Andrea Widburg of the American Thinker contemplates a recent piece of news in the world of historical research.

Few would dispute Leonardo da Vinci’s preeminence as one of the top thinkers and artists of the Renaissance era. According to an Italian professor, da Vinci may have been only half-Italian. The professor contends that da Vinci’s mother may have been a slave from the Circassia region in what is now Russia. That fact is worth contemplating when we think about the left’s desperation to do away with Christianity, fossil fuel, and capitalism. …

… Whether this revised history is correct or not, it’s useful to remind all of us that slavery was not a uniquely American institution. It was ubiquitous in the pre-modern world. Every society, at every time and in every place, had slaves.

There were logical reasons for slavery. Pre-modern societies, even the affluent ones, always existed at the subsistence level. One unduly cold, wet, or dry year could spark a famine. That meant that, when these societies went to war, the idea of keeping prisoners of war was laughable. Unless those captured were rich men who could be held for ransom, the only options were to kill them or to utilize them—that is, to enslave them.

What the leftists ignore in their headlong rush to do away with fossil fuel is that humans have always needed energy sources to elevate themselves even slightly above an existence greater than the apes from which they descended. Windmills and waterwheels provided some energy, but it was insufficient for the needs of growing societies. The only alternative energy on which people could draw was the brute strength of others, whether beasts of burden (e.g., horses, mules, oxen) or fellow humans.

What ended slavery was a combination of three things: Christianity, fossil fuel, and capitalism. Christianity, of course, painted slavery as a moral evil.