Picture of the Day for May 19, 2015: Actress & Activist Mira Sorvino on the Bible and Slavery

Posted by Elaine Magliaro


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15 Responses to Picture of the Day for May 19, 2015: Actress & Activist Mira Sorvino on the Bible and Slavery

  1. michaelbeaton says:

    you find this,then, of particular interest vis a vis this thought …. hitchens rethinks the 10 commandments….

  2. john johnson says:

    Thou shalt not rape. Why is that not a commandment.

  3. john johnson says:

    Why is not swearing a commandment?

  4. john johnson says:

    Why is going to church a commandment and kidnapping not a commandment?

  5. john johnson says:

    How far do I need to take this before you see just how stupid this quote is?

  6. john johnson says:

    Not only is she stupid Mira Sorvino is a bad actress.

  7. Elaine M. says:

    Is there a commandment requiring church attendance?

  8. Sounds like someone is jealous of the Academy Award.

    (A shoutout to pete!)

  9. bron98 says:


    is just another name for peter, now if you were peter Johnson you would be redundant, so it is a good thing your mother called you john although she or your father didn’t have much imagination or were just plain lazy. I mean really, john Johnson? if it is a sock puppet then you lack imagination.

    phil mcracken
    Helen bedde
    peter fitznizentite
    barry mahogenewe

    please feel free to use those.

  10. How about Richard Head (in the diminutive NICKname)?

  11. Another picture of the day to compliment Elaine’s pic.

  12. “P.S. Did you ever notice that Peter O’Toole has a double-phallic name?” – Groucho Marx, letter to Dick Cavett, date unknown

  13. Really isn’t the whole idea of ownership a little strange? It is a social construct, but is it a real thing? There seems to be an element of perpetuity to it that is contrary to a mortal existence. “You can’t take it with you” the old saw goes. Just ask the Pharaohs. What gives someone the right to determine devolutionary disposition? Alienation? Nothing more than social construct. Others agree that “you own something” and that ownership comes with certain legal rights – legal mind you, not natural rights. At the state of nature the only thing one owns is one’s self and what one can keep from the dominion of others by force. Society develops rules to protect these rights: contracts, title, etc. Society also develops methods to resolve disputes regarding these legal rights: Imperial fiat, courts, covenants, etc. Private property is clearly a social construct.

    But a social construct to what end? The perhaps not so obvious reason is economics. No system of exchange can exist without the concepts of “yours” and “mine”, not even simple barter. The notion of private property has been with us for a long time and like any custom that has existed for a long time eventually seems natural and necessary to us. Since the idea is critical to modes of exchange, a non-violent mode of exchange is required for civilized economic activity and that economic activity both drives innovation and redistributes (no matter how inefficiently) goods to where they are needed (in contrast to merely desired), it becomes apparent that some form of ownership is a requisite of civilization. However, the practice of slavery illustrates why there has to societal limits to the idea of ownership and by extension limits to permitted economic behaviors if liberty and inherent natural rights are a valuable consideration, arguendo lets assume that they are. Let us also assume the fact that Justice Holmes was on to a basic truth when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Your rights end where others rights begin and vice versa. This can lead to conflict and that conflict arises over quality of ownership. In title disputes, the role of the court is to decide which party has superior claim to a piece of property. That in itself is a problematic notion. You are asserting that one parties rights trump another parties rights. So long as that assertion has a rational basis, say superior rights gained through an exchange of greater value, then a just outcome can be had (albeit one that might not please every party). But what about situations where superior rights not only have no rational basis but eliminate someone’s natural rights? That is what slavery does. It allows one person to exercise complete control over another at the expense of that other person’s natural rights related to self-determination.

    This kind of injustice which is unjust merely by operation and definition has been found ethically untenable in modern society and as such slavery is generally illegal worldwide now. That does not mean it does not continue as a practice in the shadow world of criminal trade. If I had the mind to, the money to and the contacts to acquire a 16 year old sex slave, I could buy one today.

    This leads to a question that is often posed here in relation to scientific discovery and applied sciences – just because you can do something, does it follow that you should do it? This question applies not only to the individual but to society as a whole.

    There clearly needs to be restrictions on permissible economic activity to protect individual natural rights. You can’t reasonably argue an ethical case for slavery. But what about other forms of ownership currently allowed such as testamentary devolution of real property? There is evidence that past a certain point such devolution actually has a restrictive economic effect. Should such exchanges be permissible? They might infringe upon an individual but is the social cost of maintaining such a right quite too high for society as a whole; it creates concentrations of wealth that foster various forms of oligarchy and oppression of both persons and systems in undesirable ways.

    What is my point here? It is quite simple really. The notion of ownership needs to be better refined to balance out the rights of the one versus the rights of the many. When it is severely unbalanced, you get ideas like slavery being acceptable, but it can be damaging to society in other ways that may not be so readily apparent. We need markets free enough to foster innovation and distribute goods but that freedom should not allow for economic tyranny in any form. The foundation of our form of government as found in the Declaration is the usurpation of tyranny. You cannot address the issue of economic tyranny – be it slavery, “campaign finance” or the concentration of wealth – without first addressing the underpinning of it all.

    The idea of ownership itself in the context of both the individual and society as a whole.

  14. po says:

    Interesting breakdown, Gene…
    I do not know how the first instance of slavery occurred, but I am willing to bet my freedom that it is the direct result of warfare.
    I suspect that slavery started with females and children, for their men were massacred, the women were then taken as sex and domestic slaves.
    As societies became more sedentary, larger, more structured and more leisurely, and food production became more regimented, slaves became a necessary component of society, leading to men, women, children and even old people becoming more valuable alive than dead.
    I think that ownership, specifically the ownership of persons is a direct result of societal evolution, and a remnant of the rule of force, the law of possession. He who possess owns!

    Adding to your point above, the whole idea of American exceptionalism rests on such law of possession, if not law of might. Whether colonialism or military/economic imperialism, the act of occupying, of taking, of using, of discarding, all of those are an extension/new form of slavery and all of those rest on the belief that one owns more than others.
    Which brings us to socialism…if not downright communism! Just kidding, Bron!

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