An Interview with… – Issue 19

AN INTERVIEW WITH: WILLIAM WILBERFORCE  – ABOLITION OF SLAVERY DRIVER.

Eds: Evening, Wilbur.

WW: I beg your pardon. Address me as Mr. Wilberforce, if you please.

Eds: Sorry, I just thought we were equals, you know, given your historical credentials.

WW: That’s as maybe but there’s no call for informal impertinence.

Eds: Indeed, Mr W. Now, how did you become champion of the liberation of slaves?

WW: One morning, while ingesting my quail eggs, I was struck by Christ. Not literally you understand, as that would contradict his very meaning. No, Christ’s teachings helped me realise that treating human beings as commodities, especially for economic and political expediency, is morally wrong.

Eds: You spent a lot of time campaigning for slavery’s abolition. One might say you worked slavishly.

WW: Very droll. Everyone is a comedian today. I have noticed that satire has replaced the spirit of rebellion, which is what I and a few Christian souls were back then, rebels.

Eds: How do you assess the modern social and political conditions?

WW: I would again be a rebel as the political climate is once more one of such subjugation, commodification and exploitation. Your social hierarchy resembles that of my day.

Eds: Really, but we have much more freedom than in your day.

WW: Are you sure? The tenure of labour is similar to my day, especially your preoccupation with unquestioned productivity: it is a slave driver par excellence.

Eds: No French, please, we’re British.

WW: Irrational. As I was saying, the application of logic that derives solely from economic and social power is merely a better developed slave mentality. High-Tech hides the chains that is all. Its essence is based on self-appointed superiority, institutionalised in the so- called economic truths that are akin to religiosity.

Eds: Don’t be so vague, Mr W.

WW: If you get any more droll you’ll be on benefits. Christianity is dead in your society. Charities are merely self-aggrandising shows in the absence of true compassion for suffering. After all, productivity demands suffering as it is conceptually exploitative and dehumanising in Christian terms.

Eds: How so?

WW: The market as you call it is an equivalent of the tablets received from God. The atheistic and nihilistic economist view puts its faith in diktats that should be rationally negotiable. Christianity on the other hand can be tangible in social and political structures as if it were more than mere lip service faith in the random unknown.

Eds: Mmmm?

WW: Also, look at the reaction today, media and power brokers foster an environment that now sees even moderate liberalism as leftist anti-capitalism. As if this relocated political position is heresy and unchristian, when the opposite is closer to the truth. It is clear that extended enfranchisement of the populace has done nothing for democracy without the extension rather than atrophying of Christian clear sense of fairness. Indeed the bad faith in volunteerism as encouraged by those who do not believe in humanity’s capacity for charitable acts, sees the commercialisation of that spirit and the proliferation of charities as companies who see gift as cheap resource to maximise the profit of the organisation, without the safeguards that would see the charitable basis of giving eradicating the need for aid rather than the continuing and growing dependency of those in need to those who have more to give and more to keep as a return on their ‘investment’ in the charity.

In a real sense all those at the wrong end of the power framework, and this includes the most vulnerable that charity claims to help, are made slaves to the growing corporate mentality that sees big business and wealthy individuals as the most worthy charitable donors, when in reality it is because of their attitude and often deeply held belief in their own importance and superiority over those less valuable to the corporate societies. Noblesse Oblige was and is not good enough.

Eds: Thank you, Mr W. That was…interesting but we only have a page spare.

WW: More evidence of the superficiality of your modernity.

Eds: It’s time to leave now Mr W. The lights are being switched off.

WW: Well, you did ask. Goodnight, God bless and don’t let the industrialists bite.

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