Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Polygamy . . . Just One Lifestyle Among Many

Some years ago, Al Gore made an incredible gaffe that--in addition to being painfully stupid--was also telling. He declared that our motto "E Pluribus Unum" means "out of one, many" when, in fact, it means just the opposite. Of course, his "translation" more aptly captures the essence of contemporary liberalism, which, it now seems redundant to qualify with the adjective "radical." Out of one, many . . . many lifestyles, many choices, many avenues left open for our ever curious exploration. Who can say what liberty is? Thus, as authorities in Texas have operated on their good instincts to remove 400 children from the compound of this depraved polygamous "family," the question remains: "How do we justify it?"

For now, they’re hanging on to the tenuous argument that it is "child abuse" and trying to carry this line of reasoning as far as it is able still to go, given our weakening posture on most sexual crimes. But Rich Lowry points out that one wife in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints sect made the (sadly) reasonable point that their convoluted DNA was, ". . . just like in any society in America . . . A mother might have been in two or three relationships, and a child may be confused about what name to give." She’s got, at least, a half point. No one threatens to take the children of a serial polygamist away or acts to condemn these people for their abusive behavior. Of course, such parents don’t usually force their children into pre-pubescent (and plural) "marriages" . . . but, as we know, in many cases as the cycle of teen sexuality and pregnancy continues, there is no "forcing" necessary.

Eleven years ago, the story of Elizabeth Joseph came onto the scene. Joseph was invited to speak at a conference of the Utah NOW chapter. And why not? She was a busy career woman; working as an instructor of law at a local community college and as a radio news and public affairs director for two local stations. Joseph was also one of eight (!?) women "married" to one Alex Joseph. I wrote about her story at the time and about NOW’s, very logical embrace of polygamy as the ultimate feminist lifestyle. As Joseph argued, with eight wives in the house, she never had to worry about her husband having clean underwear while she went about "maximizing her feminist potential" and her children never saw the inside of a daycare. Even though I had interviewed several of the Utah NOW conference organizers and chapter leaders, they were very embarrassed when the story broke. They could not deny the argument that Ms. Joseph was making about feminism and polygamy (particularly when they acknowledged their support for lesbian marriages) . . . yet something in them still screamed "No!" They knew that embracing polygamy also meant embracing an old form of tyranny and brutality and a fundamental inequality between spouses--something we should be beyond at this point . . . but to say this would mean accepting that there are limits imposed by our natures and the laws governing our natures. Unfortunately for them, to acknowledge the "no" screaming inside of them would have meant also saying "no" to many of their liberal pre-conceptions. It was a sad spectacle as they were left a babbling mass of incoherence on the pages of the Washington Times. But I predicted then that as the interest groups supporting the "rights" of "gay marriage" and single mothers continued to garner strength in America, we would, eventually, come around full circle. We would be faced with the stark choice between liberty and barbarism. The question is, do we still recognize barbarism when it’s biting us in the rear?

Discussions - 2 Comments

When the choice is between parental rights and defending the core principles of our culture by opposing polygamy, count me in favor of the latter. When it comes to kids, freaks of this type have only the rights that society deems it prudent to honor.

Good post. I for one support the state here, but it is all "good intentions" with no moral clarity behind it at all. It is a vague memory of the good. On the other hand, I also hope that the state fails, and is forced to become more clear on what is the good. They really have no ground to stand on here when they condone the murder of the unborn.

freaks of this type

Apparently, you forgot the freakish nature of modern society, who on the one hand condemns polygamy but not homosexuality, who condemns "child abuse" but not murdering children in the womb, etc. etc. etc....

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