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Deprivation of rights under color of law is a well-recognized crime that can only be perpetrated by the agents of government. The wholesale deprivation of rights under cover of law, which we refer to as "slavery" was, of course, entirely legal and even enshrined in the original Constitution. Now, rather than limiting it to people who had been purchased or subjugated by heredity, marriage or birth, the application of that principle across the board is what the originalists are hankering for.

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The rationale for their argument is based on the fact that legal deprivation of rights is a sine qua non of the authority towards which any hierarchy aspires. We can't have a stratified society unless some segment of the population is subjugated and deprived of rights. But, how the composition of that subject population is to be determined poses a conundrum and not just because of the presumption that all men are created equal. Indeed, that apparent impediment has proved quite easy to overcome by simply adding the presumption that all men are equally depraved -- until they are "saved" and demonstrate their state of grace by aspiring to the social heights. In other words, depriving others of their rights and climbing out of the mire on their backs is a sign of virtue. Doing it symbolically, behind the shield of cash, makes it easy to disguise what is really going on.

Cash also makes it somewhat less distasteful. Because, when you come to think of it, humans escaping the mire by consuming their own kind like a swarm of tadpoles on their way to becoming toads and frogs negates all the cognitive powers with which we have been endowed. Talk about primitive. The great apes, being vegetarians, are a huge step up.

What makes a social hierarchy so important that it is worth denigrating the whole human race? What's so great about status and rank? Nothing, perhaps. Perhaps being clothed in cash is just an artifact and what really counts is the climb -- and the destruction of one's own kind along the way. Perhaps what we have here is another example of the journey being more important than the arrival. Perhaps climbing is like being on a treadmill from which there is no exit. Or a gerbil on a wheel. Perhaps we can blame the endorphins that are released in the brain.

Human predators get addicted to power and power, to be felt, has to hurt. So human predators aim to hurt and call it virtue. Because they're not real cannibals. It's all just symbolic. The Last Supper was not final.

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