We here in this room are like wild animals. We do what we do because we want to, or because it is the right thing to do. No other motivation. If you made slaves of us, you would for sure not be wise to let us near a weapon.
But how many slaves has there been in Earth’s long history that their masters could trust? MANY! There were even Armies of slaves, like the Janissaries. And how many people today are domestic animals at heart? Wanting someone else to tell them what to do, take care of their needs, and protect them not just from their fellow men, but also from themselves? Why has every free human society been so short lived? Is this because the wild-animal hearted men are born so heartbreakingly seldom?
– Poul Anderson, The Master Key
The above quoted short story offers keen insight into the difference between free men and slaves, and it lies not so much in their conditions of birth but in their propensities to accept or reject their state. Almost any slave, had he cared, could have fought a death-struggle against his slavery; and not a few would have been successful. In fact, if this pattern of behavior were typical, they would almost certainly be successful. One may use force and threat to extract a few shekels, but surely no one can be always under compulsion. The logistics of such an arrangement would make slavery totally pointless.
With the rapid industrial-commercial expansion of the 18th-20th centuries came a massive expansion of the underclass. The Dickensian and Marxian fantasies of progressive emiseration were based on faulty premises, i.e. that the masses were now being exploited en masse and to the bare bone. But the reality is that large numbers of very marginal types, who would have in the past died in infancy or been too poor to reproduce in scads, were now living and reproducing at ever increasing rates. Meanwhile, the intelligent and well-heeled persons primarily benefitted from capitalism in the form of longer lives and an ever-increasing range of personal interests and goods. These persons had already ceased to mass-produce children, as it was no longer necessary to maintain their numbers – they were wealthy and clever enough to keep a handful of heavily prepared offspring to continue their lines. They also had interests and lives outside of fucking in mud huts.
The majority of these ‘new’ people who were literally descended from slaves and serfs, many of their families having maintained such a Chandala status for centuries. I won’t go in to the mixed disruption of political order this created, but this factor meant that precisely as moral and legal consensus was breaking down an enormous number of decidedly lackluster human beings emerged. Alongside this, the conditions of a commercial, sedentary life where violence was foisted into the hands of ‘the State’ or the ‘Sovereign’, an increasingly liberal and non-violent life, led people to adopt creeds and behaviors inappropriate to independence or the sort of civic virtue upon which ancient constitutions and medieval towns depended. About the only emotions which will stir them are hunger, fear, lust, and envy.
Society has now created a man who is more Lemming than Tiger. Is this The Last Man? If so, it shows the fatal flaw of the Master-Slave class. Wild predators predate primarily on other beasts – or, at least, do not parasitize on their own kind. With humans, man-to-man predation is much more profitable and, if dangerous when resistance is strong, easily transitions into a profitable parasitism once the conquest is accomplished. In order to have a useful base of cattle the Masters have bred a bunch of really very useless people, and taught them to be absolutely defenseless cretins. In the process they’ve contributed to their own destruction, and now the sheep are wandering around aimlessly.
This is one point wherein the ‘superman’ doctrine attempts to transcend the master/slave dichotomy. Slaves require ruling, masters require docile herds; both tend toward conformity and the general destruction of the quality of mankind; and both require the other – the master without a slave is typically incapable of performing useful labor on his own, witness the inability of the European aristocracy to commercially compete despite owning massive estates and special rights. On the other hand, slaves deprived of masters are utterly without coherent agenda, and soon reduce to a horde of aphids, or mindless tribal warfare. Aristotle’s ‘natural slave’ is a fact of humanity, no matter how much it offends today’s college professors. The system most people demand – whether from the perspective of the Slave or Master morality, Democrat or National Socialist – demands that people be enslaved and deluded, and that the stronger should perpetuate the interests of a nearly limitless herd of completely stupid persons who can do nothing but stain the pages of history. While often taken as simply a hyper-individualistic version of the Master Morality, Nietzsche’s higher type of man in fact rejects the will to decadence that is involved in both of the classical moralities.