The Nation's Pulse

Big Love on the Prairie

Will Lawrence v. Texas protect the polygamists at the Yearning for Zion ranch?

By 4.9.08

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The assumptions underlying secularism's embrace of promiscuity are essentially polygamous. Who cares, secularists say, if people aren't monogamous over the course of their lives?

After all, the principle upon which monogamy rests -- that sexual love possesses by nature an exclusive, permanent, and procreative character -- is annoyingly antiquated and was long ago discarded, clearing the path for a glorious lifetime of multiple partners, easy divorce, maybe a detour or two into homosexuality, and if all else fails a Clintonian open marriage.

Polygamy is just a more organized and immediate form of promiscuity, lining the women up all at once instead of pacing them out over time. But the illuminati -- most of whom have an assortment of spouses, just not simultaneously, through habitual divorce -- still recoil at the sight of the polygamous "Yearning for Zion ranch" in Eldorado, Texas. Very troubling indeed. While they chuckle at HBO's Big Love, they blanche at polygamy on the prairie.

Perhaps if the polygamous Texas patriarchs looked more like Bill Paxton and less like Charles Ingalls, perhaps if they opened up a bathhouse instead of a compound, they would win the approval of the elite and privacy advocates.

Apparently Lawrence v. Texas -- which progressive guardians praised for establishing a constitutional right to define morality anyway one likes without interference from "the community" -- won't be kicking in for the Yearning for Zion ranch.

How quickly the Texas authorities have forgotten Anthony Kennedy's important musings on the "mystery of human life" and the sanctity of personal autonomy against intrusive moralists and statists.

A GOVERNMENT RAID on a neighborhood in San Francisco -- to pluck adopted children from the arms of gay couples lest their orgies corrupt them -- would cause days of disquiet amongst reporters. But this raid feels right to them. "Our hearts go out to the children," groaned an anguished FOX anchor, as she watched the women and children trooped off to state services.

Since these children and women are in obvious need of enlightenment from the state -- they wear 19th-century prairie attire and spend part of their days quilting -- its rounding up of hundreds of them needn't provoke close media scrutiny or calls for circumspection from social libertarians.

I liked this headline on an Associated Press story: "Life on Texas polygamist compound old-fashioned, but far from pleasant, authorities say."

Far from pleasant? Well, that doesn't sound very good. While the state is at it, concerned that minors are marrying older men, why doesn't it also raid NEA-run public schools?

They don't seem too terribly troubled that underage girls might be having sex with older men and even outfit them with contraceptives to contain the consequences of such statutory rape.

IN A SOCIETY that has normalized the corruption of children and teens, whether by crazy sects or by secularist craziness, the work of "Children's protective services" always looks comically arbitrary.

Nothing really qualifies as the "corruption" of teens at this point, except maybe smoking (nicotine, not pot), which is why Bill Paxton's Big Love caused delight amongst elite critics (it is "gracefully odd," one said) and blase acceptance by the public.

As if to emphasize the point that promiscuous America was ready for polygamy to assume its place at the table of the sexual revolution, if only to munch on its crumbs, Paxton disclosed that he used Bill Clinton as a model for his character. HBO worried at first about the "yuck factor," but that concern quickly passed, since most shows are predicated on sexual free-wheeling and the tricky juggling of multiple affairs.

Since marriage is man-made anyways, elite reasoning goes, what's the big deal if humans unmake it and squeeze polygamy into newer and more elastic models of it? Open marriage, plural marriage -- does it matter?

It is not as if children need one father and one mother, as homosexualists repeatedly argue, and married couples certainly shouldn't be expected to stay together for the welfare of children. Maybe the literature down at Children's Protective Services will need to be changed -- Heather Now Has Seven Mommies -- but that's a quick fix.

After the launch of Big Love, nobody in the mainstream media, as far as I could tell, even raised a moral objection in defense of children. If they raised an objection at all, it reflected concern not for minors but for women exploited by dirty dog patriarchs who have benefited from the confusions of the sexual revolution.

The handcuffed patriarchs at the Yearning for Zion ranch must be muttering to themselves: How come we don't get to join this parade?

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.