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Human and Divine

Monogamy and its constructs. Plus: Tony, Jack, smoke, Mrs. Gunn, and more.

3.23.06

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ONE MAN, MANY HEADACHES
Re: William Tucker's Polygamy and Me:

I can go out and legally impregnate as many women as possible, but if I covenant with them to love them and provide for the needs of their children, then suddenly I become a criminal. Does that make sense? I guess I could just abandon them, like the "monogamists" do, or maybe the great patriots of my country could honor the Constitution of the United States and give me my God given right to freely practice my religion. I'm not asking for anyone to sanction polygamous marriages. I'm just looking for the freedom to live my deeply held religious beliefs without fear of persecution from my government. Can I do that in this great country, or will I suffer the same governmental persecution as the Mormons of the 19th century?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." (Amendment I, The Constitution of the United States of America, may it rest in peace)
-- Brent Hartman

I can agree with most all of William Tucker's conclusions about marriage except where he says that marriage is a "human construct." The primary reason that marriage as an institution is in turmoil is that people have forgotten that marriage is really a Divine Construct. Anytime we choose to live our lives in a manner contrary to God's original plan, we do so at personal and societal peril. God's plan for marriage is one man and one woman united for life.

Libertarians, as he points out, have no problem with changing rules for marriage, but the only logical outcome of such thinking is social chaos. That's why I will never consider myself a libertarian. If they could confine their thinking to economics, they would have a chance at getting my support.

If we lose the foundation of monogamous marriage, we surely will be unable to support any kind of functional society.
-- Scott Martin
Madison, Wisconsin

Tell Mr. Tucker that I enjoyed his article very much. I wrote an essay for Policy Review, called "The Future of Tradition," where I argued that "traditional marriage" was not natural, but a social construction.

I was, however, a bit confused to read that monogamy was natural for man in his primitive state, while at the same time it was a great human achievement in social construction. If it came naturally to us, why did we depart from it? And why did we need to create artificial barriers to keep polygamy from returning?

I approach the matter in a different way. Polygamy is the natural state of the alpha male, not because he covets lots of females, but because, being an alpha male who can protect them, he draws the females to him. It is the females of the species who create the institution of polygamy, not the male -- though the male benefits from the fact that his tribe of females will often him protection. (Unattached women flocked to Mormon Utah, for example.)

This clumping of the females around the strongest alpha males, however, results inevitably in the formation of males who have no females, who can only defend themselves by developing cooperative strategies to overthrow the dominant alpha male, in the quest to possess his females. Unfortunately, the leaders of such rebellions end up by establishing their own alpha male dominance, inheriting the harems of the dethroned alpha male, and the same cycle starts all over again. (This is the classic pattern among primates.)

Seen from this point of view, it is obvious that the establishment of monogamy required a community that refused to tolerate any clumping of females around a single man. That is why egalitarian societies always take rape and adultery so seriously, and why they prohibit incest -- their rigid and Puritanical sexual code is in fact a way of achieving a state of social harmony and equilibrium that goes against our primate nature. Females may not clump around a single man, nor can any single man attempt to dominate more than the females the community allots to him -- his wife and his daughters. And he is not expected to dominate his daughters except in their childhood--he must give them up to another man. Just as egalitarian societies enforce a re-distribution of wealth, so to they enforce a re-distribution of females. No man can have too much of either, lest he become an alpha male tyrant who destroys the egalitarian ethos of his community.

Brigham Young in an interview with an English traveler said that he really saw nothing against father and daughter incest, but that because he had been raised a Gentile, he felt funny about it. The Mormon elders also sent away all the young and attractive males in their community to seek converts in far away countries. Meanwhile single women from all over the world flocked to Salt Lake City.

The anti-Mormon reaction of Protestant America did not come from religious intolerance -- it came from their horror of seeing a society created in their midst that was a reversion to the old primate rule of the supreme alpha male. The Protestant tradition is that no man may have followers, either male or female. Joseph Smith not only had a harem, but his own personal army -- or body guard. That is why he evoked such rage among the egalitarian Protestant farmers of nineteenth century America.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.
-- Lee Harris

I thought William Tucker's article entitled "Polygamy and Me" was very interesting and a very accurate estimation of what is currently going on with marriage and the many attempts to destroy it.

Mr. Tucker posits the question: is polygamy the next homosexuality? I believe the answer is no, that we are already being exposed to the "next homosexuality" in the form of transsexualism or gender reassignment or whatever we are supposed to be calling it these days. I think we will see increasing pressure from this group for all sorts of special "rights" and accommodations, such as the homosexual lobby has long been pressuring for and which they have been receiving in ever increasing areas. In matters ranging from public restroom facilities to marriage laws to forced 'diversity' training at workplaces, transsexualism has already made many inroads, and I believe this pressure will only continue to grow. From what I understand, birth certificates in some places are now permitted to be altered to put the official seal of approval to the lie of a person being born to the opposite gender.

This is, I think, only the beginning. Once gender has been completely eliminated from the structure of American life, and everyone has become convinced (brainwashed) that it is only a "social construct" which is fluid and ever-changeable, rather than the reality that people have known it to be since virtually the beginning of human history, perhaps then we can "advance" to the complete acceptance of polygamy as well. On to the brave new world!
-- Sheryl DeMille

Thank you for publishing the thoughtful essays of William Tucker. I always find his insights pertinent and stimulating. Thursday you deliver "Polygamy and Me." Mr. Tucker confirms again that "plural marriage" constitutes the "next" great assault upon the created order. He recites the many practical and historical problems with polygamous societies. I fully agree with the propositions in probably 95 percent of his text.

One unfortunate sentence at the article's end reveals a deep flaw in Mr. Tucker's assessment of the reasons why polygamy occurs. If we conservatives share that presupposition, then we surely will see monogamous marriage lose the legally favored status it still tenuously holds in our post-Christian culture. Mr. Tucker has accepted a materialistic presupposition variously promulgated by 19th century "free lovers," feminazi theorists, and homosexual advocates: "Monogamy is not a natural configuration. It's a human construct.'

The formulation seems harmless, from the perspective of world views favoring materialism, secularism, utility. As do similar assumptions such as: "my conjecture is that we adopted monogamy in response to adversity. Five million years ago, a very small, polygamous ape, barely three feet tall, moved…" and "basically we became monogamous for greater security.... Monogamy became preferable because it knit the group more tightly together In a word, it was more democratic."

The flaw lies in Mr. Tucker's epistemology. He appears to accept only a single source for production of "truth": human reason. That materialist philosophy is the philosophy of the foes of us "conservatives." The great conservative Sir William Blackstone once observed human reason is "corrupt" and his understanding darkened by "ignorance and error." We really don't know for a fact any of these assumptions Mr. Tucker appears to take as true. We assume the "facts" must exist, because the materialist world view template forces us to that conclusion. But another means of knowing man's origins and purposes exists. That method (again pace Blackstone) is "revelation." To obtain facts that our reason alone cannot confirm we must turn to a Higher Authority.

Here is a view on monogamy and the purpose of human marriage that comes not from the mind of man but from the One Who is in position to know:

1) "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said: 'Be fruitful and increase in number...'" (Genesis 1:27-28 -- God produces only two sexes, and only two "genders," to use the postmodern, incorrect term -- and together they reflect the unity of God.)

2) "The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:23-24 -- God decrees the fundamental unity of a marriage relation.)

3) "Haven't you read...that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate." (Gospel of Matthew 19:4-6 -- the decree of God the Son as to God's unchanging purpose for human marriage, and His reference to revelatory Authority in God's Word.)

4) "Now the bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife... A deacon must be the husband of but one wife..." (I Timothy 3:2, 12 -- God bars polygamists from Church government positions (and also reserves them to men only, but we'll leave that issue for another column))

I completely accept the truth of this view of the Divine origin of marriage and monogamy. That's truth well worth "conserving." And I submit to the Sovereign Lord Who decrees monogamy as our norm.

Back in 2003 the Supreme Court elitists caved in to the homosexual crowd and issued their Lawrence v. Texas opinion. At that time I predicted to a secularist eastern law school professor that within a year polygamists would raise legal challenges to monogamous marriage laws. He deprecated my suggestion. Poo-Pooh! Since I only wager on "sure things," I should have bet the man; I knew that I'd win. Sure enough, within a couple of months the plural marriage advocates were filing suits. Selfish mankind constantly seeks to overturn the created order, in whatever way he can.

Why? Polygamists, homosexuals, totalitarians and rebels of whatever stripe -- all selfishly demand their own pleasure in defiance of God's Law and order. They seek to remake that order in their own warped image so they can be gods themselves. (cf. Gen. 3:4 -- quoted by Ronald Reagan against the Communists).

We can never successfully resist the rising new polygamists by calling for self-denial solely on utilitarian grounds. We've tried that argument with a) "no-fault" divorce "reform"; b) laws restricting sexual behavior in any manner, 3) legal restriction of marriage to only one man and one woman. Did we win on the first two? Utilitarian arguments for self-restriction always and everywhere fall to hedonistic arguments favoring selfish licentiousness.

"Sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4). All of us 'transgress' in one way or another -- thus the universal need for redemption and the Cross. The only strong Rock upon which we can rely to upholding monogamous marriage is the true reason: God ordained it. To violate His law is sin. Those who obey Him cannot consent to our civil state (a participatory republic) submitting to humanistic lusts that enslave women, prevent men from marrying, destabilize society, and deny justice and righteousness to all people.

Keep printing Mr. Tucker's writings. As I said, he's sound on more than 95 percent of his observations!
-- David James Hanson
Fayette, Iowa (currently at LSA Anaconda, Balad AB, Iraq)

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