Monday, March 23, 2009

Around the world, children work without pay and without promises. Toddlers make rugs, using hot oil to sear shut their cuts because their captors won't let them use a bandage. Did you buy something today that was made by a slave? Boys as young as five carry automatic weapons into the forest to fight in wars they know nothing about. Girls only nine sit in guarded rooms awaiting the day they have worked off the money their captors paid their parents for them. The dealers usually assured the parents that the little girls would not be used in the sex trade, and showed them booklets about trade schools, saying they wanted workers for office jobs where the young trainees would end up as executives or at least skilled office workers. All lies; the children never sleep, they live for the day they get out and no one will ever touch them again. But that too is a false hope. They will have no other work experience.
Slavery happens in China, in India, in many African countries, in Thailand, in the USA. The two biggest factors that contribute to it are poverty and governmental repression. In China, most slaves are prisoners, many of them prisoners of conscience. Thousands are in prison for being Christians. They are worked to death for going to church.
The way to stop slavery is to stop poverty and governmental repression. If parents don't have to sell a child to feed another child, they won't. No one would do that without a reason. To stop poverty, we have to support economic development, and to do that, we have to support economic freedom. Economies blossom when inventors can be rewarded for inventing and investors for investing, right down to the smallest and newest ones. Sall investors are people who get micro-business loans, like two hundred dollars for a goat or a few hundred for a row of fruit trees. These are good for the environment and the economy, as well as social life, by bringing resources into communities, and they help end slavery. If you can, check out my blogroll for ways to support micro business loans and gifts for poor countries. If not, perhaps you can afford to buy from such small business owners and give some wedding, birthday and Christmas gifts this year that reflect your belief in freedom.
Governmental repression goes hand-in-hand with foundering economies; each feeds the other. Insecure people are less likely to stand up for freedom and less able to do much about it. Unfree people have few opportunities to invest, build, invent, improve and create new wealth.
The best way to defend freedom everywhere is to defend it wherever you go -- and wherever you live.
Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Central America, Australia, Asia and the rest of you out there, I'm talking to you now. Your freedom will lighten others' shackles. Your chains will weigh down the free. Don't give up your freedom to speak, start a business, worship, ride a bicycle, use a public restroom in privacy, own a home-defense weapon, own a pet or wear a pair of pants without a major outcry. It affects everyone else too.
As for those of you who are about to ask why I'm for freedom to do such things but not to abort a child, it's for the same reason I object to the "freedom" to own a slave: Cruelty isn't part of freedom. Cruelty infringes on other people's freedom. One person's right to punch the air ends where another person's face begins. It's basic decency. One person's right to "choose" ends the second another person's life begins, and starts again when the more vulnerable person is safely out of harm's way.

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