What is Voluntary Servitude?
“Voluntary servitude” refers to what is commonly known as a slave mentality.
Some may think that it has nothing to do with them.
However, in reality, a slave mentality is pervasive in Japanese society.
To the extent that it can be likened to an ideal communist state, it is a favorable situation for dictators.
In this article, let’s contemplate the concept of voluntary servitude (i.e., a slave mentality).
Summary of “Discourse on Voluntary Servitude” (Étienne de La Boétie)
La Boétie (Étienne de La Boétie) was a French philosopher who wrote “Discours de la servitude volontaire” (Discourse on Voluntary Servitude) in the 16th century.
This work is considered an important document in political philosophy and the concept of freedom.
Below is an overview of the content of this work.
Reflections on Voluntary Servitude:
La Boétie questions why people willingly abandon their freedom and submit to those in power, seeking to explore the reasons behind this phenomenon. He points out that relinquishing freedom leads individuals into miserable situations.
Reasons for Voluntary Servitude:
La Boétie identifies the presence of fear instigated by those in power as a key factor. He points out that by arousing fear, rulers can maintain their dominance and induce obedience from the people.
Contradiction with Social Contract Theory:
In contrast to social contract theory, where people supposedly enter into a contract with rulers by relinquishing their freedom, voluntary servitude does not involve contractual submission but is based on fear imposed by those in power. La Boétie argues that this goes against the principles of social contract theory.
Condemnation of Rulers:
La Boétie highlights that rulers dominate people for their own benefit, jeopardizing the freedom of individuals. He asserts that people can resist rulers and emphasizes the need for action to regain freedom.
Necessary Conditions for Sustaining Voluntary Servitude:
In addition to the fear imposed by rulers, La Boétie points out that self-censorship by the populace, bribery by those in power, and privileges received by the entourage contribute to sustaining voluntary servitude. He argues that overcoming these factors is essential to reclaiming freedom.