You cannot make a man a slave only enslave him, but what if you can tempt him to brutalize himself? Once a slaver is forced to use force constantly to maintain the system of slavery, the end of the system is close. Slavery needs a social system that makes bad choices attractive to those it wishes to enslave.
The most effective system of slavery would be where the population is enslaved without realizing that they are enslaved and where they “freely” choose the behaviors that enslave them.
One of the greatest books written by an American is Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
If you read this book, and you must read it, ask if the lash and chains have been hidden. What if the Civil War, the war of liberation, ended the overt tyranny, but slavers created social structures to use passive means to keep people in a kind of bondage? We know this did happen through a system of segregation combined with the terrorism of the KKK. This system has been destroyed and the KKK is (fairly) impotent.
Yet we should pause and wonder if slavers kept up their work, but now mostly through the temptation to enslavement.
Douglass describes the brutality of American Southern slavery, but he also lists the methods that enslaved people without the lash. Imagine a social order that taught the following:
Destroy natural family bonds.
Slavers do not want people to have strong biological family bonds. These bonds are natural and so stronger than any artificial relationships we create. A mother knows her baby is her own. No test is necessary. She experiences the truth. Of all bonds, this is the most contrary to the slaver’s needs.
The slaver will weaken the bonds between father and child, but he must crush the bond between mother and child.
Teach people to lie for favors.
Slaves were encouraged by the system to lie about their treatment. They would smile and say they were happy. This was a lie, of course, but the repetition of lies harms the soul. If the stick cannot be used (directly), then the carrot can be dangled before the prospective slave. If we tell the Boss what he wishes to hear, then we thrive, but we are corrupted by the lies.
Find “glory” in the success of the master.
According to Frederick Douglass, slaves would fight each other to defend the greatness, wealth, or power of the master. The slave is given a false sense of glory by being part of the master’s team. The clever master will cause the slave to associate with master’s success while not realizing that “we” are not winning, but master is winning while we are working.
Create “rootlessness” when it comes to home either by frequent moves or viewing “the good place” as some place other than this place.
A sense of place, an understanding of what is this piece of land, gives a love that the masters cannot defeat. A man or woman will die for the land they love. As a result, an enslaving culture will encourage frequent movement or denigrate where the prospective slave lives. The good place is there and not here.The place where the master lives is the “big” place and where the enslaved is is the out-place: the slave quarters.
No reader can be a “safe” slave. Master must encourage entertainment and attack literacy.
Frederick Douglass learned to read despite opposition from his masters. Once he gained this power, he was free in mind. He could be put in chains and beaten, but he would never bow voluntarily. Instead of reading, entertainment must be encouraged. Arguments cannot be made in entertainment. Science cannot take place at a party.
Entertainment and parties are not bad, but masters wish us only to entertain ourselves and party. Reading always encourages a mental process that changes us even when reading just-for-fun books. Literacy introduces a person to a vast world of theology, science, philosophy, and great art. You cannot do great theology, science, or philosophy in entertainments and you must use books to do the highest level of work.
If master cannot keep you from learning to read, he will try to distract you from reading.
Create a religion of compliance and not liberty.
Christianity balances law and liberty. We need law to avoid excess. The slaver wishes for excess, because the depraved person is enchanted by desire. Yet liberty is also a theme of Scripture. If we only comply, then we have missed the full truth. We need to liberty: the right to choose between moral goods.
Attack “enough” with “more.”
The master does not want the slave to be satisfied, but urges the slave to excess. Why? The bloated man is slow. Liberty requires as much “no” as “yes.” The free man can eat a treat and say: “No more.” The slave will eat a treat until she hates the sight of it.
The master will provide free loot and the urge to take is strong. Free people pass on the loot and go read a book. Yet “master” provided temptation after temptation for “more.” When you see an enslaved person, note these temptations. Of course, a man can choose (in his mind) to be free.
Romans used free bread and circuses to make free men creatures of the state. Moderns use screens and food desserts. Entertainment is cheap, but books are made costly. Libraries close, but streaming videos are readily available. Pity an area with more access to entertainment than to gardens.