The Story of Your Enslavement in the Zoo Human

While this certainly has political overtones I think it’s a very worthwhile video to watch from the standpoint of how agriculture has worked to enslave us. It’s narrated by Stefan Molyneux and here’s the link to the text of the video.

This is the story of your enslavement; how it came to be, and you can finally be free.

Like all animals, human beings want to dominate and exploit the resources around them.

At first, we mostly hunted and fished and ate off the land – but then something magical and terrible happened to our minds.

We became, alone among the animals, afraid of death, and of future loss.

And this was the start of a great tragedy, and an even greater possibility…

You see, when we became afraid of death, of injury, and imprisonment, we became controllable — and so valuable — in a way that no other resource could ever be.

The greatest resource for any human being to control is not natural resources, or tools, or animals or land — but other human beings.

Now give it a good viewing. You likely won’t regret it.

Free the [Human] Animal!

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Tweets that mention The Story of Your Enslavement in the Zoo Human | Free The Animal -- on June 2, 2010 at 16:28

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  2. Crystal on June 2, 2010 at 14:46

    Good to see you pimping out Stefan Molyneux’s work from Freedomain Radio. 🙂

  3. Tim Starr on June 2, 2010 at 14:54

    The “tax-farming” metaphor’s good, but completely unoriginal. Unfortunately, there’s also some bad history in the narrative:

    1) The ancient Greco-Roman system wasn’t based upon ownership of the peasantry, it was based upon family farms (at least in Athens & Thebes, not Sparta).

    2) It was the breakdown of the family farm that led to feudalism & the Middle Ages, which was based on serfdom, which was ownership of the peasantry once again by the aristocracy, contrary to Molyneaux’s narrative.

    3) The agricultural revolution didn’t lead to greater productivity w/ less labor on the farms, it led to a population explosion. The migrants to the cities weren’t driven off the farms by improved labor productivity, but by population growth beyond the labor requirements of the farms.

    4) The cities weren’t where the industrial revolution began. That began in the countryside, where the power sources (primarily waterways) needed to drive the machines of the industrial revolution were located. The industrial revolution consisted large in transporting the increased produce of the agricultural revolution and the increased raw materials and manufactured goods produced by the industrial revolution to the cities, via the new transport channels (canals first, then roads, then railways).

  4. Jamie on June 2, 2010 at 17:24

    I was thinking how very Matrixesque… then I heard the last line!

    Will have to dig The Matrix out for another watch this weekend!

  5. Silviu on June 2, 2010 at 17:50

    Sad but so true.

  6. Swintah on June 2, 2010 at 18:10

    Does he have a viable alternative to propose?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2010 at 19:31

      Well, Swintah, what do you mean by “viable alternative?”

      See, that raises an immediate question for me: “viable” to whom, and for what purpose? Are you still locked into the notion that others’ lives are basically somewhat yours to dispose of, depending on how things shake out and how you play your neolithic cards?


    • Kevin on June 2, 2010 at 21:36

      Swintah: If you check out the video author’s Youtube page, he’s got many videos on the topic Also, there ‘s a link to his website that has books and podcasts. I’ve been a long time listener myself. It has lots of interesting things to think about. I believe they are viable solutions, but have a look and decide for yourself.

  7. Glenn on June 2, 2010 at 19:03

    I appreciate, and agree with, the overall sentiment, but that was a very simplistic and simple-minded attempt to fit all of human history into a black and white metaphor. I am not livestock, and I don’t think you are either, Richard. There have been a lot of extremely smart people in the history of the world, and incredibly profound ideas, stories, theories, plays, works of art, treatises, philosophical dialogues, and manifestos. This Farmers/Livestock narrative is… well, childish.

    James Madison had a very keen appreciation for how governments can become tyrannical. His solution was to think carefully about human nature, the basis of human rights, and the moral/philosophical basis of a society based on equality and consent. That takes hard intellectual work. Creating a childish storyboard about “human farmers’ and “human livestock” does not–in my opinion–do much to recover the incredibly rich and noble view of human freedom and dignity that animated George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

    • Kevin on June 2, 2010 at 19:31

      If you’re not a slave, try ignoring the tax man and see what happens. No matter what you do you have two choices, be hauled of to jail (or be shot if you resist) or fork over a percentage of your time, effort, and resources to the leaders.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2010 at 19:47


        See this post from 2004. Same blog, different name.

        You’ll get it.

      • Patrick on June 3, 2010 at 05:37

        Unless you make less than a certain amount per year, that is. Then you pay nothing…

        … and if you’re clever you’ll read “make per year” as “claim you earn in the legitimate economy”; I imagine those that make efforts to live outside the system pay little into it, right or wrong.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2010 at 19:42


      And yet in spite of all of it, the cattle and sheep flock to the voting booth — what I might call the slaughterhouse — to get ther 1/300 millionth say in their own affairs.

      Philosophers are cool. I’m a fan with a good bit of layman study. But my blog is Free the ANIMAL for a damn good reason, least ways in my thinking.

    • Rick on June 2, 2010 at 19:53

      Is summoning the founding fathers not creating a childish storyboard?

      • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2010 at 20:56

        Rick, I think they need tombe judged in context. Even considering the original American sin of slavery, it was a huge step forward in terms of the bizarre notion of submitting a government to a code of law.

        And while I’m an anarchist I nonetheless try to understand the historical context of such matters.

      • Rick on June 2, 2010 at 21:28

        I’m not all that interested in judging them, I just think that treating them like Gods is counter-productive.

      • Glenn on June 3, 2010 at 05:42

        “Treating them like Gods…” You got that from my post? I just think that there have been some pretty smart people in the past who thought long and hard about how human beings can co-exist with a reasonable level of peace and justice, and that we can still benefit from their insights. I don’t understand the point of simply dismissing the past, as though there is nothing we can learn from it (a particularly strange position for a paleo to take).
        So Rick, what’s your preferred system of government. Are you an anarchist?

      • Rick on June 3, 2010 at 07:39

        The founding fathers + Lincoln are generally treated like the Gods of our national origin story. Judging by your post, it seems to me that you have bought into these myths. I certainly don’t seek to dismiss the past, just those parts of it I believe to be irrelevant or fantastical.

        I didn’t mean to come after you in particular, perhaps I was venting frustrations from a discussion thread I was involved in last week where God and the Founding Fathers were invoked to justify some pretty childish behavior.

      • chris on June 3, 2010 at 18:08

        In the grand scheme of all of human history the so-called founding fathers were an exceptional group of thinkers and doers. To state otherwise is either disingenuous, or ignorant of the past several millennia of human existence.

        I can’t imagine contemporary American academics and/or cultural theorists putting their lives on the line for the notion of freedom. Washington, et al could have continued to live their lives as high ranking British nobles but chose to risk personal death and familial humiliation out of a sense of liberty. And that Washington walked away from authority in an era of world-wide autocracy is stunning.

  8. Chaohinon on June 2, 2010 at 23:53

    Where does the War on Drugs come from? What about the FDA? The FCC, the CIA, The FBI?

    What about the police and military who never stop hiring, who have a bottomless pit of destructive potential, who are able to continually hire and buy fancy new equipment despite the fact that schools continue to cut their music programs and the job market is shriveling faster than a bare dick in the arctic…

    If we’re not livestock, then where the hell do all of those things come from? The government never produced any of that wealth itself.

    • Tim Starr on June 3, 2010 at 10:46

      The police most certainly do “stop hiring” here in CA. E.g., the Oakland PD is about to lay off about half its cops, which I’m sure will do wonders for Oakland’s crime rate. Meanwhile, the schools and arts programs have locked-in budgets not subject to the city council’s discretion. The same goes for many other cities in CA. You need to catch up w/ current events.

  9. Naomi on June 3, 2010 at 04:24

    There’s just one thing that bugs me about this whole thing. These ‘farmers’ are portrayed as consciously and maliciously manipulating things this way for their own benefit. Don’t know how it is in the states, but politicians here in Holland just don’t seem to be benefiting that much from the taxes. (Let’s just say that if you want to be rich, politics is not the way to go.) They don’t seem all that evil either, most just seem to honestly want to do what’s best for everyone. What they see as best anyway, but it seems genuine 😉
    And afaik we are one of the countries with highest taxes.

    In 1984 the answer is that they do it purely for the power (if I remember correctly), but that just doesn’t seem very plausible either. You don’t seem to get a whole lot of power, even if you end up as our prime-minister.

    • Mike M on June 3, 2010 at 08:37

      In America, many of the politicians do get rich. Either rich relative to the masses (through nice pay which is now higher than the private sector) or outrageously rich by becoming employed by the industry you regulated (check out the revolving door between the Fed and Treasury and firms like Goldman Sachs).

  10. Matthias on June 3, 2010 at 06:12

    I was about to post a comment about this, but then I read Glenn’s comment which I absolutely agree with and actually adressed the subject better than I could and then I also read Naomi’s comment which I agree with, too.

    I do think that almost all politicians start out with good intentions and I do not think at all that they are trying to exploit their livestock and try to keep it under control. This is a paranoid way of looking at things in my opinion. That does not mean that there isn’t a lot going horribly wrong in most governments, but I think there are other reasons for this that cannot be explained with the farmer/livestock analogy. Two things that would come to mind are first that we indeed need to get away from “statism”, because it just is not smart to let a few people decide over the lives of millions of people (this is the part where I agree with the creator of the video). And the second issue is that most political systems are too open for manipulation which pretty much puts rich people and companies in a better position than they should be in.

    • Rick on June 3, 2010 at 07:47

      Most politicians are front-men, propped up to confuse and take abuse from the populace. They are generally handsomely rewarded following their service, provided they serve well and don’t step out of line. These guys aren’t running the show, never have been and never will be.

  11. Xtremum on June 3, 2010 at 06:51

    I don’t comment very often here, but I really found this to be pretty interesting. Maybe it’s my philosophy background. And I don ‘t think anyone, including Richard, is saying that this is the complete end all be all
    view of humanity. What it is is an interesting thought experiment. I didn’t take it to mean that a real group of overseers is literally identifying themselves as farmers and sitting around talking about how to exploit us livestock. But is that what is happening in practice? Maybe. I never really thought about exactly like this before and do find it be a compelling
    narrative. Reminds me of how I felt after reading 1984, although this has a slightly more uplifting ending.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 15:31

      Xtremum, looks like you saw it in the metaphorical sense I did. And I think the metaphor is a powerful one.

      I tend not to take them literally and I’m not as concerned about technical inaccuracies as Tim Starr is. Perhaps that’s my divinity school background coming through.

  12. Elliot on June 3, 2010 at 07:00

    There are some important insights to take from Molyneux’s argument. But there are a number of things I find baseless (or overly simplistic, ignoring critical details). Not to go over the same ground as previous comments, I’ll just point out that this:

    We became, alone among the animals, afraid of death, and of future loss.

    is bullshit. Why do antelopes flee from big cats, if not because they are afraid of death?

    Yes, we are alone among the animals of having a non-trivial capacity for future planning, to include worrying about death or loss months from now if we don’t ensure a food source, shelter from the elements, etc.. But the notion that other animals don’t fear death is over-reaching plain facts.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 07:31

      But Elliot, I think he made that very distinction between immediate fear of death & pain and fear of future death & pain (and loss) as you did.

      • Tim Starr on June 3, 2010 at 10:49

        I didn’t think so. He said that you can’t intimidate non-human animals out of their stuff, but that’s manifestly false. Dogs can be intimidated, and so can most other mammals. Deer and horses are flight animals, they’re scared of almost everything. Cows get scared of you if you don’t walk towards them slowly – and that’s dairy cows that are used to being milked by humans. Either Molyneaux’s never been on a farm, or he didn’t express himself very clearly.

      • bob r on June 3, 2010 at 12:07

        “He said that you can’t intimidate non-human animals out of their stuff, but that’s manifestly false.”

        I watched it a few days ago so I might be misremembering it but I thought he said something more like “you can’t intimidate non-human animals out of their stuff by threatening to do something _next_ week”. I think it incredibly obvious to the most casual of observers that you can intimidate animals “out of their stuff” by threatening _immediate_ action and Molyneaux is hardly a “casual” observer, leading to the conclusion he was not referring to _immediate_ action.

      • Tim Starr on June 3, 2010 at 12:32

        Fortunately, Richard also posted a link to the transcript:

        “You cannot threaten a cow with torture, or a sheep with death.” Um, yes, you can. Electric fences work by threatening cows w/ torture, and animals being brought to slaughter are so frightened of it that they have to be pushed into the abbatoir.

        Q.E.D.: Molyneaux’s either woefully ignorant of animal behavior, or he didn’t express himself clearly enough.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 15:33

        Tim, I think there’s a third alternative that I’ll lay out in a new post.

      • bob r on June 4, 2010 at 11:47

        And the sentence _immediately_ previous to the one you quote (emphasis added):
        “You can frighten an animal, because animals are afraid of pain in the moment, but you cannot frighten an animal with a loss of liberty, or with torture or imprisonment in the future, because animals have very little sense of tomorrow.”

        I think your “Q.E.D” is incorrect: you have not _demonstrated_ any such thing.

      • Tim Starr on June 4, 2010 at 12:07

        If the prospect of future torture didn’t work with cows, then they would repeatedly bump into electric fences, and get shocked away from the fence each time. That’s not what happens. They quickly learn not to approach the fences. (Electric fences get used instead of barbed-wire fences because the cows will lean against the barbed-wire fences and push them down after they learn to tolerate the pain of being pricked by the barbs).

        Cows also learn to expect to be milked at a certain time of day, returning from the pasture to the barn on their own at the same time each day. They couldn’t do this if they had no sense of time, including a sense of the future.

        With my dog, when he needs to go outside & do his business, we can tell him: “Not now, you have to wait,” and he will stop begging to be let out, confident that we will take care of him as soon as we can.

  13. Elliot on June 3, 2010 at 07:06

    Here’s an example of the “evil farmer” in action: FDA Food Fascism

    • Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 07:34

      I tweeted Billy Beck’s post on that yesterday, which was credited at the end of that post. Also tossed it up on the FTA FB page.

      I agree. The arrogance is astounding.

      • Tim Starr on June 3, 2010 at 10:53

        It’s disgusting, all right, but unfortunately it read like a lawyer’s brief based upon current Supreme Court precedent (without the citations, thankfully). IOW, “no fundamental right” means “The SCOTUS has not said there’s a fundamental right,” and the appeal to public safety is an appeal to what the SCOTUS has said to be the root password to the Constitution. Guess they never heard Ben Franklin’s saying that those who would sacrifice liberty for security will get neither.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 15:37

        Yep. Lawyers are specialists who can only make reference to law, with narrow exception (unconscionable comes to mind). But they simply can’t make moral arguments ormimpassioned pleas, at least not as a main thrust. Such passion is reserved for oral arguments and carries much less weight, technically.

        Literally, we’re talking about a profession, not a philosophy.

  14. Stefan Molyneux, MA on June 3, 2010 at 09:29

    Thank you so much for posting my video, I really do appreciate that! 🙂 For those interested in my alternatives to the existing system, you’re more than welcome to check out my free books, available on my website.

  15. Richard Nikoley on June 3, 2010 at 15:40

    Hey all.

    Interesting banter. Tim’s comments have motivated me to dig deeper and so rather than expand this comment thread I’m drafting another entry, the main thrust of which is that I think there’s a better way to differentiate us from other animals that immediate vs future threat of force, not that the insight in itself is not valuable or valid.

    You can decide for yourselves.

  16. R. A. on June 4, 2010 at 09:50

    Google “deFOO” and see if you still want promote this guy.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 4, 2010 at 12:09

      RA: Did a cursory scan and will come back to it.

      That said, I always tend to side on the objectivity of an argument and avoid ad hominem. If Molyneux is indeed a guy I wouldn’t hang around with, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the video, in itself, doesn’t have value and I think it does.

      By the way, I had a post brewing to expand upon things but my attention has turned elsewhere for today. In the meantime, here’s a hint: I think the better distinction between humans and other animals is the ability to feel shame & guilt. Whilst we may sternly say to our well-trained dogs — themselves a product of recent selection in league with humans — “shame on you” and get an expected reaction, it’s likely more immediate fear than actual shame or guilt.

  17. […] medizinischer Insider packt aus….geschrieben von Dr.Peter Yoda Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews The Story of Your Enslavement in the Zoo Human | Free The Animal How to Go No Poo No Shampoo Experiment Paleo I Don’t Care: I Like No Soap; No Shampoo | Free […]

  18. gallier2 on August 6, 2010 at 05:00

    Hello Richard,

    have you read that speach presented by Keoni Galt? I think you would appreciate.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 6, 2010 at 08:59

      It was included in my latest blog post a few days ago.

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