Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



January 9, 2006

"Harem, Scare 'Em: Worrying About Polygamy"

The Wall Street Journal

This article isn't about polyamory but rather old-style patriarchal polygamy. According to Wall Street Journal columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley (January 6, 2006), polygamy seems to be on the rise in second- and third-world societies, including rural Utah.


If marriage to a woman civilizes a man — as some would have it — it does not follow that the more women a man marries, the more civilized he becomes. It seems that the opposite is true. Still, the practice of polygamy is spreading world-wide, even in the U.S....

A new HBO series called "Big Love," debuting in March, will center on a man [living a straight, religious life in Utah] married to three women....

Polygamy today is most popular in cultures that are relatively backward and impoverished. A couple of weeks ago, the Malaysian Parliament passed a law making it easier for men to have multiple wives. Last spring 1,000 Ugandans gathered to protest a bill that would ban polygamy; their government backed down. In Turkey, polygamy was banned 70 years ago but is now on the rise....

In the poorer [Muslim] suburbs of Paris, polygamy is common, if illegal. Bernard Accoyer, the parliamentary leader of the Gaullist Party, blamed polygamy for the recent riots in Muslim neighborhoods. He was denounced for his supposedly racist views, but his theory has much to recommend it. Polygamy not only keeps families in poverty — one man must provide for many wives and children — but also creates a large population of young single men with little to do.


Interesting, if depressing. And it's too bad the author failed to note that there's a modern Western invention called "polyamory" that bears the same relationship to patriarchal polygamy that egalitarian couples in modern society bear to wife-ownership in the Old Testament. Maybe it's not happening among Malaysians and Ugandans, but it is among some of the Wall Street Journal's own subscribers and their friends, families, and neighbors.

To read the whole article, you'll need to find a paper copy or pay the steep price for an online WSJ subscription.

P.S. African cultures really do have a lot of boss-man polygamy; a women with (supposedly) two husbands got this columnist all a-fluster in the Financial Gazette of Harare, Zimbabwe, for December 21, 2005. His attitude is seriously un-evolved, say I.

And another sad item: the acting prime minister of Chechnya proposes that polygamy be legalized there, because the war has supposedly left Chechen women outnumbering men by 10 percent. Read the article that appeared on the BBC website January 13, 2006.

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