Slavery Is Alive and Well

Methinks it must be time to fight the Second War of Southern Secession. How else can you explain the fact that slavery is still alive and well in 2002? It's amazing'and one of the best-kept secrets around.

I don't live anywhere near what most Americans would consider to be the South, so southern California will just have to suffice for the next phase of the American struggle to escape the tyranny of the State. So be it.

I am a public high school teacher with my own personal slave. I didn't used to have one, but I have one now. For years I resisted, refusing to play the game, up until last year. My position was one of principle. I believed that students should enroll in a class to learn something useful instead of signing on as a personal slave for me. After all, I am a free man, why shouldn't the students be free also? Why would anyone need (or want to be) a slave? Obviously, I still had much to learn about government schools.

Slaves were everywhere. They often roamed the campus in packs'just like chain gangs'under the scrutiny of campus supervisors with their whistles and sunglasses, held together by nothing more than their indentured status. They made pickups and deliveries, they shuffled papers, they made copies, and they sorted things. They were unpaid workers who willingly engaged in child slavery, often with the approval of their parents. It was disgusting, or so I thought at the time.

My spirit was still willing, but after six years the flesh finally yielded. I succumbed to the status quo at my school. I did what almost all teachers eventually do, I accepted my very own personal slave. Of course, government schools call them something else since slave is not politically correct, but it is an apt description of the situation. Suddenly, I had a TA (teacher's assistant), but only for one period per day. Jason was young, trainable, and a volunteer, just like many Americans stuck in the gaping maw of Leviathan.

It was an odd and eerie situation from the onset. I didn't quite know what to do with him since I had never had a slave before. I wasn't sure I was even going to like it, but it didn't take me long to figure it out. Suddenly, my to-do list grew much longer since I could now delegate many things to my slave. I also had much more time to spend online, doing all of those critical things, you know, like checking my email and reading the news. While my slave was working up a sweat, I was free to think up new and ingenious ways to extract my pound of flesh from him when he returned. It's good to be the king.

You might wonder why any student would volunteer to be a slave. It's easy to explain, really. They get credit for it just as if they had enrolled in a regular class. Attendance is taken, they are marked absent if they don't show up, and they get a grade for every semester. Given the choices of taking AP Government, Modern World History, or being a TA, this is a no-brainer for most high school students. In fact, these positions are highly regarded and actively sought by many students every semester. They will run up to you in the hallway, breathless, begging you to take them on as your TA. It's really an amazing sight to behold. Many are crushed when you say no, before they scurry away in search of another potential master.

They are being trained as future citizens, willing and subservient to the almighty State. The unstated message is very real: you can get something for (almost) nothing, but only if you play the game by surrendering your freedom first. Just like the IRS, BATF, DEA, FBI, CIA, and TSA. It's endemic, pervasive, and insidious.

This year, I requested a TA for a specific period, but I was also selective. I turned away several volunteers because they did not meet my requirements. I didn't want just anyone; they had to be one of my students, not an unknown quantity from among the rabble. The result was that I went without, for all of three days. Then the system took over. It provided me with a student who was pressed into servitude.

Since I had requested a TA, the system was going to ensure that I received one, no matter what. The 'voluntary' nature of the system flew right out the window. Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth walked into my classroom and announced that she was my new slave for the semester, whether or not she wanted to be.

Suddenly, it hit me; I had become part of the problem. I had surrendered my principles, which had resulted in Elizabeth involuntarily losing her freedom, and all because I had simply requested a TA. I was thunderstruck and embarrassed.

There are several lessons to be learned here: a) there really are no free lunches, b) government schools teach our students many things, including that the State is supreme, not the individual, and c) slavery is alive and well in my government school, much to my chagrin.

Only in America, land of the . . . .

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Joe Blow is a privacy advocate with proven subspecialties in strategic planning.  Note: Pirate Poop is now a free newsletter, available by email only. Send all subscription requests to