Touching the Third Rail of Western Morality
In Defense of Polygamy.
by James Leroy Wilson
October 23, 2003
Touching the Third Rail if Western Morality_James Leroy Wilson-In Defense of Polygamy
I wondered when I was going to get around to writing about this. The sad case of Terri Schiavo is as good a place to start as any.
Terri Schiavo has been in a vegetative state, living off of a feeding tube, since she collapsed in a heart attack in 1990 while still a young, pretty woman. Her husband, early on, was a headstrong advocate for her care, and won $300,000 personally, and $700,000 for his wife’s care, in a medical malpractice suit. But he quickly had a falling out with his wife’s parents, and for the last five years, as his wife’s legal guardian, he’s been seeking in the courts to have the feeding tube removed, that is, to have his wife starve to death. In the meantime, he has taken on a live-in girlfriend, with whom he has fathered a child.
Only for the sake of argument, let‘s assume the worst: that with Terri Schiavo’s death, her husband as heir would collect whatever is left of the money awarded for her care. That’s why he won’t give up his guardianship of her or get a divorce from her. If there’s a divorce, he’d be free to marry his girlfriend, but might no longer be Terri’s heir. If Terri dies, he gets the money and gets to marry his girlfriend.
I haven’t followed the story closely, so I’m not saying this is indeed the motive. And I haven’t mentioned the man’s name either, so as to cast doubt on his character. I don’t know why he wants his wife dead, except that he claims that was her wish.
What I will say, is that if our worst fears are true, a society based on human nature, reason, and common sense would have yielded a better result. If it had been socially acceptable to marry his second mate while still being married to Terri Schiavo, this man may have been less likely to try a “clean break” from his first marriage and would now, also, be able to get on with his life. And inherit whatever remains of Terri’s fortune when she finally does die.
Today’s topic isn’t about vegetative states and euthanasia, difficult and controversial as those issues may be. Today’s topic is polygamy. In particular, a defense of polygamy.
Polygamy is the natural order of things. Our society, particularly its State-imposed definition of “marriage” is based on the widely-accepted but questionable and, considering the Judeo-Christian religious teachings, inconsistent doctrine of marital monogamy, of marriage between only one man and one woman. This creates a perversion from the natural order, and the unintended consequence is perhaps the complete opposite of the “ideal” that marital monogamy seeks to uphold.
One man and one woman for life is a beautiful ideal which many people have been able to uphold. But then again, most haven’t. Burdened with the State-mandated “one-man, one wife” definition of marriage, what we’ve created instead is the chaos of rampant divorce and “serial monogamy.” One exclusive, committed sexual relationship for a number of years, followed by another one, and another. Whether legally wed or not. With children alienated from their mothers or fathers. And even those who endorse one-man, one-woman relationships have no problems with widows and widowers marrying each other. I suppose that that’s “serial monogamy” the “holy” way.
Do I think marital monogamy is the best form of family structure? Yes. It is the ideal, and, I think, what women want. Women would prefer not having to compete with other women for the “true” affection of the husband they share. Since the physical consequences of sexual intercourse fall primarily on the woman, she would naturally be very selective in her partners, and would also prefer an exclusive partner, would prefer the best man, not just any man. If I can get some grip on what women, in general, want in this material world, it would boil down to three things:
-an upright, responsible man as father and husband;
-the affection of one man to the exclusion of all others.
But since the real world is not ideal, it is not only natural, but fair, that women make trade-offs with these desires. There are wars, which tend to thin out the male population. Even if all the men got married (and not all do), there’d still be women left over, who might try to “lure” away men from their current wives. Successful men are often enticed into leaving their wives and children because of the availability of younger, prettier candidates. And when all the best men are gone, women will find themselves attracted to the wrong kind of man, the irresponsible man, unfit for fatherhood, because at least the woman gets the “exclusive affection” of such man. Or at least any kind of love and attention, no matter how temporary.
If it was considered both decent and honorable for a man to have more than one wife, then the possibility exists that the wealthiest men might acquire two, three, or several wives. These are men who would be faithful to all of his wives and children, men who can and do live up to all of the responsibilities they undertake. Terri Schiavo’s husband could have put Terri’s winnings in a trust to pay for her care, while he got on with his life with another spouse, while not being unfaithful to Terri. A man has needs and desires. God is the God of the living. That Terri Schiavo is still alive doesn’t absolve her husband from the obligation of being her husband. But the fact that she’s still alive shouldn’t prevent him from taking on another wife, especially one who can actually perform wifely duties and functions.
Social prejudice, the State’s laws, and dubious theological doctrine put Terri Schiavo’s husband between a rock and a hard place. Let’s remove the rock, and let’s remove the hard place.
Nothing would be more beneficial to society and culture as a whole, particularly one with a female-majority population, then the tolerance of polygamy. The allure of rich men and their wealth ought to be an incentive for other men to draw women: if you can’t get all the riches, at least be responsible, and be loving.
In a society in which The State neither defines nor interferes in the marriage covenant, men and woman would be permitted to get “married” under any contractual or Church-based system they see fit. Under a “female-minority” society, such as was the Old West, the society would most likely be monogamous, with the men of the best physical and moral attributes attracting the women, inciting other men to strive to improve themselves.
In a female-majority nation, like ours is, the ideal of monogamous marriage can not conform to social realities. If women will “do what it takes” to attract men, then men, not women, get to dictate the social and sexual standards. Whereas in female-minority societies, men have to elevate themselves to reach female standards (or lose out), in female-majority societies women degrade themselves in order to entice the men.
Of course, other factors come into play. Fifty years ago, where you’d think the nation had enough war dead from World War II and the Korean War to create a female majority, you still wouldn’t have seen Rita Haworth smooching Grace Kelly on television, like you saw Madonna with Brittany Spears on MTV some weeks back. Other cultural prejudices veered away from that kind of thing back then. But it was in the fifties that Playboy magazine began, which brought forth the sexual revolution, which pressured women to “give out” to anyone remotely handsome who had enough brains to pay for the entire date. Whereas religion had a greater hold fifty years ago, today the culture preys upon the fantasies of adult males. Attractive women are pressured to conform to those fantasies in order to make money.
Yes, women are very sensual do enjoy sex. But since they do absorb most of the physical risks of sex, they must be more inclined to be very exclusive and selective of their partners. Women would want only the best, while men might settle for just about anything.
A society that accepts male polygamy would go a long way toward restoring the balance. Women would no longer have to lower themselves, be pressured into doing things they don’t feel right about doing. They would be freer to make trade-offs according to what they want, according to their own values. If they want financial security at the expense of exclusive emotional connection, they might accept the offer of a wealthy man who already has several wives and concubines. If the woman agrees, this agreement should be seen as honorable, not immoral.
So what’s to prevent the rich guys from getting all the girls? Well, because riches don’t count for everything. The wealthy playboys might draw a lot of the women who are attracted mainly to riches, but that would leave the remaining, less-wealthy men, to choose between women who look for something deeper and better, such as good character and sacrificial love.
The monogamy ideal would work in a society where there are few women but many men. This isn’t our society, however, and it isn’t the typical society in history. Men get killed, or otherwise die younger, than women. If we are to restore balance and healthy competition in matters of love, we must allow polygamy so that the rich could attract whatever women who are solely attracted to wealth. This would provide incentives for men born with perhaps fewer financial resources, to prove their virtue and love through their actions.
If men had incentives to upgrade their lifestyles, characters, and income in exchange for sexual intimacy and love, they might be inclined to follow through. But our Statist laws and weird religious doctrines instead encourage women to lose their virtues, and sacrifice their bodies, instead. The State encourages, not the improvement of men, but the depravity of women, which only encourages the depravity of men.
Not even the worst Communists and Fascists among us imagined forcing copulation by the barrel of the gun for “social good.” By nature, the decision to marry, to sexually mate, is the “freest” of all economic decisions. That is where we should leave it, even if it means polygamous marriages or homosexual “marriages” or rampant promiscuity. Whatever encourages men to become upright and responsible people will be good for everyone as a whole. Only the free market can accomplish that. The laws, particularly The State’s marriage laws, not only discourage responsible behavior in both men and women, they do far more harm than good. By today’s standards, women are pressured to behave worse than their own judgment calls for. Men get to dictate how women behave, instead of women dictating how men ought to behave. That is never a good thing.
Let’s allow polygamy, and prevent The State, either the state or federal government, from defining what a “marriage” is. It is quite obvious that Statists have no idea what they’re doing, and what they’re doing is inflicting far more harm than good.
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.