On The Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery by Volney Gay

slaverycover5Final.jpg
slaverycover5Final.jpg

On The Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery by Volney Gay

35.00

From the Preface to  On The Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of  American Slavery: 

This book is a study of the pleasures that slavery gives to owners. This is a demanding, if not an unfathomable topic that rests upon a simple, self-evident truth. The unfathomable part is because slavery seems remote from us now in the 21st century we struggle to imagine its workings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The self-evident truth is that millions of Americans, over a span of nearly four centuries, owned slaves because they wished to. They actively chose and maintained a way of life which they felt merited protection and permanency. A small number of these people were sociopathic, most likely between 2 and 4 percent, the usual norm for large populations.[i] Most were not. Indeed, outstanding persons, among them undoubted geniuses like Thomas Jefferson, engaged in slavery all their lives. It is difficult to understand sociopathic persons, but the vast majority of owners were like you and me, normal. Great men who laid the foundations of American freedom defended to their graves the institution of slavery. This book addresses three questions: what were these pleasures; how did freedom-loving, American Christians explain ownership to themselves; how did they defend themselves against this double contradiction?

[i] Buckels, Erin E., Paul D. Trapnell, and Delroy L. Paulhus. "Trolls just want to have fun." Personality and individual Differences 67 (2014): 97-102. They conclude, "Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism" p. 97.

Two early comments on this book:

Volney Gay's central thesis that slaveowners took pleasure in owning slaves provides fertile ground for future scholars and artists to till. This is a necessary book, born out of Gay's experience as psychoanalyst practicing for three decades in the South. This volume will provoke significant conversations; it provides a new lens to examine events, artifacts, and writings from the antebellum South. -- Alice Randall author of The Wind Done Gone

Fascinating and original. It is consistent with two observations I make as a teach of ethics: most people do what they want to do as often as they can; most people also need a view of themselves as morally good to sustain themselves, and will go to great lengths to confirm this self-righteousness. Volney Gay's book is in a noble tradition of uncomfortable truths.  --  Larry R. Churchill, Ph.D., Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

 

Quantity:
Add To Cart