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Polygamy and Democracy


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Constitutional government first arose in the monogamous societies of republican Greece and Rome and was later reborn in 17th-century Europe, where Christianity had strengthened monogamy as a legal and social norm. The other great civilizations of China, Japan, India, the Middle East and pre-Columbian America all tolerated or promoted polygamy. They can claim many brilliant achievements, but they never gave rise to equality before the law, individual rights and self-government
Polygamous, authoritarian systems may achieve imperial conquest and cultural efflorescence, but they do not favour the growth of democracy. Based on arbitrary power, radical inequality, harsh laws and endless warfare, the milieu is the very opposite of constitutional democracy, which must rest on the rule of law, equality before the law, mild punishments, and peaceable exchange in free markets. Simply put, polygamy raises reproductive stakes to levels that make it difficult for males to practise the self-restraint required by constitutional democracy.

http://www.rbcinvest.theglobeandmail.com/s...xComment/3/3/6/

Interesting perspective.

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Polygamous societies tend toward extreme authoritarianism and arbitrary government, with Draconian punishments to protect harems and control slaves and soldiers. Driven by millenniums of evolutionary pressure, young men will take extreme chances to find sexual gratification, so there have to be extreme punishments to control their libidinous passions. There is also a tendency toward permanent warfare, because plundering neighbouring peoples is the only way of satisfying the polygamous social system's limitless craving for women, slaves and soldiers.

Polygamous, authoritarian systems may achieve imperial conquest and cultural efflorescence, but they do not favour the growth of democracy. Based on arbitrary power, radical inequality, harsh laws and endless warfare, the milieu is the very opposite of constitutional democracy, which must rest on the rule of law, equality before the law, mild punishments, and peaceable exchange in free markets. Simply put, polygamy raises reproductive stakes to levels that make it difficult for males to practise the self-restraint required by constitutional democracy.

I can't quite keep a straight face reading this ...

"Driven by millenniums of evolutionary pressure..."

"there must be extreme punishments to control their libidinous passions"

... "makes it difficult for males to practise the self-restraint ... "

Oh please ... <_<

Does he have any particular cultures in mind he would like to be just a little more clear about or he's just going to let all those names stand accused?? I think the last one mentioned was ... ummm ... Muslim.

This is trash, imo. <_<

Polygamous societies tend toward extreme authoritarianism and arbitrary government, with Draconian punishments to protect harems and control slaves and soldiers. Driven by millenniums of evolutionary pressure, young men will take extreme chances to find sexual gratification, so there have to be extreme punishments to control their libidinous passions. There is also a tendency toward permanent warfare, because plundering neighbouring peoples is the only way of satisfying the polygamous social system's limitless craving for women, slaves and soldiers.

OK every man who just read this is salivating hoping we become a kinky polygamous society ... right? :D

Please tell me Tom Flanagan is not serious ... omigod. :blink:

Edited by jennie
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Please tell me Tom Flanagan is not serious ... omigod. :blink:

Whether he is talking about muslims, africans or mormon extremists who have set up shop in BC and who recently avoided criminal charges isn't the point.

In a nutshell he describes perfectly the societal environements where polygamy is prevalent. Even amongst extremist mormans in civilized north america, surplus males are forced to the fringes of society where they either sink or swim and absolute patriarchal discipline is maintained by force. It is the same in Bountiful as in any culture that allows polygamy so it is not at all surprising that where polygamy is found you cannot find any vestige of indigenous democracy. In fact, democracy is a mortal threat to ploygamous society.

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Laws against polygamy cannot stand under our Charter, it's as simple as that.

Security of the person. Or a section 1. Not everything is legal because of the Charter. You will never have the right to do cocaine in your office, though one may say that has less harm than polygamy.

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Whether he is talking about muslims, africans or mormon extremists who have set up shop in BC and who recently avoided criminal charges isn't the point.

In a nutshell he describes perfectly the societal environements where polygamy is prevalent. Even amongst extremist mormans in civilized north america, surplus males are forced to the fringes of society where they either sink or swim and absolute patriarchal discipline is maintained by force. It is the same in Bountiful as in any culture that allows polygamy so it is not at all surprising that where polygamy is found you cannot find any vestige of indigenous democracy. In fact, democracy is a mortal threat to ploygamous society.

"He describes perfectly" does he. Where are his references? He describes exactly what he wants to describe in his own polluted mind.

This is the diatribe of a racist moron. He has NO CLUE how to live in the world except through power over others, and that is a sad way to live. Thus, he dismisses, denigrates and denies the value of the 'other'.

He is a creep of the same ilk as Zundt, a 'white power' nazi, imo, looking for trumped up excuses to bolster his own beliefs in his own racial superiority.

Typically, such people have difficulty dealing with cognitive complexity and social complexity, so he reduces the world to suit his ability to only distinguish between simplistic concepts, usually US-THEM. People like this cause wars, if given any credence, because for them it is all about power to control others (to simplify his own world).

Not a helpful approach at all ... very prejudiced, based on pseudo-science and very divisive. To Flanagan, it is all about who 'deserves' the power. Kinda like the Dark Ages all over again.

imo, of course.

Edited by jennie
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"He describes perfectly" does he. Where are his references? He describes exactly what he wants to describe in his own polluted mind.

This is the diatribe of a racist moron. He has NO CLUE how to live in the world except through power over others, and that is a sad way to live. Thus, he dismisses, denigrates and denies the value of the 'other'.

He is a creep of the same ilk as Zundt, a 'white power' nazi, imo, looking for trumped up excuses to bolster his own beliefs in his own racial superiority.

Typically, such people have difficulty dealing with cognitive complexity and social complexity, so he reduces the world to suit his ability to only distinguish between simplistic concepts, usually US-THEM. People like this cause wars, if given any credence, because for them it is all about power to control others (to simplify his own world).

Not a helpful approach at all ... very prejudiced, based on pseudo-science and very divisive. To Flanagan, it is all about who 'deserves' the power. Kinda like the Dark Ages all over again.

imo, of course.

Are you 15? This childish rant is way over the top. Where are your, umm, references?

Why are you having such difficulty understanding what he wrote? He isn't advocating polygamy, he is warning us about it.

Typically, such people have difficulty dealing with cognitive complexity and social complexity
Tom Flanagan teaches a course on the application of evolutionary biology to political behaviour.
Dr. Tom Flanagan is perhaps the only person ever to have lived in both Ottawa, Ontario, and Ottawa, Illinois. Born in Ottawa, Illinois, he studied political science at Notre Dame University, the Free University of West Berlin, and Duke University, where he received his Ph.D. He has taught political science at the University of Calgary since 1968.

http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/shared/author.asp?id=125

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Are you 15? This childish rant is way over the top. Where are your, umm, references?

Why are you having such difficulty understanding what he wrote? He isn't advocating polygamy, he is warning us about it.

Yes I got that, and I know who he is. He is using polygamy as a reason to dismiss some cultures because of HIS perception of what they are like. It is subtle, but it is propaganda, not academic writing.

I stand by my comments.

Edited by jennie
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Agreed on that one no contest now since SSM what's up next, incest becoming legal.

Not likely since, incest is a crime because of the pedophilia normally involved. Sex with minor children is a crime, whether or not they are your children. As for adults, there is a genetic issue for the offspring.

And polygamy becomes pedophilia when minor children become spouses.

But in circumstances where all partners are consenting adults, I don't see a word in the Charter that prevents it. The Supremes won't either when it comes before them. Justice Canada is in no hurry to put it before them either by pressing charges, they know what the outcome must be....... The last polygamy charge in Canada was in the 1930s, yet communities like Bountiful, BC have existed without any repercussions.

How can the Supremes confirm that SSM is a human right for all Canadians where two consenting adults of any gender may lawfully marry, then ban the right of more than two consenting adults to enter into exactly the same domestic arrangement? What makes the number 'two special?

Answer: nothing. Watch and see.

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How does this analysis account for such relatively common practices in some absolutely non authoritarian and democratic societies as "swap clubs", "swedish family" and the like? Aren't they, in some interpretation at least, a kind of poly "relationship" (to avoid the gender specific term) too? Looks like the author got the ends quite wrong: its' not the polygamy that creates authoritarianism and all the viles associated with it, but rather that autoritarianism may extend so far as to give some individuals near absolute power over others. Based on ethnics, political orientation, or even gender, and so on. It's in the nature of authoritarian societies to do just that, hardly a revelation.

What is in the interests of a democratic society is to prevent that sort of power of another individual and any abuses of such power. Polygamy as such, between responsible and consenting adults is not illegal. Exercise and abuse of power over another individual in any relationship, is.

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How does this analysis account for such relatively common practices in some absolutely non authoritarian and democratic societies as "swap clubs", "swedish family" and the like? Aren't they, in some interpretation at least, a kind of poly "relationship" (to avoid the gender specific term) too? Looks like the author got the ends quite wrong: its' not the polygamy that creates authoritarianism and all the viles associated with it, but rather that autoritarianism may extend so far as to give some individuals near absolute power over others. Based on ethnics, political orientation, or even gender, and so on. It's in the nature of authoritarian societies to do just that, hardly a revelation.

What is in the interests of a democratic society is to prevent that sort of power of another individual and any abuses of such power. Polygamy as such, between responsible and consenting adults is not illegal. Exercise and abuse of power over another individual in any relationship, is.

No, polygamy - state of marriage between one man and more than one woman - is not legal in Canada at this time. It does not matter if the adults involved are responsible or consenting.

I don't understand your reference to swap clubs or swingers. They have nothing to do with polygamy or any form of marriage.

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Yes I got that, and I know who he is. He is using polygamy as a reason to dismiss some cultures because of HIS perception of what they are like. It is subtle, but it is propaganda, not academic writing.

I stand by my comments.

I'm not sure if I follow your mental gymnastics.....where has he dismissed any cultures because of polygamy. Notwithstanding that cultures that practice polygamy including those in North America are oppresive in nature and in fact, primitive in structure and violent in practice.

Are you not in favour of examing these things or do you prefer he not mention them?

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.

But in circumstances where all partners are consenting adults

The issue will be whether or not someone who has lived in a cult, under threat of violence....I think it becomes a question of can someone give consent under duress.

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The issue will be whether or not someone who has lived in a cult, under threat of violence....I think it becomes a question of can someone give consent under duress.

If someone is deemed not to be able to give free consent, then any restrictions on their ability to make decisions or enter into contracts is jepordized. For example if they can't give free consent, should they be allowed to vote, marry, buy property, etc.

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No, polygamy - state of marriage between one man and more than one woman - is not legal in Canada at this time. It does not matter if the adults involved are responsible or consenting.

You can still live in a common law polygamous relationship in this country all you want, if you find consenting companions of course. It becomes simply a matter of formality, rubber stamp. And I can't care less if it's formally recognized by the state as marriage or not.

I don't understand your reference to swap clubs or swingers. They have nothing to do with polygamy or any form of marriage.

They are all examples of de facto poly-relationships which apparently can exist and flourish in the non authoritarian democratic societies. Essentially nullifying the argument that such relationships in themselves lead to authoritarianism and abuse of power.

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You can still live in a common law polygamous relationship in this country all you want, if you find consenting companions of course. It becomes simply a matter of formality, rubber stamp. And I can't care less if it's formally recognized by the state as marriage or not.

They are all examples of de facto poly-relationships which apparently can exist and flourish in the non authoritarian democratic societies. Essentially nullifying the argument that such relationships in themselves lead to authoritarianism and abuse of power.

I don't think swap clubs etc can be compared to marriage. They can't be compared to marriage anymore than serial monogamy an "open relationship" .

As a rule the polygamous marriage is centered on procreation so there are property issues that casual promiscuity doesn't have.

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The issue will be whether or not someone who has lived in a cult, under threat of violence....I think it becomes a question of can someone give consent under duress.

The answer to that question has long been and clearly remains: 'no'.

So, assuming that - as in every binding contract, including a marriage contract between two adults of any gender, there is no duress......what exactly is the legal argument against polygamy? I think the answer to that, in Canada in 2007, is that there is no compelling legal argument against polygamy. Opponents can claim some Biblical prohibition, or traditional definitions of marriage being between only two persons - but that train left the staion with the legal acceptance of same sex marriage.

Now, opponents of polygamy or polyandry are apparently left with only the weakest of arguments: It's against Gods will, or there is something sacred about the number two, or there may be duress on the women, or there are legal issues with the children created in polygamous relationships.

All of these are weak, weak, weak under our Charter.

The Crown has had a long, hard look at places and situations like Bountiful and done........ nothing. That speaks volumes.

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The answer to that question has long been and clearly remains: 'no'.

So, assuming that - as in every binding contract, including a marriage contract between two adults of any gender, there is no duress......what exactly is the legal argument against polygamy?

The legal argument will be that child brides raised in a controlled oppresive environements can't give consent.

Really, aside from the odd 1 in a 1000 polyamourous couple, not too many (adult) women raised in a moden western society, familiar with the concepts of gender equality and freedom would willing join a man's breeding harem.

If any adult women freely do so, so be it. My concerns about polygamy has to do with those who have no choice and the human detrius it produces.

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Yes I got that, and I know who he is. He is using polygamy as a reason to dismiss some cultures because of HIS perception of what they are like. It is subtle, but it is propaganda, not academic writing.

I stand by my comments.

With respect, I stand by Jennies comments and positions on this. She is not alone.

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I appreciate your comments Dancedude. They are very interesting and well presented.

Here is my problem and I am not sure if it debates your positions or simply the ones you have reported;

"Of course, as long as social norms remain monogamous, Canada's democracy will not fail if a few fundamentalist Mormons in B.C., or polygamous African immigrants in Toronto, are not prosecuted for violating the Criminal Code. "

See the above kind of reasoning for me is selective but simplistic in its selectivity. It to me, makes it sound as if Mormons or African immigrants are a minor annyoyance that should be accommodated.

Id on't understand that. It sounds patronizing.

More to the point for me Dance, I am worried it misses the point. The problem with polygamy to me is the floodgates arguement. If you accommodate a few "mormons" here, or some "African immigrants" it sets a legal precedent. Law doesn't work by looking the other way on moral values such as this one, but by applying them equally to all. If you only selectively enforce it, it breaks down and becomes meaningless.

I think as you know our family law that defines marriage as being with one person is based on the moral value one should be married to only one person and yes that probably is a cultural bias flowing from Judeo-Christian religious values that remains entrenched in our federal Divorce Law but I also think it reflects our modern values that consider women and men as equals and seeks to avoid the kinds of relationships we know would promote

conflict.

I suppose if the majority of society pushed politically its conceivable it could politically achieve polygamy.

I personally think the only distinction in law now between the legal spouse and a common law spouse flows from inheritance and property issues. I think that is why it remains to try prevent hopeless conflicts legally in those two areas.

I hear your points. I question thought the agenda behind this. Maybe I am too suspicious and like you say, there is no additional agenda. I must confess my agreement with Jennie's take comes down to my gut feeling which is probably far from rational but its there.

As always you do an excellent job discussing the issue in a logical manner. That of course is not the issue.

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I appreciate your comments Dancedude. They are very interesting and well presented.

Here is my problem and I am not sure if it debates your positions or simply the ones you have reported;

"Of course, as long as social norms remain monogamous, Canada's democracy will not fail if a few fundamentalist Mormons in B.C., or polygamous African immigrants in Toronto, are not prosecuted for violating the Criminal Code. "

See the above kind of reasoning for me is selective but simplistic in its selectivity. It to me, makes it sound as if Mormons or African immigrants are a minor annyoyance that should be accommodated.

Id on't understand that. It sounds patronizing.

More to the point for me Dance, I am worried it misses the point. The problem with polygamy to me is the floodgates arguement. If you accommodate a few "mormons" here, or some "African immigrants" it sets a legal precedent. Law doesn't work by looking the other way on moral values such as this one, but by applying them equally to all. If you only selectively enforce it, it breaks down and becomes meaningless.

I don't agree with his thoughts on whether the criminal code should be ignored for a few muslims or mormans. And for the reason I state, because children must be protected from sexual predators. Polygamous societies should not be welcomed in Canada.

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The legal argument will be that child brides raised in a controlled oppresive environements can't give consent.

Really, aside from the odd 1 in a 1000 polyamourous couple, not too many (adult) women raised in a moden western society, familiar with the concepts of gender equality and freedom would willing join a man's breeding harem.

If any adult women freely do so, so be it. My concerns about polygamy has to do with those who have no choice and the human detrius it produces.

Since we freely and joyfully accomodate the 1 couple in 1000 who chooose alternative forms of marriage -ie same sex marriage, - there is no legal reason to deny those that willingly enter such unions.

And your comments ignore mine about 'duress'.

An example of how to handle and assess 'duress' in a marital contract need be no different than the standard employed in establsihing duress in real estate contracts, under dower laws. Dower laws exist in every province, mainly to prevent married women from being cheated of their rights. It need be no different in marriage contracts.

All this blah-blah-blah about child brides is misleading.

The issue is not child brides or duress, we already have legislation and law that is supposed to prevent both. If it does not, the issue is not law but enforcement of law. If you claim that a child was involved in a contract of marriage, the contract is void and the marriage is ended. Same for duress. Prove it, and the marriage is ended.

The issue is the same as it was for same sex marriage: is it a human right in this country to select those whom you choose to enter into a contract of marriage with, regardless of gender, and regardless of number of consenting adults? Both our Parliament and our Supreme Court have said a resounding 'yes'.

It's a done deal.

Unless you change both the Charter, and the members of the Supreme Court.

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