Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 22, 2008 / 17 Nissan 5768

The wages of polygamy

By Rich Lowry


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas can be forgiven for thinking they are being punished for making just another "lifestyle choice."


The compound of the polygamous sect — a breakaway from the Mormon Church, which long ago forswore plural marriage a century ago — was raided by Texas authorities, who took more than 400 children from their parents. The group's family tree is so opaque that DNA tests are under way to determine which children belong to whom.


"It's just like in any society in America," one woman at the ranch told a reporter, by way of explaining the confusion over the children. "A mother might have been in two or three relationships, and a child may be confused about what name to give."


There's some truth underneath that self-justification. Family relationships in America have become broken and convoluted — although nothing on the order of the bizarre sect led by Warren Jeffs, now serving time for forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin. But with so many people divorced or having children out of wedlock, it's easier to elide questions of family structure and focus on child abuse.


That's the grounds on which the state of Texas moved on the FLDS ranch and confiscated all the children. The problem is that Texas authorities admit that the children were well cared for. The young children and the boys were in no danger. It's only the teenage girls who needed rescuing. That's because it's not child abuse that is the sin of the FLDS, but polygamy.


A polygamous society is inevitably going to tend toward the abuses of Yearning for Zion Ranch. This is why even if Texas went too far and probably will have to give most of the kids back, it acted out of the right motives. Polygamy is fundamentally inconsistent with our values as a society, and people shouldn't be able to maintain islands of it in violation of U.S. laws.


The dynamic of polygamy is that older, higher-status men take as many women as they can. They work to crowd out young men and to make young women as pliable as possible, so as to eliminate any competition from the former and inhibit any tendency on the part of the latter to fall for men their own age. It inherently features brutish sexual competition among men (the winners get many wives, the losers none) and the subjugation of women who are made to serve a man not, in turn, fully devoted to her.


This is exactly how FLDS works. It looks for any excuse to kick out teenage boys. These "lost boys" are left to fend for themselves on the streets. Meanwhile, teenage girls are taught obedience, which can mean, as 13-year-olds, marrying men old enough to be their grandfathers.


With its emphasis on hierarchy and the degrading of individual choice, polygamy is traditionally associated with authoritarian cultures. Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal writes, "No polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy, in anything like the modern sense." In his classic book "Men and Marriage," George Gilder argues, "Monogamy is egalitarianism in the realm of love." It promises one woman per man, and limits the ability of powerful men to dominate.


One disapproving columnist says of the Texas raid: "There is a whiff of cultural imperialism here. This is about further marginalizing an already-marginalized way of life." Indeed it is. There are limits to pluralism. In the 19th century, when the Mormon Church still supported polygamy, the U.S. government harried it mercilessly. As Stanley Kurtz points out, the campaign against polygamy related to the effort to democratize Utah.


Now, polygamists are trying to ride on the liberal wave of nonjudgmentalism and of hostility to traditional marriage. Who are we to say what marriage is? As liberal democrats, we've said it before, and have to again.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Rich Lowry Archives

© 2008 King Features Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles