Part 2 of 8: From Slavery to Utopia

The Call for a Constitutional Convention

The Lord’s Prayer: Puzzle or Prescription?

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer above states: Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. God obviously has control of both Heaven and Earth, so what do the words “Thy will be done on Earth” describe? His will in Heaven must be perfection, so maybe perfection on Earth is the destiny of mankind as well. Perhaps this is the centerpiece of our Hope and our humanity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, perhaps the long stretch of mankind’s miserable history actually reveals a utopian society in the making, a return to the Garden of Eden.

Thousands of years ago, the masses were enslaved to build the Pyramids. Thousand of years after that, they built the Great Wall. Feudal times saw the growth of monarchies and peasant farmers. And we have just recently evolved to a mechanized society. Workers have had a comparatively easier life as time has passed. There have been conscious attempts to redistribute wealth, and bodies of laws and systems of government have emerged to provide nominal protections for the weak against the strong. Widespread education has provided more opportunities for everyone. Perhaps, in an ironic twist of fate, it is the fruit of knowledge that will return us to Eden, with Apple technology as the centerpiece of our modern renaissance.

Mutual Responsibility

So, what is next in our evolution towards an utopia? How do Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness and private property square with the utopian notion of Hope, Love and shared wealth?

The slave-holding of the past has evolved, slavery has been progressively decentralized. Rather than the single Pharaoh enslaving a nation, or the multiple feudal kings holding serfs, in our nation, individuals owned slaves. The legal basis of slavery is part of our recent history. Modern law continues to act as a shield to protect the latest vestiges of slavery. Modern slavery is camouflaged by the cultural pride of self-reliance and the legal rights to private property.

Workers create wealth, but have little control over the property or the process. Corporations have become the slaveholders of the modern age. Congress is comprised mainly of white male millionaires, the same group who controlled plantations 150 years ago, who value corporate relationships as the source of their wealth. Economic progress is often defined by the economy’s ability to generate new millionaires. We have not moved very far along the continuum from slavery to utopia in thousands of years. The Twin Towers, and modern skyscrapers everywhere, can be seen as current day pyramids, built by the backs of modern world corporately-owned slaves.

Utopia transcends the petty goal of ownership of property. Its goal is a shared consciousness of human values, where everyone has the opportunity to work at a fulfilling life. The point is not to agree about every issue, but to value the same concepts of justice, fair play, duty and morality. That is the paradox of work and wealth. A utopia is not a place where work is not necessary, it is a place where work is fulfilling. Likewise wealth is not a utopia. Wealth may release one from the need to work, but the lack of struggle and fulfilling work robs the wealthy of both Hope and wisdom. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is more complex than the accumulation of wealth. This was understood years ago, it is less recognized today.


“Our greatest happiness in life does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”
– Thomas JeffersonTo create a utopian society, the goal of unchecked wealth must be muted, and work becomes a fulfilling mixture of duty and personal opportunity. All work has dignity, but the system should allow workers to grow personally and advance into new opportunities. Unchecked wealth requires a system where human labor must produce profitable returns. No other criteria are measured. Workers have only two choices, work as a machine to generate profits for someone else, or do the spiritual work they prefer, and sacrifice the pay. In a utopia, this burdensome choice is lessened. If poor people can make sacrifices for “just pursuits,” then why can’t corporations as well?

The quest for private wealth causes and then perpetuates many social ills. Seldom do politicians seek out a solution to a problem based on its merits, rather, they represent the narrow interests of selfish constituents. Selfishness has few limits. All matter of resources will be expended to ensure the right to keep money, to ward off competition, and comparatively little to ensure that the social and cultural effect of a decision is wise. Where the Founding Fathers were broad thinkers, our representativeÕs interests have becoming increasingly narrow.

Corporate greed under the American model is a given because the current system requires and encourages corporations to make unchecked wealth their only goal. If wealth is the only goal in a society, then the pressure to maintain some form of slavery will inevitably continue. If the laws of society were to require and encourage justice, fair play, and duty, then that is what the society will value most highly. Non-Profit corporations have a different goal than For-Profit corporations, but they function just as efficiently, and face the same logistical and organizational challenges. There has been no improvement in healthcare since it was converted to a for-profit model. Greed is not a substitute for fearless wisdom and Hope. Consider how our laws regarding equality have changed since the slaves were freed. Violent racism has subsided, but the greed that spawned it originally continues unabated. America has the momentum of utopian social goals, but every new generation must live up to the challenge of its responsibility.

There are three groups in the world: freedom-lovers, slave-masters and worker-slaves. These groups can be either individuals or businesses, and usually any one entity is a combination of all three. Few of us are perfect, few of us are evil. Our current laws reflect the strain between two opposing goals: unchecked wealth and a society of justice.

Steve Consilvio

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