Polygamy: The Next Frontier

This article below appeared in The American Conservative, Feb. 18, 2017. Written by Rod Dreher, who also wrote, The Benedict Option. Here is part of a review of his book, so you know where he is coming from. “Dreher writes for the church and the ordinary Christians in it. He sees existential threats to the faith—from without but especially from within, where bonds are frayed and formation is thin. Inspired by the well-known ending of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, Dreher looks to St. Benedict for a survival plan. How can the church build the internal strength it needs? To be sure, the problem Dreher is addressing isn’t just pews that are vacant three Sundays a month and halfheartedly occupied the fourth. It’s the broader cultural context: the West’s sacral imagination long since displaced by nominalism, the triumph of individual desire as an ethic, the loosening of communal ties of all kinds, the way moral therapeutic deism functions as priest to all this and rarely prophet. Dreher, a self-described pessimist, presents a case that church and culture have colluded in their own mutual, steady decline.”

Now to the book Legalizing Plural Marriage.  “Although Mark Goldfeder does not argue the right or wrong of plural marriage, he maintains that polygamy is the next step—after same-sex marriage—in the development of U.S. family law. Providing a road map to show how such legalization could be handled, he explores the legislative and administrative arguments which demonstrate that plural marriage is not as farfetched—or as far off—as we might think. Goldfeder argues not only that polygamy is in keeping with the legislative values and freedoms of the United States, but also that it would not be difficult to manage or administrate within our current legal system. His legal analysis is enriched throughout with examples of plural marriage in diverse cultural and historical contexts.

“Remember when all the Haters™ warned a decade or more ago that legalizing gay marriage required uncoupling marriage from procreation and basing it on expressive individualism, and that this would open the door to polygamy? Remember how they were all denounced as alarmist bigots?

“Let us recall the Law of Merited ImpossibilityIt will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it. I think that the late Antonin Scalia is the patron saint of the Law of Merited Impossibility. In his 2003 Lawrence v. Texas dissent, he pointed out that the Court had opened the legal door to constitutionalizing same-sex marriage. He was right about that, as we saw in the majority ruling in Obergefell. In his Lawrence dissent, Scalia also said this:

“The Court embraces instead Justice Stevens’ declaration in his Bowers dissent, that “the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice,” ante, at 17. This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation. If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws can survive rational-basis review.

“Polygamy is coming. American society is deconstructing itself.

As usual, justice Scalia saw the naked truth behind the rhetoric. But courts and legislatures do not determine what is moral. You need a fixed standard for that, but one beyond any political or human-inspired document. If not the Word of God, then what?

Douglas Wilson, always ahead of his time and hated for it, inspired by C.S. Lewis books This Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man, wrote this, and I paraphrase: “The liberation of women was a ‘false flag’ operation, The true goal was the liberation of libertine men, and this goal has largely been achieved. These were men who wanted benefits for themselves that would come from easy divorce, widespread abortion, mainstreamed pornography and a promiscuous dating culture. These sons of Belial have the nerve to call it progress!”

It’s appropriate that I finish this post in maroon, the color of dried blood, in lamentation for the millions of babies struck down in their mothers’ wombs (let’s hear it for “safe spaces”) and the thousands, or perhaps also millions, of women who have been raped, abandoned, deceived and are carrying regrets that can never really be assuaged. Oh yeah, let’s include all the children who have grown up without fathers. Many grew up to be those libertines who thought they benefitted from the “liberation” of women, only to destroy their own lives by minds as barren as the wombs that birthed them.

Still, pessimism is never justified. The Lord will right all wrongs, for those on the right side of His ledger. I hope that includes you, dear reader.