time a man withdraws (secedes) from the debt-slavery industry, he makes himself , his family, his community and his nation that much more free.

Would you be free?  Then do what it takes to get out of debt!  “Owe no man anything, except love,” as the Apostle Paul exhorts us in Romans 13:8.  Pay off the credit cards, automobile loans, and the mortgage, whatever it takes.  Incur no more debt.  Eat beans and rice, and when you get tired of that, eat rice and beans.  Do what your great-grandparents did – store up wealth, and pay as you go! 

Of all the things from which you can secede, right now, this one is the most important one to you and your family.  You entered into economic bondage voluntarily, and you can still walk away from it.  If you don’t start the process, then you may call yourself free all day long, but you are lying to yourself, and you are leaving your children a legacy of slavery.  Legal, institutionalized, 21st Century slavery.

© 2012 Bubba Smith