As a culture de-Christianizes, slavery naturally returns

When the culture is a de-Christianizing capitalist one, like ours, it looks for natural opportunities to turn the weak and despised into slaves on the Low Hanging Fruit Theory. One very natural place to turn is to populations nobody likes or cares about, and which people with a tenuous hold on mercy, but a very firm grip on law and punishment, like to congratulate themselves for punishing with slavery under the fiction of “law and order”.

So we arrive at the creation of a Prison Industry that feeds on young victims and relies on monsters like this judge for supplies of fresh meat.

There’s a reason Ransoming the Captive is one of the works of mercy.

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  • Faithr

    While the idea of imprisoning people for profit is horrible, prisons are usually hellish places whether run the by the state directly or not. You can do it the direct way, like Stalin to name an extreme example, or the indirect way like prisons for profit, either way it is very easy for the power to imprison to turn into something evil. Always has been.

    • IRVCath

      But the problem is the alternatives historically to long-term imprisonment are:

      -execution (unconstitutional in this country except for murder, espionage and treason, and arguably would be inhumane if done to most criminals regardless – though see Singapore)
      -fines (which would be politically infeasible, as it would allow the richest to get away with, say, rape)
      -forced exile (unworkable since Australia, et al is already settled)

      • D.T. McCameron

        Exile can turn into a sort of execution, after a fashion.
        I suppose it has an, “out of sight, out of mind,” benefit going on.

      • Faithr

        I am not saying that the power to imprison isn’t a necessity to maintain order and to dole out justice for crime. I am just saying it is extremely easy to abuse that power. It isn’t just a case of for profit prisons suddenly going all inhumane. Non profit prisons have been inhumane for centuries.

      • Obpoet

        There is always Mars.

  • Taking money in exchange for increasing sentences, and thus income, from each prisoner is a nasty business. Since the judge doing it is going to prison for his actions, I would challenge that he had very much of a grip on what the law actually was. A 28 year sentence is nothing to sneeze at when you start off at 63. He is unlikely to survive to release. Given his actions, I can’t find it in me to protest the harshness.

  • Raymond

    Help me to understand how this is an instance of a de-Christianizing capitalist culture when the judge in this case is a practicing Catholic.

    • kenofken

      Then there’s the small problem that actual, chattel slavery was in its fullest flower when America was a 120% Christian nation, and fervently so for much of that time. The only “pagans” in any sense of the word were the proto-hippie literati like Thoreau.

      • SteveP

        What is your beef? Clearly the inhabitants of the Southern US, prior to the Civil War, were determined to think for themselves rather than blindly adopt an indoctrinated moral code. They seem to have much in common with you.

      • chezami

        Slavery is the immemorial norm of the human race. When Christianity was introduced this was the case as well, but it slowly worked as a subversive force against it and within centuries had driven it out of European civilization. However, with the rise of the nation state and the colonial powers it returned (partly because Christians imitated Muslims who had not problem with it). Christianity again worked against it with Dominicans like Bartolme de las Casas making the theological case against it. But within Christian ranks there was division on both the Protestant and Catholic sides of the aisle because of the heavy influence of mammon. In the US, the division is obvious, with Southerners inventing whole denominations (Southern Baptist) to provide a theological rationale for slavery. But likewise the abolilition movement is a totally Christian phenomenon and is conceived off in *entirely* Christian theological language. In Russia, the destruction of serfdom reflects the same hard-fought battle of the Christian tradition to overcome the clinging effect of sin.

        Bottom line: the eradication of slavery is a hard-won Christian achievement–and a permanently tentative one. The moment a civilization nods, it returns, because even a Christian culture struggles with original sin.

    • falstaff77

      “Practicing Catholic” is a reach. He was no follower of Christ, regardless of how much he dropped in the contribution plate.

      • Marthe Lépine

        It has been known for generations that many people who attend mass regularly spend their work week in a totally separate frame of mind and just do not see, or think, that they are still supposed to act as Christians while doing their jobs. I am in my early 70’s and I remember some Sunday homilies from my childhood where that was discussed.

      • Raymond

        Of course not. Because no follower of Christ would ever harm a child, or protect someone who harmed a child.

  • Ben Hammer

    I wonder if you would consider it slavery, when the government steals 40% (or more) of your income, to re-distribute to those that, only they consider worthy?
    Capitalism, is a term the left uses to deride a free market economy. We don’t live in a free market economy. Has not been for the last 100 years. Blame the billion, and millionaire’s, and those that don’t give charitably. I think it is just intellectually lazy, to blame an economic theory (one that has actually brought more people out of poverty than any other developed), for the moral deprivations of man.

    • chezami

      Slaves have no income. They’re slaves.

  • Marthe Lépine

    The problem is that a for profit corporation is expected to increase profits, not just every year, but often every quarter. While a prison system should have as a long-term goal to see its “demand” decreased… Maybe an acceptable middle-ground would be to give preference to private, but not-for-profit, management. It might be more efficient than government-run, although this would need to be proven, but it might also not offer such a temptation to actively increase the demand…

  • said she

    I’ve often wondered if it might be possible to create a prison system that we’d actually be proud of. Imagine if prisons were a great place to work, because they actually helped criminals become good citizens. Imagine prisons that farmed out the better-behaved prisoners to do the manual labor that “Americans don’t want to do”, yet treats its prisoners with dignity, including education, counseling, spiritual support, and continuing support even after they’ve completed their sentences – until they’ve established themselves with jobs and a new support group (church, AA, etc.). Prisons could be competing for the honor of being both a great source of inexpensive labor and a good place for people who want to turn their lives around. Well-behaved prisoners at inferior prisons could petition to be moved to the better prisons. Those who behave poorly would have real, live examples to encourage a change of heart. Punishment for truly bad behavior would be sending them to the worst prisons. This becomes and incentive for prisoners to behave.

    Obviously, especially in light of the linked story, it would require oversight and accountability. Providing workers means there’s some accountability built in. But imagine if neighborhoods saw a new prison as a good thing: bringing good jobs and cheap labor and a true “correctional facility” – where people come out better than they went in. That would be a prison industry to be proud of.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Have a look at Prison Blues.

      ” … inmates earn a prevailing industry wage … Eighty percent is withheld from their earnings to pay for their own incarceration costs, victim restitution, family support, and state and federal wage taxes … Inmates can use the rest of their earnings for voluntary family support, to buy items at the prison canteen, or for deposit in a savings account available to them upon their release … they will have an applicable job skill.”

      • thisismattwade

        Thank you for posting this. I’ve needed a new pair of jeans for a while now (per my loving wife), and it might be a bit of Providence that you posted this link.

  • falstaff77

    It’s silly to imagine self-interest suddenly appeared with the onset of contract prisons; that the legal and government employee run prison systems were somehow free of corruption, or even more so.