Salvo 03.04.2024 10 minutes

Open Wide

Polyamorous relationships

The regime is desperate to impose polyamory.

In the years prior to the Obergefell decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide, there were strong and weak arguments against implementing the policy. One of the weakest arguments was popular with my conservative undergraduates at a southern university where I taught: “So if a man can marry a man, why can’t I marry [my dog, a dolphin, etc.]?” Those dumb objections did a lot of harm to the cause of the traditionalists. It enabled the media and Democrats to paint the opponents of gay marriage as bigots. Perhaps even worse, though, comments like the one above validated the assertions that those opponents were stupid. That stupidity became the justification for some citizens and many news outlets to ignore the public debate on the creation of a new “civil right.”

This was particularly tragic (as is now evident only nine years after the decision) because there were very prescient warnings against legalizing same-sex marriages. One of the most powerful ones observed that there are essentially three criteria for a valid marriage. One criterion related to sex: it held that the people in a marriage must be of opposite sexes. A second criterion related to number: a marriage consists of two people. The third related to age: the two people involved had to be legal adults. The argument was this: if the Supreme Court nullified the first of these criteria—effectively saying that the sex of the betrothed was irrelevant—then what were the legal grounds for defending the criteria related to number and age?

Anyone who has been paying attention to the news in 2024 can see that the challenge to the second criterion of marriage—the one related to number—has now begun in earnest. Over recent months, elite media outlets have published a slew of articles promoting what they alternately callethical non-monogamy” or “polyamory.” Many of these arguments are directed specifically at a married audience, and in these cases, they encourage readers to “open up their marriages,” confronting your spouse with the idea that you should continue your marriage, but exchange permission to have sex with other people. The fact that so many such articles have appeared at elite publications in such a short period of time makes it unlikely that this is mere coincidence.

Why does the regime want you to “open up your marriage” so badly?

Weakening the Nuclear Family

For over a century, the political Left in the West has viewed the nuclear family as a hindrance to achieving its utopian goals. As early as 1884, Friedrich Engels argued in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State that the nuclear family is a major obstacle to the implementation of Communism, and that the family is also a powerful means to reinforce notions of governance and property that are antithetical to collectivist aspirations. In the twentieth century, the leftist philosophers loosely associated with the so-called Frankfurt School (and later, their students) carried this antipathy forward.

This disdain for the nuclear family is alive today. While progressives have significantly weakened its power (sometimes with assistance from “conservatives”) through policies related to welfare, divorce, drugs, and criminal justice, the traditional family has endured—much to their chagrin. The media’s push on polyamory is simply the latest lever to dislodge the strong families that remain, and hamstring the youth who might soon decide to form such families.

Polygamous sexual practices have always been closely tied with uncertainty about parentage. When a female adult is having sex with many men, it is difficult to ascertain the father without medical intervention. Similarly, when a man is having sex with multiple women, he is less likely to expend resources supporting a child he believes may not be his—especially when the mother of the child is not a woman who would be his first choice for a long-term partner (or when he knows the mother is promiscuous). Thus, uncertainties about parentage have a detrimental effect on the well-being of children.

There are many other ways that “ethical” non-monogamy erodes the family structure: a heightened risk of sexual abuse when involved with multiple partners (and an attendant aversion to pregnancy), contraceptive usage that changes reproductive function, and the ways that transmission of diseases undermine human relationships.

“Dismantle” Authority in the Home

Clear delineations of authority in the home have been a frustration for the Left. Masculine authority (located in a patriarch) has been a target of the feminist agenda since its inception. Since feminists are a major constituent of the Democratic establishment, leftists have a vested interest in keeping their clients happy. That means opposing masculine authority in the home. But it’s not just the authority of men that is a problem: any authority, whether male or female, contributes to the stability of the home.

In a traditional marriage, both the man and the woman exercise authority—different kinds of authority, to be sure, but an arrangement is reached through negotiation. Consensus is comparatively easy to achieve when there are only two negotiating parties. Polyamory blurs the divisions of authority within the home. In a scenario where there is one man with two women, there will be questions as to where the largest share of feminine authority resides in the home. A situation with one woman and multiple men will inevitably lead to strife over the patriarchal role—a recipe for domestic instability. And where there are multiple men and multiple women, settling these questions of authority becomes even more complex. Forcing children to navigate these uncertain conditions can be uniquely harmful. Ultimately, a house divided cannot stand. By muddying the division of authority in the home, non-monogamy further weakens the nuclear family.

Promoting Sexual Profligacy as Human Freedom

When we talk about the American system of “self-government” we are usually thinking of how the “people” collectively govern the nation. It’s less commonly understood that successful self-governance at the collective level depends upon the governance of the self. That is, individuals need to be able to control themselves—their desires, their appetites, and their will—if there will be any prospect for a functional civic life.

Of course, the modern Left understands “democracy” simply as the ability of the individual to do whatever he or she wants. In other words, the leftist notion of freedom is opposed to the liberal sort required for a civil society: they argue that human freedom exists only insofar as the individual has license to gratify their desires, appetites, and will without consequence. Thus, “self-governance”—the habit of restricting and delaying personal gratification—comes to be seen as a form of human oppression.

Traditionally, society has required the individual to govern the self and its sexual impulses, though sexuality one of the hardest behaviors to successfully govern. For these reasons, the cultural revolution of the sixties centered on sexual liberation. Refusing to restrain one’s sexual desires was portrayed as the highest mode of self-expression and human freedom. From this antisocial perspective, the more sex and sexual partners you have, the more free and authentic you are.

Since effective governance of the self is a precondition for democratic life, and disrupting the traditional structure of American society is a stated goal of the Left, encouraging promiscuity is a no-brainer. Of course, the high-minded defenders of polyamory and “ethical” non-monogamy will tell us that it is something more than promiscuity. In a sense, they’re right: the libertines of the past were fine conceding they simply had an insatiable sex appetite. They saw no need to justify their behavior with a patina of ethics. The whores of yesteryear were more honest.

Non-Monogamy Increases Economic Dependency

The best way to protect the Left’s sprawling bureaucracy and vision of big government is to ensure that private individuals cannot satisfy their own needs. Only a needy, deprived people requires a big government. People who cannot govern themselves want someone to mitigate the negative effects of their refusal to do so. Advocates of polyamory will no doubt tell us that stable, long-term non-monogamous arrangements are not only possible, but common. But a smart adolescent intuitively grasps that a promiscuous attitude towards sexuality naturally entails shorter-term, temporary relationships.

Economic stability is predicated upon domestic stability. When “polyamorous” unions break up, homes break up, too. This disrupts the economic arrangements that everyone in the household depends on. When there are children in such a scenario, the financial needs can be especially dire. A newly-single adult who had been relying on another income may be able to scrape together enough money to get herself by, but it becomes much more difficult to do when there are additional dependents. Again, some of these dependents may be of uncertain parentage, increasing the likelihood that the men who had formerly been a part of the “polycule” may be unwilling to provide financial support. Further, if members of a polyamorous group see all the adults involved as co-parents to the children, the actual biological parent may withhold some money after a break-up on the assumption that all other former members of the group are obligated to chip in.

Ultimately, some of the people faced with these domestic and economic uncertainties will look to the government to satisfy their needs—whether that comes in the form of welfare, housing, childcare, or something else. In short, non-monogamy has the potential to create forms of need that only big government can fill. As proponents of big government, leftists and the media love polyamory.

“Love” Wins

A primary goal of the sexual revolution in the sixties was to decouple the concepts of “sex” and “love” in the American imagination: just because you had sex with someone didn’t mean you loved that person. This idea worked to justify premarital sex and defer marriage. But only a half-century later, the Left finds itself in a much different place. Today, they insist that love can only be understood in sexual terms. Look no further than a recent news story. After a gay staffer filmed himself being anally-penetrated in the Senate hearing room, media outlets jumped to his defense. One headline even crowed that the young man was “Fired for his Act of Love in the Senate.”

Leftists reintegrated love and sex as a strategy to advance the cause of gay marriage. After all, who can condemn “acts of love”? Applied to polyamory, the rhetoric of love is meant to relieve the conscience of the libertines by painting their promiscuity as a modern, progressive form of virtue.

Nevertheless, some moral resistance to LGBT ideology persists among Americans. This is why the push for polyamory is so important to the regime: it’s a way to end any remaining sexual stigma in our society. Many who still avoid transgressive forms of sex tend to be traditionalists—mostly traditionalists who tend to be straight and married. By inviting straight married people to give into their presumed desires for promiscuity by “opening up their marriage,” the media creates the conditions required for traditionalists to disavow of the stigma associated with other kinds of sexual transgression. How can you continue criticizing the sexual behavior of others when you, too, are violating the old taboos by embracing non-monogamy? In this way, encouraging normal couples to give into transgressive heterosexual appetites is a way for the Left establishment to destigmatize other forms of sex that they see as unfairly “marginalized.”

American elites (who overwhelmingly cast their lot with the global Left) badly want you and your spouse to “open up.” And if they can’t get you to forsake all your old-fashioned sexual hang-ups, they’re pretty confident they can get your children to do so.

Only a decade ago, the first criterion of sex was removed from our definition of marriage. Now, it seems the second criterion is about to fall. Soon enough, polyamorists will seek national legitimization of the sort that Obergefell granted. When that happens, plural marriage will be celebrated in American life. And after that, what’s left for the completion of the sexual revolution? Well, there will only be one remaining criterion for marriage: the one that says all parties involved must be legal adults. How long that final restriction can endure is an “open” question.

Speaking of your children, how are they doing these days?

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