At one time, countless people found one or more of the following reasons adequate grounds on which to oppose the abolition of slavery. Yet in retrospect, these reasons seem shabby—more rationalizations than reasons.
Today these reasons or very similar ones are used by opponents of a different form of abolitionism: the proposal that government as we know it—monopolistic, individually nonconsensual rule by an armed group that demands obedience and payment of taxes—be abolished. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide whether the following reasons are more compelling in this regard than they were in regard to the proposed abolition of slavery.
1. Slavery is natural.
2. Slavery has always existed.
3. Every society on earth has slavery.
4. The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves.
5. Without masters, the slaves will die off.
6. Where the common people are free, they are even worse off than slaves.
7. Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils.
8. Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem.
9. Trying to get rid of slavery is foolishly utopian and impractical; only a fuzzy-headed dreamer would advance such a cockamamie proposal. Serious people cannot afford to waste their time considering such farfetched ideas.
10. Forget abolition. A far better plan is to keep the slaves sufficiently well fed, clothed, housed, and occasionally entertained and to take their minds off their exploitation by encouraging them to focus on the better life that awaits them in the hereafter. We cannot expect fairness or justice in this life, but all of us, including the slaves, can aspire to a life of ease and joy in Paradise.