Welcome Dear Readers!
Today we carry on with our discussion of Polygamy.
Please keep in mind that this is a hypothetical analysis; as Kumogakure cannot recommend that any man get married to any number of women in this day and age.
We left off last time with a brief historical survey of this institution. We found that this ancient tradition was to be found in many cultures around the globe, yesterday and today. In addition, I touched on why I am opposed to polyandry (one woman with many husbands), and that polygyny (one man with multiple wives), monogamy, and celibacy are all valid paths for human beings to pursue. I do not hold that monogamy is in any way superior to the other two.
I have been asked by a kind reader what should be done if the number of men and women were very similar. Wouldn't polygyny increase the competition amongst marriageable bachelors? Would it then lead to widespread abuses and civil strife?
In answering this question, I would like to say again that polygamy is a tool for the wise ruler to keep in his toolbox. Polygamy should be skillfully employed where and when it is needed, and implemented when and where it is practical to do so. Polygamous unions must also be considered marriage contracts, fully enforceable and upheld by the State's Police Power.
Note: Please see my edit on the first post on this series, On Polygamy. I have recanted on my previous assertion that the State was not authorized to regulate marriage law via its Police Powers.
Marriage, in any form, should not be entered into, or dissolved lightly, as is the case today.
I believe that there should be a definite limit to the number of women that a man can have in his household.
If we look to the teachings of three religions, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, we find reasonable restraints to the practice.
According to the Jewish site Simple to Remember:
If we go back to the Book of Deuteronomy where the idea that Jews would one day want a king is first discussed, Moses warns that the king should not have too many horses or too many wives (Deut. 17:17). The great Torah commentator Rashi tells us that this means no more than 18, and that King David had only six.
The Torah placed limits on the number of wives and wealth the king could have so that he would stay focused on his responsibilities and not be distracted and corrupted by materialism and power.
The referenced Bible verse, Deuteronomy 17:17, tells us that:
Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
Moving to the Koran, we are told that:
Sura (4:3) - "Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess."
Four wives is a reasonable number. The command to treat them equally, is also very important. However, it should be noted that "what your right hand possesses," or slave girls, is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.
Kumogakure is ABSOLUTELY NOT supportive, in any way, of human slavery ; something that Islam, as a political-religious entity, seems to be very good at promoting. Feminists, take note.
And now, the Buddhist position:
In Buddhism, marriage is regarded as entirely a personal, individual concern and not as a religious duty..
Marriage is a social convention, an institution created by man for the well-being and happiness of man, to differentiate human society from animal life and to maintain order and harmony in the process of procreation. Even though the Buddhist texts are silent on the subject of monogamy or polygamy, the Buddhist laity is advised to limit themselves to one wife. The Buddha did not lay rules on married life but gave necessary advice on how to live a happy married life
While the laity is advised to have only one wife, in Buddhist countries such as China and Thailand, polygamy was accepted and practiced.
And in the case of Buddhist (and Shinto) Japan:
"The position a wife holds towards a concubine is the same as that of a lord to his vassal. The Emperor has twelve imperial concubines. The princes may have eight concubines. Officers of the highest class may have five mistresses. A Samurai may have two handmaids. All below this are ordinary married men."
All of these sources have a similar message; that limits to the number of wives a man can have are prudent and reasonable. I would proscribe the maximum number of allowable wives to three.
Personally speaking, I think two is enough, 'cause three's company; four and up is a crowd!
So now that we have limits on the number of wives, which helps to prevent the elite minority of men from having a top heavy number of wives, let's turn our attention to the ratio of men and women in the United States.
According to the U.S. Census:
The female population is projected to continue to outnumber the male population, going from a numerical difference of 5.3 million in 2000 (143.7 million females and 138.4 million males) to 6.9 million (213.4 million females and 206.5 million males) by mid-century. (See Table 2 [Excel].)
In addition, the Census tells us that:
Of the four regions around the country, the Northeast had the lowest male to female ratio, in other words, the highest number of females to males, while the West approached near parity between the sexes with a 99.6 to 100 male-female ratio.
You can also see a map of male-female distribution in the United States here.
According to National Atlas:
The female population outnumbered the male population in most counties in 2000.
At the county level, the female population outnumbered the male population in most counties. Of the 3,141 counties and equivalent areas, the number of counties with a greater female population was 2,305 representing 73 percent of all counties and equivalent areas. About 42 percent or 1,315 counties and equivalent areas had male-female ratios below the U.S. male-female ratio of 96.3.
The counties with low male-female ratios were concentrated in the Northeast and South. Most States in these regions predominantly had counties with low male-female ratios, except for a few counties in upstate New York and the Florida panhandle. The female population exceeded the male population in all counties in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Delaware. The female population also exceeded the male population in most counties in Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
In contrast, counties with high male-female ratios were primarily in the West. All counties in Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii had male-female ratios above 100. Other States with the majority of their counties with high male-female ratios were Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado.
The important information, in this case, is that the male-female ratio varies greatly depending on the age group and the region of the country under consideration. In addition, there are currently more men in the younger age brackets than women.
If polygamy were allowed, with specific conditions and limitations, I do not believe that this would lead to increased numbers of frustrated bachelors who are unable to marry. There are many potential reasons for a population to have large numbers of unmarried men, such as war, educational pursuits, incarceration, or abstinence from marriage altogether. Monogamy does not insure a happy, healthily married population of men, as was the case in staunchly monogamous Rome.
In our era, feminism, alone and unaided, has done a pretty good job of killing male desire for marriage in this nation.
If Polygamy were skillfully advocated, what would probably occur would be similar to what would happen under my "free marketplace of love" philosophy:
Some people will never marry for various reasons; i.e. Eternal Bachelorhood, desire for Celibacy, physical/mental disability, and so forth.
Most people will choose a monogamous marriage. The man may not want the responsibility that having more than one wife entails, the woman may not wish to agree to such a marriage, etc etc.
Some people will seek out polygamous marriage. Consenting adults, free from duress or coercion, will choose to enter into such an arrangement for religious, logical, or practical reasons.
Marriage contracts, similar to the agreements made between Islamic and Jewish couples, or possibly secular prenuptial agreements (that will be strictly enforced by the law courts, in this hypothetical scenario), will ensure that the happy couple agrees, in advance, to all aspects of their married life, including polygyny.
If the woman does not agree to be a party to a polygamous marriage, she can include a clause to that effect. If the man insists on maintaining the option of taking another wife, then that right will need to be included in the marriage contract.
If negotiations break down, then the parties can go their separate ways. In this way, no one is forced into any such relationship against their will.
No pressure, no funny business, everything is out in the open, the parties are of sound mind and legal age to agree to terms, and everyone gets what they want.
I'll stop here for now.
Next time, I will explain which groups of our society can benefit the most from polygamous unions, and explain why polygyny should be a legal and viable option for Men.
Also, be sure to check out Angry Harry's Polygamy Pros and Cons!