I think most of us can remember getting caught in a lie or a deed that got us into trouble. The brain worked feverishly to come up with a suitable excuse while the parent was simply shaking their head in disbelief.
I imagine many slave owners knew in their bones that it was wrong but searched for excuses for their enslavement of people. If we can only come up with reasons why the enslaved is inferior to the enslaver… then we might be able to continue with this business. See scientific racism (Wikipedia).
If I remember history correctly, slavery existed for millennia but, until a few centuries ago, people never came up with the excuse of the slave being inferior — slaves were simply the soldiers and people who had lost the war and therefore became the slaves of the victors.
These days we hear politicians claiming that migrants and immigrants are inferior people, or even criminals. Throughout history animals and humans have migrated. The reasons were droughts or disagreements or simply the search for a different life. Foragers rarely fought and it was more likely that groups would split up and go their different ways. One such splinter group may have led the exodus out of Africa. So, in essence every non African is a migrant.
Many Silicon Valley hotshots own property in New Zealand – Business Insider, Bloomberg, The Guardian. People buy property in coutries to obtain a golden visa. How is that morally superior to a family needing to leave a drought zone, a war zone, or a zone that has no opportunities for their children? And then there is climate change. Shouldn’t the industrial nations, who contributed more to causing climate change, help people displaced by climate change?
I wonder whether, just a few decades from now, history will view the issues surrounding immigrants today as similar to how slavery was once seen. Is migration the new slavery? I was reminded of a sentence I read in the excellent book Grand Hotel Europe, by Ilya Leonard Pfeijffer:
Those who believe they are suffering tend to blame people who are suffering even more. The weak are generally gunning for the even weaker.
Those are two deeply troubling sentences. I have reread them many times and can’t claim that they are wrong.