Thus, having learned about slavery among Ythrians, Philippe Rochefort reflects that the practice is being revived in the Empire, albeit limited by law, as a punishment and to get some social utility from criminals. Really? Current British law has a provision for "community service orders" which compel an offender to perform specified socially useful tasks or be returned to prison. But simply "selling" criminals to private individuals would, first, be unjust as a punishment because their treatment by their owners would be arbitrary and unpredictable and, secondly, it would in no way ensure that their owners made them do anything socially useful!
Rochefort asks himself how more moral Terrans are than Ythrians but then answers, "Man is my race." (Rise Of The Terran Empire, New York, 2011, p. 487)
Rochefort is a Jerusalem Catholic. Should his Church not condemn a revival of slavery? As I understand it, in the Roman Empire, St Paul, the founder of Gentile Christianity, did not condemn slavery but urged slaves to obey masters and taught that both master and slave were one in Christ but Paul was responding to an already existing institution, not to a practice revived after millennia of being morally condemned, and he thought that Christ would return soon so that everyone would be freed then.
Rochefort, preparing for war, is on Esperance, a planet that had been colonized by pacificists as we, the readers, were informed in a van Rijn story in the previous volume.