June 29, 2015

I've got a problem with the supply-of-women argument for distinguishing polygamy from same-sex marriage.

Yesterday, I put up a post about an argument I made 9 years ago about how to distinguish polygamy from same-sex marriage. This was an argument based on economics and government benefits (and I admitted that the #LoveWins aspects of Obergefell made my distinction more difficult).

I was only noticing my old argument because my son John had remembered it and blogged about it. But today I see that John expanded his blog post to add a different distinction that 2 very prominent commentators have made in the wake of Obergefell.

Richard Posner says:
[P]olygamy imposes real costs, by reducing the number of marriageable women. Suppose a society contains 100 men and 100 women, but the five wealthiest men have a total of 50 wives. That leaves 95 men to compete for only 50 marriageable women.
And Jonathan Rauch says:
[T]he case for gay marriage is the case against polygamy, and the public will be smart enough to understand the difference.

Gay marriage is about extending the opportunity to marry to people who lack it; polygamy, in practice, is about exactly the opposite: withdrawing marriage opportunity from people who now have it. Gay marriage succeeded because no one could identify any plausible channels through which it might damage heterosexual marriage; with polygamy, the worries are many, the history clear, and the channels well understood.
Well, I've got a problem with that! Talk about a male perspective! What about the women who want to choose to share one man? They should be denied to preserve a pool of marriageable women for all the extra males that would otherwise have scarce pickings? Are women some kind of natural resource to be conserved for the benefit of males?

As the old saying goes: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. If women think they are better off as multiple wives to one high-quality male, why should they be cut off from that way of life so that some less-desired male will have better odds of getting a woman for himself? Is this everybody-gets-just-one theory of marriage some kind of welfare program for undesirable males?

I can see that society fears its renegade young males and would like to tame them through marriage, leveraging the power of their sexuality lest they expend that energy in acts of violence and dissolution. I can see the idea of using women for this purpose and rejecting polygamy because it takes women out of commission in that service.

I see the scheme. I see the mechanism. But if you use that as your overt argument, you're going to run up against ideas about women's autonomy and freedom. We're not society's tools. Why should we be denied marriage to the man we want, in a sisterhood with other women who want the same thing? You'd better have a reason other than your need to exploit us for the purposes of men.

And by the way, women pairing up with women also takes women out of the pool of women who are available to men. Rauch said "Gay marriage succeeded because no one could identify any plausible channels through which it might damage heterosexual marriage," but, ironically, he just made me see an argument for that damage.

And I wouldn't use the term "gay marriage," because no one will check whether the 2 women want to have sex with each other. 2 women could marry to obtain the economic benefits of the government's legal status of marriage. Why shouldn't 2 women marry to create a household within which they could manage childcare, file a joint tax return, and get better health insurance for the blended group?

137 comments:

pm317 said...

Nicely done!

Rick said...

Richard Posner says:
[P]olygamy imposes real costs, by reducing the number of marriageable women.


That freedom rationale died quickly didn't it? It's like those who argued people have the right to make their own choices regardless of whether others approve didn't actually believe it.

Are women some kind of natural resource to be conserved for the benefit of males?

The argument works both ways (although these particular arguers work it in only one direction). But the idea that all people are assets or tools of the state permeates all these arguments and is offensive and wrong from the first word. We are not tools of the state and we should fire anyone in government who believes we are.

Big Mike said...

The numbers favor polygamy. Right now nearly 60% of college undergraduates are female. If college educated women want to marry a college educated spouse (which polls overwhelmingly show to be the case) then large numbers of them will either have to be in a lesbian marriage (NTTAWWT) or a polygamous marriage (NTTAWWTE).

TomHynes said...

I agree with Ann, and this is actually an old economic theory. It is lower status men who want to get rid of polygamy, not high status men or women. Many women would rather be the 2nd wife of a high status male (or one that could feed her children) than the first wife of a low status male. With the advent of democracy, low status males vote against polygamy. Even the first wife agrees with polygamy - she may rather be wife #1 than exwife #1.

Original Mike said...

"And by they way, women paring up with women also takes women out of the pool of women who are available to men."

Those women aren't available to men in the first place.

tim in vermont said...

Look at polygamous societies and tell me that's how you want to live.

sean said...

As to the last point, a marriage where the parties don't live together would be very weird. Furthermore, if both parties work and own separate property, the legal benefits of marriage are non-existent. It's economically a net minus to be married. So I can't imagine two people who don't live together getting married. And I can't imagine two adults being able to live together if they weren't having sex. Who would put up with having another person in the house without the physical reward?

Henry said...

Well, I've got a problem with that! Talk about a male perspective! What about the women who want to choose to share one man?

I think the "male perspective" while pretty blantant is largely semantic. Posner and Rauch should done the "he/she" and mentioned polygamy/polyandry in one breath.

The "autonomy and freedom" argument works against either case.

Interestingly, apologists for Mormon 19th-century polygamy proposed that polygamy was necessary because there were more single women and widows than marriageable men. Revisionist historians have shot this defense out of the sky.

damikesc said...

It's a dumb argument, but all arguments in this field tend to be so.

But let's be blunt here: feminism REQUURES chivalry to exist. Without that, women's concerns would be laughed at.

tim in vermont said...

"And by they way, women paring up with women also takes women out of the pool of women who are available to men."

Presumably balanced by the gay men they used to use as beards.

Rusty said...

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
No. Feminism is the radical notion that women are the only people. FTFY.

I don't agree that either position is correct. Marriage is a choice. What's the difference, at this point, who marries who..............whom....whatever?
If your argument is purely economic then it can apply equally to polygamy as well as same sex marriage. If your argument is unequal access to government benefits then you might have an argument if the government entitlement industry wasn't already handing out benefits to anyone who can fill out a form. IOW. That ship sailed long ago.
You have no valid argument.

tim in vermont said...

It's almost as if a dam that we were assured would never ever break due to a little ole decision, and anybody who said a dam would break was a clueless bigot has broken.

Whatever. We would be better to trash the constitution and live without one, like the Brits. Strip the power of these clueless judges and return it to the people where it belongs.

M Jordan said...

The Slippery Slope argument which gay marriage advocates contemptuously dismissed will have its day. Gravity always wins no matter how fiercely you dam up the water on the mountaintop.

tim in vermont said...

Another group of socialists run out of other people's money

Another thing we were contemptuously informed would never happen by our betters on the left.

Rick said...

Why shouldn't 2 women marry to create a household within which they could ...file a joint tax return...?

If both people work this is not a savings. Unless one person has only a nominal income filing a joint return is less tax advantageous than two separate single returns, and is certainly less advantageous than one filing Head of Household and the other single.

tim in vermont said...

On the bright side, a trip to Europe hasn't been this cheap for Americans in a long time.

Matthew Sablan said...

The biggest issue with the supply of women argument is that if one person can marry multiple, a woman marrying someone doesn't remove her from the pool of marriageable women.

John said...

So are you now saying that plural marriage follows from Oberfogell, Ann?

What is your position on plural marriage? Constitutional or not? Frankly you have been hard to follow. First I thought you were against it, constitutionally, now you seem to be for it.

Not for it in the sense you approve of it but for it in the sense that it passes legal and constitutional muster.

And if we have plural marriages, why does it have to be one man and multiple women or one woman and multiple men? Is there a limit to how many can be in a plural marriage?

Posit a commune with 100 people, more or less equally women and men. Could all 100 be married to each other? Someone with more knowledge of tax laws might be able to discuss the potential effects of this from an economic standpoint. Would it even have to be a commune? Could it be 100 people living in various parts of the country?

From an ownership standpoint I suppose it would be like a partnership or perhaps even a corporation.

Here's something that never occurred to me before and may be way out there. I need to think about it but let me throw it out:

Instead of marrying, what would be the effect of a couple forming a subchapter S Corp for the purpose of managing their economic and legal lives together?

We live in interesting times.

John Henry

traditionalguy said...

Idealism is a beautiful idea. But when one is not in a vast wilderness with no one else around, they are all society's tools. Either they become the ruler with half the wives, for now, at their command ruling an army of eunuch slave warriors like Mohammed's ideal. or they negotiate the best available offer.

Either way, the man with the bigger gun makes the decision.

M Jordan said...

Gay marriage today, polygamy tomorrow, pedogamy the next day, incestogamy the day after that. Maybe when it comes to beastogamy people will say, "Enough!" When you erase the boundaries on a word's definition, it's hard to draw them back.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Marriage does not take women out of the pool of women available to men. With divorce, it doesn't even take women out of the pool of women available for men to marry.

Same sex marriage was easy for judicial decree. Spouse just means spouse, and the few incongruities that creates can mostly just be ignored. But when you can have more than one spouse at a time, there are a lot of laws on inheritance, next of kin, benefits, that just wouldn't work as they assume the existence of only one spouse. Making sense of that might actually require a legislature.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Making sense of that might actually require a legislature."

-- Assume equitable division if no will is in place specifying differently, after applicable taxes/etc.

Done.

Matthew Sablan said...

Or, default to how the state decides between surviving children if no spouse. I'm sure there's precedent somewhere you can find an answer.

cubanbob said...

Considering inheritance and estate tax laws a very good case can be made for those who would be affected to marry anyone they would want to bequeath to.

james conrad said...

Look, you can't have it both ways, once the courts get into the business of redefining the word "marriage" to include other than 1 man 1 woman, you are done, polygamy is in play now.

William said...

I remember reading about the African King of Buganda. He had several hundred wives. One of those wives felt neglected and had an affair with one of his warriors. The bride was sent back to her family. The warrior had his arms and legs broken and was left by the banks of the river to be eaten by crocodiles. This happened in the latter part of the 19th century. Buganda eventually became Uganda, but it was not colonized until the late 19th century. It was at that time that evil was introduced into society.........The Ottomans and Chinese had a far more civilized way of managing polygamy. Only eunuchs could come in contact with the brides and concubines of the Emperor and Sultan. Castration has disparate impact upon men, but sometimes you have to think of the greater good for the society........Should senior brides have the right to strangle the offspring of junior brides? It does seem that a younger bride could unfairly compete for love and material comforts if she had a child. The only fair way to rectify this situation is by keeping the younger bride childless until the more senior one has a first child. Perhaps it would be more civilized to just abort the baby.

tim in vermont said...

Those guys who do salary cap analysis for sports teams are going to have a bright future in tax accounting for group marriages.

I can't wait for the Koch Bros to get married and save billions in taxes.

St. George said...

Good luck telling Muslims they can't have four wives.

Why shouldn't Muslims in America be able to practice what their religion allows?

In Saudi Arabia, where this is legal, what often happens is that the older wife gets thrown over for a younger one or she is cast aside if she's infertile.



Anthony said...

If it were likely that the majority of polygamous marriages would look like the multiple-partner relationships in the Bay Area polyamory community, I wouldn't worry much about legalizing polygamy. But it's not going to work out that way. *Most* (not all) polygamous marriages are going to be of the patriarchal, traditional sort.

The justification for segregation was that blacks and whites could be kept separated, but still be treated equally. In theory, that's actually possible. In practice, not so. Similarly, in theory, it's possible that under legal polygamy, there will be similar numbers of women taking multiple husbands as men taking multiple wives; in practice, it's not going to work that way.

Skeptical Voter said...

Women's autonomy argument. In the immortal words of Flounder in Animal House, "Women-- can't live with them, can't live without them." This from a guy who has a snowball's chance in hell of snagging a desirable woman.

As the social justice pitches come across the plate, our host proves that she can be a true switch hitter--depending upon the pitch.

But if a woman is to avoid "marrying down" [an issue for both black professional women and college educated women] then polygamy may be the answer. Add to the shortage issue a significant increase in premarital sex or extended cohabitation (as in "Why buy a cow when the milk is free?") women face a problem.

And in China, where there is a distinct shortage of women due to the regime's "one child" policy, and a cultural societal preference for sons rather than daughters, polyandry may be the answer for the next 30 years or so.

Drago said...

Polygamy is the Althouse version of obama's syrian "Red Line" which, (just trust her already!), will never and can never be crossed simply because she and her policy kinsfolk detonated the previous (and only real) red line. Oh no, the "REAL" and "PERSUASIVE" arguments for SSM marriage could never prevail in service to a pro-polygamist argument!

Pish posh. Perish the thought!

Of course, this new Althouse-ist red line will be breached just as easily as the the pretend syrian one.

As was planned, all along.

Drago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

Once the "rule" becomes, its all about love baby!, there are no rules anymore.

Again, as was planned, all along.

Xmas said...

Polygamy is legal in South Africa. The usual pattern is for a man to marry one woman, have a few children with her, then marry another a few years later as he becomes more wealth, and so on. Polygamy is usually reserved for tribal leaders, as the kick-back culture of tribal relationships ensures that wealth ends up in the hands of the patriarchs.

There was a great uproar a few years ago when a District Water Manager married four women at the same time and they wore European style bridal gowns.

Hagar said...

How about polyandry?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

First the several states had no power to prohibit homosexual sex, and now they have no power to prohibit same-sex marriage.

It goes without saying that the states have no power to prohibit group sex . . .

Why does the polygamy question have to be any more complicated than that?

Jane the Actuary said...

Ann read my blog post yesterday: "Why shouldn't 2 women marry to create a household within which they could manage childcare, file a joint tax return, and get better health insurance for the blended group?" is pretty much what I wrote. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2015/06/same-sex-marriage-and-unmarriagable-men.html

The bigger issue is this: in the same way as the Supreme Court was very particular about who had standing with respect to Proposition 8 (seems ages ago, doesn't it?), I would presume that a man who can't find a woman to marry wouldn't have "standing" if it was determined that the freedom to marry multiple women was a constitutional right. For that matter (in my blog post above), if disproportionately many women decide that men are unmarriagable and their best friends could make for a much better "spouse", same-sex marriage could produce the same outcome. And, again, is the potential, abstract, indirect harm likely to be deemed measurable enough to warrant consideration? Certainly the harm to futher motherless or fatherless children was deemed irrelevant in the same-sex debate.

Jane the Actuary said...

Yeah, OK, fine, she didn't actually read my blog post (so far as I know). . .

Char Char Binks said...

Women are chattel, just like cattle.

Louis said...

Polyamarous (as will learn to call it) marriage will need to be made law, eventually, stipulating the limiting of economic impact to equivalent to one unit.

The majority has no right to impose a way of life on our culture using all our tax dollars. It was in the ninth amendment all along. This kind of thinking/realization (alongside, say, a tax on uninsurance and marriage equality) is the result of good faith engagement with the trends documented by Glenn Reynolds in Army of Davids.

All laws have the effect of freezing in place a power structure for the benefit of a special interest. What we are all learning is that this is always essentially wrong. If we only had the judiciary to work with (and maybe we do), we would need a level of scrutiny applied to every act of Congress ensuring that maximal space for the exercise of the sovereignty of the individual was provided.

ELC said...

How quaint and old-fashioned this notion of polygamy is. It's polyamory now, with as many men and/or women as want to be in the group. So, it won't be polygamy or polyandry, it will be group or multiple-partner "marriage".

By the way, the actual number of people who would want to be in a group "marriage" is irrelevant: if it's an injustice to tell them who they can (or cannot) love, then it's an injustice whether it involves 10,000,000 people or 10 people.

SMGalbraith said...

There's a compelling state interest to not recognize polygamy because it diminishes the number of available females?

Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan will fight over writing this one like women tossed the wedding bouquet.

We're all dancing on the head of a wedding pin.

Let's be blunt: whether you're pro SSM or not, we are really just making this all up as we go along. No limiting principles, no standards.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ha! I asked you about that very passage in a comment yesterday evening on the Posner post--it sure sounded like something to which you should object.

Monkeyboy said...

So gay couples get to marry because of economic issues and poly groups don't get to marry because of economic issues.

So much for #lovewins

MayBee said...

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

If only!
Current Feminism is the radical notion that women are a special interest group/voting bloc.

MayBee said...

Good post, Althouse.

Food for thought: would Polygamous marriage reduce the need for sex-selective abortions?

MayBee said...

Why couldn't Polygamy involve multiple men and multiple women in one marriage?

Ann Althouse said...

"Those women aren't available to men in the first place."

Oh, sure they are. First, there are the bisexuals. Second, there are women with homosexual orientation who don't want to act out on their sexual desire but prefer a traditional male-female marriage with the capacity for procreation or a non-traditional male-female marriage with acceptance of sex with girlfriends as a permissible freedom... or a seemingly traditional marriage with secret trysts....

I'm sure I'm missing other things!

Scott M said...

Look at polygamous societies and tell me that's how you want to live.

Echoing the oft-used Communist lament, "Oh, that's just because nobody's done it correctly yet."

Scott M said...

It strikes me that this might just be so much whistling past the graveyard. I don't see how polygamy is going to be avoided. Frankly, I could use the free daycare. Okay...not free, but far less expensive than what we, the two-income cis-heteronormative-breeder marriage I'm in, currently shell out.

On the other hand...reason isn't in copious supply these days.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Are women some kind of natural resource to be conserved for the benefit of males?

Duh!

Sorry...

Duh?

John Lynch said...

You know... I think this is going to be it for reading Althouse.

This isn't liberty, it's slavery. Slavery for women, slavery for men. Polygamy has always been understood as female enslavement. It also enslaves men to pursue status at the exclusion of all else, and if a man can't succeed he is cast out in a way that Western society hasn't experienced in thousands of years.

But it will be different this time, I'm sure. Just ignore history, ignore the present, ignore everything but a pretty argument on paper.

SMGalbraith said...

This is starting to resemble the Court's opinion on the Establishment Clause.

Let's see: a creche is allowed but with no baby Jesus.....but the Virgin Mary cannot have a halo, a ten commandments monument can be allowed on public grounds but it has to be maintained with private funds......

We can have SSM but only two people - they can be bisexual however - but not three people unless there are two males and a female since we don't want to diminish the supply of females since we need children to pay for Social Security.

"The Love Shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love Shack baby
A love Shack baby
Love Shack baby Love Shack
Love Shack baby Love Shack
Love Shack baby Love Shack
Love Shack baby Love Shack

Sign says, woo, stay away fools,
'Cause love rules at the Love Shack!"

MayBee said...

John Lynch- I should only speak for myself, but I won't. I'm not pro-polygamy. I'm anti-polygamy. I am pro-gay marriage.

Please don't read anything I write (or, I'm guessing, most people here write) as actually endorsing polygamy. It's just that legally, what has last week's ruling gotten us into when it comes to vastly changing other marriage laws? Does the ruling open other doors (I think so) and will others walk through them (I don't know....)?

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm in the same boat as MayBee. With the way Kennedy reached the decision [one I like; I'm pro gay marriage], the door is open. Now we're just debating what legal arguments can be used for and against it.

Kennedy's definition of a right to find and be loved and accepted certainly opens the door to polygamy in a way that a finding based on ensuring contract rights between two partners would not have.

damikesc said...

Will the Left apologize to guys like Scalia who predicted with infinitely more accuracy than "scientists" in the environmental sciences have what would happen? Slippery slope arguments are quite accurate when the Left is involved.

Anonymous said...

John said...

Posit a commune with 100 people, more or less equally women and men. Could all 100 be married to each other? Someone with more knowledge of tax laws might be able to discuss the potential effects of this from an economic standpoint. Would it even have to be a commune? Could it be 100 people living in various parts of the country?


Getting ready for the left wing to argue that "communes aren't people."

All of this debate about polygamy is missing one crucial ingredient. Everyone viewing this decision clearly understands that it had very little to do with legal reasoning, and everything to do with responding to an incredibly well coordinated campaign by the gay marriage lobby (coordinated right through the response: you think all those public buildings lit up like rainbows just happened immediately, by coincidence?). Unless and until a similar campaign pulls the bien pensant coastal elite into its gravity, the courts will feel no particular compulsion to find a thin veneer of legal justification to make polygamy the law of the land.

This was never about law or logic.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said.. But if you use that as your overt argument, you're going to run up against ideas about women's autonomy and freedom. We're not society's tools. Why should we be denied marriage to the man we want, in a sisterhood with other women who want the same thing? You'd better have a reason other than your need to exploit us for the purposes of men.

That sentiment is a rather uneasy fit with the justifications given (as part of the "splooge stooge" saga) for legally forcing some men to be financially responsible for children they didn't produce, isn't it? [The scenario was roughly guy has casual sexual relationship with gal, gal becomes pregnant, tells guy it's his, he believes her, then finds out shortly after the kid is born that it's not his, but the court rules that he's financially responsible for the kid for 18 years. The moral justification given was something like "well if we don't make the guy responsible the kid will suffer and it's in society's interest that kids are taken care of by someone specific (to avoid a general cost).] Plug that info (reversing the genders) into your argument here and you get something like:

[Men are] not society's tools. Why should [men] be denied [freedom from financial responsibility for children they didn't father and automony generally if they wish to remain unattached]? You'd better have a reason other than your need to exploit [men] for the purposes of [children and women who have kids by someone else].

I mean, equality, right?

Anonymous said...

Rauch said "Gay marriage succeeded because no one could identify any plausible channels through which it might damage heterosexual marriage."

Simple analogy: Have I damaged the students who get 100% of their work correct by giving A's to all my students because I care for them too and obviously #LoveWins? Will education flounder because of my extension to the label of "A student"? Of course it will.

Just like participation ribbons makes fewer people participate. Calling homosexual marriage a marriage causes marriage rates to decline. And along with that birth rates. If you harm heterosexual marriage AT ALL you screw up your society's future. A society is longer lived than your life and it's survival is more important than trying to feel good about sexual tendencies. Why do you think so many first world nations are freaking out about birth rates?

People look at this and realize "marriage" is now about sexual "love" and the "feelings" of reaching out for a hand to hold off the cold nights of blah blah (or whatever emotional crap the idiots wrote) and not family. Give it two generations. You will be happily dead (or not so happily dead) while the left overs try and survive against the nations that actually had enough kids. And our society will lose.

hombre said...

"The chief justice’s dissent is heartless."

Someone should point out to Judge Posner - who can no longer maintain the pretext of objectivity - that it is more fitting for a judge, sworn to be an impartial arbiter of the law, to be as heartless as the Chief than to be as brainless as Posner.

A shortage of women argues against polygamy? Say, Judge, let's take another look at your 100 men, 100 women scenario. Suppose 20 of the women marry 20 other women. That leaves only 60 women for 100 men. Can you imagine the consequences of that. Is that an argument against gay marriage?

Alternatively, perhaps 25 of the men marry 25 other men. Holy shit! 50 women without men.

The point is, it is inordinately obtuse to ignore the fact that just as the pool of availability for hetero marriage is diminished when a man takes several wives, it is also diminished when several women (or men) join in SSM.

Apparently, obtuseness in pursuit of the Progressive Manifesto is the order of the day in the Posner/Althouse world.

Real American said...

evidently there are nails in the coffin holding the institution of marriage that have yet to be hammered.

Ann Althouse said...

"That sentiment is a rather uneasy fit with the justifications given (as part of the "splooge stooge" saga) for legally forcing some men to be financially responsible for children they didn't produce, isn't it?"

Didn't produce? But they did. You are supposed to control the dispersion of your genetic material. If you accidentally lose track of it inside a woman's body and a child results, society may determine -- through its democratic decision making processes -- that you should have to pay your share of the cost of raising the child. The child's interests are placed first (and the taxpayers are deciding they don't want to be on the hook and don't want children languishing in poverty).

The question with polygamy is whether government has enough of an interest to exclude these unions from the legal status of marriage. I'm only pointing out a problem with the interest Rauch and Posner want to point to, how it will trip up on things we believe about women's autonomy. That's a situation where the democratic decision making processes have chosen to exclude and litigation would focus on whether there is a good enough reason to exclude. The Posner/Rauch idea could be enough. I'm just saying it could be an argument people might have trouble embracing and saying out loud. If they do, I will be critiquing that argument, not because it doesn't support what government is doing, but because it shows something ugly about how people think about marriage.

If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then? I could be challenged as having no sufficient govt interest to support it, but it will be easy to say: the child needs support. Some people might argue that's an unattractive argument in light of the man's interest in avoiding responsibility for a child he'd have aborted if he could. Go ahead and make that argument if you like it. To me, it doesn't overcome the interest of the child (at least not in situations that don't involve the man being raped by the woman).

The usual choice is to try to deter men from impregnating women when they don't want children. Does society want to remove that deterrence (and pay more taxes to support children and to leave more children in poverty)? Feel free to argue that it should, but I'm not very impressed by the argument. "Splooge stooge" is my way of saying men need to face the reality we live in and see the preference for the child's interest and take action in their own interest by keeping track of their genetic material. Don't be a splooge stooge!

Mary Beth said...

And I wouldn't use the term "gay marriage," because no one will check whether the 2 women want to have sex with each other.

If only one is a citizen, ICE will still be checking, won't they?

Rick said...

Ann Althouse said...
Didn't produce? But they did. You are supposed to control the dispersion of your genetic material.


You misunderstood. These men are not the fathers. They were identified by the mothers as the father triggering the legal process, but they were not in fact the fathers.

hombre said...

From the blog: "And by the way, women pairing up with women also takes women out of the pool of women who are available to men."

Obviously, Professor, I owe you an apology for lumping you in with that portion of Posner's blather at 11:44. I read the link and didn't finish your post.

I apologize.

Anglelyne said...

Louis: The majority has no right to impose a way of life on our culture using all our tax dollars.

What is this "our culture" of which you speak? A "culture" pretty much is a majority imposing and sharing a way of life.

No shared way of life, no shared assumptions about the fundamentals, no culture. Just a bunch of disparate cultures thrown together in the same space, competing for spoils.

If we only had the judiciary to work with (and maybe we do), we would need a level of scrutiny applied to every act of Congress ensuring that maximal space for the exercise of the sovereignty of the individual was provided.
live.


A high respect for "the sovereignty of the individual" is a characteristic of a particular type of flesh-and-blood society, arising over time out of a particular culture. Lose the culture, lose the conditions that worked together to produce that shared assumption about the importance of the individual.


tim in vermont: Look at polygamous societies and tell me that's how you want to live.

tim, you will never get the "individual autonomy ├╝ber alles (except for bigots!)" people to think about the relation between marriage/family structure and political/social order. It's too complicated for them, and they've convinced themselves that free and well-ordered societies are based on and upheld by nothing but the set of legal abstractions they play with so inventively.

Rick said...

I'm only pointing out a problem with the interest Rauch and Posner want to point to, how it will trip up on things we believe about women's autonomy.

So if they wrote their justification in an omni-sex way?

Woman will not be slaves to men! Cheers!

Instead we will all be slaves! Double cheers!!

Rockport Conservative said...

I also wondered by not polyandry and then remembered men have a more aggressive hormonal makeup about sharing their women. We probably would have to look long and hard for the man who wanted to be anything but the 1st husband, or only, husband

William said...

Advances in robotics will make this issue moot within forty years....... The concept of a harem is pleasant to entertain, but men should understand that there are far more women who would rather be Brad Pitt's second or third wife than their first wife or, for that matter, look at them on a Saturday night. Polygamous societies are not much fun to live in. Even the rich guy with lots of wives gets nothing but bickering and petty jealousy in his domestic life.

jr565 said...

"Gay marriage is about extending the opportunity to marry to people who lack it; polygamy, in practice, is about exactly the opposite: withdrawing marriage opportunity from people who now have it."
Garbage, considering how many peopel are not marrying AT ALL.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Didn't produce? But they did. You are supposed to control the dispersion of your genetic material. If you accidentally lose track of it inside a woman's body and a child results, society may determine -- through its democratic decision making processes -- that you should have to pay your share of the cost of raising the child. The child's interests are placed first (and the taxpayers are deciding they don't want to be on the hook and don't want children languishing in poverty).

I understand that, ma'am, but that's not the scenario I'm discussing--I realize I was a little unclear when I brought it up in the context of the splooge stooge saga, but it came up during that time.

The scenario I mean is one where the child is someone else's. The guy has a relationship with the woman, but she also has a sexual relationship with another man. The woman tells the guy the kid is hers (it's not), be believes her, begins supporting them, and then shortly thereafter determines he's not the father. He leaves, she sues him (not the biological father) for support, and the courts award it.
The same thing holds for the (thankfully rare) situation where a man's genetic material is taken without his consent (rape) and the court finds him financially responsible.

tim in vermont said...

Are marriages people? Are they like corporations? Is that a way that we could say that a marriage is taking more than it's share?

Todd said...

You are all a bunch of h8ers! You all are assuming that it would be a man with multiple wives! Why not a woman with multiple husbands?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then? I could be challenged as having no sufficient govt interest to support it, but it will be easy to say: the child needs support.

Sure, that's easy to say, especially since in that scenario the child resulted (in part) from the man's actions. In the scenario where the child ISN'T the man's, though, and the court sill holds him financially responsible, don't you agree that's a harder argument? That's more nakedly exploitative (of the man/his financial freedom)--the argument is still "the child needs support" but there's no link from that man's actions to the child's existence.

damikesc said...

You are all a bunch of h8ers! You all are assuming that it would be a man with multiple wives! Why not a woman with multiple husbands?

If a man can spread the nagging around to several of his buddies --- it wouldn't be a horrible option.

William said...

If Joyce Mitchell had gotten pregnant with one of her lovers, her husband would have been legally bound to support and raise the child.

tim in vermont said...

Well Todd, we have all seen "Paint Your Wagon" and it doesn't work out. Either Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood eventually leaves.

In the case of that movie, it was Lee Marvin, singing "I Was Born Under a Wand'ring Star" as he rode off into the sunset.

tim in vermont said...

http://time.com/3939143/nows-the-time-to-end-tax-exemptions-for-religious-institutions/

As soon as you take one hill, it's on to the next! How can we go into the next election with our voters happy and sated with victory?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then? >

If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for offspring fathered by someone else (and women they were otherwise in a relationship with), what then? The courts involved say very clearly they're interested only--only--in the "best interests of the child." If that means making a man responsible for a child he didn't father, too bad. That, to me, seems like a pretty ugly argument, showing naked (sexist) unfairness towards men and justifying it by an appeal to the good of children and society. I was pointing out that you (correctly)said much the same thing about Posner's argument regarding polygamy, and contrasting the two cases.

jr565 said...

The 2010 census had wommen at 51% and men at 49%. meaning 1% of the population CAN"T GET MARRIED!

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann read my blog post yesterday..."

No, I didn't.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I think it would be basically best if men were allowed to marry only one wife, and that males should be allowed to father offspring with other females, but not be obliged to care for those offspring; in fact, I think the wife should have defense against the husband if he cares for other females or their mutual offspring more than what the other female gives herself to the wife and the wife's offspring. Of course, the greater men would tend to have great mistresses, whom in practice he and his wife would tend to want to be around, but still. And true, there might be special situations suggesting male caring should be split somewhat more broadly, but making the law too complicated and subtle probably wouldn't work politically now because people aren't quite wise and clear-headed enough at this point in history to deal with special cases. Second best would be a society in which people were totally free to decide how male caring should be backed by legal commitment of time and resources; in other words a male could share his caring among the several women he has sex with as he sees fit (or just care for the woman he loves best). Third best would be a nominally monogamous society in which men can get divorced easily, which is a sort of serial polygamy. Fourth best would be a monogamous society where men are expected to care equally for every child produced, whether the child be from a wife or a mistress; again, this is for practical purposes serial polygamy. Fifth best would be a society in which free love is unworkable because every act of procreation legally implies equal responsibility from father or because fornication is dealt with using draconian measures, but polygamy is fine as long as male resources are shared equally between the wives.

The difference in goodness level between the first and second best option is significant. The difference between the second and third is huge--the largest of all. The difference between the last three, all being variants of polygamy, is not that great, though the difference between the fourth and the fifth is significant symbolically. And divorce is occasionally right, making the third option somewhat better than the fourth.

It's hard to say why a man being expected to care for at most one female seems a better option than a man being more free to decide how he wants to divide his caring--why the first option I listed is better than the second. Mostly, I think it has to do with it being more the case in the first situation that people could mate unselfishly or selfishly. If males always cared for at most one female, then females would more tend to have a choice of mating for love or marrying for resources. Good people would tend to mate similarly either way, but bad women would less tend to mate for money in a society with a polygamous option--they could just be the second, third, etc., wife of a bad but skilled man. Better that bad women mate unskilled males for money, over time sending the gene pool of bad people into an idiocy making them unable to compete, or that they give up on money and mate for skill. If a bad or not particularly good female mates freely for skill, she very may well end up mating a good person, likely a plus for the evolution of goodness and beauty if he feels safe with it and is protected legally from her machinations. Looking at it inversely, from the effects on males being selfish and unselfish, it's more complicated, I think--probably a good deal more complicated than I have thought out--but still it seems government should mostly only give the (one) wife privileges (unless a wife has no children and passes away and then the husband remarries, or maybe a few other situations involving wife being too unjust). In a society where men are legally only expected to care for one wife, bad men can still squander resources as bachelors by excessively chasing mistresses, and others of them will tend to buy unskilled wives, relatively speaking a good waste of money.

Rick said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for offspring fathered by someone else (and women they were otherwise in a relationship with), what then? The courts involved say very clearly they're interested only--only--in the "best interests of the child."


I suggest the next lawyer in front of a male judge respond by noting it would clearly be in the best interest of the child to make the judge financially responsible.

ken in tx said...

In ancient societies, polygamy developed because of a constant shortage of marriageable males. They were killed in war and other dangerous activities. If you couldn't marry your daughter off to a rich man, who already had one or more wives, you could donate her to a temple, where she became a holy whore, providing relief to any men who felt the need, income to the temple, and guaranteeing fertility to the community. In ancient India, temples had baptismal tanks where a man could get a hot tub, rub, and holy hand job from the temple girls. A donation was expected of course. All very religious as well.

From time to time, the number of unmarried males would increase to the point of being a destabilizing influence. There were two ways of dealing with this. One was to start a war. The other was to round the males up and sell them as slaves. This was practiced in sub-Saharan Africa and is the source of many of the slaves in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Reversion to this kind of society could be a plot in a dystopian movie, sort of like “Farnhams Freehold.”

Ann Althouse said...

Please note that I don't support including non-2-person unions in legal marriage. I don't think Obergefell means there is a right to inclusion, though it could be used to make arguments for that right. I have long thought -- without the help of Obergefell -- that it violates rights to prosecute people for calling their cohabitation arrangement marriage (or for performing private rituals that use the word "marriage"). Leave them alone (unless there is abuse going on).

Alexander said...

If marriage is now a constitutional right, then coming up with a system that intrinsically denies that right to any amount of men is unconstitutional...

Hey! We could call it the 'disparate impact' against men of polygamy. In addition, if your right to healthcare means that someone else has to build a hospital, take on medical school debt, take years training, someone else has to design and build the machinery... and you have a natural 'right' to obtain some of that work, then I call bullshit on the premise that it's wrong to demand women 'man up' and marry those betas! They have a right to marriage, dammit!

Of course, men ain't people.

Anyway, it's all well and good to claim that women have no obligation to those men - and individually, they do not. But civilization is built on the premise that the average man is better off (has access to am exclusive sexual partner who will have his offspring) buckling down and building up a society as part of the team than raising the flag and raping and pillaging. A vast supply of men without wives and families are not going to produce the excess wealth needed to support first world medicine, infrastructure, or the welfare state. Nor are they going to take kindly to the idea that they have obligations to fight to defend the nation or give two shits about the state of other people's children.

Polygamy is coming. Barbarism is coming with it.

Yancey Ward said...

If one goes by the principle enunciated on Friday by the majority, marriages between 3 and more people cannot be denied.

Todd said...

jr565 said...
The 2010 census had wommen at 51% and men at 49%. meaning 1% of the population CAN"T GET MARRIED!

6/29/15, 12:35 PM


That was then, this is now. Now EVERYONE can get married!

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

2 women could marry to obtain the economic benefits of the government's legal status of marriage. Why shouldn't 2 women marry to create a household within which they could manage childcare, file a joint tax return, and get better health insurance for the blended group?

Because then it would be #greedwins instead of #lovewins, which would be much less satisying and far too close to the truth for most Leftys.

tim in vermont said...

I don't think Obergefell means there is a right to inclusion,

That would be an interesting post, elucidating that one, would. Would sure shut up a lot of people here to see that they were wrong. Me included.

Anglelyne said...

AA: If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then? I could be challenged as having no sufficient govt interest to support it, but it will be easy to say: the child needs support.

It's easy to say "the child needs support", but if government has a sufficient interest in that outcome, it has other options to procure it. "Democratic decision making" could just as well result in a system where unwed mothers are (socially) shamed and (legally) required to give up the child for adoption.

Does society want to remove that deterrence (and pay more taxes to support children and to leave more children in poverty)? Feel free to argue that it should, but I'm not very impressed by the argument.

The deterrence that I suggest works at least as well as the one you favor in reducing the tax burden and the number of children in poverty. Men are, after all, now legally responsible for the children they produce, but having only that alleged deterrent to irresponsible screwing-around doesn't seem to be making much of a dent in the problems.

Just sayin'.

Of course, it fails on the test of "heartlessness", which I guess is supposed to be the ultimate basis for legislative and well as judicial decisions these days.

BarrySanders20 said...

Until very recently, and with a few exceptions, the law required four things for a valid marriage:

1. One at a time

2. No close relatives

3. Of age

4. One man, one woman

Now one element is removed. The first three still remain. I don't see a groundswell of public support for eliminating any of them, Kennedy's jiggery-pokery be damned.

Yancey Ward said...

"I don't see a groundswell of public support for eliminating any of them, Kennedy's jiggery-pokery be damned."

And it will be fascinating to see the same court argue against allowing polygamy, which I think you are correct, it will have to do because the decision last week had nothing to do with the Constitution, and everything to do with popular sentiment, which is a fickle beast.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

Unless and until a similar campaign pulls the bien pensant coastal elite into its gravity,

Like Muslims?

Alexander said...

We all know how the game is played.

Today:
Pretty much everyone: There is no right to polygamy.

Next Year:
Conservatives: It's hard to see where polygamy is kept out. We should organize for a constitutional amendment banning polygamy.

Liberals: There's no need. We all agree there is no polygamy.

Year +2:
C: We're seeing an uptick of pro-polygamy articles. Let's pass an amendment.

L: No need. It will be left up to the individual states to decide, like it should be. Aren't you all supposed to be big fans of the 10th?

C: Excellent point. Plus, even if we lose at least we'll die on our swords honorably.

Year +3:
C: Well, attempts to get polygamy into states have been decisively defeated on the ballots they appeared.

L: ...

Year +4:
C: Some judge overturned the anti-polygamy law in X. Ok, that's it. Constitutional Amendment time.

L: Wow, so intolerant. So many bigots. You guys shouldn't bother - the youth of today are much more open minded and understand that your cis-monogamous marriages are narrow-minded and historically irrelevant.

Year +5:
C: Another dozen states, how did nobody see this coming! Let's mobilize to fight this in the courts.

L: yawns, picks nails. Oh, now you're getting ready for the court battles. How cute. How quaint. Man, it sure would have sucked had you guys done that constitutional amendment thing - that's been a barrier for us on gun control like you wouldn't believe!

C: But... but you said you agreed to leave it to the states. You... you lied to us to best push your political agenda as far as you could in the political atmosphere at the time. Dastardly ruffians! Could not have been predicted!

Year 5+:
SCOTUS: And so it turns out, there's been a constitutional right to polygamy this whole time, it was just scared and hiding in the penumbra.

L: Suck it, bigots!

C: Blast! Next we'll see a loosening of incest, particularly among first-cousins, as we see a return to tightly knit familial dynasties. We need to go and make sure that doesnt' happen.

L: Bigots, no worries, we are on the same page there. You don't need to worry about that. And anyway... shouldn't that be a state's issue...

Gahrie said...

Didn't produce? But they did. You are supposed to control the dispersion of your genetic material. If you accidentally lose track of it inside a woman's body and a child results, society may determine -- through its democratic decision making processes -- that you should have to pay your share of the cost of raising the child. The child's interests are placed first (and the taxpayers are deciding they don't want to be on the hook and don't want children languishing in poverty).

You've changed the scenario. The original scenario was about women who committed fraud against the man either by inseminating herself with sperm obtained after the sex act, or lying about paternity.

Gahrie said...

Or how about the cases where women literally raped men and boys, and the men and boys were forced to pay child support?

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then?

What happens when the democratic decision making process decides to make women responsible for their offspring by banning abortion? What then?

I know I know, that is a ridiculous hypothetical...women are never responsible for their actions.

n.n said...

Three solutions. One, stop aborting innocent human lives. Two, follow China's lead, and colonize Africa, America, etc. Three, reject "equal" and inequality.

A fourth solution: womb banks and sperm depositors. Single-parent households. #FiscalLove

Actually, there is a fifth solution, the Chinese, again. Normalize prostitution (e.g. "open" relationships). #OpenLove

There is also incest, a "green" solution that is both sustainable in the short-term and recycles relationships. Clumps of cells conceived from this union, whether mutated, inconvenient, or unwanted, can be disposed in a Planned Parenthood "clinic". #GreenLove

Posner and other "liberal" Justices are abortionists and yet they seem to believe that the number "2" has a special, almost magical connotation beyond conceiving human life. That magical thinking, and their pretense of promoting "love", rationalizes selectively denying others the right to "marry". #SelectiveLove

Lower the "rainbow" flag, Posner. Embrace the "modern family". What an ancient guy, along with other progressive liberals. First the Aztec and sacrificial rites, then selectively denying others equal rights. #LoveLoses

That said, at least he acknowledge their interests are not motivated by individual dignity and intrinsic value, but by environmental stability, and, of course, money. #UlteriorMotives

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Gahrie said...You've changed the scenario. The original scenario was about women who committed fraud against the man either by inseminating herself with sperm obtained after the sex act, or lying about paternity.

Just to be clear, I'm specifically using only the "lying about paternity" example here.

Gahrie said...

Just to be clear, I'm specifically using only the "lying about paternity" example here.

I'm referring back to the original arguments where Althouse decided that "splooge stooge" was an appropriate way to refer to men, specifically men who objected to forcing men to pay for children that weren't theirs.

Static Ping said...

I'm sure that they judges can find some justification why this ruling does not apply to polygamy.

It will not be logically consistent or principled but then again we are in a post-constitutional era. The constitution is so alive that it literally means nothing and everything all at once. It is now a useless document.

I sense this will reduce the demand for Constitutional Law professors.

Rick said...

BarrySanders20 said...
Until very recently, and with a few exceptions, the law required four things for a valid marriage:

1. One at a time

2. No close relatives

3. Of age

4. One man, one woman

Now one element is removed. The first three still remain. I don't see a groundswell of public support for eliminating any of them, Kennedy's jiggery-pokery be damned.


There wasn't a groundswell for race preferences when passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 either, in fact most who voted for it thought they were eliminating them.

Why would "support" matter? Support matters for policy and elections, not law. It's a constitutional right found by interpreting certain principles in certain ways. If you apply those same interpretations to #1 on the list you find it fails even more than #4 failed.

The "one at a time" rule is an American preference as expressed through legislation. It has a long and broad cultural and social history. But Friday's ruling held that similar expressions with longer and wider cultural standing were eliminated. The historical and social reasons for limiting marriage to male/female relationships is much stronger than that against multiple marriages. How can we uphold the rule of one by pointing to standards the court just wrote off as irrelevant?

Do people in polygamous marriages not love each other? Are we going to have a love test - like some movies depict while preventing immigration fraud?

jr565 said...

Todd wrote:

That was then, this is now. Now EVERYONE can get married!

Hey good point. Woudnt gay marriage upset the balance as to who could get married too? Because the assumption with polygamy is that it will prevent men from marrying WOMEN. because other polygamists are taking the women.
But the lesbians might also be taking the women. Granted they wouldn't marry dudes anyway, but if we are looking at it purely from the standpoint of population, the numbers may not match up. How many gays are there in the country. If they are marrying other gays,then those are men being removed from the pool that women can marry from.

jr565 said...

"[P]olygamy imposes real costs, by reducing the number of marriageable women. Suppose a society contains 100 men and 100 women, but the five wealthiest men have a total of 50 wives. That leaves 95 men to compete for only 50 marriageable women"
But are they 50 marriageable women? See how it still assumes heterosexual marriage? Even the arguments against polygamy require a male female system in place for the numbers to even make sense.
IF you can marry either sex, then how are we assuming the right number of people who can marry others would be impacted by polygamy.

jr565 said...

"polygamy, the worries are many, the history clear, and the channels well understood. Well, I've got a problem with that! Talk about a male perspective! What about the women who want to choose to share one man? They should be denied to preserve a pool of marriageable women for all the extra males that would otherwise have scarce pickings? Are women some kind of natural resource to be conserved for the benefit of males?"
If there was polygamy it would be discriminatory if only men could marry multiple women. So women could marry multiple Men. And gays could marry multiple men. And lesbians could marry multiple women.
Then there are people who wish to remain single. HOw will that throw off the numbers? Every permutation thus throws off the balance as to availability of partners. How about marrying people from other countries?

THat is yet another argument against polygamy, then, that doesn't bear up under scrutiny. WHat else does David got?

jr565 said...

Do people in polygamous marriages not love each other? Are we going to have a love test - like some movies depict while preventing immigration fraud?


#LOVEWINS is a hashtag that would work for polygamy, bigamy, harems, incestual marriage, underage marriage, marriage to dogs, marriage to inanimate objects. It's all purpose. As are the arguments for why we should legalize them.
IT's the same argument over and over and over.
Once we accept that argument there really is no reason not to accept whatever marriage it's being argued for.

Peter said...

Ann Althouse said.. "Didn't produce? But they did. You are supposed to control the dispersion of your genetic material. If you accidentally lose track of it inside a woman's body and a child results, society may determine -- through its democratic decision making processes -- that you should have to pay your share of the cost of raising the child. The child's interests are placed first

But don't you mean, "If you lose track of it inside a woman's body and a child doesn't result -- then you should have to pay (because a child might have resulted, even though DNA says it didn't)?

Why even keep the "might have" part? What if the man were subsequently examined, and medical authority testified convincingly that he was almost certainly sterile when the child was conceived?

If it's acceptable to democratically determine who's the stooge, why not just empower law enforcement to go out and pin the bill on someone? If it's "for the benefit of the child," why wouldn't just any stooge (perhaps even a female one?) do?

Peter said...

Until very recently, and with a few exceptions, the law required four things for a valid marriage:

1. One at a time

2. No close relatives

3. Of age

4. One man, one woman

Now one element is removed. The first three still remain. I don't see a groundswell of public support for eliminating any of them, Kennedy's jiggery-pokery be damned.


How could a court possibly find a rational basis to forbid the marriage of two same-sex siblings (or mother-daughter, or father-son)? Assuming conditions (1) and (3) were met, of course.

Static Ping said...

As to the arguments:

Posner: What he is arguing here is a real historical phenomenon. Men generally do not like being cut off from sex, children, and social status. Marriage provides all of those. Once the number of unmarried men reaches critical mass what typically follows is war or revolution which either reduces the male population sufficiently and/or brings in sufficient number of female captives.

Now the question is whether this has any application to modern society. The sexual revolution has completely shattered social norms. Sex is easily obtained as is pornography. The danger and shame of out-of-wedlock birth is minimal. The social standing of being married is greatly reduced; it matters is some circles but not in others. Men are being denigrated in popular culture and have responded by not acting like responsible adults in greater and greater numbers.

Posner's argument really does not make much sense in this environment. "Well, golly, I can't get married. I'll just have to settle for the dozen or so women down at the bar who will put out after 3 beers." He's at least 20 years out of date and does not realize it.

This does not reflect well on his judgment.

Rauch: "[T]he case for gay marriage is the case against polygamy, and the public will be smart enough to understand the difference."

This is quite possibly the most stupid thing ever written by anyone. He has essentially disqualified himself from discussing any subject more advanced than what to order for lunch.

Good grief, the hateful mob that declared that everyone who opposes their position must be a bigot and uses the #LoveWins hashtag for what is essentially a government benefits package is going to use logic and understanding now? Seriously?

Todd said...

I am sure we can find two (preferably hot so that it makes better press) lesbians that are already married that find a [hot] third lesbian that wants to join in on their marriage and BAM polygamy!

Todd said...

Where is Laslo? He needs to get working on the script! We are talking a Lifetime movie here!

Their "intimate" struggles with an unaccepting world as they fight for acceptance in society and the courts! OK, maybe not Lifetime, maybe Sinamax After Dark...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Gahrie said...I'm referring back to the original arguments where Althouse decided that "splooge stooge" was an appropriate way to refer to men, specifically men who objected to forcing men to pay for children that weren't theirs.

Sure, I get that, I do, but I want to be very careful about which situation I'm comparing--the "fairness" arguments are a bit different for the different cases. Let's say:
1. Men who have protected sex, don't intend to impregnate, but leave their DNA in a condom etc. and a woman impregnates herself (the classic splooge stooge)
2. Men in a relationships with a women where the women "cheat" and are impregnated by someone else and then subsequently lie about who the father is. The man finds out he's not the biological father but a court forces him to support the child anyway.

#2 Is the case I'm using to contrast the Prof's claims about the relative strength/ugliness of arguments vis a vis women or men being society's "tools."

In #2 it sure seems like society uses men in a way the Prof (correctly) identifies as unjust when applied to women, and if I remember correctly the Prof didn't have much of a problem with that treatment when we discussed the cases like #2.
Conflating #1 with #2 allows for a dodge of this contradiction, so I want to make sure that's avoided.

Matthew Sablan said...

"This is quite possibly the most stupid thing ever written by anyone. He has essentially disqualified himself from discussing any subject more advanced than what to order for lunch. "

Rauch: The case for fast food is the case against take out, and the public will be smart enough to understand the difference.

Todd said...

"HoodlumDoodlum said..."

Related (and I believe mentioned up thread) are the cases of the statutory rape of a male minor whereas the court finds the minor liable for child support to his rapist.

http://www.businessinsider.com/male-statutory-rape-victim-nick-olivas-must-pay-child-support-2014-9

and

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/statutory-rape-victim-child-support/14953965/

and

http://law.justia.com/cases/kansas/supreme-court/1993/67-978-3.html

For the children!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Todd: Yes, that's close enough to #2 to avoid the problems of conflating it with #1 and also an example of where the it seems like the logic of the Prof's arguement might lead one to believe she'd be ok with society using those "men" as "tools."

Alexander said...

I see the scheme. I see the mechanism. But if you use that as your overt argument, you're going to run up against ideas about women's autonomy and freedom. We're not society's tools. Why should we be denied marriage to the man we want, in a sisterhood with other women who want the same thing? You'd better have a reason other than your need to exploit us for the purposes of men.

Precisely backwards. It's men who have this 'autonomy and freedom' outside of civilization, and marriage is a tool to exploit men into building shit like nerfballs and Snapple and highways and hospitals and calculus and television et. al. for women and children. It is a system designed to offer men what they want - sex - in a way that minimizes intra-group competition and maximizes the number of winners, so that a tribe of humans can get on with accumulating wealth instead of killing each other within the tribe.

Women can whine about there role in this system, but then I suspect most men throughout history would rather not have toiled a rocky patch of earth to produce more food than they themselves needed or worked in a coalmine or had a bayonet in their gut protecting another man's children, either. Thems the breaks.

Stephen A. Meigs said...


If the democratic decision making processes decide to make men responsible for their offspring, what then? I could be challenged as having no sufficient govt interest to support it, but it will be easy to say: the child needs support. Some people might argue that's an unattractive argument in light of the man's interest in avoiding responsibility for a child he'd have aborted if he could. Go ahead and make that argument if you like it. To me, it doesn't overcome the interest of the child (at least not in situations that don't involve the man being raped by the woman).


What bothers me is something slightly different, namely the government stepping in to impose financial responsibility on the male for his offspring regardless of whether the female wants such responsibility imposed on him. What about a female who wants to have children with some male who nevertheless is unwilling to take care of the offspring the union might create (say because he cares for another female more)? Is it really serving the interest of even children to deny a female the right to have meaningful, procreative sex with someone she loves more, especially if it is a sacrifice on her part to do so? That's what automatically imposing male responsibility would tend to do. Sure, in the short run, if a female has sex with someone who isn't going to give her resources, her children will likely be poorer than otherwise. But what about the effect on future generations from a female having a child who is less likely to have loveable genetic qualities? Will not such a child be less likely to be a morally good, skilled person? All the descendants of that child will on average likely be at a disadvantage from having less skills. These long-term effects will likely outweigh an effect that basically lasts one generation. Doesn't the poverty over many generations that this will create matter? If children matter most, well, children in many future generations will end up being more impoverished if their parents' skills decrease. And even more importantly, How about all the (poverty creating, I might add, for those obsessed with it) strife, corruption, immorality and crime that will result in the long term from society being composed of people descended from the less morally good person whom the woman fathered children with because government interference prevented her from having children with someone she loved more? Of course, you could be cynical and say that females who have sex outside of marriage are just sluts too stupid to appreciate the value of money who don't choose to mate from love but from some depraved desire, but, yeah, that is cynical female-bashing.

I think largely I blame people getting conned by Hitler into discounting female sexual love. Too many people have been conned by Hitler into thinking that the way to make people evolve to be more beautiful people is (government controlled) eugenics, which Hitler deservedly gave a bad reputation, which makes people afraid of loving beauty. But trying to make the world (or even universe) more beautiful is actually what love, and in particular love in the mating sphere, has always been about--there's nothing particularly new about it, and it's about as far removed from being sinister as possible, no matter what (some) people say one can infer historically from Hitler about it.

n.n said...

This is actually a good outcome. The selective exclusion supported by the "equal" movement has not been easily accepted; and, for some reason, they are having difficulty applying the pro-choice doctrine. Perhaps they don't want people to form an association.

n.n said...

The "equal" people cannot answer how they intend to deny equal rights.

Why you gotta be so rude?

Kevin said...

When you sell an ordinary single family home, there are at least two and more likely closer to ten parties involved in the transaction and contract (buyer, seller, spouses, mortgage companies, insurance companies, local tax authorities, title agent… )

Many companies and businesses today operate with dozens of parties involved in all manner of proportional and disproportional agreements. When they have disputes, they have the courts review and enforce their written agreements.

Polygamy has existed in many cultures since the beginning of time, and these cultures have developed traditions and methods to regulate such marriages. You may or may not agree with some of these practices, but they have worked for millennia.

Saying that polygamy is too complicated is a red herring and sounds just like some of the excuses people make about SSM. Why are you so intent on denying people their civil rights?

Here is an example of a polygamous marriage in Massachusetts, partly bound together by marriage and partly by contract:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2611020/Meet-worlds-married-lesbian-threesome-baby-make-four-July.html

Expect to see more in the future.

Michael K said...

I didn't read the thread so I may be repeating someone's point.

" Why should we be denied marriage to the man we want, in a sisterhood with other women who want the same thing? You'd better have a reason other than your need to exploit us for the purposes of men."

Marriage is so old fashioned. You can be the "baby mama" of all the men you choose. Who knows how many ? High status men like NBA players may have a dozen children with a dozen women. Hurrah for feminism!

Clyde said...

Even should polygamy eventually be legalized, I doubt that more than a tiny fraction of the population would take part in it. I seriously doubt that most women want to share a husband with other women, because that's not the American dream that little girls grow up with. It might be the dream of some immigrants from other cultures, but it's not a mainstream American thing (Pace, Utah Mormon offshoots; you aren't mainstream American, either).

Goju said...

Here's another can of worms: Doesn't abortion open also disproportionately reduce the number of marriageable women? China's one child policy has resulted in a severely unbalanced ratio of men to women. And the increasing ability to determine the sex in the womb gives perspective parents the ability to effectively choose the gender of their children.

jr565 said...

isn't marriage kind of redunandat if its not about child rearing? If you got your gf pregnant you needed a shotgun wedding. You get married because you don't need to live in sin anymore.

But both of those reasons are now redundant. SO what is the value of the marriage? If you werent married and just lived together it woudl be the same thing.

And that goes for gays too. The left has been arguing that its not the makeup of the marriage but how it functions.So it could be a mom and a dad,or two dads, or one mom.
Well, why would the function change whether you are married or not?

jr565 said...

Further, once you don't make marriage be about kids there's no reason to favor one marriage over another and give out benefits. Since whatever situation you are in is just as good as any other. Therefore, get govt out of the marriage business.

jr565 said...

Or at least, get the govt out of the giving out benefits for marriage business. No benefits at all. You get a document from city hall and that's it.

Maybe libertarians were right all along. Actually they werent'. But with this ruling and now that marriage is about whatever, they may be right there is no longer a reason to provide benefits for marriage.

senor said...

RI've been waiting all weekend for somebody to nail posner for his bigoted comments which commodity women

walter said...

Seems to me all these discussions about polygamy assume heterosexuality. How narrow-minded.
But if women are to be allowed these decisions for personal gain, why wouldn't good ole fashioned prostitution be just as valid. And that could also help men who can't get in the ring for polygamy.
At least bring back the centers of spiritual release Ken referred to.

Sean said
"And I can't imagine two adults being able to live together if they weren't having sex. Who would put up with having another person in the house without the physical reward?"

Umm..how many married people have you known?

Anonymous said...

Rauch is missing the real point here. He may not have seen any new pathways to damaging heterosexual marriage, but did he ever try looking in the rear-view mirror toward the significant damage done to it in the last 50 odd years? What, oh what might have been going on since the 1960s that would cause so many marriages to fail and so many broken homes, particularly and tragically among blacks?

I mean really, if you think about it, the only plausible explanations are either that modern people are much worse than their ancestors when it comes to finding a spouse, or that somewhere along the way society's views about marriage changed significantly in a way that leads to more breakups. Obergefell in that light is more of a symptom of a problem with heterosexual marriage than it is a potential cause of further problems, though we aren't likely to find out until some 20-25 years down the road assuming the research isn't falsified or suppressed by the snowflake gallery.

Mark Caplan said...

Having read the book about the internal dynamics of actual polygamous families in the US, UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, I learned that children of the older, homelier, less favored wives are methodically abused, physically and psychologically, by the favorite wife or wives, who naturally want to advance their own children's interest over that of the other wives' children.

LibertarianSafetyGuy said...

I totally think polygamy should be legal.

Unknown said...

Since only bigots wouldnt marry another guy, then the pool of women is irrelevant. The men should just get their gay on. If they will not then who cares about the bigots.

Aussie Pundit said...

Is this everybody-gets-just-one theory of marriage some kind of welfare program for undesirable males?

That's exactly what it is.
Nothing more.

But for various reasons the model doesn't work any more, so there's no need to preserve this system.