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« No, money and free speech are not the same | Main | National Enquirer says its John Edwards story deserves Pulitzer Prize »

January 21, 2010


jj mollo

To be honest, I find the whole thing disgusting. It's just a power trip for psychopathic males, Jim Jones types, trying to control the behavior of women and suppress competition from younger males. It relies on self-deception, suppression, mind-control, abuse of religion, shunning, and cynical recruitment of insecure girls. The elder wives are just trusties who cooperate in order to preserve their hard-earned social status. Big Love is a whitewash of this cruel system.

Monogamy is a pillar of democracy, imo. Societies who don't value it are authoritarian and poor.

Frank Warner

China values it.

Have you seen "Big Love"? I think it's popular principally because it does not whitewash the cruel side of polygamy. The show's hero shows better side of polygamy, and even that is no smooth road.

As I said, it looks unequal to me, but free adults can disagree.

China values monogamy, and despite a long history and major recent progress, that nation remains authoritarian and poor.


I wonder if David Crosby will do a cameo spot.


Well, to me the problem with legalizing polygamy isn't moral; it's legal. Our entire legal system is built on the foundation of a two-person union. Think about it. All our divorce laws, child custody laws- they all revolve around couples. Polygamy blows this to pieces. Either we develop a two-tiered system with one set of rights and laws for polygamists and another for monogamists, or we tear the whole works down and start all over. There are huge, complex legal issues at stake. I think that's why polygamy is winked at where it exists, rather than aggressively promoted. The headaches would be huge.


"China values monogamy, and despite a long history and major recent progress, that nation remains authoritarian and poor."

Actually, China's embrace of monogamy is pretty recent. For most of its long history, Chinese civilization practiced polygamy as a demonstration of wealth and power. It could be argued that values normalized under poygamy- such as the devaluing of female offspring- have contributed to China's problems today.

Sorry for the double post.


One wife but many mistresses. Very accepted. Very open. With the new wealth it is now trendy to call them concubines again. Or so I have heard.

Frank Warner

Interesting. I think we're hearing a debate that more people will hear later this year.


"Very accepted. Very open."
Yes, and unfortunately that led to many other things being very accepted and very open- things that might still hold China back. Things like the idea of one person possessing and controlling other persons as a sign of wealth and power. Things like the concept of birth mother and birth order deciding one's fate and status in life. Polygamy/concubinage are often an expression of authoritarian social order and I suspect they contributed to Chinese acceptance of a new authoritarian order after the communist revolution.
Top-down control was already in the cultural DNA.

This is not to say that all polygamists are awful and evil- I've known a few. I just wanted to point out that China does have a polygamous past that might be an important influence.


Well, there's a lot of nonreligious polygamy going on out there under the radar. I'm not into telling people who they can live with, but legalizing it does pose a truckload of very awkward legal hurdles- many of which will actively hurt some polygamists.
And to be fair, legalizing group marriage poses many of the same problems. And we'd have to legalize that, too.
It's a genuine Pandora's box.


Yet another section to be added to the Domestic Union declaration. I just read a few. They all seem to have this arbitrary 18 year old age limit. When will we allow our brothers in NAMBLA their equal rights. Reminds me of a comment a professor once said "so open minded your brains are falling out".


It is quite interesting. I think the debate is very good. I am looking forward for more information from here.

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