Slave Masters Aren't Necessarily Bad


Human Slaves

While human slavery as a whole is indefensible, it is possible to be a slave master who is a good person.

Imagine for a moment that you are a decent, moral white person living in the early 1700's in the southern United States. You just got word that your rich uncle died and you inherited his estate.  When you arrive at the estate, you see a mansion, cotton fields, and a dozen black slaves hard at work.  The entire estate is now under your full control.  What do you do?  You have several choices:

1) Your can free the slaves.  If you consider the historical context, you realize this cannot possibly happen because there was no such thing as a "free slave" in the southern United States back then.  If you tell your slaves "Stop working. You are all free to leave immediately!"  then what do you think will happen?   The moment they leave your plantation, they will be captured and enslaved once again by whoever finds them. 

2) You can let them stay on your property indefinitely. This means they must be fed, housed, and medically cared for like any other person.  Where will you get the money to do this?  Previously, this was done with money the slaves earned for their master by picking cotton.  Since they are no longer working, there are no earnings. You can sell all the land you inherited and use the money to house and feed these former slaves, but consider: they can never leave your plantation for reasons stated in point #1.  Also, the money you receive for selling the plantation will eventually run out, and then what?  How will you pay for the people living on your property when you're broke? 

3) You can ask them to continue working the fields, and use all the money made from their labor for their benefit.  But no matter how you improve their working conditions, and no matter how well you treat and feed them, they will still be slaves because they have to work, and they cannot leave.  So if you are a decent, moral person living in the early 1800's in the United States, the best you can do is be the most benevolent slave master possible.  If you can think of a better alternative, please contact me and let me know.

Non-Human Slaves (animals & genetically-engineered humanoids made for slavery)

Before starting this section, I have to ask "Why is slavery immoral"?  In my opinion, it's immoral because it causes emotional and/or physical suffering.  This means if it can be arranged so that a slave doesn't feel any kind of discomfort (emotional or physical), then it will be moral to enslave him.

For example, I don't think bees suffer emotionally when humans steal their honey.  Therefore, it is moral to do so.  In effect, bees are the slaves of humans.  It can be difficult to determine whether any given organism is actually suffering and to what extent, so there's lots of grey area here.   Is it ethical to enslave horses, as humans have for thousands of years?  I guess it depends on how well they are treated.  If the horse is happy and content, why not?

On creating a slave-race of people:  In my experience,  almost everyone believes that it is immoral to genetically engineer a slave-race of humanoids for doing dangerous and difficult labor.  I disagree. Why not genetically-engineer a being who is the perfect slave?  He has no free will and is always ready to do whatever he's told. He'll have no emotions, no hopes, no dreams, no aspirations, no preferences, and he'll be incapable of physical and emotional pain.  He'll just be a mindless worker who does what he's told. Why is creating such a being immoral?  We already have mechanical robots like this, why is it any less moral to create living biological beings like this?  I would like you to contact me and explain why.