St. Clare believes that slavery is a sick, evil system that degrades both slave and master. The slaves have to be kept in a state of degradation, he says, or they would rebel against the harsh way they are treated and gain their freedom. Because of this, they are kept...
St. Clare believes that slavery is a sick, evil system that degrades both slave and master. The slaves have to be kept in a state of degradation, he says, or they would rebel against the harsh way they are treated and gain their freedom. Because of this, they are kept ignorant and coarse, without any education, whipped and brutalized, used with cruelty and without love or compassion. Yet at the same, they live in close quarters with their masters, and with the children of their masters, who are infected and brutalized by their contact with them. As he puts it:
The land groans under it; and, bad as it is for the slave, it is worse, if anything, for the master. It takes no spectacles to see that a great class of vicious, improvident, degraded people, among us, are an evil to us, as well as to themselves. ... They are in our homes; they are the associates of our children, and they form their minds faster than we can; for they are a race that children always will cling to and assimilate with. If Eva, now, was not more angel than ordinary, she would be ruined. We might as well allow the small-pox to run among them, and think our children would not take it, as to let them be uninstructed and vicious, and think our children will not be affected by that. Yet our laws positively and utterly forbid any efficient general educational system, and they do it wisely, too; for, just begin and thoroughly educate one generation, and the whole thing would be blown sky high. If we did not give them liberty, they would take it.
Augustine also states that any person with any kind of will or natural "aristocracy," and also low-minded, cruel, vicious people who are given total power over another person's life and encouraged to use that person for their own convenience—to make them work so they can live in ease, to lie down in puddle so that they can step on them and keep their shoes dry—will be brutalized into a despot. Slavery, according to St. Clare, ruins almost everyone it touches.