It never has.
“But what about the 13th Amendment? It clearly abolishes slavery.”
It clearly does not.
Now you may be wondering: “Has North lost his revisionist mind?” No; I have merely read the text. But, unlike most people, I read what it says, not what high school history and civics teachers say it says.
What does it say?
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Whenever you see the word “except,” pay very close attention.
Fact: It is not unconstitutional to sell a person into slavery to raise money for him to pay the victims of his crimes.
“What? Victim’s rights? What wild judicial idea is this? Why, a criminal must pay his debt to society! We all know this.”
Here is the logic of this argument. The criminal owes a debt to society. As universally interpreted, this means that he owes prison time to the State.
Where did this idea come from? It’s not in the Bible, whose concept of civil government rests on the idea of victim’s rights. I wrote a book on this in 1990, which you can download for free: Victim’s Rights.
“Wait a minute! Are you saying that the various levels of civil government should shut down prisons and re-institute slavery?” Yes, I am. That’s what the U.S. Constitution authorizes.
I am saying that slavery in the private sector is better for the victims and the criminals than slavery in the public sector, which is what prisons are. Slavery in the public sector is inherently unproductive.
“But society needs to be protected!” Indeed, it does. First and foremost, it needs to be protected from the messianic State.
The actual text of the 13th amendment is rarely discussed in public, and never in public school textbooks. Why not? Because the text of the 13th Amendment flies in the face of the idea of the messianic State, the State that promises to make bad men good and good men better. The therapeutic state is the modern concept of the State. C. S. Lewis called this the humanitarian theory of punishment. He regarded it as a moral monstrosity, which is exactly what it is. The idea that someone should be sold into slavery, where he can earn his way out — the biblical system — is an affront to the defenders of the messianic State. “Criminals must pay their debts to society — at taxpayers’ expense!”
So, we have a gigantic prison industry, where taxpayers are charged on average about $29,000 a year to house criminals. (In New York City, where everything costs more, it’s about $168,000 a year.) Here, young people learn new trades from skilled professionals. When released, they go back into the job market as trained criminals.
This comes as a shock to those who defend prisons rather than slavery. So, they call for more of the same: longer sentences.
I prefer the Constitutional solution: slavery.
Yet they call me a revisionist! Why? Because I say: “Go back to the text.”
If all this comes as new information to you, then the public schools have done their number on you. The private schools have done much the same. Basically, you are Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.