Michael Medved Defends Slavery

This post, written by Jillian, originally appeared on Sadly No!

I am beginning to suspect that the greenhouse gases being released into the world by industrialized nations are having an adverse effect on the space-time continuum. There are days, based on the rhetoric I see coming from some of the loonier corners of the right wing batty brigade, that I can't tell whether it's 1932, 1919, or 1896.

See, Michael Medved wants to set us all straight about the so-called evils of American slavery.

Before we go on, I just want to stop and savor that line for a minute or two. Michael Medved. American slavery. Revisionist history.

At this point, I'm pretty much irrelevant, aren't I? You just know this is going to be chock-a-block full of gibbering insanity.

Luckily for us, he's broken his ravings down into numbered bullet-points - much like the leaflets you find stuck to telephone poles about how the head of the CIA is a mutant lizard person who performs religious/medical experiments on homeless people often are.
Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history's most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity invariably focus on America's bloody past as a slave-holding nation.
See what I mean? Aren't we off to a rollicking good start?
1. SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION. At the time of the founding of the Republic in 1776, slavery existed literally everywhere on earth and had been an accepted aspect of human history from the very beginning of organized societies. Current thinking suggests that human beings took a crucial leap toward civilization about 10,000 years ago with the submission, training and domestication of important animal species (cows, sheep, swine, goats, chickens, horses and so forth) and, at the same time, began the "domestication," bestialization and ownership of fellow human beings captured as prisoners in primitive wars. In ancient Greece, the great philosopher Aristotle described the ox as "the poor man's slave" while Xenophon likened the teaching of slaves "to the training of wild animals." Aristotle further opined that "it is clear that there are certain people who are free and certain who are slaves by nature, and it is both to their advantage, and just, for them to be slaves."
And after so opining, Aristotle then got drunk on six-week old wine and had unspeakable carnal relations with a sixteen-year old boy. For real!

Medved actually thinks an argument about how the ancient Greeks and Mesopotamians practiced slavery are worth considering. Does he know anything at all about ancient Near Eastern ethical standards? You'd think someone who's presumably read the Old Testament once or twice in his life would appreciate the progress that humans have made in applied ethics since then. By 1776, for instance, European civilizations had given up the practice of stoning disobedient children.

As sad as this particular argument is, it's actually the best of the six that Medved manages to muster: it's all downhill from here, I'm sorry to say.

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