In our very first two-part episode, Jad and Kevin discuss the idea of whether or not people prefer being slaves. The idea is pretty simple: there’s an almost endless supply of examples illustrating how people appear to be passive when any type of control structure takes over their lives. This can be applied to government, religion, education, and of course the literal notion of slavery as well.

In this first segment we explore the gist of the idea, ponder whether the responsibilities we have towards one another in personal relationships could possibly be deemed slavery, and discuss some control structures in local government.

Material from Podcast



Transcript of Podcast

Kevin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the JK Podcast. For those of you just tuning in to the show, please stop by our website at, where you can find a complete episode listing of the entire show. Since the show began back in the summer of 2012, this episode marks the first time we’ve recorded a full two-part episode – indeed a proud moment for our producers.

Jad and I begin part 1 of this two-parter discussing whether or not people actually prefer being slaves. The idea is that since most people allow themselves to pick-pocketed by governmental agencies without much outcry, perhaps it’s just easier to live with a master than to stand up to him. It’s a topic that we’ve pondered in the past, but for whatever reason have continued to avoid

– Oh, and then the – my random thought that one morning about people actually wanting to be slaves.

Jad: Yeah. I saw something just the other day, where was I – but it was interesting just because there was – somebody was thinking through this [?] said the only thing you can really conclude is that people enjoy being slaves, and I was like, “God dammit”, that’s like the third time, the third place I’ve seen that proposition – I’m sure it’s a pretty common one. But in the last month or so –

Kevin: I mean, I’d be the last person who inherently believes that, it was just kind of one of those you know, that’s just where the logic led me one day.

Jad: Yeah, it’s the data.

Kevin: I’ve kind of exhausted all other outlets.

Jad: Yeah.

Kevin: Even after we introduced the idea of the topic, we still couldn’t quite decide whether or not to run with it.

Well, we probably shouldn’t do the people prefer to be slaves thing because – well, I don’t know, maybe we should do that sometimes since, I think you’ve got some pretty strong anti-views to it. I don’t really have a pro-view necessarily, just kind of a [?] points to say, “well, why do people do this, and why do they do this, and why do they do this”, because all of those lead to that direction.

Jad: Yeah, yeah. It is a model that matches the fact that everyone is voluntarily enslaving themselves.

Kevin: Right.

And with that, our curiosities peaked and we took on the topic. Presenting some counterpoints to the idea is the co-creator of the show, Jad Davis, I’m Kevin Ludlow, and welcome back to our show.

Jad: My only counterpoint that I could come up with was essentially that most people think they’re free. They see freedom as an ideal state. They understand that it’s good, and they think they’ve achieved it. They don’t think that – the fact that they have to give up their paycheck to the government means that they’re a slave, you know what I mean?

Kevin: Right.

Jad: So they definitely want that body to be controlling their life in some manner – they vote for it at least you know, or [?] – but it’s almost always a vote to control somebody else, you know? It’s a vote to take money from that guy because he sucks. I guess if they had the objective view of their position – the people around them, the people that rule them – then their question would be now that you know, how do you feel, or are you willing to put up with this, or whatever – but that seems like it’s a you know, hypothetical at best.

Kevin: Well right, that’s why I think that the whole argument is really just kind of riddled with interesting psychology, not really so much political thought. I think it’s the same reason that the anarchist position of it – which is almost identical to the libertarian position in this case – they’re seen as crazy from most people in the general public I would think. People would think that my points of view are exceedingly radical.

The things that I would say constitute enslavement, people say, “dude, you’re crazy, that doesn’t mean you’re a slave” – that’s just what most people would say and I respectfully disagree with them, but unfortunately, how do you convince that entire group of people that that’s the case or more importantly, why do I think that that does constitute slavery. To be fair, there is some theoretical level that you could keep taking it to where you would really never be un-enslaved. Even if you were theoretically free to do every single thing that we say you should be able to do, there’s probably still going to be something that you could say that you’re tied to.

Jad: Right. Well I mean, you’re like a slave to – you can’t – you can never be free from having to eat or breathe – I mean, I’ve even heard that argument. I think most people are willing to be bound by the laws of physics, you know?

Kevin: Sure, sure. So that’s the furthest theoretical level maybe you can go to, but I would say like, it seems that people naturally as animals, gravitate towards partners, like, we just require relationships, never mind like, husband, wife, spouse or whatever, just relationships with people in general, and as a result like, there’s certain things that you have to do for those people. I mean, I guess you don’t have to, but that’s right there where the psychology kind of starts. You can say you don’t have to, but if you don’t then that relationship is dead, so in some sense if you wish to have some sort of support at all, you ultimately have to continue playing the role.

Jad: No, you totally make sense. That totally makes sense, in fact I think there’s some misconception, or missing part of a definition, or something around there because that thing you describe, if you and I are going to be in a relationship together, then there are certain things – like, I can’t blow up your car, or punch you in the face, or shit on your lawn, or – there’s certain things that you’re not – you’re just not going to associate with me, and fulfill whatever you know, relationship roles I want from you unless I reciprocate. So you can say that I’m not free, I can’t do whatever I want and have you do what I want for me, right?

If I want that, I have to work with you as a peer to satisfy whatever it is that you want so that we can be in this relationship. You could have a position that says that’s not freedom, right? But that’s not the anarchist or libertarian position at all. The anarchist and libertarian position is that that’s society. That’s how we all get along, and build sky scrapers, and have food, and everyone has medical care, and – that’s how we do all of that stuff is by dealing with each other on that level. So if that’s not freedom, then you’re defining yourself out of existence in a sense.

I mean, the only person who’s free is like a hermit right, or something like that – and that’s I mean, again, not sustainable. So that part of the argument is interesting because I think that’s – to go back to the core definition – is freedom visa vis another person is they’re – not that they are making demands of you as in, “if you want this, you have to do X”, but rather that they’re saying, “you have to do X or I’m going to hurt you”, right? That’s the key difference between like, a pure relationship and a master/slave relationship.

Like, I can ask you to live on my farm and pick cotton, and I can offer to pay you, or I can offer to give you a house or whatever, but the moment I say, “you have to do it or I’m going to beat the crap out of you and chain you to a tree and make you do it anyway”, then you’ve transitioned from a free relationship, to a master/slave relationship.

Kevin: Right. Well your non-aggression principle obviously, should be the fundamental core value there, right? I mean, you have to put that before anything else, so that – what you’re describing, the master/slave relationship – infringes upon the non-aggression principle. You’re saying if not, then I am going to use aggression against you, which by definition, you’ve already destroyed your whole philosophy.

Jad: I think that’s right, yeah. I would say – and again, just to like, lop off the extremes – I would say that if you’re definition of freedom, or if somebody’s definition of freedom falls outside of that where a peer to peer relationship is an encroaching on individual liberty or whatever, you’re just arguing a different realm, you know what I mean?

Kevin: Yeah.

Jad: I don’t have any counter argument to that.

Kevin: Right, it’s completely outside of the scope. I agree with that fully. You’re right I mean, keep it wrapped inside of the non-aggression principle – natural laws of physics and biology still apply, right?

Jad: We’re working our way slowly but surely.

Kevin: You’ve gotta eat, you’ve gotta breathe, so there’s that. I’m trying to take it to some level where I can determine if you’re still you know, “theoretically enslaved” or not, and coming full circle or at least coming back to what the question at hand is is that the fact that you have to pay taxes – by definition – makes you a slave to somebody else. Why is it that when I make that objective point – or at least what I see to be an objective point – person A, B, and C – in fact, in many cases – 99 in 100 people – in this country anyways – might turn right against me and say, “well you’re not a slave, you’re participating in society”, and in fact, that’s the typical thing that I hear is that there’s a societal construct and you have a contract, and if you want to be part of the society, then that’s what you have to do and if you don’t, you’re free to move at any time, or you free to move away from that society.

And I guess right there it becomes kind of like a theoretical norm because my argument is to say, well, that’s true, I could technically move away except that I didn’t do anything to get into this society in the first place, I just popped up here through no fault of my own – I guess the fault of my parents if you want to get technical – and then beyond that, there’s that practical level of saying, well is it really practical that I should move to some island by myself because I’m unwilling to abide by this social contract?

And so anyways, that’s kind of where the discussion – at least as I’ve seen it – typically tends to go to, so – hence I remain in the boat of being the fringy, kind of overexcited crazy person, whereas this person’s like, “that’s just how it is, so you’re not really a slave. You’re just participating in what’s deemed a fair system.”

Jad: Right. There’s actually a – there’s a lot of responses I guess – this is a secondhand story, so I would have to look up the original source for this, but it’s Frederick Douglass I guess, who transitioned from slavery to freedom during his lifetime and wrote about it from both sides. It relates a story where he talks about how at some point, his master let him go work outside the plantation like, two days a week, or three days a week, or something like that – which I guess may not have been that uncommon, I don’t really know.

But – so he would go you know, hire himself out for a job and you know, work and get paid, and then his master took like, 20% of whatever he made, right? And he actually said that that was worse than the chained slavery because at least when you were chained, or when you were you know, a chattel slave, you realize that you were a slave, you understood, it was very clear and tangible. Whereas the other way felt really comfortable and felt much less oppressive, and so is actually a more subtle form of slavery.

Kevin: That is very interesting because I’ve got so many – so many tangential thoughts I can come up with with that one from experiences in my own life – all of which sadly, kind of go back into the notion of maybe people really do prefer to be slaves, and maybe at this point it would be fair to categorize or recategorize slaves as – it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re owned directly by somebody, right? I mean, that’s the – I think that’s the problem with the word slave is that you say slave and it assumes that you’re a black guy on a plantation being whipped, with a chain around your leg, or something like that, right? And in fact, that’s not true, that’s at very best just the metaphor for it. There’s a lot of instances I can think of – and maybe these are too tangential – but a couple years ago – you’ve been to T. Cad[?] before, Travis Cad – keeps up with all the property values of our county?

Jad: Oh yeah, right.

Kevin: Appraisal districts, you know, there’s one for every county in the country, as far as I know. In any case, I really was displeased with how it worked, you couldn’t really get any aggregate statistics on anything, so as part of my city site project – you can buy the data from the appraisal district, it’ll cost you about $80 bucks, and they give you a DVD, it’s about 6 gigs of just text data. It’s a nightmare to go through and parse, but I did. I wrote a program that parses the whole thing, puts it all into databases for me, and I wrote this really nice front end to it – it’s really powerful – and I actually tried selling it to the county, it did not work. But people who are interested in T. Cad[?] loved it.

What I found interesting about the experiment though, was that I got so many complaints about it. I mean dozens if not hundreds of complaints, and every single one of them had the exact same problem with it. It wasn’t that they didn’t know that the data was there, I was like, “well, wait a second, I haven’t – there’s nothing private here. This is all completely public, it’s available, it’s already available online”, and what their responses always were was that, “yeah, yeah, yeah, but you’ve written this software in a way where it is so indexed by Google, and it’s now so public that we disagree with it.”

And my argument always – on the counter side – was to tell people that – and I guess it’s just a philosophy I have – but I’m like, “this is the problem is that you believe that somehow or another you’re hidden, or somehow or another you’re not participating in this system. I appreciate that you wish to be private, but what I’m telling you is that your life is completely public in the sphere made by the government already. All I’m doing is putting in the forefront where you can see exactly what is in fact public, and now once you can see it, you want that hidden but it’s no different than what’s already there.”

And it was kind of this weird – I guess – game that – I wouldn’t really play with people – but just kind of this weird exchange that I would have with people where it occurred to me that so long as it was hidden – like they already knew it at this point, like, they definitely knew it because I put it out there and they knew I was – I wasn’t doing anything special, I was just getting government data – they were happier just that the public data was there, but that it was more hidden because to them it meant that it wasn’t there, if that makes sense.

And at the end of the day I was like, “but it is there. It is still there. All you’re doing is lying to yourself if you don’t believe this. If you don’t like it being there, then by all means, band together and let’s tell the state or the county that they can’t make that available – I’m fine with that. But I don’t feel that I’m the bad guy in this particular case” – kind of tangential to the whole story here, but I just find it interesting that ignorance to that sort of thing seems to play out above anything else, and maybe that’s why that day when I
Filename: Ep13 Do People Prefer Being Slaves Part I JK Podcast
Client: Kevin Ludlow Product: Transcript Date Completed: 6/30/13 Order Number: 151
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Length: 23:37 Word Count: 4,709 Document ID: GCM-TS-008
brought this up and wrote this down here, is that it led me to believe that it’s not that people want to be enslaved, it’s just that the ignorance is better than the reality of you know, considering that maybe you really are enslaved.

Jad: I think that’s right. I think that’s the key. I don’t know what level of consciousness this happens, people do not like to have it pointed out that they are slaves, for sure. You can attack somebody who is making your public data more easily accessible, but you can’t consider the fact that that data shouldn’t be public in the first place, right? Because that would mean that you have to turn and face this heavily armed, fully funded, impenetrable wall of you know, non-empathetic beaurocracy to try to do something, and deep down in your heart you know – and there’s exceptions because people actually do that kind of thing from time to time – but in most of our hearts, we just don’t have that kind of energy because it’s going to take bound – I mean, you know how it is.

And you were facing parts of it that were meant to be operated. When you turn to the county and you say, “I want all public records to be expunged or hidden”, I mean, you’re talking about – I mean, that’s not even like, an option, right – there’s no form for that. So people get angry when that kind of thing becomes apparent to them and then if there’s a likely target around that they can divert their anger towards, they’ll unload on that.

Kevin: Right.

Jad: Somebody who they can’t influence, or make feel bad, or bully or whatever, you know? That’s kind of like the pecking order thing, right? They can’t fight up –

Kevin: Right.

Jad: – so they’ll fight down or across and somehow relieve some anxiety that way.

Kevin: Yeah, it was just interesting seeing people would rather just not know that, so therefore I become the person to attack you know, as a result of it, which – I mean, I did do it, I did put it out there, I did make it more accessible and I guess, it amused me every time that happened because I felt good that I had written something that was way better than this other thing that existed. I just figured if you’re going to put it out there, at least make it useful to –

Jad: Right.

Kevin: But the people who are trying to spy on somebody else – at least successfully spy on it – I’d rather everybody know. You know, it’s kind of like – well, this gets us into other tangents – but I watched a video the other day from an NSA whistleblower – you may have seen this clip. This guy worked at NSA for years, he’s since stopped working for them, but he’s explaining how – what the government’s doing right now is any major mail carrier that exists digitally right now is giving all of their data to the government – just on the reg. So he was saying, he’s like, “they put in the request”, he’s like, “these requests are actually there”. He’s like, “you can find the forms that the NSA or whomever else is submitting to say ‘we want this’, and all of these companies are happily complying with this, Google being one of the big ones”.

And so he was talking in terms of the data storage that they have, I mean it’s just unfathomable that this amount of data storage he’s talking about, and the interviewer unfortunately wasn’t particularly – he wasn’t as tech savvy. Like, I think we would’ve had much more interesting questions for him, but he was like, “well what you know, I don’t understand, what do they do – so now they’ve got all this accessible to them?”

And the NSA guy was very technically savvy, and he’s was explaining, he’s like, “no”, he’s like, “they don’t need to do anything with it. The fact is they have a record of it.” So all of a sudden for you, and you, and you, and you and most other people you’re ever going to know, it doesn’t matter at all. But imagine that you ever come to a position of power because like, well now it becomes very interesting to say, “Oh, well let’s go through all of the personal correspondences that Jad Davis has ever had. Somebody start the process of pulling all of his data from our giant data servers, let’s see what we can find”, and of course I mean, anybody’s got personal correspondence, it’s just not intended for other people to read, right?

So it was just kind of the same thing that he was saying, he’s like, “the problem is”, he’s like, “we’ve been telling people that this is happening, but when you expose it, they just want to know about it”, and I don’t know, it just kind of gave me the same mindset that the ignorance of it is – something about it, people just prefer the ignorance over the – over just the accepting that this is actually occurring because then maybe they’d have to do something about it, I don’t know.

Jad: Yeah. Yeah, I read that story too, that was – I didn’t listen to the interview, but that was fascinating. Especially the part where he was like, “there’s no filters, it’s just a straight copy of everything and they’ll look it up later when they need it”, you know? I can’t remember if he referenced this or somebody made reference to it, but they were saying you know – Potrais[?] – or not Potrais[?], but the other guy who was with him who had like 30,000 e-mails or whatever.

Kevin: It’s Potrais[?] and the other guy, yeah, he was talking about both.

Jad: OK. But yeah, that kind of model, sure I mean that’s you know, it’s ultimately for political control, and I think that’s the other thing to is with all of these things, everyone has a calculation to make, right, because if you oppose this, then you suddenly become somebody. I mean, if you really actually successfully start to oppose it, you become a person whose data will be mined, and who will be followed by the police, and who will have an FBI file you know, generated for them and – so all of the things that the NSA whistleblower, and everybody else who’s basically saying you know, you can be assassinated at any time, if the president writes it on a piece of paper, you can die, you know?

All of those things, you’re only engaged by them when you become politically aware, and active, and dangerous. I think everyone thinks – which is true for a long time – that if you just keep your head down, it’s going to be somebody else –

Kevin: Right.

Jad: – who gets got. This is where I – again, I think this has always been the case – like, I think there was police brutality in the 50s, but it was all against black people. If you were a white person at all, the police respected and adored you, and police brutality becomes an issue when the white political class falls into the you know, into the target class.

Kevin: Right.

Jad: The point is that these things expand slowly – and sometimes not so slowly – and everyone as long as they’re not in the scope, as long as they’re not a target of it will try to ignore it and put it off, and play it off as long as they can.

Kevin: Right.

Jad: And that’s like that thing that’s – that clergy of some sort, and he was in Germany, you know that little poem thing or whatever where it’s like, first they came for the gypsies, and –

Kevin: Yeah.

Jad: That’s exactly what it is. I saw today, somebody – they were a colleague of Chris Hedges[?], do you know that guy?

Kevin: Um, I don’t.

Jad: He wrote a book called, War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning.

Kevin: Okay.

Jad: And he’s like a war correspondent. Lately he’s been an anti-NDAA guy, and he and somebody else went to court to try to challenge the NDAA for the part of it that says that if you are a material supporter of somebody we consider to be a terrorist, you can be arrested and imprisoned without trial, blah, blah, blah. And so a bunch of journalists – him being one of them and I think [?] Chowsky[?] also was on the suit – they all filed a suit and said, “we want to challenge this particular part because we feel like we’ve done stuff that qualifies for this”, and I don’t really know the details of the law, but essentially they actually got in front of a judge and the judge asked government guy – I guess the defendant in this case – and is just like, “OK, I’ve looked at these papers, I see what they are, they’re writing about – they’re interviewing people who you have on a terror list or whatever, and they’re writing their responses.

Does this person qualify under the guidelines you have for indefinite detention and banishing?” And the government guy was like, “we can’t say no, like, can’t say that they’d be safe. We don’t know yet.” And so this person wrote an article today that basically was like, “hey everybody”, you know, “I can be banished. Apparently it’s totally possible. It could happen to me”, and I think that’s that moment that pushes somebody into the other camp. It’s like, I’m now included in the target group, so now I have to say, “look, we’re all slaves here, and I need you guys to help me”, and the problem is no one else is going to help until the next iteration where it’s like – for whatever reason – you guys all need to go to this work camp and build toys for export to Europe or something, I don’t know, but whatever it is like, you know – then they’re like, “hey everybody, we’re all slaves”, but it’s too late like, you know, they keep slicing groups off, and you know, and taking them away and that’s just how it always goes and it seems so unbelievable, like that could just never happen, but always fucking happens.

Kevin: Always.

Jad: It’s the same thing. I guess it probably is written down a number of places, but there’s gotta be like, a manual somewhere which is like, “if you see writing in the streets, then you’re going too fast. Try to scale it back a little bit”, you know?

Kevin: And that’s where we’ll take our break this time. Remember that this is a two-part episode, so we’ll pick back up exactly where we just left off in the next episode. As always, thank you so very much for listening. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for the show, please contact us via this website, or you can reach us through our personal websites – that’s either – J-A-D dash D-A-V-S dot com, don’t forget the dash, or, K-E-V-I-N-L-U-D-L-O-W. We truly hope you enjoyed the content of this episode, and we’ll be back next week with the second part.