Adapted from a teaching of HaGaon HaRav, Dr. Chaim Zimmerman, z”l.
There was a time when great men walked the earth, such as King David, King Soloman, Plato, Aristotle, Yehuda HaNassi. Such was their nobility that they were not only worthy of having slaves, but it was an honor to be the slave of such men. Of course there were also tyrants who unjustly had slaves, but this does not reflect on the great men we have mentioned.
As time went on, however, such great and noble men disappeared. Only tyrants or mediocre men had slaves. This was most unjust. And so, since there were no men worthy enough to have slaves, a just God altered the course of history and introduced democracy and equality, which led to the abolition of slavery. Democracy therefore marks both decline and progress: decline in the caliber of individuals, but progress in the character of society. But this is not all.
While great men disappeared, and there were no men good enough to have human beings working for them, they could still have animals working for them. As time went on however, there was a further decline in the caliber of men, such that they were not even worthy of having animals work for them. And so a just God altered the course of history and introduced machinery to take the place of animals.
Today, however, such has been the further decline in the caliber of men that they are not even worthy of having machines work for them. Hence we have entered an age in which men have become the slaves of machines!
All the more reason for Jews to celebrate and understand the Passover, the Festival of Freedom.