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OUR CIVILISATION WAS ORIGINALLY SERVILE:—
The Servile institution in Pagan antiquity—Its fundamental
character—A Pagan society took it for granted—The institution
disturbed by the advent of the Christian Church"
The Servile State, Synopsis of Section II
This section was rather short, only 6 pages. In this is section, Mr. Belloc made the claim that the servile state was the original state of civilization. Further, he states that he is writing of European states specifically, that between the Celts to the Greeks, slaves were a part of the very fabric of pagan European society. He then goes on to give credit to the Catholic Church for teaching emancipation of the slave.
He gives credit to philosophers for initially arguing that the ideal society would be without slavery, but despite the philosophers, there was never any great movement for slavery emancipation in the pagan societies.
He states this to state that slavery is within the ancestral memory of Europe, and in many ways, is returning. Just as pagan ideas are returning, so is the concept of slavery among free men.
Remember, 1912 was just after the Industrial Revolution. It was well after the Enlightenment and the Romantic periods. This was the beginning of the modern period. Secularism had embedded itself deep into societal thought and was not going to leave anytime soon (still not going anywhere now).
In 1912, the Liberal party had a very slim control over the House of Commons. The Liberals were classical liberals, not the New Left liberals of today. It was rife with internal party factions that simply could not work together. Similar to today, there was a heavy populist movement and concern for the families locked in the factories and mines. This was shown in 1918, when the Liberal Party split on faction lines, and have since failed to be a major British party, and the Conservatives took a sweeping majority. The Conservatives, like the Republicans here in the United States, have flirted with populism as a party platform off and on. Or at least made it appear that they cared about the rural peoples, the blue collar workers, small business owners, but then did little ease the political burden on them when they actually got power.
The fear was that the corporations and the wealthy were taking advantage of the peasant. They were drafting contracts that were impossible to break, and did not allow the poor to grow out of their poor conditions, and then used the courts to enforce these contracts. In short, the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the government either did little to stop that or did much to aid it. Does the rhetoric sound familiar?
- Maintaining that civilization was originally servile
- How the original servile state was dissolved
- How the distributive state failed
- Growth of capitalism and its instability
- The stable solutions to this instability
- The inevitable move towards the servile state
- Maintaining that the servile state has already begun