Slouching into slavery

What the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors don’t realize (yet) is that they have been suckered into becoming the agents of their own enslavement.

Orwell had it so right in defining the Left because he was a man of the Left. The term “Orwellian” now refers to the Left’s use of terms to mean the direct opposite of the intention of an idea or act (“war is peace”, for example). Orwell also noted the need for the State to invent enemies as a means of deflecting attention away from its own actions. It’s all about deflection away from true agendas.

Let me explain. Granted that the OWS movement is defined by many grievances, one underlying theme of  the OWS protests is the onerous debt assumed by students. I have sympathy for this because, as many commentators have already pointed out, these students were sold a bill of goods. The idea was that, whether qualified or motivated or not, kids could simply participate in the university experience, supported with “generous” (i.e., taxpayer-funded) government aid, and exit with a paper degree and guaranteed, high-paying job bereft of drudgery. This is the siren song that led to the inevitable crash upon the rocks of debt slavery.

Universities, those bastions of entitlement, have made out like bandits, taking the students money in exchange for worthless promises and worthless degrees. The government financed this process using “free” taxpayers’ monies and, in the end, developed a class of dependents that will spend the rest of their lives working their way out of indentured servitude at the behest their government masters (the Golden Rule is those that own the gold, rule!). For, as these students are slowly realizing, government debt and dependency is forever…there is no escaping their obligations.

It used to be that students could tap loans from private lending institutions that assumed the risk of a student borrower’s success or failure. If the student went bankrupt, the bank suffered. That is how capitalism and free markets should work. Not so with Liberal government. When the Obama administration took over these lending services, it took away failure as an option. Today, neither students nor their parents can escape their student debt obligations and the total student debt outstanding has been estimated to approach $1.0 trillion.

Many of these OWS students are now answerable to their government masters for the foreseeable future and during their most formative years… a period when they should be free to work toward satisfying careers, saving to purchase their own homes, preparing to raise families and, eventually, achieving financial independence. Instead, as long as the government holds their debt, it can now dictate how these students will lead their lives in service to their government’s regime goals (as in, “we will forgive x-amount of your debt if you “agree” to work in only certain prescribed professions or government-approved public works programs under certain given conditions dictated by us, your master) Or, let’s try the Chicago Way: “as long as we hold your debt, you will only believe certain things, work for certain causes, and vote in certain ways” . Their indentured servitude has taken away their freedom to think, to act and to build their own futures. Even more sadly, for many of these students, their expensive college educations amounted to little more than indoctrination whereby to accept these circumstances as a good thing: witness the large number whose goal in life is simply to work for “non-profits”.

The especially egregious aspect of this is that it is poorer students that have so been hooked into government dependency. But then, that has pretty much been par for the course for Liberal government, hasn’t it? Government did this before, with poor blacks and the War on Poverty. Government programs enslave the poor through indentured dependency.  Rich or talented kids don’t have to worry about this: they have parents, scholarships or trust funds to ensure that they never become indentured government debt pawns. The especially pathetic part of these events is that these indebted students and graduates have been led to believe, through Orwellian deflection, that the agents of their servitude are banks, conservatism, political and economic liberty, and capitalism – the very agents that could yet free them – rather than the government and academia that shackled them.

I suspect that, deep down in their hearts, many of the OWS protestors are slowly coming to realize their predicament. They’ve been had. Eventually, I expect, they will come to learn the truth about their servitude. I hope that they will still have the strength to resist.

I think that it is safe to say that slavery, not democracy, has been a defining condition for the great majority of human history. This may not be a point stressed in the Orwellian halls of academia that groomed this new government slave class at these students’ own expense, but it is a historical truism, none the less. It would truly be sad if what we are observing at the various OWS rallies around the country and world is simply an age-old historical evil reasserting itself in modern drag. What we are now seeing as the product of the college experience is the emergence of two classes: a wealthy, highly educated ruling class and a subservient, dependent, servant class that got suckered into paying the Liberal/Left ruling class to deprive it of intellectual and economic choices under the Orwellian guise of “freedom”. The Liberal/Left has done a bang-up job of severely crippling a generation of our children. I would be hard-pressed to conceive of  a more gross corruption of the American ideal.

I hope that I am wrong. What do you think?


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  • RigelDog

    You expressed this perfectly.  I, too, have been especially unhappy about all of the young people who are planning to have a career working for a non-profit. One of my kids is in college, and one in high school, so college and career are subjects that come up almost every day with my friends and colleagues.  Most of these friends are professionals—lawyers and judges—and have very high-achieving children.  Over and over again, I hear that these children are majoring in things like international relations, anthropology, english, gender studies…and their goal is to “work for a non-profit,” or maybe in a university setting in connection with diversity efforts.  At first I doubted that they would have jobs, but then I began to worry that they would.  With all of these relatively wealthy and politically influential people wanting their kids to be employed, there will continue to be tremendous pressure to keep and to expand these types of organizations.   

  • JKB

    You are on the money. Student loan debt has already been used as a premise for a blue novel Emily’s Debt eBook: JJ Argus: 
    In the very near future, where failing to pay student loan debts is a crime, Emily is in big trouble. She has a large student loan and no job. She’s heard, of course, that student loan debtors weren’t sent to jail. Instead, they’re rented by the government to corporations and businesses so that their work can help pay off their student debts. But renting becomes purchasing, and crafty lawyers and greedy companies turn student debt bondage into slavery with hardly anyone paying attention. Now, sold to a former classmate, a sadistic lawyer eager to test the boundaries of the law, Emily is a non-person, purchased property. And if her owner wants her to be nude in public, wants to walk her on all fours on a leash, well, it’s not like she’s a person any more. Not according to the law for defaulters on student loans. And if he wants to whip her in public, well that’s all right, too. 
    Kenneth Anderson over at Volokh dubbed it “The Story of Owe” 
    Also, check out these maps of college costs by state  Affordable Education for All | Online College Tips – Online Colleges  Look familiar?…ElectoralCollege2008.svg

  • nathan

    The only optimistic point I can make is somebody in that generation will lead a conservative renaissance.


    The Liberal/Left are behavorial addicts and their drug dealer (Washington, DC) has them hook, line and snookered. Since they don’t recognize they have a problem, there cannot be a successful intervention. The only saving grace for the rest of us is their obsessive behavior, – one fraction trying to out-do the next by acting out. Eventually, they will hurt one another due to another DC (diminished capacity).
    Symptoms of behavioral addictions are just as obvious and physical as substance addictions. They include:

    Mood swings
    Gaining a feeling of euphoria from the activity
    Compulsive need to act out the behavior
    Obsessive thinking about and planning the behavior
    Allowing the behavior to take precedence over work, health, and family

  • kali

    DL: Instead, as long as the government holds their debt, it can now dictate how these students will lead their lives in service to their government’s regime goals
    Yep. This was my thought when I first heard the government was taking over the student loan industry–hold the debt, hold the debtor.

  • Zhombre

    That’s a great post, Book.


    That’s a great post, Danny.

  • Ymarsakar

    Like I said, people lacking in the spine category are looking for the security of slave shackles. The thing is, the Demoncrats bypass nasty things like free will and get right to the “security” guarantee.

  • Ymarsakar

    I think if it was up to me, I would have purge the fascists decades ago when they were small and weak. Now it requires almost a revolution to get rid of them now.

  • Michael Adams

    What do I think?  I think that my son, whom I could not afford to send to college, discovered in his first year at Anonymous Private College  that the school squandered money all over the place, charged outrageous tuition, arranged massive student loans to pay it, which would leave him with huge debts, and his girlfriend, soon to be wife, with twice as much debt.
    As soon as they were married, they returned to Austin, where he worked his way through a public college for a Computer Science degree. He has got a pretty good job, is payed rather more than “entry level,” and has no more debt of any kind. He’s pretty sharp, and used his smarts to get to this present happy condition.  Did I mention that he was his high school’s valedictorian?  Well, did I mention it this month?

  • Ymarsakar

    Adams, college campuses are run much like a socialist state behind the Iron Curtain. People tried to get out when they realized what they were living in. That is, until the state figured out they could stomp on people and prevent them from leaving.

    One campus, for example, has a semester wide parking fee and various miscellaneous costs. Even if you don’t drive or have a car, they’ll charge you to pay for others. And the misc costs go into clubs or free food and parties hosted on campus to whomever has the political capital to attend meetings and lobby for it.

    Campuses, you see, are a way to indoctrinate kids because the very mechanism they use is socialist and totalitarian in nature. You don’t have a choice of “I don’t drive, so I won’t pay the price for parking”. You have no choice. It’s automatically part of the price along with tuition. Almost book publishers for textbooks have figured out that once the campus adopts the book, every student has to go out and purchase that new edition as well. It’s not a choice. It’s mandatory to attend the session. And book publishers see this as a gravy train and have editions out every day, they just switch the homework problems and solutions around a bit.

     Hey, free money from the government and scholarships right? Who’d refuse it.


    Federal student loans began in 1958 under the U.S. National Defense Education Act.

    Private student loans began in 1965 and were guaranteed to lenders by the federal government.

    Harvard Tuition 1965: $1,760 and the same tuition today: $45,000+. An excellent example of don’t look a federal gift horse in the mouth.


  • 11B40


    In an odd kind of way, your focus on the economic effects of debt on liberty made me feel a bit better.  I was leaning toward the OWSs being startup boot camps for Obama’s Brown Shirts.   

  • Charles Martel

    I used to live in a duplex. The husband of the couple who lived below was a house painter. The dashboard on his work truck was piled high with various opinion magazines, science publications, classic novels, and books by philosophers and theologians of all stripes. He was a voracious reader, an intensely curious man, and a delight to talk to. He was not formally educated, that is, he didn’t have a $150,000 credential that mommy, daddy and the U.S. taxpayer paid for. But hands down (aside from me), he was the most interesting man in the neighborhood.
    I agree with Ymarsakar, that “education” in this country is a mostly means of control. The ditzes who think that means control by Christians or capitalists are too dense to see what’s really at work: Most “educated” minds in the country are in thrall to bullshit philosophies like Marxism and “diversity” that are intended to create enslaved reactionaries who will acquiesce to the slow diminution of freedom and wealth in the name of equality.

  • Mike Devx

    Sadie in #11: Harvard Tuition 1965: $1,760 and the same tuition today: $45,000+.

    Even taking inflation into account, that’s crazy!  Rough-estimating the effect of inflation and taking a worst-case of prices doubling due to inflation every fifteen years:
    1965: 1760
    1980: 3520
    1995: 7040
    2010: 14,080

    I think you’d expect, at worst, something around $14,000 due merely to inflation.

    So, yes, college costs are way out of whack.


    You’d think with a $26 billion endowment fund, Harvard is stealing tuition. I just looked at the costs for Penn State $21,000/yr and even a local community college is around $9,000. They’re all out of whack, but my point was and is … the rising costs are a result of private and federal loans to students. I did little fishing around on other basics, cars, homes, gas and those three items came up ten-fold (i.e. average price of a  house in 1965 $20,000 today $200,000). The one and most important one was salary averaging about $6,000 in 1965 and today $40,000.

  • Ymarsakar

    11B: they’d be pretty easy targets for us if that was true. What makes brownshirts like Black Panther/TSA officials solid is their authority, and less their actual skills.


  • kali

    Sadie: the rising costs are a result of private and federal loans to students

    Providing yet another datum that when you subsidize something, you raise the price.

  • 11B40


    Back in the early ’70s, I was working with a guy who was on an internship from Yale University. In one of our discussions, about paying for his education, he mentioned that Yale had a program in which a student could contract to pay the University 2 or 3% of his annual income for the rest of his life in lieu of paying tuition. The Yalie was a pretty responsible young man (he rowed lightweight crew which is a lot of hard work without much of a fan base) but I have never come across any other mention of that alternative.

    As SADIE mentioned above, schools with large endowments would probably have the wherewithal to make such a program work. I’m sure somewhere there’s an otherwise not totally utilized administrator who could figure out the future value of such an income stream.  

    The problem I have with the current student loan approach goes back to my initial attempt at a college education. Back then a scholarship was for scholarship; no really good grades and college boards, no cash on the barrel-head. The “athletic scholarship” was so designated because the scholarship was at best suspect. When the “wealth redistributors” inserted themselves into the process the scholarship morphed into “financial aid” and subsequently, and even worse, “student loans”. As with the recent housing bust, the market was expanded and the government inserted itself still farther into the education industry. Funds now became available based on socio-economic status with no real basis in prior scholarship or likelihood of repayment.

    I got my proverbial B.A. in Psychology from Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York in 1976. Those were the waning days of New York City’s “Open Enrollment” program/fiasco. At the time, students paid an $80 per semester fee for as many courses as you could register for. There were a couple of other minor fees, but there was no cause and effect result based on prior scholarship, a kind of first come first served system of resource allocation. The common semester experience, heightened in the higher level courses, was a class started off with 30 or so students and by midterms was down to 15 or 20. This was not a totally bad thing as i was able to take good advantage of the increased instructor access, but in terms of the University’s fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers to make good use of their scarce resources, the grade would have been a less than gentlemanly “D”. A municipal educational asset that had existed for a several generations was basically driven into the ground by subservience to the “redistributive” ideology. Those 10 or 15 students per class who went MIA were people who probably either shouldn’t have been admitted in the first place or who should have been culled from the University and the taxpayers’ largese. For them, the University has become a social playpen, heavily subsidized by others, that allowed them to cover themselves in the status of “going to college”. 

    Entitlement and false status are but signposts on the Road to Serfdom.