Looking like polygamy is next

Rod Dreher notes that the push is now on for polygamy.

I recall mentioning to a libertarian-progressive gay-rights advocate that his arguments worked just as well for polygamous marriages as they did for gay marriages.

Oh boy, did he become outraged! How could I possibly associate his defense of gay marriage with a defense of the ridiculous idea of polygamous marriages?!

I assume that by next year, I will see an op-ed by him endorsing polygamous marriage.

18 comments:

  1. I've never understood the purpose of denying that polygamy would be next. I mean, I guess I can understand them from the viewpoint of specific-issue advocates who care about only one thing. But among libertarians, polygamy has a long advocacy history. For example it featured prominently, with arguments in its favor, in one of the great libertarian novels (Heinlein's _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_).

    My answer, both during the debate over ending marriage apartheid for same sex couples and at its end was "of COURSE polygamy is next."

    http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/4910

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    1. The purpose of a convenient lie escapes you? How purer than the driven snow thou art.

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    2. Nice one, Ken. (No, I'm not being sarcastic).

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    3. "the debate over ending marriage apartheid for same sex couples"

      I recall how they were long forced to work 100-hour weeks in the diamond mines during those dark days, Thomas!!

      But seriously, don't you think it is a pretty gross insult to those who suffered through, you know, actual apartheid, to compare their travails to those of a high-income group who had every civil right everyone else did, *including* the right to marry someone of the opposite sex, *just like everyone else could*?!

      And also, are you now out fighting against "brother-sister marriage apartheid" and "mother-son marriage apartheid" and "uncle-5yearoldniece marriage apartheid"? because all of those people are still suffering the master's lash under this near-slavery regime!!!!

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  2. I would say that the difference is that polygamy is bad for society because it changes the nature of the competition for spouses (from half the populations' perspective) to a less egalitarian, more winner-takes-all dynamic. On the other hand, none of the arguments people have made against gay marriage made a convincing case (in my opinion) that it is harfmul.

    But what do today's progressives care for a little thing like what's harmful to society? There's a lot of ruin in western civilisation.

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  3. This is one I'm looking forward to.

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  4. Greg,

    One of Heinlein's arguments for polygamy is that it serves -- or at least COULD serve -- two primary goals of marriage:

    1) Care for offspring. More "parents" in a household means that if one or two die there are less likely to be orphans.

    2) Conservation of capital in a single continuing enterprise over a longer period than just the lives of two spouses. In theory, a marriage could last hundreds, even thousands of years.

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    1. In theory, a marriage could last hundreds, even thousands of years.

      That's a scary thought.

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    2. I would never make a good novelist. It would never occur to me to cite, as the super-duper killer justification for a practice, the two things that have never ever happened with it.

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    3. You're picturing a plural marriage with multiple men and multiple women? I'm not sure "marriage" is the correct name for that sort of social unit.

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    4. "It would never occur to me to cite, as the super-duper killer justification for a practice, the two things that have never ever happened with it."

      Yes, silly me, I forgot that the bin Laden family doesn't exist.

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    5. Greg,

      "Marriage" as an institution has been continuously re-defined both socially and legally over millennia within societies, and in different ways in different societies. Plural marriage with multiple men and multiple women has been practiced (and apparently still is in isolated areas) in Polynesia, Melanesia and Hawaii.

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  5. So Knapp, is it your contention that the bin laden family consists of wives with multiple husbands? That is a requirement for a "marriage" to last hundreds of years.

    You use quotes on marriage. How is that not an acknowledgement that Greg is right and that "marriage" is not really the correct name for such a social arrangement after all?

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  6. Ken B, No, it is not my contention that the bin Laden family consists of wives with multiple husbands. If I had meant to contend that, I would have said that, instead of you just having to imagine that I did.

    What I was contending was that the bin Laden family did the two things that you claim no plural marriage has ever done. It provided children with more than two "parents," and it conserved capital over a longer term than a two-person marriage likely would.

    The idea that putting quotes around marriage somehow magically transforms it into saying that someone who is wrong is in fact right is equally a figment of your imagination.

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    1. The only thing that is a figment of your imagination is your ability to reason correctly! He put quotation marks around 'marriage' to signify that there is an objective reality to what that word refers to; and he certainly does not think that by putting such quotes around it he somehow magically transforms it into an objective fact.

      But hey, if you want to signify that these quotes are 'scary quotes' (am I scare quoting scare quotes now?) and say that he believes that in doing so, he has magically transformed reality, then by all means, go right ahead!

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    2. Plus of course he's just wrong about the multiple husbands. The bin ladens like the Windsors and many conventional families preserve capital over generations but no single MARRIAGE of that family does. The only way a "marriage " can last for centuries if wives marry multiple husbands and husbands multiple wives in overlapping sequences.

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