Re: [OPE-L] Inter-species slavery

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 22 2006 - 20:37:54 EST

>On Wed, 22 Nov 2006, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>>But the point has shifted. Allin and Paul wanted to establish a
>>general model of animal slavery with the human practice as just one
>Speaking for Allin, he wanted to problematize the assumption that
>the "enslavement" (with scare quotes) of one species of ant by
>another _must_ be totally different from the enslavement of one
>set of humans by another.

Well how is it similar? Please specify.

I have already established differences:

"Hopes dashed. Marks does not mean more than that, for after all
entomology tells us no more about the enslavement of the Middle
Passage than it can about the enslavement of iron fillings by a
magnet. Marks, p. 104 What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee.

Also know whether the L. curvispinosus are captured in an immature
state and hatch later only
to be domesticated to perform 'housekeeping tasks' without
compulsion. But then that is domestication not slave making. Also
with us humans polygenesis has been discredited under the weight of
continuous, albeit often illegal, interbreeding. That is to say, pace
Louis Agassiz, human slavery involves members of one's own species
under continued compulsion. This case of ant "slavery" does not fit.
It's just a weak and meaningless analogy. Even from a functional
point of view. There is certainly no homology in a biological sense."

So I gave a few reasons for why ant slavery is a weak and meaningless
analogy. There is also
the enslavement/domestication distinction. There is also the question
of the functions of slavery--sexual pleasure, conspicuous
consumption, maximal profit making. Are these features of ant
slavery?  How does ant slavery help us understand the actual dynamics
of slavery especially as affected by the choice making, albeit
institutionally constrained, slaves? Entomology has no more to teach
us here than the study of the enslavement of iron fillings.

>   Rakesh responded with talk of
>"enslavement" of iron filings, as a putative reductio ad absurdum.
>This shows that he didn't bother to look at the grounds for talk
>of "enslavement" among ants in the scientific work I cited. Nobody
>is suggesting the "X causes Y to behave in manner M" translates
>into "X has enslaved Y", for arbitrary X and Y.

Then what does it translate into?

>Insofar as the retort was that this is an intra-species matter in
>the case of human slavery, Paul's thought experiment concering the
>enslavement of Neanderthals by Sapiens (which didn't happen so far
>as we kow, but might have happened if things had gone a bit
>differently), seems apposite to me.  To repeat Paul's question:
>Would that have made a difference of principle, versus the
>enslavement of Africans by other Sapiens?

Domestication would have probably been impossible, so not as much
difference between this hypothetical and human slavery as  between so
called ant slavery and human slavery.  Continuous compulsion would
have been required. Human enslavement of another one of its own rival
homo sapien sub species may well have been similar to intra human
slavery--so what?

This example still concedes that the only slave makers are  homo
sapiens, and it all but practically admits that only humans or
virtual humans (choice making, socially intelligent, and imaginative
homo sapiens) can be enslaved. That is, slavery occurs within the
homo sapien species.

That is, this example all but admits that slavery is not found among
other animals. Slavery emerges at the homo sapien level, not anywhere
below it.

Does this hypothetical establish the existence of ant slavery? Does
it establish that entomology does alas have something to teach us
about the Middle Passage?

Does it establish that proletarians work automatically?

What does it establish?

Rakesh Bhandari

>Allin Cottrell

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