Was Antebellum Slavery More Tolerable Than Soviet Communism?
Today I listened to about 4 hours of a podcast where they talked about the eastern front of World War 2. In that podcast, a lot of time was spent discussing the conditions for the people living in Soviet Russia.
Yesterday, I was listening to part of the audiobook The Renegade History of the United States” by Thaddeus Russell. In the part I listened to, it discussed a lot about the conditions of slaves in the US south 1800-1850.
Listening to those two things back to back brought some things to mind. First, I would much rather have been a slave in the American south in the 1800s rather than live in the earlier times of the Soviet Union (maybe the later years were better?, I’m not sure). Second, and more importantly … I trust incentives and self-interest vastly more than I trust good intentions and government’s respect of “rights”
Average slaves in America were ‘owned’ by people who could legally do just about anything they wanted to their slaves. However, since slaves were so costly, and their work depended greatly on how they were treated … slaves generally had plenty of leisure time, rare physical punishment, and various worldly pleasures at their disposal. Of course, this in no way justifies slavery, and there are plenty of stories of absolute brutality of some individuals.
However, people living in the Soviet Union had no value to the people running things and were disposable. They were used as pawns and lived in a society which treated them vastly worse than slaves were treated in most societies.
It is interesting today that we have a culture that finds killing countless people and sacrificing whatever needs to be sacrificed in order to end slavery as an institution as reasonable … but we are generally taught that communism is a societies preference, and have large segments of society who even support and encourage communism as an institution.