WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2016 — Election 2016 is not just a choice between the Republican and Democratic nominees. It is also a critical inflection point compelling, as few U.S. elections have, a decision between freedom and slavery.
Election 2016 is really a choice between domestic peace and civil war.
Slavery is an abomination. It converts humans into property and forces them into captivity, robbing them of their sovereignty and dignity.
Slavery is an ancient institution. Hebrew slaves built Egyptian temples; African slaves harvested New World tobacco and sugar. Ottoman Sultans enslaved European boys to serve in their army and their court.
Slavery is ubiquitous.
Globally, 30 million people are “property.” Africans and Asians labor as agricultural slaves. Chinese peasants are smuggled into the West as indentured laborers. Yazidi girls in Iraq and Syria are sold and raped by ISIS fighters.
Human traffickers trade in the flesh of children worldwide.
But morality evolves. Ragusa—now the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia—was the first republic to prohibit slavery on this date in 1416. Mauritania was the last, in 2007. Today, slavery is, like piracy, genocide, and terrorism, universally outlawed.
Freedom is the antithesis of slavery. Freedom is the absence of force. It gives one choice: One’s body, mind, time, and toil are one’s own.
Absolute slavery and total freedom exist only in theory. All governments use force to promote various ends. The Cato Human Freedom Index rates 190-plus nations on relative freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, travel, economic opportunity, and safety.
Finland and North Korea are the most and least free nations on the index.
Between these extremes, most of the world’s people enjoy some autonomy, even if they are constrained by states or other agents. Yet freedom is dynamic; whatever freedom people possesses can be given away gradually or stolen in an instant.
As President Ronald Reagan admonished,
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction … It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same.”
History bears him out.
Despite the preachers of non-violent resistance, only force and the threat of force ever made and kept anyone free. Western Europe was liberated from Nazi Germany and Kuwait from Iraq by violence.
Israel, South Korea, and Taiwan are free because their citizens and allies kill and die to resist enslavement.
Freedom can be destroyed from within. In the last hundred years, 150 million people of the wrong ethnicity, religion, class, or ideology were enslaved and snuffed by Nazi, Soviet, and Maoist dictatorships. They were butchered on killing fields, in gulags, and in death camps.
Only the ghosts of murdered Armenians, Jews, Soviets, Chinese, Cambodians, Bosnians, Rwandans, Sudanese, and Middle Eastern Christians remain, mute witnesses to slaughter.
Those who do not defend their fragile freedom from foreign conquerors or domestic tyrants forfeit it and become slaves—or worse.
To prove this proposition, contrast Croatia—the modern nation that incorporates the first republic to outlaw slavery—with the U.S., for two centuries the world’s beacon of freedom.
Croatians were vassals for 1,000 years under Hungarian, Venetian, Ottoman, French, Austrian, and Italian rule. No sooner did they regain independence during World War II than Marshal Tito imported communism from the Soviet Union to imprison them within Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.
Despite Tito’s guarantee of free healthcare, education, and employment, Yugoslav medical care was poor, education was propaganda, and the command economy yielded poverty.
The Communist Party barred non-members from professions and schools while obliterating freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship.