We are all slaves. We often overlook the meaning of the word slave. We most often connect it with Africans enslaved by Europeans and brought to foreign lands to work against their will. While this was indeed an atrocity, and it’s since been abolished; there is still slavery that runs rampant in the world. No matter how developed a country or nation may seem, all of its citizens are slaves. In the very land that preaches freedom and democracy, we are still slaves. This type of statement would normally have most people up in arms that I’d overlook the sinister history of slavery and go as far as saying that we are all slaves. If we would all put our bickering aside and stop conflicting with each other, we would be able to see what I’m talking about.

The modern slaveholder holds no whip or calls their slaves by a slur or remark. The modern slaveholder does not even have a face with which to look his slaves in the eye. When I say that we are all slaves, I want to focus on the definition of the word slave according to Merriam-Webster. A slave is a person held in servitude to the chattel of another. This means that a slave is someone commanded to do something in subservience to a dominant power. If our everyday lives were to be analyzed closely, we can see that we are all held as slaves. Every person that claims citizenship in a country is required to pay taxes. We are all required to pay for a place to stay. We have to pay for food, water and anything else under the sun except the air; but that’s just because they haven’t figured out a way to calculate the rates. How do we afford it? By working 40 hours a week and earning your daily bread. People would argue that it’s not slavery at all. We’re being compensated for it! Yes, you are being compensated for it. But you still have to hand off that money in some way or the other and you still have to do something you have no real desire to do. We do all of this just so that someone all the way up on the corporate food chain can profit off of you and keep himself in power so that he can keep you enslaved.

We are even slaves to each other. Are the words that we speak not dictated by social environments? If we’re amongst the elderly, would you dare to utter such dirty speech that you expel when you’re with friends? Men feel pressure to act overly masculine when there’s no need for competition, but they are incited to do so because of the norms set by our peers. Women feel the need to look prettier than their affiliates when there’s also no need for competition. We’re slaves to norms that have been set since before we were born.

We’re even slaves to the media. The left tells us that we should accept everyone and that social programs are beneficial, while the right tells us that we shouldn’t let people marry others because of their beliefs and that corporations are great. We cling to these ideals and are held as slaves to them, only to bicker with the opposing slaves.

Instead of living independently, we choose to let ourselves be subdued by all of these social shackles. Some say freedom and order cannot coexist, and they are right. It’s because our minds are enslaved to think so. Instead of helping the community grow as well as lead lives as individuals in our own spheres, we are divided by all of the slaveholders. While we can blame “the man” all we want, the fault lies in ourselves for allowing this subservience to persist when it’s clearly visible and we can stop it. It’s truly tragic.