February 3, 2009
Our Indentured Servanthood ReturnethBy Lee Cary
Everything old is new again. Indentured servitude helped build America. It threatens to return as we undo the gift of liberty that was our inherited posterity. The nation itself will indentured to massive debt, if the Senate approves the stimulus bill.
The 111th Congress is poised to extend the timeline of America's debt bondage to firmly indeterminate, as we return to our past and become ever more a nation of indentured servants.
Our Senators and Representatives are reenacting the role of the ship captains and English merchants who slid indenture contracts across tables to be signed by economically desperate people in exchange for their shipboard passage to the Colonies.
Their signatures, often merely an X, committed them to a perilous eight-to-twelve weeks sea journey followed by four-to-seven years of service to masters, often a large Colonial landowner, perhaps a Virginia or Maryland tobacco planter, who purchased their certificates upon their arrival here. A 17th Century form of derivative.
Indentured servants first arrived in America soon after the Virginia Company settled Jamestown in 1607. Many came in the wake of The Thirty Years' War to escape Europe's depressed economy. Estimates of their numbers suggest that,
The individual fates of indentured servants depended, in large part, on who bought their indenture certificate. Some families were split out among different landowners. More than a few were harshly treated by masters not of their choosing.
Indentured servants were bound, not by chains of slavery, but by chains of debt. Africans first came to America as indentured servants, not as slaves. In time, though, landowners turned to slavery as a more cost-effective and renewable labor source.
Now, in the 21st Century, we're moving the clock of our history backward as the National Debt clock stood yesterday at about $10,644,049,223,482. But since it's not a static number, that's not the accurate figure as you read this. It increases over $3,000,000,000 each day.
National Debt passed the $7 trillion mark on January 15, 2005. It eclipsed $8 trillion on October 18, 2006. The 2009 Federal Budget deficit, plus the 2008 bailout package, plus the proposed stimulus bill, will take us into the neighborhood of $13 trillion. (Add to that the talk of a new multi-trillion TARP expenditure and zeros are in danger of becoming the next endangered species.)
It's a big neighborhood, whatever the number. How it splits out, who owes who what, is complex and ugly. One giant, financial Frankenstein, growing ever larger, and more dangerous.
We wring our hands and wonder aloud how our grandchildren will pay it off. The answer is - They won't. They can't.
We'll not leave them a legacy of debt to be paid but a fate of indentured servanthood of indeterminate length. Future generations of Americans will be increasingly more subject to the masters who will define their terms of indenture. Those masters, within and outside our borders, hold our children's indenture certificates.
As a candidate, President Barack Hussein Obama's Plan for America (p.28) promised to:
That same document quotes his March 13, 2006 speech to the U.S. Senate:
More Obama doublethink.
Quadrillion comes after trillion.