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quaoar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 11:53 AM
Original message
The argument against polygamy
This is an interesting article that explores the implications of polygamy -- an issue prompted by HBO's "Big Love" series. I say interesting because the article does not get into any moral or religious implications. It discusses the egalitarian impact of polygamy -- how polygamy creates a surplus of males unable to marry and how that has prompted, throughout history, regimes to use those males in wars.

http://nationaljournal.com/rauch.htm

"... it should be obvious that polygamy is, structurally and socially, the opposite of same-sex marriage, not its equivalent. Same-sex marriage stabilizes individuals, couples, communities, and society by extending marriage to many who now lack it. Polygamy destabilizes individuals, couples, communities, and society by withdrawing marriage from many who now have it.

As the public focuses on a subject it has not confronted for generations, the hazards of polygamy are likely to sink in. In time, debating polygamy will remind us why our ancestors were right to abolish it. The question is whether the debate will reach its stride soon enough to prevent polygamy from winning a lazy acquiescence that it in no way deserves."
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. Nothin Wrong With Polygamy On Its Face.
Never really cared for the argument. To each their own.

It isn't polygamy itself that is a problem, it is the nature of the individual engaging in it that matters.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. ...And the nature of the institution, itself
As practiced by the sects in the southwest, it's little better than organized pedophilia with child brides being added ad infinitum with no oversight by present wives.

The addition of any new family member should always be approved by ALL family members already present. If polygamy is organized that way, it can work. If it exists among consenting adults, it can work. If those conditions are met, it's simply none of my business. As long as there isn't assault going on within the family, it's none of the state's business, either, IMO.

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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. I agree. IMO, it's religion, not polygamy, that is the problem
Consenting adults can practice polygyny and polyandry in a responsible manner. When religion steps in and makes polygamy a mandatory practice, is where the problems begin.

Note how religion's insistence on monogamy has been defused by secular practices like divorce. Likewise when religions insist on polygamy, the problems that arise must be addressed with solutions other than casting believers out of the faith.


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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Nothing wrong with it on its face, agreed, BUT
in practice, bad things tend to happen. All too often you end up with an alpha male (and his supporters)driving young males out of the group while preying on young females. Off hand, I can't think of a culture where the practice really turned out well. I'm sure someone here will correct my ignorance.
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quaoar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. And the males who are driven out
Raise the crime rate -- or they are used up as cannon fodder in a war.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. It isn't a problem that their are no spouses available for a large segment
of the population in polygamous societies?

This is a practical concern, not a moral one.

In a society that has a surplus of women polygamy might make sense.

Who participates in polygamy is, well everyone. Or almost everyone in that kind of society.

In the US, it's illegal and practically the only people engaging in it are religious fanatics.


However, in the US the majority engage in serial polygamy. The nature of the individuals is rarely an issue in this case.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. Don't we have that now?
We do have more women than men in the US, and in the world. What are the odds for a single woman over age 40 or 50 of getting married? I don't recall but they're pretty slim. Polygamy would make sense in the US if your goal is to have as many people as possible get married, but I'm not sure I would argue that's a worthy goal we need to have. I don't really care if people get married or not.
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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Sometime back, I read an article about a town that was built for and
by polygamists. Most of the town was owned by a couple of top dog polygamists, one of which was the toppest dog. This man had over seventy children, and had loads of wives.

One of the really unfortunate side effects of this community was that the patriarch started kicking boys out of the community when they were as young as thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen years old. Almost all of the homes were owned by the patriarch, thus if a woman wanted to keep her son(s) who were banished from the town with her, she lost her accommodation for herself and her other children.

The boys were dumped in a nearby town to scrounge a living as best as they could. No one made the patriarch or the fathers of these boys provide for them. They were homeless, lacking in education, and so very alone. And there were so many of them the the town was uable to provide for them.

The reason the boys were kicked out was so that they did not become rivals for the young potential wives of the colony.

The top dogs were all men in the fifties and on up the scale.

We've all heard the news stories about the girls, as young as thirteen, being married to the older men who already had multiple wives, many times against their will.

Rather than a lifestyle option where everyone is free to choose as to whether or not to indulge in polygamy, it sounds more like a paradise for perverts with pedophiliac tendencies and a nightmare for women and children.
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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Religion created the nightmare that is the community you describe
The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints was disowned by mainstream Mormonism back in the late 1800s but continued to flourish, if you can call decades of inbreeding flourishing. It is currently led by "Prophet" Warren Jeffs, a fugitive who is on the FBI's Most Wanted List for his role in marrying underage girls to adult, already-married men.

Jeffs teaches that men must have at least three wives in order to achieve heavenly status. Men who pledge Jeffs their money and loyalty are rewarded with wives; wives and families are torn away from "undeserving" men, and all the other horrors you mention are commonplace. His community has spread from the Arizona-Utah border to Texas, South Dakota and other places where his followers build places for him to hide in. You can read much more about his cult here:

http://www.rickross.com /



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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Wow! What a wealth of information on the subject. It'll take me a
week or more to go through all that!

Thanks for the link.
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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. You're most welcome
Cult-watching is a little hobby of mine, and Rick Ross is a great resource.

The FLDS is pretty low on my alarm index; they have money, guns and fanatical members, but they don't have the celebrity clout of Scientology - or the political clout of the Unification Church, which is by far the scariest thing out there. That I know of. ;)


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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Well, in that case you wouldn't have a problem with polyandry, then
The relationship for tired men and an enthusiastic woman!

Birds do it.... http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays...
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Nope, I Wouldn't. None of My Business Really.
:)
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megatherium Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
6. Polyandry or polyamory must accompany polygamy.
Edited on Sat Apr-01-06 12:13 PM by megatherium
Otherwise, yes, too many males. (I myself am gay. A close friend who is a former lover is now in a relationship with two other men. A stable arrangement that has lasted more than ten years.)

By the way, there is a lovely song about polyandry: Grace Slick singing to her two lovers, asking them "why can't we be three?" (The song is called Triad, and it is on the Jefferson Airplane album Crown of Creation.)
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quaoar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Or
we would just invade some poor, helpless country and steal all their women.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I sometimes halfway wonder if it will come to that in the future
except that we may be the target, LOL!
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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Yes - since countries like China and India devalue women
to the point that they abort female fetuses and cast off or abuse female children, they are the countries - increasingly wealthy, and certainly not helpless - that will face the biggest consequences of inequities in male-to-female population.

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. I suspect there soon may be something like this happening within these
countries moving young girls from poor districts to wealthier ones.
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megatherium Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. A colleague of mine where I teach just went to China to
adopt a baby girl.
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SheWhoMustBeObeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Chinese orphanages are filled with cast-off girls
Chinese analysts attribute the abandonment of female infants to the Communist Party's one-child edict that was designed to stabilize population growth.

But female abandonment is a much older practice in cultures like China. Male children in China and India have always been preferred because they are expected to take care of elderly parents, while female children marry and join other households where they are responsible for their husbands' parents.

Still, since the one-child edict was instituted 25 years ago, hundreds of thousands of baby girls have been left to die in the streets or be gathered into orphanages. The mortality rate for children under age two is higher among females than males. And many couples practice selective abortion. Of the 7 million abortions performed in China each year, Planned Parenthood estimates that 70% of the fetuses are female.

China is already worried that its policies may have created a terrible problem for upcoming generations: its leaders are thinking about reversing the one-child law and outlawing selective abortion, and they are offering financial incentives to parents who keep their baby girls.

But with so many foreigners paying to adopt their once-unwanted females, a black market in baby girls has been created. Infants are kidnapped from their beds at night and yanked out of their parents' arms in broad daylight. One ugly problem has led to another. When the unbalanced gender ratio affects the next few generations, it will lead to many more.

I know three couples who have adopted Chinese baby girls. Whatever the problems that led to the children being available, I know they are deeply loved and cared for now. Good luck to your colleague in her quest. :)





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megatherium Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Actually, he was already successful.
He was there for three weeks.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
11. Something similar happens here in LA: rich guys marry all the younger
women and shed them at 40 for another 20ish woman.

So there's not only a surplus of frustrated younger guys, but of slightly used middle aged women.

The only upside is if a guy has no interest in having kids, he can have his pick of post-40 women with actress/model good looks.
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Bunny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
29. Serial monogamists, I believe they are called.
They monopolize a woman during her childbearing years, then discard her when she's no longer at prime fertility, and start up with a new, younger woman. This goes on until they die. I read somewhere that Johnny Carson was a good example of a serial monogamist.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-02-06 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. "serial monogamist" makes it sound better than it is maybe
"disposable monogamist" would be better.
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sadiesworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
12. I would put this one under the heading:
Jumping the Cultural Shark.

(but hey, the commoners are getting po'd enough to overlook traditional differences--I'm sure the elites figure it couldn't hurt to throw something new into the mix)
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Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
20. Meanwhile, as the marriage "debate" rages on...
America is destroyed from the inside out, by important issues that everyone ignores.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
21. The earth always has more women than men.
In a majority heterosexual society it is impossible to give everyone the opportunity to marry without instituting polygamy. I don't think that makes polygamy a good idea, but that fact pokes a big hole in your argument.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. I thought the ratios were near equal in the 18-30 category
At birth, there are more male babies born, but they tend to die sooner. At prime mating age, the ratios are near equal.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I don't know
Does it matter? People get married at all ages.
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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-01-06 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. This article seems to be talking about young men
Having problems because they don't have a chance to get married. Many polygamists are marrying teenagers, very rarely older women. From a reproduction standpoint, a woman has fewer reproductive years than a man. Young women seem to be the "commodity" that the article is talking about.
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