Fans of arguments like “people do not change” and discussions about the “animal nature of man” use Cicero’s quote that “a slave does not need freedom, but needs his own slaves.” I would like to consider this statement in more detail.
Indeed, in the era of slavery, a slave could not dream of anything better than to become a slave owner himself. Under feudalism, the peasant’s thinking did not extend beyond the idea that “this king is a scoundrel, and that it would be good to replace him with another king.”
Freedom, as it once was under slavery, and now under capitalism, depends more on the material wealth of man. In a legal sense, a slave was even a man, and was considered a talking tool. The main means of production during slavery were slaves, as well as the land that the slaves cultivated. And in the understanding of a slave, it seemed quite natural that a free man who has many slaves is wealthy, and therefore free. Free in the sense of freedom of choice and opportunity.
Could slaves or free people who lived under slavery have other ideas? No, for social being determines social consciousness. For the maturation of any progressive idea, appropriate material conditions must be created.
Considering the current, capitalist society, we can find many similarities with what was a very long time ago. Slavery as an institution ceased to exist, but personal dependence over time turned into economic dependence – no less enslaving for someone who is forced to sell his ability to work daily. Has anything changed in the concept of “freedom” in the modern “hired slave” when compared with a personally dependent antique slave?
If you do not take into account the arguments about (bourgeois) democracy and the possibility of choosing housing, food, clothes and other goods (naturally, if you have money), then everything again comes down to material prosperity. Without an apartment and work, you can be completely free! And a person, put in the framework of modern production relations, has two main opportunities: either to sell his work, or to appropriate someone else’s.
Only a few can become “financially independent” by selling their own labor. But the exploiters, thanks to the appropriation of another’s labor, can with great pleasure feel the delights of freedom. You can, of course, still go to the service staff for the bourgeoisie, defend its interests, participate in the propaganda of the “class world” and get stumps from the master’s table for this.
The modern world of “hired slaves” differs from ancient slave times in that productive forces have now reached such a level that they are able to provide complete prosperity to all people on the planet, and not just to a single state or class. And we have knowledge – the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism, which really scientifically substantiates the inevitability of the onset of communism as the next (and last) socio-economic formation. Come to the classes of the Riga Marxist circle and get real knowledge about the development of society.
Only by freeing labor will people gain true freedom!