August 07th, 2013
In the first of a two-part series, Jad and I Discuss the many ways in which terrorism like that of the Boston Marathon Bombings could prevail if only people were really inclined to kill indiscriminately.
In other words, there’s an almost unlimited source of crowds to be found across the United States and yet they manage to go on without being killed.
Tragically the marathon was an anomaly and our hearts go out to the victims, but we consider how the state frequently uses these moments to promote wars abroad and trample civil liberties domestically.
Speaker 1: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
Speaker 2: No, sir.
Jad: Hello, welcome to the JK podcast, an anti-authoritarian philosophical endeavor recorded in Austin, Texas. We draw our topics from the entire scope of the human experience with central connecting themes focused on the grand ideas of liberty, humanity, and equality.
Kevin: The JK Podcast is hosted by Jad Davis and Kevin Ludlow. Welcome back to another episode. This week, Jad and I continue our discussion about the invention of governance. We discuss state control at a philosophical level and spend some time considering what slavery actually means. We all understand the classic definition of slavery, but in a modern American sense, what does it mean to be enslaved? Presumably, if we’re all forced to live in debt our entire lives, we have no way to escape the clutches of the power class.
Jad: Why are we living under a structure that’s built to maintain power relationships that don’t exist anymore?
Kevin: I think the worst part about the whole thing that you just described is that I think that – hard to put into words – but I think we’ve actually grayified[?] the whole slavery thing even further. I think if you are to – I wasn’t alive 300 years ago – but if you were to look 300 years back, I think it was pretty clear-cut who was a slave and who was not a slave, and clearly there are different classes of people still, but even those classes I mean, I think they were pretty – I think it was a pretty discrete stepping block.
I mean I think you had your illeists[Sp?] – the people that you’re talking about who were capable of actually reading like you know, ancient Greek philosophies and things like that – and then you had your more working class, and then you had your slave class and I think the thing now though is that the reason that it would be difficult to do what you’re talking about is because we have grayed those areas so much – who’s a slave now? Is the CEO a slave or is the – I mean, is the CEO of the two million or a small company, like a two million dollar company – is he a slave, or is the janitor that works for him a slave, or perhaps the computer guy that slaves away all day like we do writing code – is he the slave because we clearly don’t have slaves per their definition anymore.
But I mean you and I would both be of the mindset that certainly slavery is alive and well in this country, it’s just it’s taken on a different form. And so I think the difficulty is even if you were to try to readjust that fundamental leaning of the Constitution as far as who’s supposed be protected, I think we’re so far gone in it that I think people don’t understand that they’re enslaved. And so if people don’t understand that they’re enslaved in the first place, I think it would be challenging to get them on board with saying well, you’ve gotta convince them first that they are in some form or fashion enslaved and then even if they are like I said, at what level are you enslaved? If you’re the CEO of a two million dollar company, you’re doing well but you’re not set for life I mean, you don’t make that much money you know, a couple hundred grand maybe, and it’s completely different from say, like a Rockefeller or you know, like a Trump or what have you, or Bill Gates – which is a completely different class altogether.
So I don’t have like a good way to wrap all that together other than to say you know, I just – I see what you’re saying and I agree with you wholeheartedly actually, it’s just a matter of logistically thinking of it like that. I think it would actually be a much more challenging puzzle than it would have 300 years ago oddly enough because I think 300 years ago it was simpler and I think people had a clear-cut understanding. I think people who were in the middle then understood that – the really wealthy governing person who could read Greek philosophy – I think they thought that that person was better than them, moreover to the point is that same working class person thought that the slave was not better than them, that they were better than slave.
But I don’t think we have those lines anymore. I mean I think that we’re just kind of on this big bubble and you’ve got people that make $25,000 a year that because they have a fancy car with a car payment behind it, they think that they are the freest person in the world. Unbeknownst to them, they are the classic definition of a slave in today’s society because they’re gonna be stuck in that life until the day they die. So I guess what I’m saying is I think it would be difficult to create a rule set that would fit those people because those people are of the mindset that things are good, when in fact you and I might look at that and say, “they’re really not, man, you’re gonna be in debt literally till the day you die, and that’ll be passed on to your family members, who continue those debts”. How is that beneficial? You can never do anything lest these people who own your debt say so.
Jad: Yeah. No, I guess you’re right. I guess that is the same, but it seems like – and I totally agree with you and that’s a very valid point that most people – again, we’ve talked about this a lot of times – if you don’t know that you are not free, then when someone says, “you need to be free”, it doesn’t really make much sense, right?
Jad: But there are – I don’t know, I’m gonna say thousands – but at least hundreds of people, online personalities even, right, that are having discussions with the premise that we’re not free, right? And from all sides – from the left and the right, from the middle, from you know, off the spectrum – these conversations are happening. Again, thousands of people talking about it and I guess my thought is just that it seems like this is where it kinda falls apart – when I’m not high – that it just seems like that groups should have the understanding that whatever they’re coming up with in collusion with always other people is probably a more satisfying system to the needs of human flourishing then The Constitution, you know?
Jad: But again, it’s a practical matter and no one wants to go to jail or go to Guantanamo or whatever, so there’s a certain level of which you’ve gotta sort of back down and say, “well, we’re not trying to actually change the power structure, we’re just saying that this part of the power structure is not performing well for X,Y, and Z reasons”, without saying that this part of the power structure is not performing well because fundamentally, this entire thing was made to enslave large amounts of people to the will of the few wealthy individuals.
Kevin: Yeah, I mean I think – like I said – I think that’s perfectly valid too, so –
Jad: Yeah, yeah, which is a valid position.
Kevin: Yeah, I mean it’s a good point overall. I think there’s a lot of people who would take the side of it, but I think as you kinda go down the rabbit hole a little bit, you see that there is some intrinsic problems to it unfortunately, just given the way we’ve evolved as a society and I think there’s lots of other people who are more than happy to take advantage of that. I would call it evolution, but it’s probably more of devolution, or whatever the opposite is.
Jad: You raised an excellent –
Kevin: Because I think we’ve got a lot more slaves today than we did several hundred years ago.
Jad: Yeah. I thought about that as a challenging argument as well, but I actually was thinking -again probably under the influence – that the idea of ownership is I guess tied to slavery, so – and again this is an argument that you probably may or may not have ever seen – but in the libertarian you know, the nonpolitical libertarian world, there’s this just constant argument about a self-ownership, so the idea that no one controls my hand but me, right? No one – well I mean someone can completely overpower me and move my hand where they want – I am in constant ownership of the activity of my left hand, [?] in the extreme case. And so do I say that I own my body right, like there’s two different things, or is ownership the wrong way to think about that you know, because it’s not really an entity owning a body; the body and the entity are the same thing but point being that they argue at this for you know, millions of pages.
But the interesting part to me is the idea that there is a relationship between the subjective experience of me, and this corporeal form, right, that I have. And so if we say that’s ownership, if we say the fact that you know, if I said, “Kevin make my left index finger move and hit the F key”, like, you can’t do it, but I can do it, right? So I divested a relationship that my subjective experience has to my body and that is what it means to you know, that if we say that that’s what it means to own something, then there’s no way that one human being can own another human being, right?
Kevin: Right. Right.
Jad: But there is a relationship between one human being another human being, even though I can’t say to another human being – or can’t think in my head – “move your finger”, and they’ll do it. I can say to another human being, “move your finger and type the F key or I’ll kill you” –
Jad: – and then they do it. And so the relationship there is – assuming a context – is that I have the power of life and death over another human being.
Jad: And that’s I think the fundamental aspect of slavery, right? So –
Jad: – all the rest of it follows like, “harvest this cotton or I will kill you.” It’s like if I can say, “or I will kill you”, to somebody and have it be a legitimate threat that they can’t really do anything about, then I don’t own that person in the sense that I own my body, but they are my slave. It’s a relationship that I’m gonna – let’s define that as being slavery.
Jad: Then that relationship exists on all kinds of levels, but fundamentally – like I said, I don’t know which is fundamental – but it definitely exists between the government of the United States and the citizens of the United States, not even as a conspiracy theory or anything, but as an actual fact where if the president writes your name on a list without any supervision or reasoning or whatever, you will die and no one will care.
Jad: So that aspect – if slavery is more than that then what’s the counterargument there? Like what is slavery aside from that power?
Kevin: Well, that’s a question. I mean, I think that’s – I think I’d have to agree with you pretty wholeheartedly. That’s probably a better definition of slavery than the more typical definition of slavery, which basically just means somebody who’s a forced laborer for you. I think you’re enslaved when you’re at the barrel of a gun – as we often use the expression – so to that extent I think you can enslave people in virtually any setting. And kinda like we’ve referenced before, the IRS, I mean, we’re all slaves to the IRS because you can try not to pay your taxes but you know damn well what’s gonna happen; two guys with a gun are gonna come over your house and they’re gonna say, “you’re gonna have to write us a check for $25,000 or we’re gonna take your house and everything inside of it. It’s up to you, the deadline is tomorrow.” They’re not gonna kill you but again, that’s the – metaphorically they’re killing you, right? I mean, they’re gonna take everything that you possibly have. They’re gonna to do whatever they can to destroy you within the confines of our legal system, so I can’t argue the point. I can’t come up with a counterpoint. I think that that’s exactly what slavery is.
Kevin: I’m on board with it.
Jad: Well to argue even that last sort of – what’s that called, the place you hide last before you are overwhelmed or surrender? Not respite – respite, refuge – redoubt, the last redoubt.
Kevin: You’ve got the English skills on me.
Jad: Well I’ll have to look this one up then because I can’t get a – but again, the last – so you said the two guys show up, they say, “we’re gonna take your house and everything in it”, at that point, you still have to obey them.
Jad: Right. If you choose not to obey them and you say, “no, I’m just not gonna leave”, or, “when you guys come in here, I’m going to do what I do every time anyone comes in you’re trying to steal my stuff”, and shoot them, they’ll kill you.
Kevin: Right or two other guys are gonna come and kill you after.
Jad: Yeah, a whole team of people in a helicopter, or they’ll just blow your house.
Jad: But whatever it is again, so you will obey or you will die.
Jad: So it isn’t really I mean, it’s kind of got a – some niceties around it. You know, they might even try tase you or knock you out, or do whatever, get you while you’re sleeping, but the point is that if they kill you, they’re not gonna get in trouble.
Jad: And that’s that fundamental aspect of the master slave relationship.
Kevin: Yeah, I mean I think that’s a pretty good way to describe it, like I said so – shit, I had a thought while you were saying all that but now I’ve forgotten it.
Jad: Well damn, that would’ve brought your total level of thoughts up to like three minutes out of the last hour. We gotta keep this ratio going here.
Kevin: Well at least you know where I am. It’s been consistent with my mind. Shit, what was I gonna say? I was trying to reference it to this episode that we had where we were talking about these sorts of things and because I brought up a point to you once before to say well, if that’s what it comes down to, then how do you break the cycle from that because the only way you can break the cycle is to basically is to stand up, is to be the guy who says, “you know what, I’m not gonna pay you”, right? And as you’ve interjected when we had that conversation that time, you’re like basically what you’re saying is you’re the guy who’s gonna stand up and get killed, right? And there’s truth to that, so I guess if everybody were to stand up though and everybody were to be willing to get killed, you could probably eradicate slavery and that takes us into a different episode that we had altogether where we talked about well, why does slavery still persist in the first place?
Why if you’ve got a field of 300 black slaves to a dozen white slave owners, why do the slave owners, how do they prevail? How does that happen? And of course we’ve discussed at some length and there’s some philosophies behind it and some psychology behind it, but I think to the larger point of what we’re talking about, the reason again that I think it would be difficult to refine our current system, is because of the fact that – and this proved to be a big point of contention for you a few months back with some of your friends – it’s very possible that people prefer to be enslaved and so –
Kevin: And I don’t mean that necessarily in a direct way because I know we’ve already discussed it and so we’ve become a little bit more intelligent on that. But in the shortest form of it is just that maybe people don’t want – maybe they don’t care to be enslaved, but they certainly lack the ability to rebel against their own enslavement[?] and so long as that continues – well, it doesn’t really matter what you want to do because you don’t have critical mass to actually make it happen.
Jad: Yeah. No, I totally agree and actually, I think I’ve reconciled that argument with my whatever, beliefs about the human race or whatever that yeah, that whether or not it is a biological imperative, like people just come out of the womb being like, “who can I enslave myself to in order to survive”, or if it’s something that is you know, is a function of twelve years of government schooling where you’re saying you know, “I need this person to protect me and I need to do what they say”, and “and if I do what they say I’m good and I follow the rules, then I will have good things because they’ll give me good stuff”, or “provide an environment in which I can do good things”, or whatever. Regardless of which of those two reasons for the situation is the case, that is the situation. People don’t want to be left protectorless, you know?
Jad: So that clearly, I think you’re right. I mean, I think that argument is correct and again, given that I believe that that is an artificial construct that is part of the plan in a sense, is to teach people from age four on that it is the case that they are slaves, and it’s a good thing – there is a way out. Whereas if you said that’s just the genetic – that’s just part of what it is to be a biological being, then there’s no way out, right? That’s just the way it’s always going to be.
Jad: I mean given – except barring – in a million years maybe there’s an evolution enough to get away from that or whatever, but yeah. I mean I think that kind of is the situation. That is the position, so the question is you know, you went – actually, I don’t know this for a fact, I speak for myself – I went from a position where I was happy to be a slave through some process of self-education and introspection, to the stance I have now and you – one way or the other – are not happy being a slave. So do you think that we’re anomalous, or do you think that there is – and there is a message that will knock some people out of the slave matrixes or you know, a Ron Paul message or whatever has shaken the branches of the tree and number people have fallen out been like, “what the hell’s going on?” Like you were saying, the matrix analogy or whatever, like, “this is just totally fucked up, I had no idea this was here.”
Jad: Is that possible on a larger scale? Is that kind of what you think and that’s kind of what you’re work, your writing of books, and your blog posts and whatever, is that kind of where that’s pointed?
Kevin: Well that’s always my hope and I mean we’ve talked about it a few times before. But I’ve had reasonable success in – very slowly I mean, over a multi, multi-year period – like minimum of five years – of getting people to kind of come on board with these random ideas that I have like that that I think are just hopefully further for the good of people. You know, pretty much all my ideas that I have, they’re geared at making people not enslaved by somebody else. I never think that you should have to – I don’t think anybody should have control over somebody else and I go out of my way in many situations just in my personal life to try to do things that – like I don’t ever want to manipulate a situation. And I know that sometimes I inevitably will, but I really try to make a conscious effort that I want people to make their own choices for themselves and that certainly carries on into my writing.
And so to the whole of it, I do think that in time, or it’s possible that in time, enough people learning those messages that it could become more of the norm. Unfortunately though, it does seem that the – kinda towards the idiocracy message – there’s just a lot more people that are ignorant of that message out breeding the people who are going to remain knowledgeable of it, and I don’t know what effect that has in the long-term other than the intuitive one, which seems that people are to prefer to be enslaved as a whole because there are not gonna be enough critical mass to actually tip that scale.
So that is definitely my push in life is to try to educate people on that particular fact and like I said, I’ve always had pretty good success, but that’s success amongst a peer group that you know, is already reasonably well-educated and you know, they’re willing to listen. So they may have disagreed with me five or six years ago, but now they’re starting to see some of the writing on the wall and being like, “well, it does seem that these people are definitely trying to power over us and not help us in any sort way.” And the other thing that I’ve noticed that I talk with friends about – it just happens as you get older I think in many cases – there’s a certain point when you’re really young, you tend to grasp onto whatever your parents have taught you. Then you go off to college and most intelligent people tend to become very, very left-leaning – just naturally – then you start working and a lot of people start to become very right-leaning, depending on your point of view, and then a couple years after that you kinda start to mesh in the middle and you recognize that both sides are kinda fucked up. Some have – there’s positives on both sides, but more so a lot of negatives on both sides. So you know, I guess all I’m trying to say is in that regard also is that as I get older, it’s harder for me to know what the effect of younger people actually is right now because my peer group is aging with me, so they’re – those are the people that I’m seeing learn stuff, but are they learning stuff because they’re reading a lot, or is it just because they’re getting a little older and they’re becoming a little bit more balanced in their – just in their own lives? I don’t know the answer –
Jad: Actually, that’s interesting. Yeah, you’re absolutely – I think you’re right. Do you know that Winston Churchill quote?
Kevin: I do not.
Jad: It is, “show me a young man who is a conservative, and I will show you a man without a heart. Show me an old man that is a liberal, and I’ll show you a man without a head”, or a brain or something like that. But I like – the third stage, I think that’s absolutely correct because it does seem like once you hit 50 or so you know, if you’re talking to older relatives or whatever, they’re just like, “both these sides are crooked as hell”, you know? It’s like all the idealism has gone out the window. They’ve already experienced both, you know? And plus, once you’ve witness like ten or a dozen election cycles, it becomes pretty clear that it’s all just a giant farce.
Kevin: Oh, absolutely and I think people like you and me – because we’re really interested in the topic – we’ve just kind of accelerated our learning on that particular experience.
Kevin: So I mean, you and I probably suck up more politics in a couple of weeks than most people will in several, several years of their life. And so naturally, we’re just becoming cynical at a much faster rate than other people.
Jad: Yeah. I think you’re right.
Kevin: My thought anyway.
Jad: And that’s where we leave it for this episode. Thanks to Lee Caffey[Sp?] and Chris Baton for providing us with quality sound engineering and editing – we wouldn’t get far without them. Hosting services are provided by CityCore, LLC. Our graphical caricature was provided by our friend, Sayeed Mod Badril Sham [Sp?] in Malaysia, and transcription services are provided by Deidra Alexander of Galaxy Creative Media. If you have any questions, comments, ideas for a show, or just wanna say hello, we love receiving email. You can find Jad at www.Jad-Davis.com, and you can find Kevin at www.KevinLudlow.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll be back with another episode soon.