Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rushing down the slippery slope

It wasn't difficult to predict that the changing definition of the family would not only permit same sex marriage but polygamy as well. I wrote about this three times last year (here, here and here).

What is surprising is how quickly the logic of things is unfolding. I've seen three significant statements in support of polygamy in the last week or so.

The first comes from Australia's High Court. Although the High Court overruled the same sex marriage legislation passed in the Australian Capital Territory, it did so using arguments that deny the validity of traditional marriage.

The High Court began by noting the definition of marriage that held in the nineteenth century:
marriage, as understood in Christendom, may for this purpose be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others

The High Court believes, however, that this definition of marriage can no longer hold. Why? Because the courts have upheld a number of polygamous marriages (contracted overseas):
Once it is accepted that “marriage” can include polygamous marriages, it becomes evident that the juristic concept of “marriage” cannot be confined to a union having the characteristics described in Hyde v Hyde and other nineteenth century cases.

And here's the really interesting thing. The High Court has redefined marriage as follows:
Rather, “marriage” is to be understood in s 51(xxi) of the Constitution as referring to a consensual union formed between natural persons in accordance with legally prescribed requirements which is not only a union the law recognises as intended to endure and be terminable only in accordance with law but also a union to which the law accords a status affecting and defining mutual rights and obligations.

The Australian High Court has decided that marriage must be consensual and legal; it can only be dissolved legally; and it comes with rights and obligations decided by the law.

In other words, marriage can be anything that lawmakers decide it to be (as long as it is consensual). Parliament, or the courts, can declare anything to be marriage. It is not an institution grounded in natural law (i.e. that has a character reflecting the nature of man or of a moral order); it is a social construct and the only question then is who gets to determine what it is to be (the High Court has determined it is a matter for Federal Parliament).

The second development paving the way for polygamy was a decision by an American judge to soften Utah's anti-polygamy laws. The decision does not allow the state to formally recognise more than one spouse, so it did not legalise polygamy. However, it permits what might be called unofficial polygamy, in which a man marries only one woman but forms a family with several.

The third "softening up" toward an acceptance of polygamy was a CNN column by a female Episcopalian priest, Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio. She writes that,
When I heard a federal judge struck down part of Utah’s polygamy law last week, I gave a little squeal of delight.

She believes that polygamy fits in well with Christianity. She describes polygamists as "empowered people of faith." She also believes that the theological arguments she has made for supporting same sex marriage also commit her to supporting polygamy:
I also believe there are theoretical reasons why, as a Christian, it makes sense to support healthy polygamous practices. It’s a natural extension for those Christians who support same-sex marriage on theological grounds. But even for those opposed to same-sex marriage, polygamy is documented in the Bible, thereby giving its existence warrant.

Danielle Tumminio describes herself as a liberal feminist priestess. She admits in another column that she finds the idea of being in a polygamous family tempting because it would mean that other wives could support her (presumably she thinks that one of the other wives could look after the house whilst she pursued career).

Unless the culture changes we are very likely, I think, to see the legalisation of polygamy within our own lifetimes.


  1. It will be fairly soon, at least in some places -- likely within 15 years (remember how fast the tide turned on same sex marriage once it got rolling).

    The reason is that although many people have a visceral negative reaction to it, that was also the case for gay marriage as recently as 10 years ago (and is even in the case in large swathes of the population today), but the "logic" of gay marriage has been accepted, and there is really no logical argument that can be used to keep the ban on polygamy that does not directly and squarely contradict the logic of gay marriage.

    Even leaving aside the legal definitions, important as they are, the social definition of marriage is simply a consensual, state-sanctioned, union between consenting people based in love, for as long as the parties consent. Limiting to to two people is every bit as "arbitrary", per this definition, as limiting it to people of the opposite sex is -- the only arguments that can be used to defend the limitation to two people are the same ones that were used to defend the limitation to persons of the opposite sex, and which were roundly defeated in the court of law and the court of public opinion -- and, in fact, are weaker, as the priestess points out, because polygamy has a recognized historical basis whereas same sex marriage had none at all.

    The thing that will surprise most people about this when it starts to really gain momentum is that most women will not, at the end of the day, be against this. Polygamy hurts men more than it hurts women, because it almost always is polygyny and not polyandry -- that is, it's a case of men stockpiling women into marital harems, and denying other men wives. In the coming context where the cries and shrieks of women -- especially educated ones -- about too many unimpressive, unacceptable men as mates being available, polygamy is a rather obvious solution (women sharing the acceptable ones), but it will come at a huge social cost eventually. It is always socially destabilizing, and there's only so much that the X-Box and pornography can do about that in the long run.

    1. the social definition of marriage is simply a consensual, state-sanctioned, union between consenting people based in love, for as long as the parties consent.

      Brendan, that's a clear and concise statement of the new definition of marriage (though it would work equally well if you left out the first "consensual").

      The thing that will surprise most people about this when it starts to really gain momentum is that most women will not, at the end of the day, be against this.

      Even many feminist and leftist women won't be against it. They will have a greater opportunity to marry a high status male and won't be forced to settle for a "Nigel" (as they themselves put it - sorry to the Nigels out there).

      it will come at a huge social cost eventually

      If history is anything to go by. The thing about polygamy is that it gives greatest advantage to older men who have had time to accumulate resources. You end up having men in their 40s marrying women in their late teens. So there are a lot of young men with poor prospects for marrying anytime soon.

    2. "...the social definition of marriage is simply a consensual, state-sanctioned, union between consenting people based in love, for as long as the parties consent."

      It doesn't have to be "based in love".

  2. Mark I recommend you read this website:

    Modernism has its roots in the Enlightenment. And mutated to the monster it is today.

  3. I am not sure how familiar you are with the mgtow movement that is a growing part of the manosphere, but the rise of polygamy is one of the main reasons I think that mgtow will fail. Although mgtow acknowledges society's penchant for male disposability, it greatly underestimates society's willingness to also encourage male replaceability. A more traditional approach to family formation is the only one that esteems bot male worth and dare I say the "feminine mystique".

    1. That's a good point. I've said before that mgtow might work in a closed society, but when you have open borders, then whichever men refuse to marry can be replaced. And you're right that polygamy, which now seems likely to be accepted relatively soon, will also allow men who opt out to be replaced.

    2. This is true, but MGTOW doesn't work anyway because it will always be a very marginal group of guys. In the US at least, 90% of women have been married at least once by 40. There isn't any impact of MGTOW or marriage "strikers" or what have you on the overall market, and there never will be, because almost all men don't want to GTOW. It's really just a marginal movement. I don't have any issues if people want to do that with their lives, because it's so marginal. There always have been marginal people of both sexes who are better off not marrying for various reasons, and the MGTOW are like this, in my opinion -- regardless of whether polygamy is legalized or not. It's just a marginal group, just like "political lesbians" are a marginal group.

  4. "It’s a natural extension for those Christians who support same-sex marriage on theological grounds."

    How on earth could anyone support same-sex marriage on theological grounds?

    1. The argument, which is deeply flawed, runs along the following lines: God is love, and therefore wants us to love one another and express that love for one another, and that the prohibitions on marriage between homosexuals, as well as those against homosexual sex, no longer apply, properly understood theologically, because (a) Paul was talking about different things (the claim is that he was talking about pederasty and temple prostitution) than what we understand as a "committed gay/lesbian relationship", and (b) at the time there was no understanding of homosexuality as a fixed/"given"/"born-that-way" orientation but was rather seen as deviant from the "given" of heterosexuality for everyone and was only therefore seen as sin and (c) lesbianism isn't even mentioned in the bible, and therefore Paul wasn't inveighing against what we are talking about today but obviously something else. Therefore, the ban isn't justified by scriptural morality, and instead finds its basis in common human bigotry, and is therefore un-Christian and sinful -- the real sinners in this view aren't practicing, active gays and lesbians, but the people who would exclude them from marriage, and these bigoted excluders are likely going to hell.

      Of course, that's mostly bunk. While it's true that the ancients didn't have a concept of a fixed homosexual orientation, it's unclear why this is relevant -- that is, even if Paul was simply talking about the acts involved, that reasoning would still apply to the acts involved. In fact, this is exactly the way that the Catholics interpret Paul here -- not as condemning an orientation (whether that exists or not), because it was not a concept then, but as condemning an act, based on an orientation or otherwise. Similarly, while it is true that Paul couldn't have been talking about committed gay/lesbian relationships, it's very hard to interpret that to mean that what is described scripturally as an abomination is nevertheless okay, and even laudable, as long as it is in the context of a "committed" relationship, something which is, itself not a biblical concept outside of marriage (yes, I understand that this is then used to justify permitting them to marry, because that *is* the biblical category, but that's the tail wagging the dog -- if the act of homosexual sex is an abomination, if the act is what is being condemned by Paul, then it isn't cleaned up by being placed in the context of marriage, specifically when the concept of marriage between persons of the same sex is completely alien to the bible). Finally, as to why lesbianism isn't specifically called out there are various arguments about that -- suffice to say that it would be very odd for male homosexuality to be condemned in a way that did not apply to female homosexuality, at least in the NT, and it would be even more odd to argue that because female homosexuality does not appear to be specifically called out as sinful, then the specific calling out of male homosexuality as sinful doesn't apply at all, even to men. It's, again, a very weak argument.

      The important point to remember, however, is that the people like the priestess really DO believe these arguments are the "better interpretation". For liberal Christians, this *IS* a theological issue. Even though they are clearly wrong, they don't believe that they are, and they firmly believe that this is required per a proper, contemporary, enlightened theology in order to be authentically Christian. Very misguided, but what can you do? Liberal Christians are nuts.

  5. It's worth pointing out that lesbian activist Masha Gessen recently admitted that the intention behind the push for same-sex marriage was the destruction of marriage -

    1. The irony is that if they win, the end result will be a return to traditional forms of social organisation, ones not seen in northwest Europe for two thousand years. The post-West will eventually look a lot more like (eg) the Arab world today, although as long as the welfare states endure it will also resemble Africa's female-farming cultures, since women are the primary farmers of welfare. Both models represent a sharp decline in social structure, and bring with them many other bad things - the rule of law weakens and security of property fades; innovation declines drastically, most people are poor and unhappy.
      We need to maintain an alternative model. Even if we cannot stop the coming darkness, we have to keep a light shining so that civilisation - and our posterity - can rise again.

    2. There will of course need to be a greater acceptance of prostitution in order to pacify the remaining unacceptable men and as a means of copulation(maybe also employment) for the unattractive and under educated women. So in the end the lesbian feminists would have achieved many women serving one man on one end of the spectrum along with one woman serving many men on the other end of the spectrum. Feminists are their own worst enemies.

    3. Simon in London: "The irony is that if they win, the end result will be a return to traditional forms of social organisation, ones not seen in northwest Europe for two thousand years."

      That under-states it. Christianity benevolently reinforced a unique, primordial white tendency to prefer loving monogamous marriage with a high status for women.

      Compare the Roman emperors' marriages to the harems people with similar power would build in the East.

      Monogamy has even been a military characteristic of the West. In the polygamous East, armies have been built on hordes of young men with no prospect of marriage in peace. Islam has been sanctimoniously explicit on the brutish rewards available to conquering Muslim men at the expense of captured women. In the West, it was not so. Paradigmatically, Leonidas had one wife, and so did every one of his 300, each equal to the king in the one thing that matters most, each equally sure of their own posterity. This has led to completely different kinds of warriors and ways of war, completely different mindsets, and completely different notions of equality, freedom and true justice.

      Whites are well-adapted to loving, monogamous, lifelong heterosexual marriage. Abolishing it, which is what the left is doing (abolishing the white marriage structure explicitly as such in France) is forcing us against the joint, harming and handicapping us.

      The anti-whites are disrupting our breeding cycle. They're trying to get rid of us, in favor of introduced rivals in our habitat. And it's fine by them if everything that is key to our culture and our historic achievements is destroyed in the process.

    4. @Titus - I agree that the West has been primarily monogamous since long before Christianity. I've been trying to think of any pre-Christian Western monarch with even an official harem (not just mistresses or unofficial exploitation of servants & slaves), never mind multiple actual wives, and I can't think of any such recorded. Germans, Celts, Latins, Greeks, Slavs - all monogamous, as far as I can tell. Pair-bonding seems very much part of our nature.

    5. "The anti-whites are disrupting our breeding cycle. They're trying to get rid of us, in favor of introduced rivals in our habitat." - I basically agree, though it seems to be more an emergent property of the dynamics of cultural Marxism. The early neo-Marxists like Gramsci and the Frankfurt School seem to have expected our civilisation to collapse fairly quickly as they 'accentuated the contradictions'. Actually eliminating the civilisation's population base as expressed intent seems more recent, mostly 1970s and later, and especially post-1990, when it became clear the West wasn't going to quickly collapse of its own accord.
      So, I think polygamy here is more about encouraging high fertility immigrant populations to breed more, and low fertility indigenous ones to breed less, just as with many other programs. I don't think they expect most Western women to enter into permanent polygamous relations where they raise children.

    6. Simon, I don't think it's just a matter of cultural Marxists. The Utah decision was made on fairly standard liberal grounds: the judge noted that "Liberty presumes an autonomy of self" and that the state cannot therefore intervene when it comes to family arrangements (unless these family arrangements are held to undermine the stated goal of autonomy). As for the priestess, she describes herself as a liberal Christian and that is how she justifies support for polygamy: she talks about the choices of consenting adults and of a kind of "love is all" theology.

  6. I think it will come much sooner than you think. There was and is a stronger visceral reaction against homosexual marriage, but not so much against polygamy. Plus polygamy has a very old history and has shown itself to be a viable way for a society to organize itself.

    1. The only thing that makes me think it will come a bit more slowly is that unlike the gays, the polygamy people have nothing like that size of support and dedicated infrastructure to push this agenda. "Gay, Inc." is huge, has very well-funded and effective advocacy groups, and has representatives well-entrenched at all levels of culture and opinion-making (academia, Hollywood, media) -- the gays are quite prominent in the culture, and have built both ties to/power in existing institutions as well as their own very well-funded lobbying groups to push their agenda. All of those factors were huge with the final push towards cultural acceptance of same sex marriage.

      Polygamists don't have any of that -- their organizations are small and poorly funded, they are not represented well in existing elite power institutions like the academy, the media or Hollywood, etc. They also can't use the argument "you probably know someone who is gay, maybe even your family member, don't you want them to be able to marry the person they love?" type of argument, which is very effective (look at Dick Cheney), and which applies to a fair number of people, whereas pretty much no-one outside of a tiny polyamory community knows anyone who is very interested in polygamy.

      I think their strategy will therefore be different. What they are trying to do is to hitch their wagon to the gays. Not that the gays are going to advocate for polygamy -- they won't (or if they do they won't spend much time on it). But the polygamy advocates are trying to get the non-gay advocates of gay marriage (i.e., the ones who "bought the argument" of Gay, Inc.) to realize that the argument for polygamy is the same, and therefore to support it on "principle", even if they don't personally know any polygamists or would-be polygamists. In other words, they're going to try to get legalized on the coat-tails of the gays, so it will be something pretty different from how the gays managed to get there. I do think it will be legalized because the argument from principle will be a hard one to defeat, but it may take a bit longer because they do not have anything like Gay, Inc. on their side.

  7. "Polygamy hurts men more than it hurts women, because it almost always is polygyny and not polyandry -- that is, it's a case of men stockpiling women into marital harems, and denying other men wives."

    You've hit the nail on the head there.

  8. Polygamy will enable the elites to properly begin the gendercide they have in mind.

    1. I wonder how much sex-selective abortion of boys there already is in Western nations?

  9. Bruce Charlton has pointed out that multiculturalism has also led to the tacit legalization of slavery, because it's slave-holding by non-whites.

    That will go together nicely with the polygamy.

  10. This is going to be a riot, I can't wait for polygamy laws to kick in.

    The legal ramifications are going to be a laugh, the laws wont factor:

    The current body of law that extends primary rights to first wives
    Secodary wives being married with the first wife's acceptance under duress
    Calculating asset splits upon divorce when other children are involved
    Child support
    Men strategically creating a divorce by marrying another wife and ignoring the first wife.

    The list goes on, I live in an Islamic enclave and I can tell you polygamy doesn't work (heck most of the cultured Islamic world doesn't practice it), men can abuse it just as much as women.

    1. As with most of the Islamic world, polygamy will likely remain a minority taste in the West, but it will still be corrosive even though most people will still pair bond m/f.

  11. It's always funny when discussing polygamy with married women as they all object to it on the basis of they don't want to share their current husband.
    Then after I point out that, under polygamy they wouldn't have had to 'share' their current husband, they'd have married a George Clooney they go strangely silent.
    I think the prospect of being one of many to a rich, good-looking man opens a lot of doors and if polygamy came in and became 'acceptable' you'd see far more women dumping their husbands and running off with their respective boss, or with the boss running off with several of his female employees...
    If you thought young males are disillusioned now, just wait until polygamy comes in and they see their 19 year old girlfriend being snapped up by a 40 year old millionaire. To paraphrase a famous saying: "if you take away everything from a man, don't be surprised when he acts like he has nothing to lose".

    1. Most men in harem societies act apathetic most of the time, with occasional extreme violence as with Islamic terrorists. Because they cannot trust each other not to monopolise gains (women), they don't act in the Western Way of War with organised and disciplined cadres extending beyond the clan working towards a common purpose.

    2. What, exactly, would be in it for George Clooney to marry these women? I think polygamy doesn't have much appeal for men in the age of birth control and abortion. Highly desirable males can sleep around all they want without getting married.