For thousands of years, slavery went unchallenged in principle. Then in a single century, slavery was abolished and more than seven million slaves were freed. The scope and speed of this transformation makes it one of the most amazing feats in modern history.
– blurb for Jim Powell, Greatest Emancipations: How the West Abolished Slavery
I haven’t read Powell’s book, but this quotation (along with the fact that, in most of the western world, abolition was accomplished without much violence, the American South being an outlier) should give today’s abolitionists reason for hope whenever the task of doing away with the state seems overwhelming.
Hmm… my comment still hasn’t shown up yet.
I guess it disappeared into the digital void.
Well, I checked and it didn’t accidentally end up in my spam filter, so it really must not be anywhere.
I got that ridiculous white page after I pressed the “submit comment” button.
Abolitionists are an inspiration (Garrison, Douglass) for folks like us who are basically fighting the weight of history on behalf of justice.
Challenged blurb by saying that slavery was not “unchallenged” in principle for millennia. Even if not stated in words, actions showing resistance to subjugation proved rejection of slavery. Even if the rejecters were inconsistent it only shows that the had inconsistencies reminiscent of the inconsistent libertarians of today (some are libertarians in one area, others are libertarians in other areas).
This time copying and pasting.
Are you familiar with Powell’s previous books? They’re all very worthwhile: he has one, The Triumph of Liberty, that’s a series of short biographies about many pioneers of liberty — some of the usual suspects, and some unorthodox choices (Martin Luther King Jr, Maria Montessori, Louis L’Amour), with info mostly culled from other sources but a good summary/introductory view, and a trilogy taking on the three most evil US presidents of the 20th century: FDR’s Folly, Wilson’s War, and Bully Boy [TR]. FDR’s Folly in particular has been acclaimed as a modern take on how the New Deal made things worse. And he’s more radical than one might think given his affiliation with Cato.
And yes, he’s taken on the Civil War, too: