"Don't Do Unto Others"
More "Big Love" fallout: William Saletan has a column in the respected online magazine Slate (for March 23, 2006) on "the difference between gay marriage and polygamy" (and polyamory). His liberal perspective is right upfront:
Uh oh. Conservatives are starting to hyperventilate again. You know the symptoms: In a haystack of right-wing dominance, they find a needle of radicalism, declare it a mortal danger to civilization, and use it to rally their voters in the next election. First it was flag-burning. Then it was the "war on Christmas." Now it's polygamy....
But then Saletan claims the whole thing is a non-issue because polygamy and polyamory will never seriously happen:
The average guy would love to bang his neighbor's wife. He just doesn't want his wife banging his neighbor. Fidelity isn't natural, but jealousy is. Hence the one-spouse rule. One isn't the number of people you want to sleep with. It's the number of people you want your spouse to sleep with.
Sigh. Polyamory is not for "the average guy." It's for the few percent who decide their hearts are too big to be ruled by jealousy, learn how to succeed, and go on to live lives together rich in love, wonder, and companionship such as most folks can't imagine. (For that matter, gay marriage isn't for "the average guy" either!) If liberals' defense is going to be that polyamory can't exist, even for a few, they deserve to be shot down.
Read the whole article. At least it contains lots of interesting links.
Some of you get congratulations for trying to educate this guy and his readers; click "Post a Message" at the end of his article to join in (you have to register). A longer rebuttal is at the Explananda blog (thanks to jinx854 on the Live Journal Polyamory Community for pointing this out):
There's an odd assumption that many people make that if an activity is unnatural... [it will] result in an intolerable strain. That's not necessarily so. To borrow Frans de Waal's example, it's natural for a tiger to kill a dog. But if you raise a tiger with a dog in a zoo (dogs are sometimes used to socialize tigers), then the tiger won't be interested in killing its adopted mom or siblings. This is highly unnatural, but it's hardly an intolerable strain on the tiger....
And isn't that what makes civilization possible?