Wading in

The recent “leak” of a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade has been making the rounds, in case you haven’t noticed. Well, I have a few things to say about that.

The opinion

Let me first preface this with a simple statement: I’m a man, so I’ll never be pregnant. Yes, I know that chain of cause and effect is controversial these days, and some out there (including a certain cousin of mine) might argue otherwise, but facts are facts. It’s biologically impossible for me to ever bear children. So take my opinion with that particular grain of salt. Also bear in mind that I speak only for myself, not the people I hope to represent in District 27 this November.

By every other standard in our society, a human life begins at birth. We celebrate birthdays, not conception days. The age of consent and majority are based on time since birth—premature babies don’t have to wait to vote or drink. Every right and responsibility enshrined in our nation’s founding documents starts counting from the moment you’re born, and not one second before.

Biologically speaking, there’s a good reason for this. A fetus is not a human being. It’s not a baby. It is, at best, a proto-human. The whole point of pregnancy is to provide a chance for an embryo to develop into something that can survive on its own. That’s just how mammals work.

Does that mean I think women should get abortions? No. Becoming a mother means you are fulfilling your greatest and most fundamental purpose in life: creating another. You are throwing away something special, indeed magical, the same as if you willingly sterilized yourself. You’re not killing a baby, in my view, but you are killing a part of yourself.

The fact

Setting aside the moral quandary of abortion for a moment, we need to remember that there are serious legal matters surrounding this issue. These often get neglected in the emotional battle of choice, yet they are far more important from the perspective of a healthy, functioning society.

Most importantly, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that doesn’t instantly mean abortion is banned everywhere. Instead, it returns to being a state issue, as it was fifty years ago. Each state can make its own decision, passing its own laws. Yes, red states will most likely enforce restrictive laws based on their misguided attempts at morality, but blue states like California will do the same thing from the other side. (In fact, that’s already happening. Some states are seriously considering legalizing “abortions” after birth, which really is infanticide.)

In a way, that’s a good thing. The Tenth Amendment is pretty clear on this matter: any power not explicitly granted to the federal government is within the states’ purview. As there is no freedom of abortion mentioned in the Constitution, nor an enumerated power to regulate it, the American thing to do is to let the states, and thus the people, decide for themselves. (Incidentally, the original Roe decision hinged on privacy, of all things. In my non-legal opinion, that should be its downfall, because the Supreme Court has made it clear in recent decades that it cares nothing for the idea of an inalienable right to privacy.)

Of course, this patchwork process will have knock-on effects. One, a black market will arise in red states, either to shuttle young women to the nearest pro-choice state, or to smuggle in drugs that induce abortion, such as misoprostol. Two, it may stop or slow the progressive infestation of those states, pushing the US back to a “Great Sorting” demography.

What the ruling and subsequent legal changes won’t do, however, is stop abortions altogether. They’ll still happen until we treat the root causes that lead to them. Unwanted pregnancies happen for many reasons, so we need to look at those as the ultimate problem.

No birth control or contraceptive is perfect; we’ve known that basically forever. Abstinence is neither enforceable or desirable. Sterilization is inhumane and anti-human. The best way to start cutting down on abortions, then, is to provide better sex education. Young men and women need to understand the risks involved, as well as the steps they can take to mitigate those risks.

Media also takes some blame. The over-sexualization of every part of entertainment obviously causes problems, but so to does the way in which women’s sexual liberation has been perverted. Having a hundred partners before you’re 30 doesn’t prove that you’re some sex goddess. No, it shows that you’re barely even a woman, because you have a childlike view of life as a game in which the most points wins. That’s not something to be rewarded on Instagram or on Netflix.

Worst of all, the erosion of the family unit takes away one of the major bulwarks against the perceived necessity of abortion. If a woman can’t depend on having parents, a husband, siblings, and in-laws who will help her raise a child, then it’s no wonder she chooses not to have that child in the first place. Our current spiraling inflation makes this even worse: too many people, especially in left-leaning urban centers, can’t raise a family on a single income, so they’ll think they have no choice but to abort.

When you look at it that way, you can see that the availability of abortion is not the true problem. It’s not the social disease conservatives would have you believe it to be. No, it’s a symptom of a more serious illness. We live in a country, a society, where the fashionable modes and choices all make abortion a more desirable option than reproduction. Change that first. Put the family at the center of your attention. Live your life in such a way that there is never an unwanted pregnancy, because the best chances of getting pregnant always come when you are prepared for the responsibilities that are to come. Then, it won’t matter what the Supreme Court says.

Free means free

The news everyone has been talking about this past week was Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. People on the left are apoplectic, people on the right overjoyed, and both of them are utterly wrong. No one, it seems, even remembers what free speech actually means, much less why it’s worth defending. So let’s back up just for a moment and set the record straight.

First, we have the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That’s pretty self-explanatory even if you aren’t steeped in the culture of 18th-century America. But a lot of commenters get hung up on those first five words. “Congress shall make no law.” Well, that just means that free speech is only a government thing, and that private companies can do whatever they want, right?

Wrong.

The First Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, was meant to limit the powers of the federal government. It did not grant us the right to free speech, because a granted right is no right at all. What was given may be taken away at any time, as we saw in Canada a few months ago.

The American Bill of Rights instead recognizes that these rights are inherent in being human. They’re inalienable. Only a tyrant can even try to take them from us.

Thus, we already have the right to free speech, government or no government. Since the First Amendment is part of a social contract between We The People and those we have chosen to represent us, it makes sense that its text would specify who shall make no law. That doesn’t make it the last word on the matter. On the contrary, it’s just the first and most important.


We are born with the absolute, natural right to speak our minds. That was one of the key ideas of the Enlightenment. Modern so-called liberalism, however, believes that rights are contingent upon others’ feelings. You can’t speak your mind, they argue, because it might upset someone you’ve never met. And that has led us down the rabbit hole of being forced to deny basic scientific facts (there are two biological sexes, natural immunity protects us from viruses, etc.) if we want to participate in public discussion.

But isn’t Twitter a private company that can moderate however they want? That’s the next argument from the thought police, and it is indeed correct from a legal standpoint. That doesn’t make it right from a moral one, however. And it is indeed morally wrong.

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and similar socially-oriented sites have, in effect, become public spaces. Their sheer size and their cartel-like hold over the internet cause them to attract meaningful discussion and debate, even as their business and engagement models try their best to prevent it. By advertising themselves as open to all, then gaining an audience comprised of the majority of American adults, these sites have lost any claim to being “private” in the social sense.

Somewhere like Twitter, in other words, is—rather, should be—the modern-day equivalent of the public square. Because we can’t very well gather a hundred million Americans into a national park, we need a place where all of us can use our inalienable rights, and social media sites should be honored to take on that role. Instead of crowding out rational or traditionalist voices, they should embrace them while providing a place for honest debate.

As for the “company” part of the Left’s objections, remember that every website is owned by someone. With few exceptions outside the .gov space, that someone is a private entity, whether a person, group, or corporation. On top of that, almost all American ISPs are private companies. The backbone routers are privately owned. The domain registrars are private. The root DNS servers are mostly private. How far down the stack do you allow censorship to go? (Interestingly, net neutrality was a liberal cause a few years ago, yet few of them ever made the leap from keeping ISPs content-neutral to doing the same for platforms.)

Finally, while Twitter and others are legally allowed to fight against free speech, the obligations to society they have gained by their position as market controllers have, in effect, made them governments of their own. They represent communities, after all. They have the power to imprison, banish, or execute. Should they not, then, have the same responsibilities as any other government, up to and including a respect for the natural rights of their citizens?


To end, I’d also like to remark on the limits of free speech, because those are much, much farther away than most on either side of the political spectrum care to admit.

The First Amendment is traditionally taken as having only a few limits. Notably, “true threats” are not protected; though the legal definition is, like all legal definitions, hopelessly opaque, the gist is that a true threat is one for which a reasonable person would assume that there is a definite risk. It’s understandable why that isn’t protected. The rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are just as inalienable, so direct threats to them can’t be allowed in a just society.

Likewise, direct calls to break a law or to defraud violate the principles of the social contract. The first is a little too strict, in my opinion, as it can also prevent the “petition for a redress of grievances” mentioned at the end of the First Amendment. But at least it makes logical sense.

Last of the major exceptions to free speech protection is the very nebulous category of obscenity. This, of course, should be done away with entirely. While there are some ideas so obscene they should not be spoken aloud, there are none which are so obscene that they should not be allowed to be spoken. The category is too broad, too ill-defined, to justify its continued inclusion.

Note, however, what isn’t on this short list, what does still have protection as free speech. “Hate speech” isn’t forbidden. Doxxing isn’t forbidden. Referring to a man as a man, rather than whatever he believes himself to be, does not meet the criteria to lose protection under the First Amendment. Neither does pointing out that a cold virus doesn’t justify a total lockdown, or that an election’s results were fraudulent, or any of the hundreds of other things for which Twitter’s thought police issued suspensions.

A social platform that, whether intentionally or not, has taken on the role of a public marketplace of ideas must allow those ideas to be traded. The First Amendment is a statement that government may not take away something we were born possessing, but we need the same protection for our speech when these pseudo-governmental corporations are the ones controlling every access point.

(To head off any potential objections, “just start your own Twitter” is not a valid argument. Gab and Parler tried that and found themselves barred from cloud providers, hosting providers, payment processors, and more. The fediverse operates mostly under the radar, but its larger instances still have to worry about being cut off economically.)

I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t have a Facebook account. I’ve never uploaded a video to Youtube or even visited Snapchat. Why? Because I value my freedom more than the convenience these sites offer. If I can’t speak my mind, then I am not free. I’m a slave to those who control my words. If Elon Musk understands that, and he makes the appropriate changes so that his new acquisition respects the natural rights of its citizens above and beyond the extent required as a private company, then I’ll consider supporting him. But it’ll take more than words to get to that point.

Killers

I actually got a comment. That doesn’t happen on PPC very often, because this site was never intended to be a place for commenting, and the anti-spam measures I’ve put into place tend to keep most casuals away. But some random person decided to leave a reply to my Patreon farewell from the other day, trying to “shame” me for not supporting the “right” side of the Russia-NATO proxy war currently entering its second month.

Cry harder, I say.

If the Ukrainians want my support, they can start by kicking Zelensky and NATO out of their country. They can give the people of the Crimea, and the sovereign Donetsk and Luhansk republics the same basic human right of self-determination they’re demanding. They can stop committing the war crimes that are documented for the world to see: kneecapping, blinding, and castrating POWs; arming civilians and creating irregular partisan militias; and so on.

Zelensky isn’t the root of the problem, because he’s a puppet whose strings are held by more powerful individuals. That said, he has had every opportunity to show resolve and end this war in a civilized manner. Instead, he continues to put his people in jeopardy out of some vain attempt at either saving face or starting World War III. And for what? Two pieces of land his country doesn’t want?

Vladimir Putin is not a good person, but his commanding officers deserve some praise for the remarkable restraint they have shown over the past month. Despite all attempts at incitement, Russian forces have done their best to avoid civilian casualties, a far cry from the brutality and barbarism of Ukraine’s prized Azov Battalion or the “shock and awe” tactics my own country has employed for the past two decades.

The Russian goal, as far as anyone outside Moscow can tell, is simply to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs: the regions that are ethnically Russian. Funny how most on the left seem to hate the very idea, yet they care nothing for the ethnic Chinese in Hong Kong who have been fighting for their freedom the past few years. They were silent when Spain wanted to imprison the leader of Catalonia, which held and passed a democratic referendum of independence.

If you “stand with Ukraine”, you aren’t standing for freedom. You aren’t standing for the rights of the civilians caught in the crossfire. You’re standing for one of the most corrupt regimes in Europe, a money-laundering front for some of the most crooked people in the entire world. You’re standing for globalism, socialism, and depravity.

I, for one, will not.

Unpopular

(You know I had to write something about this.)

If you haven’t heard, there’s a war going on. Truth be told, there are a lot of them. Funny how nobody’s talking about Israel’s attacks in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s continued bombing of Yemen, the genocide of the Uyghurs in occupied East Turkestan, or the war still being waged against common sense in English-speaking counties. No, only one gets the media coverage.

Problem is, the media is backing the wrong side.

Zelensky is one of the most corrupt heads of state in the Western world. There’s a reason the Biden and Clinton families launder their money through Ukrainian businesses. They know they’re in good company, and that the local government will turn a blind eye. What do you expect from a comedian?

Now, that’s not to say Vladimir Putin is a saint. Far from it. He’s corrupt in a different way, owing to his long history with the KGB and its post-Soviet successor. Putin is a strongman of the same style as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and even Kim Jong Un. He rules with an iron fist, brooks no dissent, and is generally a poor example of a democratically elected leader.

As I write this, the Russian army is encircling Kiev. They’ve taken Kharkov, and already held Crimea after the 2014 revolution. But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, Putin has the perfect casus belli because of that event eight years ago. And, if he were the leader of any other country in the world, we would be backing him wholeheartedly.

Most of the countries of Eastern Europe are messes of cultural and linguistic tension. You might think that’s ancient history, but it really isn’t. The cultural barriers proved stronger than even the Iron Curtain. They broke up Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia a few decades ago, and the disputed independence of Kosovo a few years later. Most of the former Soviet states are arranged along ethnic lines, or as close as can be: Kazakhstan for the Kazakhs, Uzbekistan for the Uzbeks, and so on. Quite simply, it’s nationalism put into action. Yes, there are others in those countries who don’t fit in, but most regions have an overwhelming majority of their respective peoples.

Ukraine is…a little different. Yes, most people living there are Ukrainian, but a few parts have a very large contingent of Russian-speaking people. These Russian “enclaves” (for lack of a better term) include Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk. All three of those declared their independence during the revolution. Crimea, as we know, was effectively annexed by Russia, but the other two weren’t. For almost a decade, they have been the subject of repeated and sometimes intense bombing campaigns. Their people live under constant threat. And the “good guy” Ukrainians were the cause.

Even if you detest Russia, and you hate Putin with the fire of a thousand suns, you still can’t deny that the people of Donetsk and Luhansk have a reason to side with the invaders. They have been occupied territory for eight years. Their democratic referendums were ignored by the world at large, as is the case in any other Western democracy with a thriving and justified separatist movement—look at Catalonia, for one good example.

So I stand against Ukraine. I stand against Zelensky and NATO, because they have shown that they care nothing for the most basic right of all: the right of autonomy. I stand with those who are fighting for their freedom and their lives in the Donbass region, just as I support any other valid separatist movement.


Now that we have that out of the way, let me move to more important matters. As we are seeing in real time, the West is trying to fight a war using nothing but propaganda and cancel culture. Fortunately, that is failing for anyone who has taken a moment to think about the situation, yet not everyone has done that. So why don’t we?

While the Donetsk and Luhansk occupations were Putin’s stated reason for going to war, the real reason is one he has been complaining about for about 20 years: NATO expansion. The vast network of agreements that ended the Cold War also came with a number of unwritten rules. One of those was that the two sides, NATO and Russia, would have a buffer between them, a neutral ground mostly made up of former members of the USSR: Belarus, Ukraine, and so on. NATO wouldn’t infringe on the border to antagonize Russia, and Russia would refrain in the same manner. In the Ukraine case, this unwritten agreement was later written, as part of the fallout from 2014.

Zelensky’s attempts to join NATO and the EU are a direct violation of that agreement. The West’s arms deals to his country are eerily similar to the events that caused the Cuban Missile Crisis. If we wanted to look like a threat from the Russian perspective, we could hardly do a better job.

Putin is not evil, nor is he a Joker-like psychopath who acts without apparent reason. No, he has reasons, and our media’s failure to acknowledge them has done everyone a disservice. Instead of pretending Zelensky is the plucky hero of a B-list action movie out to fight the new Hitler, we should all take a more rational look at the situation.

The “stand with Ukraine” contingent abandoned rationality already. They see a world of black and white when the reality is infinite shades of gray. They imagine themselves the audience of a Marvel movie, or perhaps extras in it, and they cannot comprehend the idea that anyone would see things another way.

But I do. I see the lies being poured out by both sides. Mostly by the West, by my own government. Russia is not losing this war. They’re advancing every day. They have advantages in manpower, materiel, and morale. They’re fighting for what they perceive to be their countrymen, as well as the defense of their very way of life. Supporters of Ukraine, on the other hand, are fighting to prop up a corrupt regime and a decaying alliance.

Russia has time on their side. They’ll never be overrun in a counterattack. The sanctions and boycotts barely hurt them at all. In some ways, those may even be helping: Putin’s approval rating in independent polls is at an all-time high. And China is waiting in the wings, ready to use this opportunity to remake the geopolitical landscape.

Most of all, though, the West’s overreaction to a border skirmish has shown how powerless we truly are. Sanctions against a top producer of oil, natural gas, fertilizer, and many other economic necessities will hurt us more than them. Cutting Russian citizens off from the global economy reveals its true intent as a blunt instrument of control.

Don’t stand with Ukraine because you think they’re the heroes. Stand against them because their allies—in other words, all of us—are increasingly looking like the villains.

Ottawa has fallen

In America today, we live next door to a communist dictatorship. That is a fact one can no longer deny. Last week, Justin Trudeau assumed unlimited and unchecked powers usually reserved for the direst of wartime circumstances. Why? To stop a legal protest of Canada’s working class from upsetting a few elites.

At every turn in this sordid tale, Trudeau has chosen the path of the despot, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Joseph Stalin, Hugo Chavez, Nicolae Ceausecu, and Trudeau’s own potential birth father, Fidel Castro. Rather than take the simple and harmless step of ending the mandate that Canadians be subjected to a dangerous and unnecessary genetic experiment as a condition of employment, hospitalization, or even emigration, he has doubled down on the fear and terror. He has become a tyrant of the worst kind. As C.S. Lewis stated:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

This is what our neighbor to the north has become. America’s Ned Flanders has turned into the world’s Montgomery Burns. It is no longer enough to support the truckers. Now, all those who love liberty must throw their support behind the growing movement to expel Justin Trudeau and all those like him from power. Never again should such people be allowed to hold the reins of government, perverting the very ideas of liberalism and representation.

A government of the people, by the people, and for the people does not turn on its own citizens. It does not trample peaceful protestors or freeze the bank accounts of those who support a just cause. It does not bar journalists from reporting on these abuses of power. Trudeau is not liberal, except in the modern sense of progressive liberalism, which is merely a thin veneer over the evils of Marxism.


Of course, I’m not Canadian. You probably aren’t either. But don’t think it couldn’t happen here. The Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever written in the history of humanity. Again, this is a fact that no lover of liberty would deny. The problem is that it is, at its core, a piece of paper. Its ideals must be defended, and defended even more fervently when those who have sworn an oath to uphold them would rather spit on them.

Think about the inalienable rights the Founding Fathers thought were most in need of protection from tyrannical governments. Do those in power in the United States support, or even care about, those rights?

Do we have freedom of speech? Ask Joe Rogan and Dr. Robert Malone.

Freedom of the press? See what InfoWars and Project Veritas have to say about that.

Freedom of religion? I know how the thousands of soldiers discharged for refusing the “vaccines” on religious grounds would answer.

The right to assemble peacefully? We’ve spent the last two years barred from doing exactly that!

The right to bear arms? The McCloskeys and Kyle Rittenhouse would like a word.

Protection from unreasonable search and seizure? That’s been gone since 2001, or do you like taking off your shoes at the airport and having every online transaction tracked?

The right to a fair trial and to face your accuser? Derek Chauvin certainly didn’t get a fair trial. The January 6 protestors are still rotting in jail, sometimes with no evidence they did anything illegal at all. Yet Lt. Michael Byrd murdered Ashli Babbitt on that day, and I don’t see him in handcuffs.

Even the states’ rights protected under the Tenth Amendment have been ignored in favor of the regime, as we saw most blatantly in the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania.

Put simply, those in charge, whether here in America or in neighboring Canada, do not care about our rights. They see them as barriers standing in the way of their Great Reset. But those rights are not theirs to infringe upon, or to abrogate.

The whole reason the Founding Fathers wrote that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights is because they are just that. We’re born with them, and nothing can take that away from us. Government’s job is to support those rights, to provide a place for us to exercise them. Not to remove them on a whim.

So many people think the fight is between Democrat and Republican, or liberal and conservative, or even black and white. No. That’s all a distraction. The real struggle is the masses versus the elites. It’s the ideals of freedom standing against the corporeal evils of tyranny. And it’s a fight we have to win. For ourselves, for our children, and for every generation that comes after us, we must stand up to the authoritarians, the totalitarians, the communists and neofeudalists who see humanity as nothing more than sheep to be herded. We must protect our freedoms so those who follow will know that they are there to be protected.

If we don’t—if we lose this battle—then the future is nothing less than a new Dark Age. If we win, all we really gain is a reprieve until the cycle begins anew, because the price of freedom, as the saying goes, is eternal vigilance. But even that is worth fighting for. Liberty is worth fighting for, whether you’re a Canadian trucker, an American teenager protecting his neighbors, a separatist in Catalonia or Crimea, or a demonstrator in Hong Kong. Everyone the world over has that same birthright: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s up to all of us to keep the flames of freedom alive, to cast down those who would seek to quench them.

Trudeau and all those like them must fall. What they are doing is nothing less than a crime against humanity. In some cases, it’s attempted genocide. They want humiliated and silenced, but those punishments are reserved for the ones whose ideals are in opposition to freedom. So is the most final punishment of all. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I really don’t. But I wouldn’t shed a tear for any of them if it did.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Slavery in fiction

Slavery exists. Whether you like it or not, it exists, and it has existed almost as long as civilization itself. Around the world, the practice has been, well, practiced for thousands of years. Even today, in the enlightened West, it’s not totally gone. The Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, often cited as banning slavery, does no such thing—it only prohibits private ownership of slaves. The government can and does continue to enslave, specifically in the form of prison labor.

But, you may say, that’s completely different from what slave-owners in the South did before the Civil War! Yes, that’s true. Funny thing is, though, most examples of slavery throughout history are also nothing like that, so you can’t use it as the typical example. It’s just the most well-known, partly because of the general anti-Southern bias in modern media that makes all of us out to be racists who would love nothing more than to enslave all blacks, if only those pesky Feds would let us. (Fact: most of East Tennessee, where I’m from, voted against secession, and almost nobody here actually owned slaves. My great-great-grandfather very vocally freed the two he received as an inheritance from his uncle, because he considered slavery an affront to God, and a coal miner had no use for plantation slave labor besides.)

For fantasy, and the historical periods it tends to cover, slavery is a completely different institution. And “institution” is very often an apt description. Not only was slavery practiced, it was respected, regulated, and treated as nothing more than another part of society.

The practice

Before we go any further, let’s take a step back and define what we’re looking at. Slavery, as it has been practiced through the millennia, comes in a few different forms that the author should be careful to distinguish.

What we know from biased history texts is chattel slavery. In this form, the slaves are in all respects considered property, sometimes on the same level as livestock animals, but more often in a higher position commensurate with their status as human beings. They can be bought and sold, auctioned off, passed on as inheritance, and so on. The owner doesn’t always have free reign over their lives, however. In many cases, there are legal or social pressures restricting what a slave-owner may do with his property. (The forms of discipline attributed to antebellum Southerners—whipping, beating, the rack, and some more fanciful ideas—are the exception, not the rule.) Slaves in this system may even be taxed, the same as any other property.

Another form of slavery is indentured servitude. Here, the slavery is intended to be only temporary, and usually in exchange for something. For example, debtors in 18th-century England could submit to indenture for a period of time, such as five or seven years, effectively paying off their debt by letting themselves be owned for that time. Many such servants ended up in America, often in Georgia and the Carolinas, and the key thing to understand here is that they were white. They weren’t captured or sold into slavery, but sentenced to it, and they would be released from it when their time was up.

The third kind doesn’t really have a common name, but here I’ll refer to it as caste slavery. Some cultures consider certain people enslaved by birth. These castes are accorded fewer rights, barred from social and career advancement, and otherwise treated as lesser in some way. This is a kind of slavery that still exists everywhere: illegal immigrants are de facto caste slaves, as are Palestinians and Uyghurs, and the “vaccine passport” system is an attempt to create a caste distinction throughout the world.

Finally, “wage” slavery is another form that continues to exist today, and is even heralded as a good thing by some. Rather than a system of ownership, wage slavery exploits its subjects by forcing them to work to live at a below-subsistence level, by arranging for the cost of living to be higher than the average wage. Yes, wage slaves make money, but so did actual slaves in some cultures. The slavery aspect comes in when it becomes mathematically impossible to make enough money to bring oneself to financial independence.

In all forms of slavery, there is a method for gaining freedom. The more barbaric practices make that more difficult, often requiring an escape to a freer territory (the Underground Railroad) or outside aid. But this isn’t always the case. It’s perfectly possible to have a society where slavery is practiced within well-defined limits, where slaves always know that freedom is possible, and that it is something they can work towards. Indeed, some might even consider such a society better than ours.

Who is a slave?

This is a very important question for a society, and not necessarily one with an easy answer. Who is considered eligible to be enslaved? The Enlightenment gave us the ideal of universal rights, the belief that all men are created equal, that liberty is the natural state of man, but not everyone today accepts that premise. Before 1776, almost no one did.

Yet that doesn’t mean that a specific group or race could always be equated with slavery. Instead, the answer is culture-specific. The New World settled on black Africans as slaves for specific reasons. The African warlords took slaves in their constant raids on each other, then sold them to European traders for a relative pittance, so even shipping them across the Atlantic was cheaper than using local indigenous labor or undesirables from the homeland.

That brief description gives us one source of slaves: prisoners of war. And this was common throughout history. It’s still a tried and true method of gaining slaves among tribal societies today. Industrialized nations ran plenty of POW work camps in World War II, and those tales make for a good modern analogue to previous eras’ concepts of war slavery.

Prisoners in general provide us with another pool of potential slaves. We’re all familiar with the various prison work gangs, but they used to do a lot more than pick up litter on the side of the road; see the opening scenes of O Brother, Where Art Thou? as one example of the Depression-era version. Here, it’s assumed by government and society as a whole that the commission of a crime (and, one hopes, being found guilty in a fair trial) is justification for a regulated, public-owned sort of slavery. As most crimes don’t carry a life sentence, we expect this to be limited in time, so indentured servitude is by far the most common kind of prison-related slavery.

The worst kind, on the other hand, simply takes a minority of some sort and assumes they have so few rights that they can be enslaved at any point. Of course, this requires both an authoritarian mindset and a useful foil, so it’s not very common in Western democracies and republics. Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is a notable exception, while China’s enslavement of the Uyghurs in occupied East Turkestan illustrates the depths minority slavery can reach when the majority is complicit.

Religion also offers some potential justifications for slavery, and this comes from two directions. One is the obvious: infidels forfeit their rights simply by existing, so enslaving them is not only not a bad thing, but it’s God’s will. This view was common among Muslim countries all the way up to the 20th century, and was one excuse used in Spanish America. It does require scriptural support (the Old Testament and the Koran both provide that, in fact), but dedicated slavers can contort anything into standing behind them.

On the other hand, a tamer and more socially acceptable form of religious slavery can exist as a form of penance. In a sense, this is basically prisoner slavery but with extra steps. The added wrinkle here is that the penitent can submit himself to slavery. Monks could, for instance, require acolytes to offer themselves as servants for a period of initiation. Those who violate the precepts of the church could face a period of indenture on earth, or instead opt to face judgment in the hereafter. (In a fantasy setting, this might not be a simple choice!)

Work makes you free

While most of us think of slaves as forced to do whatever their owners wish, it’s not always that simple. Some cultures and societies reserve certain areas of work as the province of slaves. Typically, this is menial labor such as farming (in the American South), building (in ancient Egypt), or something of that sort. Domestic servants—maids, cooks, babysitters, and the like—were also often enslaved. Skilled craftsmen might employ slave labor for the unskilled jobs around their shops, as well, especially in lower-tech settings.

Those aren’t the only options, though. Literate slaves could be used as scribes in a society that predates printing. Others, especially women, could do the “grunt work” of spinning wool or working a loom. In all cases, the object is to free up the free citizens’ time by offloading the more repetitive or less creative labor on those who don’t have a choice.

That’s not to say slaves couldn’t earn respect. Many could, and many did. At court, for instance, slaves could rise high in the ranks simply by being attached to the elite. Often, nobles of high rank would have slaves they trusted as much as (or more than) their peers. Fantasy literature tends to overemphasize this kind of slavery, as it’s more palatable to the general reader, but it does have a basis in fact. Just remember that this is the minority, the same as the nobility is a vanishingly small minority of the free populace.

Slaves in some cultures thus earned a measure of trust and respect. They did their jobs well, proved their loyalty, and received higher positions as a result. This is directly at odds with the common picture of the beaten and bloody chattel slaves on Southern plantations, but that situation once again has a reason for existing as it did. In this case, it’s because the South was already a fairly “flat” social structure. Yes, you had a kind of aristocratic landowning class that stood above the tradesmen and shopkeepers, but there wasn’t a lot of mobility to begin with. Thus, there wouldn’t have been anywhere for slaves to climb to. And the labor they did on tobacco and cotton plantations was both menial and specialized—it didn’t really translate to anything else.

The dark side

There is one universal sort of slavery, however, something that transcends barriers of color and culture alike: the sex slave. This is also the one kind that not only still exists, but has tacit endorsement and even participation from politicians in power right now, as the Epstein and Maxwell cases proved.

Sex slaves could come from anywhere. They could fit into any of the groups listed above. Although the practice was very often officially banned, ways around the legal prohibitions abounded. Prisoners were—and still are—very often abused in this manner. Victims of kidnapping continue to be sold into sexual slavery by the thousands.

You’d have to be a very brave or very foolish author to even begin to delve into such waters. (Unless you’re writing a true crime piece, I guess.) Still, it’s worth remembering that any society practicing slavery is almost certain to have at least a black market for a very specific sort of merchandise. If nothing else, single or married men of sufficient means would purchase a domestic slave fully intending to use her (or him) as a bed-warmer instead.

In some cases, it becomes something of a semi-consensual relationship. The owner provides room and board, as well as some light work giving a sense of purpose, to someone who otherwise would have nothing at all, and he or she gives nothing more in return than sexual favors. Yes, that’s kind of a Stockholm Syndrome sort of love, but some people in such settings don’t have anything else to aspire to. After all, they’re slaves. They know where they stand in society.

The alternative of force happened more often than we’d care to admit, and it can get as dark as you dare. But even then, only the sadistic would physically torture their slaves. Remember, the whole point of a slave, especially in chattel systems, is that you own property. Just as you’re not going to set your house on fire because you hate the wallpaper, you’re not going to beat the help to the point where they can’t work. Say what you will about slave-owners, but most of them realized that was bad business.

In fantasy

The biggest problem with slavery as it’s handled in fiction today is that it…well, isn’t. Too many authors have decided that the practice is so horrible that it shouldn’t even exist in fantasy literature and gaming. Large publishing houses like Wizards of the Coast and Paizo have taken this limiting step, unfortunately, deeming the topic off-limits in their roleplaying games. Others instead use a caricature of Southern chattel slavery as a thinly veiled racist commentary against whites, which might actually be worse.

The right way to do it, on the other hand, is to think about it. Yes, you as an author can be completely against the very notion of slavery. I am. But the characters you create may have different outlooks. The practice of slavery has existed for thousands of years for a reason, and it only started going away because of a sea change in morality, the product of the Enlightenment. If your setting hasn’t had one of those, then you need to come up with some other reason why the abolitionists would come to power.

Instead of wholesale banning just because you don’t like it, think about how slavery would come to be in your created world, then work from there. Subjugated cultures and defeated peoples make a tantalizing pool of slaves, and that’s true whether they’re heathens or orcs or simply members of a different tribe. Unless there’s severe social pressure not to, having prisoners of war can very easily become using prisoners of war to finish building the wall. And when that wall’s done? Well, surely there’s something else for them to do. Eventually, the war’s over, but they’re still working the fields or hauling stone from the quarry, and they’ll stay because they’ve all but forgotten how to reintegrate into their home society.

If slaves are property, then a market will form. That’s just a fact of economics. It may not be as dehumanizing as we’re told the slave markets of the South were, but what form it takes will depend on the setting. And chattel suffers from the same problems as livestock in being cumbersome to transport and difficult to secure.

Under the harshest conditions, slave rebellions can occur. This is most common in chattel and POW situations, as both of these leave little in the way of positive outcomes. The fewer freedoms you have, the easier it becomes to foment rebellion by using the promise of freedom. This can make for some interesting stories, but bear in mind that the punishment for rebellion is very often death. In other words, rebel slaves have nothing to lose, and that is not an environment conducive to breeding white-hat heroes. Also remember that fugitives can’t always find sanctuary where they think: the Dred Scott decision in the years before the Civil War made escaping to the North a nonstarter, for example.


All in all, slavery is a deeper subject than most people think, and it bears more exploration in fantasy literature than it gets. Too often, we’re conditioned to see something monstrous and immediately look away, so we don’t really study the whys, the causes and effects that created what truly is, for better or worse, one of humanity’s most enduring practices.

But slavery did exist. It still exists, though more in the shadows today. There are very good reasons why so many of the greatest men and women of history owned slaves and thought nothing of it. It wasn’t because they were racist, or conservative, or supremacist. No, they were products of their society, of the time and place in which they lived. To many of them, slavery was natural, the way things were, and our insistence that no man be taken against his will and forced into servitude would seem hopelessly idealistic.

It’s that disconnect which offers fertile ground for the fantasy author. Rather than writing stories in settings where slavery has never existed, perhaps consider one where it is practiced, but it’s on its way out. Examine the potential changes that would cause in society. (For many Southerners, abolition was an economic issue first, not a moral or ethical one!) Or look at the post-emancipation generation, how they would struggle to fit into a society that, until very recently, considered them little more than animals. Imagine a society more like that of the Greeks, where slaves were taken in battle, then trained alongside free men, earning respect as they went.

There’s more to slavery than just beating people down. That’s not to say it’s a good practice, but it’s lasted all these millennia for a reason. Maybe, instead of trying to ignore it, we should learn why it continues to endure despite our best efforts at stopping it.

Recuperation

In December 2019, I was sick. Not deathly ill, but I certainly had more than a runny nose to deal with. For about a week, I tried letting it run its course, but it only got worse. Let me reiterate that I was never in any actual danger. I never had trouble breathing or suffered from heart problems or anything like that. It was just a bad illness, and I went to the ER because I was worried that I had the flu, which did kill my cousin a few years before.

My brother had the same thing at the same time, so we went together. He got called back first, and the doctor told me, “Your brother tested positive for the flu, and you live in the same house, so I won’t bother testing you. I’m going to treat you as if you had it.” We each got a prescription for Tamiflu, a recommendation for cough syrups that would alleviate the symptoms, and a stack of papers showing our diagnosis: Influenza A/Unknown Pathogen.

Well, it wasn’t the flu, as it turns out. What I had then was the Commie Cough, two months before it was officially released to torment the world. As we now know, the virus itself was let out of its lab as early as September of that year, during or slightly before the Military World Games, which were held in Wuhan. Since then, it has mutated, as viruses do, to become far less lethal and far more infectious. The latest strain (the “Omicron variant”), however, has more hallmarks of human genetic meddling, this time seemingly for the purpose of evading existing natural immunity such as mine.

That part worked, at least.

The last time I wore a mask for any reason was in the ER on that December night. At no point in 2020 or 2021 did I wear one. At no point did I submit to medical screening by a business or government as a condition of entry. In May 2020, I walked out of America’s Best when they demanded to check for a fever—an optometrist has no business asking for my temperature, nor does his cashier, who was the only person I needed to see that day. In November of that year, my brother and I were the only two people in the entire precinct who dared to breathe free while performing that most sacred of American traditions; as Hamilton County uses Dominion machines, I can’t tell you how our votes were counted, but I do know neither of us would ever vote against liberty.

Last year was better, because some people around here have started getting wise to the authoritarians’ game. Instead of being looked at as a pariah, I’m seen as the one who was right all along. A great feeling, but I wish I didn’t have to feel it. (My running joke in 2021 was that my “female” name would be Cassandra. Of course, that is a joke, because I know nothing short of magic can make me a woman, but I hope you get the reference.)


As I’ve said all along, I neither need nor want a “vaccine” based around rewriting my DNA for what is, in 99.9% of cases, nothing more than a mild case of the flu. Now, I can say that with even more confidence, because I have yet again survived what is supposed to be the worst plague of modern times.

The first month of 2022 showed that my natural immunity has waned to the point where I was susceptible again. This time around, the symptoms were almost exactly the same, just milder in every form. I didn’t spend 4 days alternating between fever and chills…just 1. I started feeling sick the Friday before last, January 28. By Tuesday, I was starting to feel better. By this weekend, I was left with nothing more than a nagging cough and a general sense of lethargy.

What’s different this time? I didn’t go to the hospital. I knew that was a waste of time. Early treatment for the Wuhan virus in “professional” settings is still essentially limited to “Lie down until you can’t breathe, then come back in so we can put you on a ventilator until you die.” I’m 30 years too young to get monoclonal antibodies, one of the few working treatments that were still allowed…until two weeks ago. A lifetime of heart problems doesn’t interest me, and even if it did, the vaccines’ staunchest supporters don’t claim they’ll heal you.

Instead, I took matters into my own hands. Following the Zelenko and I-MASK/I-MATH protocols, I spent the past nine days taking a collection of natural supplements designed to treat the symptoms, bolster the immune system, and fight the known dangers of the virus. Specifically, I added these to my daily regimen:

  • Zinc, 50-100 mg
  • Vitamin D3, 5,000-10,000 IU
  • Vitamin C, 1,000 mg
  • Quercetin: 1,200 mg
  • Nigella sativa seed oil: 500 mg

The last was not in my original plan. My boss sent me a bottle as a “get well soon” gift, and I added it to the list once it arrived. It’s on the FLCCC list as a substitute for ivermectin, which I didn’t think I could get, though the dose I took is way lower than what they recommend. (Seriously, at my weight, they want me to take 20x what I have listed here!)

Other than these, the only “medicine” I took was the occasional Tylenol or similar when I felt too much of a headache. It’s almost the opposite of what one of those dancing Tiktok nurses would tell you to do. And it probably had the opposite effect, too, because here I am, 10 days later, feeling just fine. I worked a full day with no ill effects besides the usual fuming at a senior developer who refuses to understand how CORS works—sorry, still annoyed about that one.

But I knew I was never really at risk to begin with. I’m relatively young, and my only comorbidity is obesity. The average virus-related death has 4, and is a man in his 70s. (My stepdad, who turned 70 last month, also had it. He took the same supplements I did, but added prednisone after a trip to the ER that showed potential pneumonia. He’s fine, too.)

This is not a world-destroying plague the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Black Death. The virus that has shut down the world is a run-of-the-mill flu that is easily treatable with OTC products and natural supplements. For those who don’t response to the supplements, we have safe and effective medicine (ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, aided by azithromycin) to help you along, and monoclonal antibody treatment for those who absolutely need it.

Oh, wait. No, we technically don’t have those, because Regeneron has lost its FDA authorization, HCQ is banned in some states, and the Nobel Prize-winning ivermectin is derided as better suited for horses. Yes, that is how much those in power hate us, and how desperately they want us to take their vaccines: they would discourage or outright bar us from using treatments which are known to work. That we’re dealing with a fatality rate of under 0.15% even against those odds should show you just how much of a whimper the big, bad Wuhan Virus really is.

In 2019, I felt like I was ready to die because of the flu I thought I had. In 2022, I’d rather live to protect others’ right to get sick, get over it, and move on with life. Because that’s all we have to do. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Die on your feet

Being a very smart kid in a very rural town, I got bullied a lot when I was younger. Pushed around, told to “move out of my seat”, and all those other wonderful things the supposedly tough boys did to assert dominance over those they considered inferior. Worse, of course, was the way I received the same treatment from adults, specifically teachers and school administrators. In every case, I understand now, the root cause was fear. The bully fears being ridiculed, so he ridicules in turn. Scared of the idea that someone will mock him for his limited intelligence, he does the same to those who have plenty to spare. The psychology just doesn’t change.

A bully is a bully. Even if that bully happens to be the leader of a Western nation.

Justin Trudeau is, to put it simply, no better than the men, women, and boys who bullied me as a child. His behaviors are the same, his actions merely on a different scale because of his influence. Above all, his thinking is the same. He expects to get his way, for the lowly nerds to do as he says and cower before him like they always have.

Bullying is all about control. It’s about proving that you have power over another. When that power is taken away, the bully realizes he’s left with nothing. His threats become hollow, and increasingly shrill, their rising violence matched only by their rising impotence.

The best way to put that fear into a bully is by not complying. Too often, our children today are taught that the only response to bullying is to “tell a teacher”. Many schools level harsher suspensions for self-defense than for the actual attack, as an attempt to further inculcate a sense of helplessness before shows of power. And we’re now seeing cases of students fighting back against the teachers bullying them, defying the unconscionable and increasingly illegal mask mandates; the teachers’ response in one California case was to barricade the students in a room and turn off the heat. Imprisonment and torture, in other words, for the crime of speaking truth to power.

Authority is treated as if it were bestowed by divine right, but that can only go so far. You can only push people so much before they finally reach a breaking point. I reached it on March 12, 2020, and I’m glad to see the wonderful people of Canada letting it be known that they have at last done the same.

Trudeau is nothing but a bully. Now that the people have stood up to him, he has nothing. His power derives, as in any liberal democracy, directly from the consent of the governed. Yes, he can command the police and the military of Canada while he remains in power. Using them against his own, however, would seal his fate. History is littered with the names of dictators, all of which we rightfully spit on today: Milosevic, Ceausescu, Allende, Pinochet. One more would be nothing.

But this doesn’t end in Ottawa, or in Coutts or Tofino. This only ends when the entire world is freed from these tyrants. When no human being anywhere on earth is threatened by the requirement to submit to a medical experiment in order to travel, keep a job, or buy food for his family. When no one is looked down upon for wanting to breathe clean air. When over seven billion human beings are free to live their lives as humans, making their own choices, exercising their own free will.

Canada has shown how to stand up to bullies. Kind, polite Canada, the Ned Flanders to America’s Homer Simpson, has displayed the courage needed to send their bullies into hiding. It’s past time the rest of us followed their example.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Never stop honking

You locked us in our homes for two years.
You let our loved ones die, then denied them the honor of a proper funeral.
You permanently scarred our children’s minds and bodies.
You destroyed our livelihoods.
You laughed as we descended into the depths of despair.
You silenced us when we tried to speak out about your lies and your schemes.

If you have to hear the trucks’ horns every day for the rest of your miserable lives, it will not count for a fraction of the pain and suffering you have inflicted upon us. The punishment must fit the crime, and your crimes are far worse.

Every trucker in Ottawa, in Amsterdam, in Prague, and soon to be in Washington is a hero the likes of which we in America have not seen since the Founding Fathers stood up to the largest and most powerful empire on the planet. Everyone who supports them supports not only freedom, but the most important right of all: to make ourselves heard. All those opposed are mere servants of the cruelest dictatorship this world has ever seen.

Trudeau must go. Biden must go. Merkel and Macron and anyone who has not only allowed this to happen, but encouraged it, must go. We deserve better leaders. We deserve liberty. Those who stand against that deserve all they will receive.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Electric boogaloo

I’m currently on the mend from a recurrence of the dreaded Commie Cough, this time the strain (possibly) designed to thwart existing natural immunity.

I don’t need a vaccine that changes my underlying genetic code. I don’t need a ventilator that doesn’t help. I don’t need a drug rushed to market that causes permanent damage to a third of the people who take it.

All I need to feel better is this:

It’s beautiful and brave, a true display of what the love of liberty is all about. What is happening in Canada right now is what needs to happen everywhere. Every country in the world needs to see the same show of unity against the tyranny that has controlled us for the past two years. End the mandates, end the masking, end the experiments, and end the Great Reset, or we will resist until you do.